A Timeless Classic
Lewes’ White Hart Hotel blends mod cons with historic beauty
Walk into the White Hart Hotel and you walk back in time, as this has been the County town’s central meeting place since Tudor times. Originally a coaching inn, owned by a celebrated chef of the time William Verrall, (whose book is still in print), it became the headquarters of the ‘Headstrong Club’, a debating society which endures to this day. Outside, a blue plaque declares: ‘this inn is regarded as the cradle for American Independence which he helped to found with pen and sword’
Entering the hotel from the High street was an immediately welcome break from the howling wind and rain outside, doubly comforting because of the building’s wooden interiors and soft furnishings: there are no harsh glass, metal and ceramic fixings to jangle the sounds around and jangle your nerves the way there so often are in modern-styled hotels. We were greeted by the extremely affable Graham Coles who took over as Manager last summer. Throughout the rest of the evening – until at least 11 p.m. when we retired and then from 7a.m. the following morning when we came down for breakfast, we couldn’t help but notice his presence and unobtrusive attentiveness to other guests and to his staff. Does the man sleep?
He furnished us with details of the Hotel’s conference and business facilities, which are varied and competitively priced. The White Hart boasts three conference rooms; the Sherriff and Tudor rooms, and the larger purpose County Suite. Graham is able to offer an extremely flexible and varied service with hire of these rooms, and associated catering, the rooms being charged at a rate of between £75 to £500.
The health suite boasts sauna, heated swimming pool, and a fully equipped gym. Adjacent to this is the back terrace area, from which you can enjoy a panoramic view of the downs.
We sat in the magnificent panelled dining room and enjoyed a delicious meal including a starter of smoked breast of duck with a cranberry and orange dressing, and a main of guinea fowl breast with dauphinoise potatoes and aubergine puree, buttered green beans and red wine jus.
Our room was beautifully interesting, being opened up to the roof beams, and as you would expect of a Tudor building had a less than level floor! In the morning, we were rewarded with a view to the south across the higgledy piggledy historic rooftops of Lewes.
A restful sleep, and no, no ghosts in Tudor ruffs appeared at any time – I did ask Graham but he refused to be drawn in on the topic.
Breakfast was served by helpful friendly staff, and there was a great selection of cooked, or uncookeand excellent coffee. Then I’m afraid it was time to rejoin the throng and their umbrellas outside.
The White Hart hotel is bursting with character, good will and an ability to stir up revolutionary ideas!