For this month’s hotel review, Managing Director, Lee Mansfield took to Pevensey to enjoy an overnight stay at the Priory Court Hotel

Located in the heart of the historic town of Pevensey, the 17th Century Priory Court Hotel is nestled by stunning scenery and extraordinary local landmarks, with the ancient Pevensey Castle sat elegantly right opposite. The recently refurbished hotel offers cosy accommodation, subastantial function rooms, traditional English tearooms and beautiful gardens, which together with the hotel’s outstanding levels of and experience in catering, creates the perfect stop for any occasion.

Being situated within close proximity to Eastbourne, Brighton and Hastings, and within arms length of major transport links – Pevensey and Westham train station sits a five-minute walk away and bus stops to Eastbourne town centre and surrounding areas – makes the Priory Court Hotel a great venue for business meetings and conferences as well as special occasions, functions and the occasional weekend away. Hosting wedding receptions and ceremonies is a particular specialty of the Priory Court Hotel’s, and their beautiful gardens combined with the beautiful backdrop of Pevensey Castle promise to make for a wonderful and unique setting for occasions of this kind.

The Priory Court Hotel host Grill Nights every Thursday, offering guests the opportunity to choose from various different grills, sides and sauces, all for just £9 per person. Their restaurant is open to visitors every day from 8am, and also serves Sunday lunch every week, while the hotel’s 17th Century tearooms boast a range of homemade cakes and traditional English cream teas.

Our dinner reservation was booked for 8pm and upon walking into the restaurant, I was pleasantly surprised. Although with the outside areas being one of the hotel’s most attractive features Priory Court might seem like a better venue for the warmer weather, it was clear to see that they are prepared for visits during all times of the year, and the roaring open fire, dim lighting and lit candles contributed to the perfect ambiance for a winter meal. The restaurant wasn’t particularly busy, although this is to be expected for a hotel that boasts just five suites, especially at this time of the year.

We were presented with menus and chose to share a bottle of white – Sauvignon Blanc – which perfectly complemented the delightful dishes we were about to experience.

For my starter I opted for the Crayfish and Prawn Cocktail, served with roasted red peppers, shredded baby gem and avocado puree and smoked Paprika, while my wife chose The Priory Deli Board; cured and smoked meats with baked local cheese, pickles and toasts. Both starters were exquisite. A Prawn Cocktail is something I will often go for, but the fact that the Priory Court added Crayfish into the mix made it all the more delightful. My wife had no complaints either and enjoyed her Deli Board even more after learning that all meats used at the Priory Court Hotel are locally sourced. For our main courses we opted for the Wild Mullet with rainbow chard, served with baby potatoes and saffron cream, and the 8ox Sussex Sirloin steak, which came neatly with dauphinoise potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli and red wine jus. The steak was succulent – cooked to perfection – and arrived at my table sliced, which made for a nice surprise. The potatoes were delightfully creamy and soft. Both meals came out piping hot right through to the centre – a sign of a well-cooked meal. Desserts were equally as satisfying; steamed Ginger sponge with custard for myself, and Plum Tarte Tatin with cinnamon ice cream for my wife.

We left the restaurant without a single complaint. Each dish exceeded my expectations; portion sizes were perfect, as was the amount of time left between courses being brought to our table. The waiting staff were attentive, polite and chatty, making the whole experience that little bit more enjoyable, and Peter – the owner – was very knowledgeable when it came to the history of the premises and origin of the food and drink.

Full to the brim and satisfied to say the least, we saw the opportunity to take a relaxing evening stroll around the village, but were shocked to find that the nearby pubs had closed by 10:30pm, which led us back to the warmth of the hotel and into our suite. Our room was surprisingly spacious and marked 10 out of 10 on the cleanliness scale. While the bed was extremely comfy and promised a sound night’s sleep, the décor was very plain, with magnolia walls and grey carpet. It might not have had the ‘wow’ factor, but it was a comfortable, functioning room and, looking at the hotel’s suites on the website, it seems that some others may offer a bit more personality – it’s hard to get a realistic feel of what can be expected from just one room.

The sit-town breakfast was the same standard of food as what we had experienced the previous night; a lovely start to a miserable Thursday morning. It was a shock to see how busy Priory Court Hotel gets for breakfast, and obviously they are in high demand. Every dish arrived at tabled piping hot and the food was wonderfully fresh. My wife chose Eggs Royale while I devoured a full english.

Overall, while the hotel could use a little bit more charisma, the Priory Court Hotel really is a lovely place. Whether you’re looking for a well-cooked meal, a reasonably priced overnight stay or long weekend in the historic town of Pevensey, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for here. I’ll be sure to recommend to a friend and can look forward to returning in the near future.

The Priory Court Hotel, Restaurant & Bar

Castle Road, Pevensey

BN24 5LG

01323 763150