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a la Colthard: Stanmer House

I call Sussex the new Rust Belt. Robert Tickler has acquired a pile on the cliffs by Roedean School, Alan Tanner is more downmarket with a bungalow he has bought in Worthing, whilst Nancy Bright Thompson has been a resident of East Sussex for many years. We all convened for tea at Stanmer House, a nature reserve set in the splendid grounds of Stanmer House at Falmer. The house once belonged to the Pelham family, was requisitioned during the war and is now open to the public.

I have always had a suspicion of a restaurant with fine views. Accordingly, I waited to be impressed by this one set in the house. It’s true we only had tea. My godson Jamie was with us and dear old Bob, the ultimate bachelor, has formed quite an attachment to the talkative adorable little chap. The feeling is mutual and, in the incessant commentary on life that flows from Jamie, many a sentence begins with “Uncle Bob”. Even more incredibly, Robert shows a patience in dealing with every request made on his precious time which we have previously never seen and created much banter.

Stanmer House was recommended by Nancy’s friend Polly, who is something of a legend in these parts as a universal fixer with a knowledge of the area and a contacts book that belies her youthfulness. I have previously followed Polly’s restaurant recommendations and not been disappointed.

The space comprised four large areas on the ground floor: dining room: a lounge where tea was served by capacious Chesterfields: library and bar. Outside there are tables which overlook the rolling parkland and woods. The service was helpful but a tad slow. The cream tea was delicious with freshly baked scones. I saw the menu, which runs all day, and I guess it would be £35 without wine. However it was flexible and, if you’re snacking, it would be much less.

I have a good excuse to return to sample the cuisine.

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About Daphne Colthard

After graduating at RADA but finding no roles Daphne went into magazine journalism with Good Housekeeping. Widely recognised as one of the country's leading restaurant and hotel reviewers, particularly by herself, Daphne is the author of "Bedded and Breakfasted", a light hearted chick novel and Grand Hotels DC: the Daffers Dictionary. Daphne lives in West London and is married to an investment banker Oliver. They have 2 boys Humphrey and Tarquin. More Posts