A few weeks ago I needed an escape, so I turned to my trusted friend Secret Escapes (not sponsored, but oh how I wish it was!) and looked for hotel deals around the Sussex area. In the end, I decided to go for a three star Best Western hotel in the little village of Felpham in West Sussex, just 25 minutes walk away from Bognor Regis train station.
Felpham is an adorable little town with quite a few pubs (considering its size!), a few shops and lots and lots of cute houses and thatched cottages. It’s also located on the seafront, which makes it the perfect combination of a seaside holiday and a relaxing visit to a small village. The population of the village is about 10,000 and it has a lot of history – the church of St Mary located in the centre of the village dates back to the 12th century!
Even though Felpham is these days considered a part of greater Bognor Regis, it’s very much a village in its own right and was in existence long before its neighbour, too. It was mentioned in the Domesday Book (a great land survey from 1086) in the 11th century.
Another historical tidbit about Felpham (and one they are very proud of!) is the fact that poet William Blake lived in a cottage (which I have photos of later on in this post!) in Felpham for 3 years in the 19th century when he was writing his book Milton: A Poem in Two Books. He even mentioned Felpham in the poem:
Away to sweet Felpham for heaven is there:
The Ladder of Angels descends through the air
On the turrett its spiral does softly descend
Through the village it winds, at my cot it does end
If that description doesn’t make you want to visit, what will?!
From Brighton – There’s a train to Bognor Regis with 1 change, taking one hour. It’s then a 25 min walk to Felpham, or you could take a local bus from the train station. My friend ended up taking a taxi, and it only cost £5.00 which is not too much more than the bus!
From Brighton, you can also take two local buses (the Coastliner 700) which will take you within a 10 minute walk from Felpham, without having to go through Bognor Regis. The bus journey takes about 2.5 hours, so a lot longer than the train. I took this route and quite enjoyed it – I listened to a lot of podcasts, and enjoyed the views as the bus goes through lots of cute villages and towns!
From London – There’s a direct train to Bognor Regis from London Victoria, taking 1 hour and 45 minutes. From Bognor Regis to Felpham, follow the guidelines above in the Brighton section.
Best Western Beachcroft Hotel – I found this hotel through the Secret Escapes website as mentioned above, and was very happy for the quality we got for the price that we paid! The deal was about £65 per room per night, and the room was very spacious and even had its own little patio. The rate also included breakfast which was very yummy and included a cold buffet breakfast and one hot dish of your choice (I went for eggs and soldiers, but you could also order a full English with no extra cost!).
The exterior of the hotel is nothing to write home about, but it really is what’s inside that counts – the rooms are roomy and clean, the service was exceptionally friendly and the restaurant is light and spacious – oh, and there’s a lovely little pool as well! For the price we paid, our stay definitely exceeded my expectations tenfold.
The George Inn – A traditional 16th century coaching inn with a lovely & cosy fireplace, situated right in the heart of Felpham Village. There’s a large garden for summer days, and plenty of space on the inside to get comfy and cosy. They also do food every day, and the staff is very friendly. I stopped by here for a glass of red wine with my book, and even though the pub had a very local feel, I didn’t feel out of place as a visitor.
The Fox Inn – An 18th century village inn with a beautiful garden. Known for being the local of poet William Blake (his cottage was just a minute’s walk away from the Fox Inn!) and he was even was arrested and charged with sedition here at one point. They have a traditional pub food menu with lots of veggie (and even a few vegan!) options which is not always a given in country pubs.
The Thatched House – This place has the most modern feel out of all of the pubs, and it looks like it might have been quite recently refurbished with its modern furniture and bright colours. I had lunch here when I first arrived to Felpham, and would recommend the halloumi burger I had – it was very tasty and the portion was HUGE! The service was friendly, and I was made to feel right at home even though (again…) I was on my own with a book.
The Lobster Pot – A little bistro and cafe right on the beach, The Lobster Pot came highly recommended from everywhere I looked for ideas on where to eat. During daytime they’ve got a big lunch menu, lots of different cakes and ice creams, and during the evening it turns into a cosy little bistro serving locally served fish and even a few veggie options. Their menu changes daily, but they usually have a few veggie options in the starters as well as one or two on the mains side. I had a halloumi bake with Mediterranean vegetables with pesto and pearl barley, which I was expecting to be good (because halloumi) but in fact it was INCREDIBLE. The flavours were so good and the portion was so sizeable. Would *highly* recommend!
The Beachcroft Hotel – The hotel where we stayed also has a restaurant which seemed very busy with a lot of people who weren’t even staying at the hotel. They seemed to be especially known for their Sunday menu and booking a table was recommended. We had a light lunch on a Sunday and just asked for a sandwich (not on the official menu) and all our requests were accommodated with a friendly smile. It’s a bit more expensive here, but the food was lovely.
The Pizza Base – For your takeaway needs (though they have a few tables and chairs in their newly refurbished shop, too!), Pizza Base is the best option. I got a small pizza from here for just £5.00 and it was SO good. With a thin and crispy base and super tasty tomato sauce, this place exceeded my expectations for a local pizza delivery spot.
The pubs! – And of course, the aforementioned pubs all do food. Most of the menus are quite similar – you can expect pubby food such as burgers, curries, and lots of things with chips! There are of course some differences in the menus, however, and some places offer more vegetarian options than others.
Above, on the right: The William Blake cottage!