A historic village pub with a modern approach


A public house steeped in history

The family records reveal that The Dorset Arms was built in 1595 and became a public house in 1735.

Situated in the outstandingly beautiful Sussex Weald, part of the historic Buckhurst Estate, the pub is named after the Earls and Dukes of Dorset, one time heads of the Sackville family, and shares a heritage of family ownership now headed by their descendant, William Sackville, the 11th Earl De La Warr.

It has been in the same family ownership since the 16th century, except for the period 1986-2013, during which it was the property of Harvey’s of Lewes. It is now back under family ownership.


Easily accessed via the footpaths through the Buckhurst Estate are both the church of St. Michael and All Angels, in which the tombs of the Sackville descendants can be found and the real life “100 Aker Wood” made famous as the setting for the Winnie the Pooh stories of A. A. Milne, where Christopher Robin played with the present Lord De La Warr’s father.

In his 1909 ‘Sketchbook of Tours in Kent and Sussex, a charming drawing of the Dorset Arms appears by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the celebrated early 20th century architect, designer and artist. Mackintosh was known to be a close friend of Lady Margaret Sackville’s and while visiting Buckhurst Park designed the sign for The Dorset Arms and is also believed to have added the finials to the exterior of the pub.

Part of the historic Buckhurst Park Estate

Buckhurst Estate

Buckhurst Park has belonged to the De La Warr family for more than 900 years. In the reign of William the conqueror, it formed part of the Estate of Ralph de Dene, and was recorded in the Doomsday Book.

It passed to the Sackville family – Lords Buckhurst, Earls and Dukes of Dorset, and Earls De La Warr in 1140 and the history of Buckhurst and the Sackville family has been woven into English history ever since.

The Estate hosts many outdoor pursuits including pheasant shooting, fishing and clay pigeon shooting and, with the beautiful backdrop of Buckhurst Park, is the ideal choice as a wedding venue or for corporate events.

Find out more at buckhurstpark.co.uk

Our People

Lord De La Warr
Lord De La Warr

Having spent most of his early career in the City of London, Lord De La Warr has always had a passion for food, which is evident in his involvement with all aspects of The Dorset Arms, but particularly the menus.

When, five years ago the opportunity to buy back The Dorset Arms presented itself Lord De La Warr was able to incorporate the pub back into the Buckhurst Park Estate as well as realising his childhood dream of owning a restaurant.

Lord De La Warr is passionate about using locally sourced food, our Sussex beef comes from a local farm or when possible comes from his own pure bred, organic (grass fed) Sussex cattle reared on the Buckhurst Estate, as do the pheasant, partridge, duck and venison that we use during the season.

The famous and very popular Buckhurst Park sausages are produced locally and made to his own (secret) recipe.

Lord De La Warr’s involvement in The Dorset Arms ensures that we have a diverse selection of classic and contemporary dishes, served in a restaurant that offers the very best without ever surrendering the feel of a village pub.


Join our team

We’re always looking for extraordinary people to joint our team.
Please get in touch for vacancies or to find out more.

Call us on

01892 770278

What our customers say

"We will definitely go back"

"The service was efficient and courteous and the food was great. Overall, a very pleasant experience and reasonably priced. We will definitely go back."

January 2020 - TripAdvisor

"Better and better"

"Since the Restaurant was taken back by the estate, it has gone from strength to strength.Good locally sourced food, good ambience & service.We shall return!"

Christopher S. - November 2018 - TripAdvisor

"Fabulous food in authentic surroundings"

"Really lovely inn. Very welcoming with real old worlde charm. Great service. Had wonderful perfectly cooked sole in delicious sauce. Wish it was my local!"

Anne E. - June 2019 - TripAdvisor

"One of the best..."

"Food is excellent, service is great. The flat ironed chicken is to die for. Great value, brilliant atmosphere."

Gordon D. - March 2019 - TripAdvisor

"Wonderful dining experience"

"Will highly recommend the dorset to all my family & friends and will be visiting there again! All the staff were a pleasure to be around."

Jean W. - May 2019 - TripAdvisor

"Great food and lovely pub"

"We went on a Sunday evening and enjoyed a great roast. Service was excellent. Pub was classy without even trying."

March 2019 - OpenTable

  • Certificate of

    2015-2017 Winner, TripAdvisor

  • Diners' Choice
    Award 2018



Book a table

Or call us on
01892 770 278

Find us

Visit the Dorset Arms

Find us nestled in the heart of the Sussex countryside on the edge of Ashdown Forest just a 15 minute drive from Royal Tunbridge Wells.

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Opening Hours
Mon-Sat:12:00 - 23:00
Sun:12:00 - 6pm
Kitchen Hours
Mon-Fri:12:00 - 14:30 / 18:00 - 21:00
Sat:12:00 - 21:00
Sun:12:00 - 4:00pm

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