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Eat out: Mark Cross Inn

Family favourite that's perfect for roasts in the winter or sunning yourself in the beer garden in the summer

THE LOCATION

Head south of Tunbridge Wells, slip over the county border and you’ll find Mark Cross – and The Mark Cross Inn – it’s on the way to Mayfield and not too far from Crowborough and Rotherfield, a pretty picturesque part of East Sussex. The pub itself is nicely tucked back off the main road, with a decent sized car park and a view. Oh and what a view it is (see above).

THE VIBE

You may have heard of the dramatic fire that swept through the place in 2017. Well like a Phoenix rising from the ashes the pub is firmly back on it’s feet having enjoyed a total refurb. They have definitely taken this as an opportunity to improve the interior which now looks fabulous. Loads of characterful, rural pub features – the walls are covered in pictures (many with a local theme) and the bookshelves bursting with masses of quirky tomes provided my mudlets with hours of entertainment (never shown so much interest in their own books)…

And for the grown ups there’s a new bar, which boasts not only more space and a swish new look, but also over 30 types of gin.

SCOFF & QUAFF

This isn’t fine dining, bit rather solid, classic pub fare. It’s a great one to keep up your sleeve as an option for family meals out. There’s a lot of (too much?) choice on the menu and portions are pretty generous – kids can order a smaller portion from the adults menu. Menu choice includes Pub Classics (things like The Mark Cross Steak Burger or Longmans Beer Battered North Atlantic Cod Fillet), Specials (like Pan Fried Salmon Tikka, pictured above, and Chargrilled Piri Chicken Supreme), Summer Salads, Sandwiches and a choice of 4 Vegetarian Dishes.

The day I visited I had Mr Muddy and the mudlets in tow and noticed that the dining room was popular both with families and what was clearly grandparents taking the grandkids out. Food is served all day every day from 12pm with breakfast served at the weekends, the menu changes daily to move with the seasons and there’s even some locally sourced produce coming from the pub’s own veggie garden.

KID-FRIENDLY

Yes definitely. There’s a kids’ menu on Sunday but in the week there’s no specific kids menu – they just order smaller versions from the adult menu. However when there’s things like the Mark Cross Steak Burger and The Codfather Burger on the menu there should be something to suit all taste buds.

And, just as importantly, there’s loads of outside space to boot the kids out into. And at the bottom of the generous-sized beer garden is a brilliant kids’ play area. Go on boot ’em out!

OUT & ABOUT

With loads of country walks near by and the Sussex Country Gardener (decent garden centre) just over the road this is the kind of place you can pop in with the family for some relaxed weekend or after school dining.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: A family lunch or large gathering – there’s plenty of space in the conservatory dining room. Children are very well catered for and can stretch their legs outside, while you take in that wonderful view. Sunday lunch is particularly popular and can be your reward after enjoying one of the great local walks.

Not for: real foodies that like sophisticated dining and smaller portions. Much more of a family-friendly venue than a grown up date-night-with-a-difference option.

£££: Summer salads £12.95, Sandwiches around £7, Pub Classics £11.95 – £12.95, Specials £14.95 – £18.95 and Desserts around £6/£7.

The Mark Cross Inn, Mark Cross, Crowborough, East Sussex, TN6 3NP, Tel: 01892 852423, themarkcross.co.uk

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