Top 50 Gastropubs

The Royal

St Leonards on Sea, Sussex

Opened in October 2019, the Royal in St Leonards on Sea near Hastings in East Sussex, is among the youngest inclusions on a Top 50 list.

The self-crowned “new local” for St Leonards prides itself on serving draft beers and real ales, decent wines and classic gastropub food in a revamped – intentionally contemporary and non-palatial – 19th century building.

The Royal’s “hands on” co-owners James Hickson and Sam Coxhead have transformed what was originally a hotel when it opened in the 1860s using their experience at restaurants and gastropubs including St John, Great Queen Street, the Canton Arms and Moro.

However, visitors expecting traditionally illustrious and grandiose royal treatment are in for a very pleasant surprise.

Starters and small plates may include griddled squid with chilli and lemon; pig’s head croquettes with piccalilli; or roast beetroot, carrots and goat’s curd, while mains will range from wild mushroom and spinach pithivier to salt marsh lamb with sprouting broccoli and anchoïade.

Key Information