THE tiny village of Tillington has just one church, one village hall, and one pub.

But the inn is among the best in Britain according to this year’s Good Pubs Guide.

The Horse Guards Inn has been open in the sleepy South Downs hamlet for 12 years now.

But when landlords Sam and Michaela Beard first bought the 350-year-old building it was far from the trailblazer it is today.

“The pub was down on its luck a bit, it required a lot of work to get it up to where it is now” said 44-year-old Sam.

“We were in the middle of the countryside and just wanted to do everything we possibly could with the good food around us.

“Before I came here I was living in New Zealand, but working in pubs was something I’ve always loved doing in my life.

“Of course I never imagined we’d get in the Good Pub Guide, it’s a lovely form of recognition.”

So what is Sam and Michaela’s secret?

“I think nothing more than attention to detail and working with the best local ingredients and treating them with respect,” Sam said.

“We’re in the heart of the South Downs so we use quite a lot of game and local venison that comes from a small place five miles away.

“It’s the single biggest ingredient that we sell.

“And we’ve got fish from Newhaven which is as sustainable as can be.

“We’re moving away from the big companies to the smaller, better stuff.”

Fifteen miles away in the slightly bigger village of Oving, near Chichester, the Gribble Inn has also been recognised by the Good Pub Guide.

Having brewed its own beers for 35 years, the pub was named as one of Britain’s best “own brew pubs”.

Landlords Simon Wood and Nicola Tester have worked tirelessly over the past decade to boost the inn’s reputation.

“It was grim when we took it over ten years ago,” Simon said.

“It was in all over the press that the Gribble Inn was the worst pub in Sussex.

“We’ve just worked really hard for ten years.”

Even when a nightmare fire in 2014 closed the Gribble Inn for nine months, the pub’s hardworking team toiled to bring everything up to scratch.

“The proof is in the pudding,” said Simon.

“I don’t stand by awards, I stand by what we do every day. We serve hundreds every week.

“We’ve got a really good team of staff and we just work hard every day.

“We’re all relaxed here and no one takes it too seriously, you can come and have a laugh.

“People should come here because of the warmth of the atmosphere and the great beer.

“We do eight different beers from 3.6 to 7.2, all different seasonal beers on offer.”

Meanwhile the Hollist Arms in Lodsworth, near Petworth, was named one of the country’s best new pubs.

The Good Pub Guide awarded The Inn at Whitewell in Lancashire as the pub of year, while The Swan in Cheshire was dubbed the best new pub.