There has been a long history of business and commerce in and around the village, dating back to the brickworks and iron foundry during Victorian times. Please refer to Businesses of the Past for more information.
Today, Rowland’s Castle is currently home to a large number of thriving businesses, in the village and on the Stansted Estate. So many in fact, that they have been divided into four categories – Hospitality (on this page), Shops, Services and Stansted Businesses.
The Bumblebee is a welcoming village café on The Green with a spacious comfortable interior and a covered and heated outdoor area. They offer a wide selection of homemade cakes and freshly cooked food available every day (except closed Mondays), with a wonderful range of coffees and drinks. A range of breakfast items are served for early risers and the lunch menu range includes doorstep sandwiches, jacket potatoes, salads and soup as well as daily specials. A wide range of hot and cold drinks is available as well as a selection of lights snacks, from a teacake to a toasted sandwich. Everyone welcome, including dogs. Website: Bumblebee Café
The Castle Inn
The Castle Inn was built in 1853, just before the advent of the railway in 1859. It replaced The Old White Hart Ale House, which previously occupied a nearby site, and was the haunt of members of the Hawkhurst Gang of Smugglers. In 1748, which were darker times, the landlady Mrs Payne welcomed the gang and helped to send two customs officers on the path to their murders. The Old White Hart Inn was demolished to make way for the railway and the two arches built to support it changed the whole look of the village. (Lomer, 2015)
Today, The Castle Inn is a much friendlier place and belongs to Fuller’s Brewery. Under the tenancy of Sarah Mayes, the pub now offers food and drink in its bar and restaurant and has a large beer garden with a range of play equipment to keep children entertained.
An entrance into Stansted Forest is directly opposite so it is a good place to refresh yourself after a nice walk. The pub is dog friendly. Website: The Castle Inn
The Fountain Inn
It is in 1815 that the name ‘Fountain Inn’ is mentioned for the first time, the Rosewell family being the landlords, the tenancy passing to Henry Rook in 1840. Many alterations have been made to the front of the Inn and there was once a path across the Green called Fountain Lane. (Lomer, 2015)
For many years, ending in 2017, the establishment was run by award-winning musician Herbie Armstrong, who performed alongside his friend Van Morrison, and the pub became the community’s hub of live music and laughter. Herbie was well-known for hosting lively open-mic nights, and bands that played their hearts out at weekends.
The pub is still a live music venue under the current landlords. The Fountain also offers big screen sports and hearty home-cooked food. Website: The Fountain Inn
The Robin Hood Inn
Rowlands Castle Tavern, now the Robin Hood Inn, has welcomed visitors for many years. A booklet written in 1860 ‘A Visit to Rowlands Castle’ describes that a good deal of gaiety at times, especially in the summer season, was enjoyed by visitors to the village. As many as four, and sometimes six, van loads of people would arrive having visited nearby Leigh Park House (since demolished).
A spacious assembly room was also added to the Tavern, capable of holding up to 100 people, which opened with a Valentines Ball in 1861 and dancing kept up to a late hour with a band ably lead by a Professor Fleming of Landport (Portsmouth). Things certainly hummed in those days and later the tavern’s name was changed to the Railway Hotel, and sometime later to The Robin Hood Inn. (Lomer, 2015)
Today, with the village being popular with walkers and cyclists, The Robin Hood Inn is a great stopping off point to take advantage of the food, drink and location on The Green. The Robin Hood is a traditional real ale pub with a menu that has been carefully created to include a variety of pub favourites. Under the current owners, the pub now also offers comfortable accommodation, tastefully decorated and reasonably priced. Website: The Robin Hood Inn
The George, Finchdean
There has been a public house under the name of The George for over 200 years in the village of Finchdean. The earliest record relating to The George is from an Indenture of Lease, dated the 4 April 1792, between Henry Coles, a brewer of Hambledon and Elizabeth, his wife, and Henry Mullens of Hambledon who acquired the property for the sum of twelve pounds and one shilling. (Jones, 2011)
The George Inn is a charming countryside inn popular with locals, walkers and cyclists. It is a traditional real ale pub that dates back to the 18th Century. Local residents were saddened when The George closed for business during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown of 2020. However, in late 2020, new owners took on the pub and appointed Steve Seymour as landlord and head chef. The George now offers a carefully curated menu including pub favourites, a well-stocked bar and inviting décor. Steve employs two local residents, and one from Portsmouth, to assist him in providing a warm welcome to all their customers. Website: The George
The above historical extracts for each public house are from the booklet ‘Round and About Rowland’s Castle’ written by local resident Mary Jane Lomer, and the ‘Inns of Rowland’s Castle’ by Steve Jones with significant input from Paul Marshman.
Harvester and Travel Lodge
The former Staunton Arms (see Businesses of the Past) is now a Harvester Restaurant with Travelodge accommodation. The Harvester is one of a chain of 150 family friendly pub restaurants, offering unlimited salad bar, grill choices, unlimited coffee and free Wi-Fi. It has had many refurbishments over the years, the latest being during the COVID-19 lockdown period in early 2021. In 1990, a Travelodge was built at the rear of the premises, offering comfortable, affordable rooms with king sized beds. Websites: Harvester and Travelodge
Rose Cottage is a holiday let on Redhill Road, which has wonderful views over the 18 hole Rowlands Castle Golf Course. The cottage itself is over 270 years old and is one of the original farm workers’ cottages. It still has the original well in the garden. Visit their Instagram account for more details, or book through AirBnB. Rose Cottage.
Cripple Creek B and B is located on Whichers Gate Road and offers simplistic bedrooms that are all ensuite and good value for money There are great countryside views from the breakfast room. Visit their website for more details and to book.
No. 41 Redhill Road
Susan and Herb offer bed and breakfast with a warm welcome at their character Victorian house. They are happy to chat, share their knowledge of the area and enjoy finding out about their guests. Herb is a local boy so knows the area inside out and should be able to help with any questions, especially cycling routes! They also have two cats, Bramble and Marmalade.
The house has three storeys and a beautiful garden. The property offers a family-sized room with a double and single beds, and a guest room which is a little quirky but quite charming.
The golf course and village green, with its pubs and shops are a five-minute walk. Website: Rowlands Castle BnB