Pubs & Inns

Old image of Dolphin pub

Pubs with a past

Littlehampton’s pubs have many interesting stories to tell, from famous literary connections to important roles during the World War II.

The Marine

The Marine was a pub that once occupied the building on the corner of Selbourne Road and North Place. It has now closed but is famous for its role as a base by fledgling commandos unit of the World War 2 D-Day landings, under leadership of James Bond novelist Ian Fleming. 

The names of these recruits were found on a board inside the pub, uncovered and saved when the pub underwent conversion into flats.  

More about The Marine
The War Memorial in Littlehampton, UK

The White Hart

Originally The Swan in 1761, it was later renamed The Dolphin in 1772. It was owned by two brothers at the time, but after a disagreement one of the brothers opened another pub, which out of spite, he called The Dolphin. In 1784 the brother that owned the original pub renamed his pub The White Hart. It became a coach house from 1825 when a ferry service across the river was created linking Bognor with Brighton. It again changed its name to The London Tavern around 1911, becoming The Cob & Pen around 2000. It once again became The White Hart in 2012. 

In the 1860s, one 5th of November celebration became extremely rowdy. Bonfire boys outside the inn hauled old boats from the harbour, setting them alight in the streets. 

More about The White Hart
The front of the White Hart pub in Littlehampton, with an England flag and Union Jack flags outside

The Dolphin

The first building on this site was erected in 1735 and was used as a convenience store. It changed to a public house a few years later when two brothers that run the pub that is now The White Hart had a dispute. One of the brothers converted it into a coaching inn calling it the same to spite his brother, so for a time the town had two pubs called The Dolphin. 

The pub is reputedly haunted (over 20 spirits and ghosts are believed to occupy the building). It has been the subject of paranormal investigations, appearing on television. The poet Lord Byron spent some time at The Dolphin in 1806 where he wrote many letters. The ghost of his dog, Boatswain, has been seen by patrons running around the bar. The pub’s cellar was used in the 19th century as the town’s mortuary which may also explain the high level of supernatural activity. 

Over the years it has survived three major fires. The pub has since closed. 

More about The Dolphin
Old photo of the Dolphin Hotel in Littlehampton, West Sussex

The Crown

Recent evidence suggests that an inn called The Beehive was built on this site in 1857, with the pub later being renamed The Crown Inn in 1874. It was rebuilt in the 1920s, and in doing so old passages were found in the cellars. One of these passages is alleged to connect opposite to the cellars of The Dolphin. The passageways are thought to have been secret smuggling routes that lead to Fisherman’s Quay. 

More about The Crown
The front of the Crown Pub looking towards St Martins Lane in Littlehampton, West Sussex

The George Inn

There have been three pubs called The George. The original George Inn was at the High Street/Surrey Street junction (where Sainsbury’s is now, opposite the Dolphin) occupied by the Sparkes family. After Mrs Sparkes was widowed she moved to the Norfolk Hotel in about 1824 when the pub licence and name were transferred to the building on corner of Arundel Road. This Inn ceased trading in late 1870.

The George Inn today was built in the 1920s as part of the Broadway development at the top of Surrey Street.


More about The George
The front of The George Inn, Wetherspoon's pub, in Littlehampton, West Sussex
The original George Inn pub, Littlehampton
Ozzie's Quiz - Ozzie the owl holding a sign saying Ozzie's Quiz


Which famous literary figure visited in Littlehampton 1806, and where did he stay?

Lord Byron, The Dolphin

Littlehampton Town Centre

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