Project Description

The Bell Inn

The Bell Inn at Horndon on the Hill, Essex, had something of a chequered early history. In 1553, the ground to the rear of the Inn bore witness to the burning at the stake of a local landowner, Thomas Higbed, for heresy!

It’s all utterly bonkers and shouldn’t work, but it does.”

The Times, James Ellis (Nov 2014)



The building’s impressive architecture includes the courtyard (awash in summer with magnificent flowers), balcony and archway entrance. The longevity of the building has clearly had an impact on the proprietors – as the Inn has been in the same family for almost seventy years. John and Christine Vereker are second generation inn-keepers, having taken over from Christine’s parents in 1970.


Accommodation has been restored, not only in the Bell, but also in two converted Georgian buildings. One of these was once owned by Philip Vincent, famous inventor and founder of the legendary Vincent motorcycles. The Bell’s John Vereker has a motor racing history, having once been British go-karting champion, but these days a more sedate pace prevails in these lovely old buildings with lovely views over the courtyard and gardens from the relaxed hotel restaurant.

Food & Drink

Renowned as a ‘real social centre of village life’, the Bell has a wonderfully welcoming feeling where old and new faces happily sit enjoying the wide selection of well kept real ales and fantastic wines. In the two bars downstairs, one panelled in oak wood with an open fire and the other set on an original flagstone floor, you will note a healthy bias toward several local breweries, and over twenty wines available by the glass that compliment a broad, high quality wine list offering exceptional value.

Booking is essential in the excellent a la carte restaurant where the bustling, cosmopolitan atmosphere usually spills over into the bar area.

The Bell Inn Latest News
Offers & Events from The Bell Inn

The Bell Inn has 26 individually styled bedrooms, all of which have their own unique character.

Check-in is between 3.00pm – 9.00pm and check-out is at 11.00am. Prior arrangements are required for late arrival. Any requests for earlier check-in or late check-out will be noted, yet cannot be confirmed until day of arrival.


Extra beds for children sharing a room with their parents are charged £20.00 per night per child. 

Infants & travel cots: you can reserve a travel cot for £10.00 per cot. All rooms fit a travel cot with the exception of the Bell Small Doubles and High House Small Doubles.

Dogs: The Inn welcomes smaller well behaved dogs in a number of rooms at a charge of £10.00 per dog. Dogs are welcome in the bar area but are not allowed in the inside dining areas (with the exception of guide dogs.) 

Special offers are available throughout the year.

To book a stay at The Bell Inn, please click here.


Meet the Chef

Stephen Treadwell has recently been appointed the position of Head Chef, though he’s been a part of the Bell family for over 15 years! He’s a a driving creative force within the brigade and the team are very confident that, in his hands, the kitchen will continue to flourish and build upon what has already been created.

Using local ingredients is at the heart of the inn as it has been for decades and Sephen fully supports this as the best way of cooking quality food. The Bell Inn has been awarded County Dining Pub of the Year for the last four years and is highly acclaimed by all guests who visit.

Al Fresco

With parts of the buildings dating back to the 16th century, The Bell Inn’s courtyard is adorned every year by a vast display of vivid, floral hanging baskets with guests enjoying fresh, innovative dishes under the shade of vibrant canopies, complemented in the evenings by the enchanting glow of hanging lanterns.

Out & About

Tilbury Fort on the Thames estuary has protected London’s seaward approach from the 16th century through to the Second World War. Today it is a fantastic site to visit, explore the historic fort and take a walk around the beautiful gardens.

Alternatively, if you are partial to a spot of golf, there are over a dozen gold courses within 20 minute drive, including the fantastic Orsett Golf Course, which is over 100 years old and often hosts Open championship qualifiers.

Or, for the ultimate thrill, why not visit the Brands Hatch race course, where you can get behind the wheel of a rally car, off roader or single seater race car? Get your heart racing at one of their exhilarating track days, before returning to The Bell Inn to relax and refuel.

Recommended Local Attractions

  • Tilbury Fort – 15 mins
  • Golf – over a dozen courses within 20 mins
  • Brands Hatch – 40 mins
Retail Therapy

  • Basildon – 15 mins
  • Intu Lakeside – 20 mins

All timings denote typical journey time by car, unless specified otherwise.


It’s all utterly bonkers and shouldn’t work, but it does.” – The Times, James Ellis (Nov 2014) 

If Phileas Fogg picked up an item in every country he visited and gave them to Lewis Carroll’s Alice to stock her ideal home, the result might be similar to the rooms of this East Sussex inn.” – The Times, James Ellis (Nov 2014)

the beauty about a venue such as this is that you might not want to go anywhere, but instead while away the afternoon in the timber-beamed pub, sampling the selection of real ales on tap” Britain Magazine, Sally Coffey, (Nov 2014)

cosy bolthole in a medieval village” Britain Magazine, Sally Coffey (Nov 2014)

ticks all the boxes for traditional pub lovers” The Times, Tom Chesshyre (May 2014)

“This is a classic English inn with wood panels, crackling fires, real ales, low ceilings and plenty of chatter” The Times, Tom Chesshyre (May 2014) “This welcoming pub with rooms in the charming village of Horndon on the Hill is a great place to hide away in for the weekend.” Britain Magazine, Sally Coffey (April 2015)

“the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life” Essex Life Magazine (November 2015)

Visit & Stay at The Bell Inn with confidence. They have enhanced procedures to meet with latest recommendations to tackle coronavirus. 

Cashless paymentsPlease note, The Bell Inn now operate a cashless property for the safety of guests and staff. We accept all major credit and debit cards.

Hand Sanitizer: when you arrive, you’ll find hand sanitizer stations at our entrances, we kindly ask you to use before entering. Other stations are available for guests to use throughout the venue.

Social Distancing: theyask everyone to comply with the current government social distancing guidance of 2 metres and where this is not possible 1 metre is acceptable. Please also adhere to the rules of max of 6 from mixed households outside, and two households inside. In some areas they have created one-ways systems or give-way systems to ease congestion.

PPE & Face coverings: whilst face covers have not been mandated by the government, The Bell Inn have supplied the team with visors should they wish to use them when serving at tables. The kitchen team members have all the equipment they need to deliver meals in a safe manner.

Dining in the restaurant:As per government requirements, a table reservation must be made before entering inside areas. A lead name & contact details must be supplied for your reservation for track and trace purposes. The best way to book at table is via email:

Drinking in the courtyard or groundsdepending on the venue you will be either greeted by a host or you will see clear signs and floor markings to guide you in. A lead name and contact details will be taken on arrival. You will be guided by a one the team on what to do next and where to queue to collect your food & drinks. No groups larger than 6 will be permitted, movement around the garden should be minimal. At peak times you may be asked to queue safely outside on The High Road.

Drinks: if drinking with The Bell Inn in outside spaces they will serve your drinks in plastic glasses. This is for safety and sanitisation purposes.

Drinking with us inside: they currently do not offer any inside drinking. This is something they will work on at a later date.

Menusto reduce menu handling, they are encouraging guests to use their own devices to view menus on the website Disposable menus are available for those that want them.

In the courtyard & groundsthey have rearranged spaces with a 2 metre distancing. Please do not move furniture without speaking with a member of the team beforehand. To ease congestion, they have limited groups congregating to 6 people.

High touch & traffic areas: The Bell Inn are carrying out cleaning of high traffic areas at a higher frequency for everyone’s safety and confidence – such as door handles, loos and banisters.

If you’re feeling unwell: if you or someone you are due to visit with are feeling unwell and suffering from symptoms of Covid-19 you should not attend. Please call to discuss your options.

Bedrooms: please see their stay in confidence information for all the details on bedroom cleaning.

Take a look at their full reopening health and safety plans.

Book online


High Road, Horndon-on-the-Hill
SS17 8LD

T 01375 642 463

26 Bedrooms

Visit Website

Dog Friendly 

Four of 26 bedrooms are dog friendly (High Tea, High Brow, The Stable, Madam Du Barry) with a £15 charge per dog. Call or email to request. Dogs welcome in the bar area, The Library and reception. Dog goody bag presented on arrival and water bowls provided in the courtyard and The Ostlers.

Map & Directions

Please click the map below for directions.

Location of the Bell Inn

Transport Links

By car – for sat nav use SS17 8LD

Laindon Railway Station – 10 mins

West Horndon Railway Station – 10 mins

Southend Airport- 30 mins

London City Airport – 30 mins

Stansted Airport- 45 mins

Gatwick Airport – 50 mins

Heathrow Airport– 60 mins