Whether you’re looking for a rural day out within a morning’s drive of London, or a coastal weekend in a remote location that’s a breath of fresh air from city life, this little village in Sussex could be the destination you’re dreaming of.
Alfriston in Sussex is just 75 minutes from London, and is the perfect little village to visit if you need a countryside escape that’s less than half an hour from secluded and peaceful beaches.
It’s surrounded by the breath-taking beauty of the South Downs and is steeped in history, with thatched buildings, Tudor architecture and some brilliant traditional pubs.
READ MORE: Beautiful countryside walk ‘one of the most spectacular in the world’ that’s less than 2 hours from London
(Image: Julian P Guffogg)
The village of Alfriston sits on the South Downs Way, a beautiful trail that follows old roads along the chalk cliffs and ridges of the South Downs.
This makes it a great destination for those looking for a good country walk: the route covers 100 miles, giving you plenty to explore, and goes through a varied landscape entirely within the South Downs National Park.
If you’re feeling like a lovely long hike, walk two hours from Alfriston to the Seven Sisters cliffs between Seaford and Eastbourne.
(Image: Adam Gerrard)
The views are simply stunning, and there are several secret beaches nearby that are perfect for a peaceful escape – and are even prettier than their more famous neighbours at Eastborne or Brighton.
Try Cuckmere Haven or Birling Gap – if the tide is low, you can reach Beachy Head and its beautiful lighthouse just a mile from the latter.
The village itself has a historic heritage, with evidence of people having lived there since the Stone Age. As such, there’s loads of beautiful historic architecture to explore.
(Image: Martin Burton)
St Andrews Church in the village is dubbed the ‘Cathedral of the South Downs’ and dates back to 1360, while Alfriston Clergy House is a rare 14th century building that was the first to be taken on by the National Trust in 1896.
For a real taste of rural living, head to Middle Farm – a 625 acre working family fam that’s home to the oldest farm shop in the UK, a lovely farmhouse kitchen restaurant and dozens of cute farm animals.
There’s also the Rathfinny Wine Estate, a gorgeous vineyard where you can take a tour, taste the delicious wines and enjoy panoramic views over the vineyard and surrounding landscape.
(Image: Paul Farmer)
The Rathfinny Tasting Room Restaurant features in the Michelin Guide, which praises its three set dinner menus – Land, Sea and Garden – as well as its creative cooking, local seasonal produce, and “lovely vineyard views”.
If you’re stopping for lunch or afternoon tea, head to Badgers Tea House, which was once the village bakery. It has a lovely courtyard and homemade baked goods to die for – plus, it ranks second on TripAdvisor, with guests loving the “delightful service”, “wonderful afternoon tea” and “superb freshly made scones”.
For hearty pub grub, head to The George Inn – it’s rated ‘Travellers’ Choice’ for 2021 by TripAdvisor, and has a cosy fire for chilly evenings, a sprawling beer garden for al fresco pints, and quality traditional pub food.
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How to get there
Driving from South London takes around one hour 15 minutes via the M23, A23 and A27.
You can also take a train from Victoria station which takes just over two hours, but you’ll need to use local bus services to get right to Alfriston.
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