Enjoying a day out in Alfriston

A view of St Andrew's church from The Tye, Alfriston

Here’s our guide to making a day of it in Alfriston once you’ve visited the historic Clergy House. There's always something to do in this picturesque downland village. With its beautiful little streets, tea shops, village green and St Andrew's church, known locally as ‘the cathedral of the downs’, there is something to do, see and enjoy every day of the year.

Alfriston Clergy House

This rare 14th-century Wealden hall-house was the first building to be acquired by the National Trust, in 1896.  The thatched, timber-framed house is in an idyllic setting, with views across the river Cuckmere, and surrounded by a delightful, tranquil cottage garden full of wildlife.  

(Open March - December, check here for opening times)

Alfriston Clergy House view of the South Downs from the garden terrace
Alfriston Clergy House view of the South Downs from the garden terrace in winter

'The Cathedral of the Downs'

Dating back to 1360, St Andrews church, the aptly-named 'cathedral of the South Downs' is unique as a village church. Thousands of visitors come to marvel at its beautiful location on the Tye (village green), at the architecture, or simply to enjoy the quiet and peaceful atmosphere inside.  St. Andrew's is set on a small mound by the river and built in the form of a cross. The central tower and spire dominate the skyline, with a peal of six bells which are rung from the centre of the church.  This feature is only seen in about 16 churches in the country; and one of only two in the Diocese.

Alfriston Clergy House blossom view of Church
St Andrews Church through the orchard blossom at Alfriston Clergy House

Eating out

There are plenty of cafes serving delicious homemade cakes and cream teas in the village, and a number of pubs and restaurants that are open throughout the day and into the evening. So whether you fancy a quick light bite, a delicious cake, or something more substantial, you'll find somewhere to suit.
 

 

Join us for some coffee
Cup of coffee

Shopping

With clothes, books, art, cards, kitchen accessories, wine, antiques and more, Alfriston is a treasure trove for the discerning shopper and the casual browser. A handy post office in the Village Store offers the chance to send postcards from this picturesque village, and if you find that ideal gift there's also a cash withdrawal facility in the store.  

Find out more about places to shop and eat on the Alfriston village website (Not NT)

Enjoy a stroll along the historic high street in Alfriston
A view along Alfriston High Street

History

The Alfriston Heritage Centre can be found in the Gun Room, next to St Andrews Church. 
Visit the Alfriston and Cuckmere Valley Heritage Centre and read about the fascinating history of Alfriston, dating back to the medieval period, and learn more about the Cuckmere Valley and the burgeoning English wine industry.  The building commands fabulous views of St Andrews Church and the Tye. There is a good selection of Alfriston history books to browse and teas and coffees are on offer. There is also a mesmerizing video of time-lapse photography showing the growth of the Rathfinny vineyards and the building of the new winery.

A view of the Gun Room from The Tye, Alfriston
A view of the Gun Room from The Tye, Alfriston

Sussex sparkling

Rathfinny Wine Estate was established in 2010 near Alfriston in the South Downs of Sussex, one of England’s exceptional natural landscapes, with the express intention of producing some of the world’s best sparkling wine. The Gun Room is Rathfinny’s cellar door, where you can taste the wine and where the Rathfinny team offer carefully selected gifts and wine-related products, championing local goods and artists. Situated on The Tye in the historic and picturesque village of Alfriston, the Gun Room is said to have been the gun store for the Duke of Wellington. Takeaway tea and coffee is available (Not NT).

Enjoy a glass of sparkling wine
Glasses of Sussex sparkling wine lined up on a bar

Walking

With an extensive network of footpaths and bridleways, Alfriston and the surrounding South Downs are a great place to walk.  Whether you fancy a gentle stroll along the river or a more challenging walk up to the hills above the Long Man of Wilmington, there is a route to suit you.  Why not walk in the footsteps of the artists and writers of the Bloomsbury Group and try our circular route?