Festive fun at Alfriston Clergy House
The Clergy House and the village of Alfriston are a wonderful place to visit at Christmas time. A perfect place to enjoy a winter walk along the banks of the Cuckmere, shop for gifts, or enjoy a cream tea or warming drink in front of an open fire, there really is something for everyone.
Come and see our traditionally decorated medieval hall, decked out with leaves, orange pomanders and other natural decorations as would have been used in the Middle Ages. The shop is full of gifts, scarves, cards and festive fancies so pop along for a pre-Christmas browse.
The garden is tucked up for winter, with Pete the gardener and his team of volunteers busy pruning, trimming, tidying up and readying the garden the coming chilly months. The final winter vegetables are being harvested from the kitchen garden ready to be used in some scrummy winter soups and stews. The garden looks particularly stunning early in the morning when a light coating of frost lends it an ethereal air.
Once you’ve finished your visit to the Clergy House then why not take a wander and discover the delights of Alfriston village. The parish church, St Andrew’s, has Saxon origins, although most of the building dates from the 14th century. Because of its size it is known locally as the ‘cathedral of the Downs’. It sits on a small, flint-walled mound in the middle of the Tye, overlooking the River Cuckmere, and is surrounded by the flowered graveyard. It is built in the form of a cross. Reverened Beynon, one of the founding members of the National Trust, is buried in the churchyard and his grave looks through a stand of trees to the neighbouring Clergy House.
As you wander across The Tye from the Clergy House you will spot the Gun Room. This building is said to have once been the gun store for the Duke of Wellington. The Gun Room is the cellar door for the Rathfinny wine Estate and offers wine tasting, gifts and wine-related products. Upstairs you can find 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.
If you are feeling peckish then Alfriston has a great range of cafes, tea shops and pubs. There are antique shops, gift shops, book shops and plenty of other places to offer some festive inspiration. So for a fun filled Christmas day out why not make a day of it and visit this beautiful historic village nestling at the foot of the downs.