This Summer, Denyse Has Been . . .
One of my goals for 2018 was to explore more of the glorious county where I live. Sussex. At the start of the year, I made a bucket list of the places I wanted to visit all within an easy 45-minute reach of my front door. I really value my international travel experiences, but there's also a lot to be said for playing tourist in your own backyard. Especially when you live in a beautiful, historic rural county like Sussex, well-known for its seaside resorts. Here are just a few of the places I’ve enjoyed discovering during my summer staycation. With the exception of Alfriston, they’re all within an easy 75 to 90-minute train journey from London.
Dating back to Saxon times, the village of Alfriston lies in the valley of the River Cuckmere between Lewes and Seaford.
Alfriston Clergy House
This rare 14th-century Wealden hall-house was the first building the National Trust acquired back in 1896. The thatched, timber-framed house is set in an idyllic setting, with views across the river Cuckmere, and surrounded by a delightful, tranquil cottage garden full of wildlife.
Set in the Old Village Bakery in a building that dates back to 1510, Badgers Tea Room serves up mouth-watering scones and cakes on vintage crockery.
Much Ado Books
Occupying a Victorian barn in what was once a builder’s yard, this award-winning independent shop offers a handpicked selection of new and old books, including a generous selection by, and about, the Bloomsbury set whose spiritual home is situated a short drive up the road in Charleston. Its pretty garden features a shepherd’s hut which houses a collection of second-hand books.
An ancient market town in the steep vale of the South Downs, Arundel is home to Arundel Castle, seat of the Duke of Norfolk; and to Arundel Cathedral, seat of the (Catholic) Bishop of Arundel and Brighton. I visited Arundel during its annual festival.
Pallant of Arundel
An independent delicatessen and wine merchant championing local produce. Sussex is home to a wealth of local food and wine producers. Here you’ll find local cheeses, hams, pies, chutneys, jams, artisan breads and award-winning sparkling wine from Ridgeview, Wiston and Nyetimber.
Pots & Posies
A charming home furnishings store offering handmade shore to store’ pieces. The owners make handmake commissions to order, and will restore old pieces.
Spanning three floors of a spectacular Grade II listed warehouse, this family run lifestyle store draws its influences from stores in the US. Here you’ll find an abundance of contemporary gifts, homeware and cookware.
The Loft At Sparks Yard
An award-winning daytime dining restaurant occupying the third floor of a wonderful lifestyle store, the Californian inspired menu celebrates the best of local produce. With views across the South Downs, here you can get the best burger for miles, enjoy a Buddha bowl salad, sip a cocktail or simply stop for coffee and cake whilst browsing the shop.
Located on the River Lavant south of its gap through the South Downs, Chichester has a long history as a Roman settlement and its cathedral was founded in the 11th century. The city holds an annual four-week arts and music festival -"Festival of Chichester" - in June and July.
Founded by Sir Lawrence Olivier, Chichester Festival Theatre is one of the country’s flagship producing and touring theatres, attracting actors, writers and directors from London’s West End and USA.
The Boat House Café
Located a few miles south of Chichester is Chichester Harbour. Set within picturesque countryside, the Boat House Café is the perfect place to stop for food before looking at the boats and water beyond.
Field & Fork
Field & Fork is a delightful restaurant in a central, but tucked away location. The conservatory is bathed in sunshine making it the perfect spot to enjoy produce sourced fresh from the market that morning.
Lewes is the county town of East Sussex, with a large chalk cliff as its backdrop and a short journey to Brighton. This historic market town is unusually diversified with numerous specialist, independent retailers, counter to national trends toward 'chain' retailers and large corporate retail outlets.
Closet & Botts
An eclectic store specialising in vintage, new and handmade homeware, furniture and clothes. Originally a pharmacy, this shop, with its walled garden and stained glass windows is an absolute delight.
Freight sells a carefully curated collection of home wares, many of which are produced under their own brand. Provenance is important to the founder which is why everything sold is designed and manufactured in the UK.
The Depot is a three-screen cinema, cultural gallery and café-restaurant. With seating on a sunny terrace and garden, it’s perfect for a coffee with friends, a working lunch or a lazy afternoon with a good book and a glass of something chilled.
Enjoying a culture that is nothing like your own is undoubtedly a valuable and irreplaceable experience. However not all worthwhile pursuits have to be far from home. As global travelers, it's easy to spend so much time dreaming about our next destination that we forget to appreciate the beauty surrounding us. Creating a local bucket list is a fun way to expore what's on our doorstep, without having to board a plane.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this round-up of some of my favourite places in Sussex. For more ideas, check out the Best Of Sussex website and Instagram account. This isn't all I've got up to this summer. Look out for an announcement shortly!
Question: What did you get up to over the summer? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to tell me in the comments box below.
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