Places to stay and visit in this village
by lak11 on March 12, 2012
We decided to have a weekend away and chose to go to Sussex. My son's fiancée is from there and we thought (as she lives with us) that she, and our son, could come along and see something of her parents. Alfriston village was mentioned. There were several places to stay in Alfriston but The Star appealed most. On its website, I saw there was an offer in March for £59 for a room or £79 with B&B included (for two). HISTORYThe Star was built in the thirteenth century; this can be seen from its half-timber framed building. It has a rich history as it’s accommodated pilgrims, smugglers and royalty. Around the hotel can be seen nooks and crannies with several places to be seated. Although only part of the hotel is thirteenth century the character seems to carry through into the more modern part of the hotel. BOOKING I requested two double rooms I asked if the rooms could be further discounted and the price was slightly reduced. I had to pay the agreed price on booking as this was an offer. I did this by debit card. I received my confirmation email straight away. Realised I hadn't mentioned two of us were vegetarians, I emailed back then had a further reply saying this had been noted and chef would be informed. RECEPTIONOn arriving we parked in the hotel car park and walked through the hotel to reception. I was surprised at the layout of the hotel and thought it larger than expected. From the front The Star appears to consist of a small olde worlde pub with a block of modern rooms next to it. But when the hotel is accessed from the side it’s modern, airy and larger than it seemed at first. A short walk along an airy corridor brought us to the reception desk. The old and new part of this hotel was merged and to very good effect. I'd thought the newer rooms would have perhaps felt second best but this wasn't the case; everything blended well. We supplied details of our car registration and were informed that breakfast (between 8-10 a.m.) would be served in the lounge area rather than restaurant as a wedding open day was to be held in the hotel the following morning (I had already been informed that an event was being held ). Part of the restaurant was being set up to display a wedding breakfast. We were given our room keys, along with directions. ROOMS The hotel has thirty-seven rooms, two of them are single. Some are inter-connecting. I was pleased with our rooms. The room had two windows with attractive curtains and pelmets. Our bed had a white duvet cover, four matching pillows with blue cushions placed on top. The bed had a soft mattress but I found it comfortable and slept well. I would think it better if duvets in hotels were made from synthetic fibres rather than feather as some people have allergies to feathers or down. Our room had a double wardrobe with shelves and full length mirror on the inside of one door. The wardrobe was home to a steam iron, extra blankets, trouser press and ironing board. The room had a chest of drawers, dressing table and two bedside tables, telephone, flat screen television, hair dryer, bedside tables with reading lamps. There was a further lamp on the dressing table and standard lamp in the corner of the room. There was an attractive light fitment on the ceiling. But, even with all these lights the room was a little dim in the evening which made it difficult to apply make-up. I find this is usual in most hotels. An upholstered chair was provided to use at the dressing table/desk. There was a table and armchair. A small table by the door held the hospitality tray with biscuits, tea, coffee, sugar, milk, sweeteners, kettle and teapot. The room had a controllable radiator. The en suite was small but adequate-over bath shower, heated towel rail, shaver point, rubber bath mat, towelling bath mat and towels. Toiletries supplied were shampoo, body wash, soap. Our son's room was similar. Both rooms were of a good size, Our friends had decided to stay for Saturday night so we could enjoy a meal and a drink together. They had a twin room. It was slightly different to ours with attractive runners on the beds and two armchairs. The bathroom was larger than in our room. All rooms are furnished similarly with dark wood furniture and similar styled soft furnishings. Only low level noise could be heard in the corridors at times, only what would be expected, such as a child crying, but I didn't hear anything when I was in my room. I understand the newer section of the hotel may be quieter than the old. As this hotel accepts dogs I thought there might be an occasional bark but although I saw (and spoke!) to a couple of dogs in the hotel, I never heard one solitary woof! ROSE GARDEN I was pleasantly surprised when entering the Rose Garden; it looked better and larger than I’d expected. Very attractive but I’d think that to get the most from this a summer visit would be necessary when the roses are in full bloom and full gloryPRICES Prices vary as room type varies. All rooms seem to be of a good standard. I saw six rooms whilst here (I had a nose whilst the wedding open day) All rooms are en-suite and prices vary to the time of year. An idea to pricing is as follows: March Standard double/twin room £59 Standard double/twin room with breakfast £79 Standard double/twin room with breakfast, evening meal £125 August (4/8/12-5/8/12) with breakfast Standard single room £85 Standard twin room £120 Standard double room £120 BAR/LOUNGE The bar’s quaint and cosy, very olde English. Several tables and comfortable chairs are dotted around.A large coal fire with swinging grate looked very welcoming.Down one step and a further comfortable seating area is available. BREAKFAST Coffee and tea were brought to us. Breakfast was buffet style. I had mentioned that two of us were vegetarian and was assured there would be an option for us, such as vegetarian sausages. But there weren't any waiting. I mentioned this and was told there weren't any. A few minutes later the waitress returned to say she’d been informed that actually they were available. The veggie sausages were soon cooked for us. We chose among various items such as fruit juices, yoghurt, cereals and fresh fruit. Soon the vegetarian sausages appeared and we chose from the hot breakfast of bacon, sausages, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, baked beans and fried eggs. Kippers and boiled eggs were cooked on request. We did have to wait for a while for eggs but I feel because of the wedding open day and food being served differently to usual, the challenges on staff probably slowed things down a little. I will say that the food was delicious and taking into account what was available it was very good value. Service was polite and pleasant. CAR PARKING Free car parking is available in the hotels car park but it isn’t guaranteed that a space will be available. We had no trouble parking; there were plenty of spaces and the hotel was nearly full. DISABLED ACCESS I asked about disabled access as, with these old English buildings, floors can be uneven and there are steps to be found here and there which can be awkward, especially for wheelchair users. I was told disabled guests are offered ground floor rooms with level access and ramps are used for wheelchairs to gain entry into the bar area or wherever necessary. TOILETS These looked clean and well equipped. There were three cubicles in the ladies toilets. WHERE IS THE STAR? The Star is located in Alfriston, an East Sussex village, by the South Downs. The area is one of local beauty and popular with walkers. Also in its favour is the fact that it’s within easy reach of Brighton and Eastbourne. There are nearby sights to see and places to visit as well as there being quaint shops, pubs and historical sites in Alfriston. Polgate station is 3.5 miles from The Star. Mainline trains run from London Victoria. CANINE GUESTS Dogs are welcome in the hotel. I think for many dog owners it can be difficult finding accommodation that accepts their canine friends so this will be a bonus. Taken from the hotel's website: "Pet Friendly Accommodation As a traditionally leisure based hotel, we welcome pets treating their owners for a short break and experience the newly designated South Downs National Park. As a pet friendly hotel in East Sussex, we of course offer details on a number of local walks for a leisurely stroll or a full on hike! The cost for dogs is £7.50 per night.
by lak11 on April 3, 2012
On a recent visit to the village of Alfriston, I was keen to have a look at the church. Before visiting I had looked on-line at photographs of the church and wondered if it would look as impressive in 'real life' as it appeared in these images. After visiting I can say that it did. I know very little about architecture in any form, church or otherwise, and I won't pretend to be knowledgeable in this area so, please bear with me as I merely try to describe my thoughts of both the interior and exterior of this church and hopefully explain things properly. Fortunately the weather behaved for us on the Saturday afternoon; the sun shone to welcome us as we walked the few minutes from our hotel on Alfriston High Street. We cut through a lane leading to the church. There wasn't much to see until reaching the end where everything opens up wonderfully as St Andrew suddenly appears in all its splendour. CHURCH ON THE TYE The church sits upon a gentle slope, not steep enough to call a hill, from this side of the church at least, commanding the view. It's really the epitome of all an old English village church should be, although in truth it is larger and probably grander than many village churches. St Andrew is the heart; it seemed to me, of this village. Approaching the church we walked on the pathway. The walk was an easy one for us, but for those with mobility problems the church can be reached by road and then only a short walk to the entrance is necessary. Wheelchairs and pushchairs can be pushed along the path and the incline is gradual. I did appreciate the fact that there were few cars in sight to spoil the view leaving us free to admire the look of the church and surrounding area as well as to 'feel' the history of this piece of England. Around the low stone walls of the church wall are dotted welcoming benches. This Church of England place of worship was built in 1360 and sits on The Tye (village green) by the river Cuckmere. It’s built in Cruciform (shape of a cross) which I believe isn’t uncommon in Church of England churches, although at certain times in history some would be of a plainer style. St. Andrew came to be known as the "Cathedral of the Downs" as it’s rather a large and grand church for the small number of inhabitants of the area at the time. It has a spire and steeple. On reading about this it seems as if the reason why it was built still remains something of a puzzle because of its size and style (115 feet in length and 70 feet wide) and it seems to have been built in one go (apart from modern day adaptations such as a door for wheelchair access) and this is, apparently, unusual in ancient churches. Community churches, I understand, were largely built gradually with additions and changes over the years, but in the case of this church this isn't so. Or the building of a church would often be 'sponsored' by a local dignitary or nobleman and a tomb or commemoration would exist in the church to this person or family, but again this isn't the case. For more information: http://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/news/local/ why-exactly-was-st-andrew-s-church-built We walked around the church and, as the grounds are well kept and visitor friendly, this was easy. I noticed a sign saying wheelchair access was provided via a side door. We made our way around the exterior going anti clockwise. We passed old graves with spring flowers pushing through the grass in between. I thought there must be many residents of Alfriston, whose families had, for generations, breathed their first and last breath in the village and would have been baptised in St. Andrew's, attended Sunday school, church services, wedded here and finally been laid to rest in the peaceful ground of the church near to their kin. If I had been born in a village such as this rather than a London girl, would I have moved to pastures new? A little further and to the rear of the church one looks down the green grassy slopes to see that the area surrounding the church is still a final resting place. As resting places go it's a beautiful one. From the rear of the church one can look ahead and see the scenic beauty of the downs. It's a lovely unspoilt view of a piece of England which I'm sure hasn't changed too much over the centuries. We arrived, full circle, to the front of the church via a not too rough path. A WELCOME INSIDE On entering the church I expected to feel overawed but strangely, I didn't. I felt comfortable. Its great age was clearly evident yet I found this church to be welcoming and the word ‘unpretentious’ sprang to mind.' We passed the font and near here were guide leaflets and picture postcards sold by the friends of St Andrew's to help with the upkeep of the church. We saw the visitor's book open for all to sign and comment if they wished. Steps lead to a gallery which looked as if it were used as a quiet area with books around and perhaps for Sunday school or a withdrawing area for young children, as some toys were around. The sun still shone outside and it kindly sent its rays though the stained glass windows which could be seen in all their majesty. Treading along the stone floor on either side were traditional wooden pews with kneeling cushions. I noticed the chancel and thought it unusual that the church bells could be seen here in the centre of the building; I don't remember often seeing church bells placed in this position in a church before. The transepts (arms of the cross) crossed the chancel both north and south and these arms of the church, or cross, house extra pews and what appeared to be a meeting area, and some facilities. The lectern (to rest the bible upon) was to be seen with its ornate golden eagle which I understand signifies that Christians respect their holy bible. Nearby was the pulpit. Further along the main body could be seen the choir stalls and church organ. Beyond the choir stalls is the all-important altar. I felt that the church was lovingly well kept both inside and out. THE BELLS St Andrew has a central tower. It is fairly unusual in churches to see the bells being rung from the chancel crossing. Six bells hang in the tower. A LIVING CHURCH St Andrews is a 'living church.' Regular services are held here by Reverend James Howson. These are held at eight a.m. and eleven a.m. There is also an evening service. Holy Communion services are held every first second third and fourth Sunday at 8:00 AM We decided to attend the eleven o'clock service in St Andrew's and so when we’d finished our breakfast at The Star Inn in the village we walked cross to the church as the peal of the six bells of St Andrew's called us to prayer. The walk is less than five minutes from most of the small 'High Street' which was just as well because the weather wasn't as clement as it had been the day before; the roads around were quickly filling with muddy puddles. As we entered the church we were given a hymn book and order of service. We chose a pew and soon joined in the singing of the first hymn, 'Praise my soul the king of heaven.' The service was interesting albeit a rather formal one, perhaps due to this being the first Sunday of Lent. I enjoyed hearing the choir sing and listening to the accompanying organist. Tea and coffee were offered after the service. FRIENDS OF ST ANDREW'S An organisation to help preserve this unique church was set up in 1996. The church can be hired for musical events. It, being an old church, is pleasing in an acoustic sense so a lovely venue for concerts. FURTHER INFORMATION St Andrew is under the diocese of Chichester. The church is normally open to visitors every day from 9.00am to 5.00pm or dusk every day. Apart from church services, St Andrew's offers: Disabled access with a ramp and disabled accessible toilets Large print hymn/order of service books. Hearing induction loop The church has a small kitchen and also has facilities such as toilets. Hire of church LOCATION St Andrew is in the small, East Sussex village, by the South Downs. It is within easy reach of Brighton and Eastbourne. We travelled from Essex and travelled from the M25 and A26, A27 and A22. Polegate station is about three and a half miles from St Andrew or 10 minutes by car. Mainline trains run from London Victoria to Polegate.
by lak11 on April 17, 2012
SPENDING SOME TIME IN THE VILLAGE OF ALFRISTONI recently spent a weekend, with some members of my family, in the charming East Sussex village of Afriston. We spent a busy weekend here seeing as much as possible in a short time. We intend to return as soon as possible to explore further. Here is a taster of the delights to be found in this old English village.LOCATIONAlfriston is near to the south coast of England in the county of East Sussex. It is by the South Downs and river Cuckmere. The area is one of local beauty and very popular with walkers. Also in its favour is the fact that the village is close to Eastbourne and within easy travelling distance of Brighton, St Leonards and Hastings and many other popular towns and villages around the south coast. We travelled from Essex and travelled from the M25 and A26, A27 and A22. Polegate station is about three and a half miles from St Andrew or ten minutes by car. Mainline trains run from London Victoria to Polegate. DRUSILLAS Drusilla's is an award winning zoo which, as well as being a zoo, offers Thomas Tank engine rides, Amazon adventure, panning for gold and lots more. Opening Times - every day except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day Summer opening-10am until 5pm. Winter opening-from 10am until 4pm. http://www.drusillas.co.uk/ ST. ANDREW CHURCH St Andrew Church was built in 1360. It sits on Alfriston's village green. St Andrew is built in cruciform shape. It came to be known as 'The Cathedral of the Downs' owing to its large and impressive appearance for a village which when built was not inhabited by many. I enjoyed visiting this church and looking around inside and at the grounds outside. It is in a truly beautiful and unspoilt spot looking over the South Downs. This is a 'living' church with regular church services held here and its six bells call worshippers to prayer before these services. Bell ringers ring the bells from the chancel crossing. We all found the church welcoming and we attended a service here on Sunday morning. http://www.alfriston-churches.co.uk/ THE CLERGY HOUSE Beside St Andrew Church is The Clergy House. This old and interesting fourteenth century building was the first property to be bought by the national trust. This cottage with its thatched roof is an unusual building and, along with its pretty gardens is well worth seeing. There isn't a public toilet here or car parking. Although I would say that the inside of the Clergy House isn't the most accessible place for those with mobility problems (steps and very narrow passageways) there is a drop off point for cars. Large print and braille guides are provided. I have to say that the garden and exterior areas aren't the most level and easy for some but for those with moderate difficulties visiting the house may prove a worthwhile experience with some help perhaps. It is recommended that those with mobility difficulties arrive with someone able to assist. If you are able to access the clergy house then it does make for an enjoyable visit for a couple of hours and then when you've had your fill of looking at the house and grounds there's a national trust shop here too. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/alfriston/ ALFRISTON VILLAGE STORE We found this shop to be absolutely charming. On entering the shop you can immediately see staff dressed in their crisp white aprons serving. Walking around this shop one could liken it to an Aladdin's cave; so wells stocked with interesting merchandise as well as the more mundane but necessary items. It sells most things which a convenience store would stock such as soap, toothpaste, shampoo, needles and thread, bread, tea, coffee and then some...beautiful cakes and pastries, preserves, local cheeses... gifts and even a painting or two by local artists. It also serves as the village post office. The store is over two floors. The first floor can be accessed by stairs rising from the centre of the ground floor. This is just a taster of the village. As it by the river Cuckmere there are lovely walks to be had along the river and also around the village and on the South Downs. The area is also one in which it is easy to access areas of East Sussex and also is conveniently near to the south coast of England.
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