Alfriston, Polegate, East Sussex

If you made a list of England’s most idyllic villages, Alfriston would be on it for sure. All good reason to go for an amble round when you’re on your large group holidays in East Sussex; it’s just such a pretty little place, its charm is timeless, its setting bucolic, with the beautiful South Downs gently slumbering all around.

Wander about, look up, look around, soak up that charm. Explore the narrow backstreets with gorgeous stone cottages where roses playfully scramble over the walls and porches. Notice the half-timbered Medieval buildings and oh! The village green, known as the Tye, like a scene from a postcard or a painting, with the spire of St Andrew’s church pointing skyward and the 14th century Alfriston Clergy House – incidentally, the National Trust’s first ever property.

There are galleries and independent shops to browse selling gifts, rare and out of print books, antiques and interiors, and possibly the quaintest village shop you’ve ever seen. Stop for something to eat in one of the tea rooms or pubs; The Star, from the Polizzi Collection, serves the most divine Italian food, The George is more English classics, and Deans Place Hotel is a very gracious setting for a posh afternoon tea.

If you’ve got your walking boots with you, set off for a leisurely stop-and-stare kind of stroll along the River Cuckmere and out onto the Downs where the views will leave you lost for words. Join the merry throng for one of the annual events held in Alfriston, the Summer Music Festival, August Bank Holiday Festival, or in December, a very Christmassy Dickensian evening.

The only down side, if you’ll excuse the pun, is that because the village is all things sweet and lovely, and so very picturesque, there’s quite an influx of visitors in the summer. It can be busy, but you have every right to be there too, and honestly, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity.

All information correct at the time of writing

Large Holiday Houses in East Sussex