A night in the country?

A night in the country?

Or even just a bit of armchair travel…

We were lucky enough to have a special family trip to The Star in Alfriston in the Sussex hills a few weekends ago.
I’d read about it, had been personally recommended and yup, it was STILL better than I had hoped.

Headlines – if you only have time for a speed read – this is for you.

Go for The Star for:

  • Amazing local ingredients morphed into Italian greats on a plate – really top notch 
  • The fab vibe they create for relaxing over coffee & eggs at breakfast to cocktails in the bar to dinner
  • The interiors – just clever and playful
  • The walking on the South Downs and stunning Seven Sisters coastal path with pub lunches 
  • The fab service and how relaxed you will feel by the end of your stay…

(Oh and the fact it’s dog-friendly if that’s you – they’ll be treated as well as you are ?).

Got a min to read more? Here’s why we loved it:

Mother and daughter owners; Olga and Alex Polizzi (check the full Polizzi collection online – this place has sisters!) have made this hotel an amazing cross of Italian chic and C14 inn. Feast your interiors eyes then go and find the picture in the dining room with eyes that follow you.

But it’s not just about their amazing choice of colours, fabric and interiors – they’ve also thought about how you might use the spaces, as their guests. There are nooks & crannies everywhere to sit with a coffee or cocktail, a choices of bar or restaurant to eat in, books to borrow, wellies to borrow, walking and local town guides – don’t do any research or bring loads of kit – just arrive and be looked after.

The Italian style menu was a celebration of excellently sourced local ingredients and Italian recipes – really beautiful cooking of roasted meats, pickled veggies, creamy risottos, pack-a-punch ragu and pasta – and the best affogato. It was honestly all fabulous. And helped along with fab cocktails and wines – all on delicate botanical crockery with glasses that were lovely to drink from – yes to everything. It’s definitely one for adults, but if you were taking kids or teens, the menu being Italian means that our lot still feasted their eyes and found delicious choices with not a nugget in sight.

The beautifully upholstered rooms with comfy beds (yes!) are little havens all with their own individual interiors with light airy bathrooms and all the gorgeous scents (relaxing in a bath with @bramleyproducts bath salts with petals at the time I’d usually be doing sports pick ups at the weekend was – well, bliss).

This is also where you will find their little curated guides. We used them firstly to access a great walking tour of the stunning cliff-top Seven Sisters path and enjoy a pub lunch at https://www.vintageinn.co.uk/restaurants/south-east/thecuckmereinnseaford and then again to squeeze in a pootle around Lewes with their shop and café guide and really enjoyed finding @wickle.co.uk (clothes and interiors) and https://flintowlbakery.com/

Back to the village of Alfriston for dinner, drinks and cards in the bar and a final big breakfast. You always say you’ll go lighter on day two without the initial overwhelming excitement of a buffet breakfast – but do you?! Not a chance.

The famous clergy house (first ever National Trust property) was closed for winter but definitely looked worth a peak into the history if you visited in season. But in winter, the village is still buzzing with independent shops and you can walk straight from there into the water meadows and hills behind – perhaps start your tour with working off brekkie and a search for the chalk horse on the hill – rather resplendent. Head between the clergy house and church yard and you’ll reach the river path to take as far as you fancy.

Brekkie walked off, make sure you leave time for all the amazing independent shops in the village. No chain takeover here, but equally, shops where you want to buy, rather than just look politely and smile as you leave a couple of minutes later – you know the ones. So here is a little tour.

Leave the pub from the front door and turn left. Into the Village Store for a look at all of the lovely food and bits and pieces upstairs. Buy excellent Wessex Mill flour if you are a baker and amazing jams and marmalades if you like someone else to bake for you. Out and keep going gently left to a blue painted window and the https://www.muchadobooks.com/. Warning if you are a book lover, this is an insanely inviting building holding many rooms with layers for new and vintage books to forage and get lost in. From the inviting reading corner (see pic) and ‘have a blind date with a book’ books wrapped in paper to just pick on a whim, to the super friendly and knowledgeable staff and finally, the offer of a piece of lavender shortbread as you pay – I could have stayed all day.

Out and on the bottom corner of the square is The Singing Kettle. A gorgeous little tea room that seemed to have a thorough grasp on what a good brekkie was and plenty of enticing cakes. We had a totally unnecessary cake and coffee stop as it looked too good to miss AND they had one of my favourite Grandma bakes – she used to call ‘nutty slack’ – a flapjack number with a layer of dates and crumble on top. Yum. Not sure where I put it – but I found a corner.

Finally up the other side past lots of interesting looking antique shops and a vintage clothing store to Fern Store. We laughed out loud at the obscenely funny cards and bought a delicious candle from a brand I don’t know – Aery – worth a look – really natural and will make your house smell all wafty (in a good way).

Can you tell I loved it all?! If you have reason to properly treat yourself – this village has lots of relaxation to offer.