Exploring Stanmer Village

Yesterday, after a productive brunch with friends (we planned and booked a trip to Kraków over full English breakfasts, so expect a post about that adventure mid-March), we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and go for a walk through the South Downs National Park, which surrounds our university’s campus. Considering we’d just had pretty heavy breakfasts, it seemed like a good idea to try and burn a few calories.

After taking in the gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside from the top of a big hill next to campus (and trying/failing to befriend some cows grazing nearby), we noticed the village nestled at the bottom of the other side of the hill. And, you know, it was beautiful out and we were feeling adventurous, so we wandered on down.

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I don’t know why I was so fascinated by the cows, considering I’m from upstate New York farm country.

Turns out, there’s more down there than the church that’s visible from the hilltop. Having sidestepped hundreds of cow pies (which, interestingly, really do resemble pies) to get there, the tea and cakes we found at the Stanmer Village Tea Rooms made the risk to our shoes totally worth it. I was still carrying my post-brunch food baby and couldn’t try the meals on offer, but luckily, I did have enough room for some berry tea, a slice of lemon cake, and a bite of the sticky toffee pudding my friend ordered.

The place isn’t the best tea room you’ll find in England, and the cake isn’t “life-changing” like Marwood Coffee Shop’s, but the novelty of stumbling upon a little tea shop in a quaint village in the middle of a giant national park makes up for the more average-tasting items on the menu. And the insanely good sticky toffee pudding is a treat that’ll make it totally worth the trek up and down that big hill.

Aside from the tea shop, we found that there wasn’t much to actually do in Stanmer Village, but it is a lovely little place to just wander around. It was like my idea of the quintessential English countryside village come to life – tiny, relaxing, and historic (and smelling vaguely of cows). It’s a refreshing place to go after spending loads of time in Brighton or London.

Sussex Uni really is in the perfect location. It’s just a ten-minute train ride from one of the biggest and most exciting cities in England (and an hour or so from one of the biggest and most exciting cities in the world), but at the same time, it’s right in the middle of the pristine countryside. It’s really grossing me out to think that I’m actually going to have to leave here and go back to school in the painfully boring Long Island suburbs.

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