Ideal for: Couples, families, friends
Interests: History, interiors, food and drink, walking
Main areas: Cobblestone Walk, High Street, Bramber Castle, Cissbury Ring
Tall scones, tiny teddy bears and historic hill walks await in the rural town of Steyning. Packed with hidden gems for all ages, you can browse the excellent vintage and antiques shops, discover the charming Cobblestone Walk cabins and enjoy food and drink at the award-winning cafes. If you’ve got strong legs, an interest in history and a sense of adventure, then the stunning views at Bramber Castle and ancient hill forts Chanctonbury Ring and Cissbury Ring are yours to enjoy.
Although there isn’t a train station in Steyning, the town does have good public transport links, with bus routes from nearby Pulborough and Shoreham-by-Sea and three car parks in town.
Start your day with a walk up the High Street and an easy-going browse. Vintage & Home and Steyning Antiques offer unique finds and upcycled pieces, while The Steyning Bookshop is a gorgeous 18th-century house selling stories for all ages. Kids will love the bright red wooden train that’s big enough to climb on!
Make your next stop Cobblestone Walk, a set of pretty cabins tucked away down a narrow path from the High Street. The series of independent clothing, homeware, jewellery, art and gift shops feel a world away from the road. Don’t miss Smiffy Bears, the world’s smallest teddy bear shop. Surrounded by pretty fairy lights and teddy bears of all shapes and sizes is Jackie, a true teddy expert. She also runs bear-making courses and has everything she might need to treat any poorly bears she comes across in her shop. A final must-see if you’ve got little ones in tow is The Dolls House Shop, a specialist store selling handmade houses and beautiful accessories. As you can see, Steyning has got plenty of traditional toys to inspire your little ones.
Stop by The Sussex Produce Company for lunch; be sure to book in advance as this little café fills up fast at the weekend. The company won Food Shop of the Year at the Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2018 and the shop is packed with local produce for you to take home.
If it’s cream tea you’re after, make a beeline for Steyning Tea Rooms, which recently won the West Sussex County Times Café of the Year, voted for by readers. The warm homemade scones are taller than any others we’ve seen (and we’ve tried our fair share), and the décor is quaint and pretty. It also opens on Friday evenings for dinner, but book early as these tables fill up fast. Other options for dining in the town include the Chequer Inn and The White Horse for pub fare and family-run Italian restaurant, Mamma Mia.
Time to get out of the town and explore the wild South Downs countryside. If you’re without a car, you can walk the mile up to Bramber Castle starting at Castle Lane in Steyning. Do note, the route involves a busy crossing over the Steyning Bypass. Once there, Bramber Castle offers stunning views and an insight into the area’s Norman history. Make sure you visit St Nicholas’ Church, one of the oldest Norman churches in Sussex and originally the chapel to the castle. The Norman remains overlook the River Adur, which is another lovely scenic place to walk. Try this 4-mile loop from Bramber Castle along the river to St Botolphs and back.
You can also get to Chanctonbury Ring and Cissbury Ring easily from Steyning. For Chanctonbury Ring, a small pre-historic hill fort between Steyning and Washington, walk or drive the 2.5 miles up Mouse Lane, a narrow country road surrounded by fields. At the top, enjoy the beautiful views of wide open, sky and green pastures. If you’re feeling up to a challenge, try this 7-mile loop from Steyning to Chanctonbury Ring and Washington.
Cissbury Ring, a National Trust site, is the largest hill fort in Sussex and more than 5,000 years old. It’s a good four-mile walk from Steyning (starting at Newham Lane), but you could drive over to the village of Findon to walk up.