Here's a very English tradition: afternoon tea. What a lovely way to spend an hour or two, relaxing in a cosy tea room, or sitting outside when it's warm enough. Whether you're rambling, cycling or driving around the Sussex countryside, if you fancy a break then it's probably time for tea.
Tea rooms (and coffee rooms, come to that) are easy to find in most Sussex towns, but it's also worth seeking them out in the countryside and villages. One that I've often visited is right by the river at Houghton Bridge near Amberley - it's a bistro as well, but still does fab tea and cakes and a roaring trade. Another favourite is the tea room at Duddleswell, on the Ashdown Forest - closed in winter, but well worth the wait for a Sussex cream tea. And you'll find a terrific spread at High Beeches, near Handcross, where you can settle in for refreshments after visiting the scenic gardens; in fact if you'll be visiting Sussex in spring or early summer, do look out for the azaleas at High Beeches.
For tea with first-class South Downs views it's hard to beat the Highdown Tea Rooms on Highdown Hill, just outside Worthing, or the Ditchling Tea Rooms, a welcome find if you've just puffed your way up and down Ditchling Beacon. If a sea view is what you crave, over at Fairlight near Hastings the Coastguards Tearoom offers just that, with a fabulous site overlooking Hastings Country Park as well.
Inland, Steyning Tea Rooms always gets rave reviews, and again is in a convenient location for both walkers - you can take a short detour into Alfriston village from the top of the Downs - or drivers and cyclists. For quaint village appeal, Badgers at the Old Village Bakery in Alfriston must be a winner; and for tea with a farm shop attached, try the award-winning New House Farm between Faygate and Horsham. A little further on is the Tanhouse Farm tea room and farm shop at Parkgate - and they also run a cafe at Leith Hill Tower.
Well, I could mention a lot more Sussex tea rooms but I hope this selection has whet your appetite. Happy munching!