The east side of the village lies by the River Cuckmere and is home to the village green, which is called the Tye. In the centre of the Tye is St. Andrew’s Church which lies on a raised mount surrounded by a flint wall. Next to it is the Alfriston Clergy House, a National Trust property, the first purchased by them. Also on the Tye is the Georgian Unitarian Chapel. The wooden sign for the village at the entrance to the Tye was carved by a previous vicar of the village who also repaired the Star Inn’s red lion. The centre of the village is the Market Square which contains a market cross.
The village contains three pubs, the Star Inn, the Smugglers’ Inn and the George Inn. A Channel 5 archaeology programme, Pub Dig, revealed evidence of long occupation of the site of the Smugglers’ Inn, including signs of smuggling, animal butchery and neolithic activity at the rear of the building.
The South Downs Way crosses the river in Alfriston, and then continues up onto the Downs. During the week leading up to the August bank holiday weekend, there is the Alfriston Festival, which ends with a Grand Fair on the Tye, with the proceeds going to several local national charities. It is attended by a large number of people from many miles around. In December there is also an Alfriston Christmas Weekend. The village also has its own clay pigeon shooting club.
The Alfriston Cricket Club has won the Cuckmere Valley League on nine occasions, with the earliest being 1920 and the most recent 2003.
There is strong evidence of ancient occupation of the area, since several Neolithic long barrows have been discovered on the surrounding Downs; among them, to the west is the fairly well preserved Long Burgh. In Saxon times the village was recorded as Aelfrictun (the town of Alfric), from which the Domesday Book records the town as ‘Elfricesh-tun’.
One building of historical importance is the Star Inn. Originally a religious hostel built in 1345 and used to accommodate monks and pilgrims en route from Battle Abbey to the shrine of St Richard, patron saint of Sussex, at Chichester Cathedral, it became an inn in the 16th century. Wooden figures grace the upper part of the building, whilst in the front is a one-time ship’s figurehead representing a red lion. The latter is connected with the Alfriston smuggling gang who used the inn as a base; their leader was transported to Australia in 1830.