For a magical afternoon, enjoy a boat trip on the River Arun with Riverside South Downs and make the most of the experience by staying on for food and drink in the stunning riverside tearoomsFor a magical afternoon, enjoy a boat trip on the River Arun with Riverside South Downs and make the most of the experience by staying on for food and drink in the stunning riverside tearooms
For a magical afternoon, enjoy a boat trip on the River Arun with Riverside South Downs and make the most of the experience by staying on for food and drink in the stunning riverside tearooms

Magical experience in West Sussex village, including a boat trip and afternoon tea

There's only one way to properly enjoy the stunning Sussex scenery around the fastest tidal river in the UK and that is from the water.

As the River Arun bends round from Amberley towards Arundel, you cannot get a better view than by being on it, sailing at a leisurely pace.

Riverside South Downs offers self-drive boat hire from its base by Houghton Bridge and the friendly staff make it very easy to understand, so you can relax as you board your boat.

Setting sail at a leisurely pace, we headed under the bridge into a magical landscape where it felt we were the only people in the world. It was so beautiful and so relaxing as we bobbed along.

The tide was turning but it was very calm as we sailed along, looking at the South Downs scenery and searching for wildlife. We spotted ducks, swans, dragonflies and a heron, as well as the prize sight – the baby seal, swimming under a tree!

We felt so lucky and our hour-long trip was soon up. You can sail for anything from an hour to three hours, with two to eight people per boat, and my recommendation would be to go for at least two hours if you can, to make the most of it.

As we couldn't get enough of the scenery, we turned our boat trip into a whole experience and stayed for afternoon high tea on the banks of the river. Riverside South Downs can book you a table and serve you while you sit back and enjoy the views of greenery all around.

We chose a Riverside Signature Cream Tea and Riverside Signature Savour Tea at £24.95 each, then shared both so we could each have a bit of everything. There were sandwiches, filled brioche rolls (the egg one was divine) and a large sausage roll with each, as well as unlimited tea or coffee. The cream tea also had four different cakes, a huge fruit scone, jam and clotted cream, while the savoury tea also had grapes, a large hung of cheddar, giant cheese scone and delicious home-made chutney.

We thought it was all delicious and a super mix. The scones, which are homemade and sourced locally, are enormous and among the best I have tasted. We found the service so friendly and we were not rushed, so we could really enjoy the landscape. Magical!

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