Rolling beaches. Medieval towns. Ancient woodlands. And crumbling seaside castles. Visit Sussex and you’ll discover a county steeped in history and blessed with more than its fair share of natural beauty.
To inspire your next trip, here are five top reasons to visit this treasured corner of the country!
1. Charming Sussex Towns
Enchanting half-timbered houses lean over the cobbled streets of medieval Rye. The town is a must-see anytime you visit Sussex.
Pick up gifts in one-of-kind boutiques, spot diverse birdlife around Rye Harbour, and gaze across the town’s rust-coloured rooftops from the summit of the 12th-century St. Mary’s Church. In the evening, find a crackling fireside in one of Rye’s centuries-old pubs. Our favourites include The Standard and The Mermaid Inn.
In the quaint town of Winchelsea, you can join guided tours of medieval cellars. It’s a great experience for anyone interested in medieval history and architecture.
Further afield, the town of Hastings combines historic treasures and classic seaside fun. Stroll around the winding streets and twittens of the preserved Old Town. Take in the salt air while exploring the fishing quarter. Learn about the Battle of 1066 at Hastings Castle. And enjoy family rides and attractions at Flamingo Park.
2. Enchanting Nature
Visit Sussex to glimpse some of the most magnificent woodlands anywhere in the country.
Situated in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the 647-acre Brede High Woods is a nature lover’s delight. Rare wildlife here includes great crested newts, fallow deer, the eel-like brook lamprey, and a species of beetle once believed to be extinct. There are even reports of wild boar roaming Brede’s ancient woodlands.
The enchanting Ashdown Forest lets you visit the home of one of the world’s most famous bears. The forest helped to inspire A.A. Milne’s Winne-the-Pooh books. You can pick up a “Pooh Walks” guide to discover some of the book’s best-known spots. Must-visits include the Lone Pine, the North Pole, and Warren Valley (“Eeyore’s Sad and Gloomy Place”).
3. Ancient Castles
From crumbling medieval ruins to stunning moat-surrounded forts, Sussex has a rich history of castle building.
The Georgian Redoubt Fortress in Eastbourne was first built to defend against Napoleon’s armies, later serving as a strategic base during WWI and WWII. Free weekend tours unveil the stories and secrets of this historic landmark.
The 14th-century moated Bodiam Castle is your quintessential medieval castle, complete with imposing stone turrets, towers, and the remains of an iron-clad oak portcullis. And the 15th-century Herstmonceux Castle is another stunning moated castle set within sweeping parkland and Elizabethan gardens.
Both castles offer guided tours. Learn more about their vibrant history and former occupants when you visit Sussex.
4. Beautiful Beaches
From quiet shingle beaches to sweeping expanses of sand, the beaches of Camber Sands and beyond offer something for everyone.
If you’re bringing your pet pooch, the top beach when you visit Sussex has to be Camber Sands. The huge shoreline is ideal for Fido to play fetch and crash into the surf, and curious canines will love exploring the grassy dunes that overlook the sea.
Head east to enjoy the quieter Broomhill Sands. This sand and shingle beach is a wonderful place to escape the hustle and bustle, and you’ll often see kite surfers gliding and spinning across the waves.
Just 20 minutes’ drive west from Camber Sands, you’ll find the secluded Pett Level Beach. Largely shingle, the rolling shoreline here is dotted with rock pools and fascinating geological features, including the remains of an ancient sunken forest at low tide.
5. Eclectic Dining Scene
Visit Sussex and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining options.
Overlooking the dunes of Camber Sands, The award-winning Gallivant offers quality local produce, with favourites including Rye Harbour lobster, Romney salt marsh lamb, and Newhaven sea bream.
Located in a converted redbrick warehouse, Webbe’s at the Fish Café in Rye offers fresh-off-the-boat seafood with a ground-floor cafe and a more formal restaurant upstairs.
Also in Rye, you can sample British classics and foraged food at the highly rated Landgate Bistro. While the intimate Tuscan Kitchen Rye offers regional Italian dishes with homemade pastas and olive oil sourced from its family farm in San Gimignano.
Plan to Visit Sussex
Take a bracing stroll along a gorgeous sandy beach. Wander the cobbled streets of a medieval town. Take a nature walk along a leafy woodland trail. And come face-to-face with English history in a crumbling coastal fortress.
Ready to start planning a visit to Sussex? Our two, three, and four-bedroom cottages offer the perfect base for your explorations, and they’re just minutes from the beach at Camber Sands.
Book your ideal accommodation today!