Seaside Towns On The Sussex Coast You’ll Want To Keep Coming Back To
With miles upon miles of stunning coastline, Sussex is understandably a huge draw for visitors.
It’s like you’d have heard of the big hitters on the Sussex coast such as Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings, Bexhill-on-Sea and Camber Sands.
But here we’re going to look at some alternative ideas for a lovely weekend away.
Or stay for longer – Sussex is your oyster!
Chichester Harbour & West Wittering
About as far west in Sussex as you can go before spilling into Hampshire, the natural harbour west of Chichester is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
It’s comparatively wild and undeveloped, with a peppering of lovely harbourside villages. The squiggly coastline is actually 74 miles long, so it’ll take more than a few hours to explore it all.
It’s easily reachable from the city of Chichester, and there’s a smattering of train stations within striking distance of the harbour.
You can jump off at either Emsworth or Bosham stations – both gorgeous retreats to venture around.
But to really get stuck in, it’s a good idea to take a bike or catch a bus. Or both!
We also suggest making a trip to Itchenor, where Chichester Harbour boat tours launch from.
You can go bird watching, take a seal tour, or go sea fishing. Alternatively, just kick back and let the natural beauty wash over you.
Fancy getting some sand between your toes? West Wittering beach is about six-and-a-half miles from Chichester, near the mouth of Chichester Harbour.
It’s a Blue Flag white sandy beach, and the perfect spot for windsurfing, kitesurfing and snorkelling.
Bonus fact: It’s thought that the first Saxons invading Britain landed here.
Where to grab a bite: The Quarterdeck café in Itchenor is a gorgeous spot for a hot drink and a quick bite – your doggie pals are more than welcome to dine, too!
The White Swan in Bosham also serves food all day, and the Sunday roasts come highly recommended.
How about a tipple?: For tremendous harbour views, head to the Crown & Anchor at Dell Quay. Watch the sun go down on the terrace, and then head inside to warm up by a real fire. Lush.
Saltdean & Rottingdean
Rottingdean belies a picture-postcard seaside spot, with some fascinating places to visit and create fabulous memories.
It’s possibly best known for Beacon Mill, which is an iconic Grade II-listed black smock windmill built out of wood.
But also well worth a trip are the Kipling Gardens, the grounds of an 18th-century building called The Elms.
Rudyard Kipling lived here at the turn of the 20th-century, and since most of the grounds were bought up by Rottingdean Heritage in 1986, it’s been free to visit for the public.
It’s quite simply an oasis, and the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic – there’s even a croquet lawn!
Saltdean is five minutes away by bus, or roughly 15 on foot if you fancy a hike up the hill. It’s a smaller town, but a must to explore due to its superb lido.
The Saltdean Lido is a Grade II-listed art deco masterpiece, designed by renowned architect R.W.H. Jones.
It’s also a community centre and public library. But mostly it’s a great spot for getting some lengths in – or just bobbing around – on a hot day.
Where to grab a bite: Bistro Gourmand in Rottingdean offers a lovely alfresco eating experience. And it’s dog-friendly, if you’re bringing your best mate along for the ride.
Alternatively, head over to the Crocodile Cafe if you’re in Saltdean – and make it snappy!
Where to have a drink: Ye Olde Black Horse is a favourite in Rottingdean. Or pop to The Plough, which is situated by a splendid duck pond.
Midway between Brighton and Eastbourne, Seaford is a sleepy little seaside town. It’s pretty relaxed, and the sea reaches a very comfortable 20°C in the summer – ideal for a quick dip.
Plus, it was named the second-best seaside town to move to by property comparison site Compare My Move in 2020. Not too shabby.
The obvious attraction here is the beach. The beach and esplanade make for a blissful walk, straddled by spectacular white chalk cliffs on either side.
It’s also nice and flat, so it should be easily manageable for anybody with limited mobility, and Seaford is within striking distance of Birling Gap and the famous Seven Sisters cliffs.
You’ll definitely want to Insta these stunning siblings!
Where to grab a bite: While in Seaford, you’re going to want seafood. Head down to The Grumpy Chef for some locally sourced marine dishes, and you’re guaranteed to leave feeling the opposite.
Where to have a drink: The Wellington Hotel is a good old traditional pub, as is The Old Boot. But for sheer high praise, it’s worth noting that one reviewer described The Old Plough as “one of the best pubs in the best town in the world”.
Why not pop on down and see if they’re right?
A study by Which? in summer 2021 polled over 4,000 visitors to rank the best seaside towns in the UK.
And the beautiful historic town of Rye took the top spot in Sussex, coming in seventh in the UK overall. Once you arrive, it’s easy to see why.
It’s chock-full of olde worlde charm, higgledy-piggledy cobbled streets, and charming Tudor buildings. And quaint pubs. There are plenty of those.
First off, pop to the Rye Heritage Centre. This features – among other things – a scale model of the town, so you can suss out where you plan to visit in glorious 3D.
They also organise highly recommended ghost walks, if you fancy putting the Rye in fryetening!
When you chance upon Mermaid Street, it may seem oddly familiar. That’s because it’s officially in the top ten most Instagrammable streets in the UK, according to Direct2Florist.
Once you’ve taken a snap and slapped a Valencia filter on it, head up to the Parish Church of St Mary, where you can catch a view of France on a clear day.
And if the lure of the golden dunes of Camber Sands gets too great, it’s just quarter of an hour away on the train.
Or if you want to stretch those pins, you can walk it in just over an hour.
Where to grab a bite: The Landgate Bistro has been serving top-quality food for over 40 years, and is a Rye institution. Go on – spoil yourself!
Where to have a drink: For fabulous ales on tap, try the Rye Waterworks Micropub. Why not wash down a scotch egg or pork pie while you’re at it?