From the bright lights of Brighton Pier to the rolling chalk downlands of the South Downs, Sussex has a massive range of attractions sure to amuse any visitor. This county on the south east coast of England also has a vibrant city scene, bustling market towns, pretty villages and, of course, great country pubs. Whether you want to chill out on the beach, get active in the countryside, explore one of the region's many castles or take in a local pub gig, Sussex will not disappoint.

Don't Miss

  • South Downs National Park
  • Brighton
  • West Wittering Beach

Sightseeing

Sussex is known for its majestic Roman and Saxon castles which can be found over the landscape. The 11th century Arundel Castle in the South Downs and the medieval Bodiam Castle are two of the most impressive and well preserved in the region.

The county also has a number of interesting historic houses and gardens, including Petworth House, Parham House and the fabulous Nymans Garden near Haywards Heath. Sussex is also home to the Goodwood Estate where some of the biggest motor sports and horse racing events in the country are held.

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton is not only impressive from the outside with its unusual Indian architecture, but also remarkable for its extraordinary and extravagant interiors. Tours here are highly recommended.

The South Downs National Park occupies a large portion of the county. This beautiful natural landscape has many well-known landmarks and vistas. The most famous of these are the Seven Sisters Country Park and the unforgettable views from the chalk cliffs of Beachy Head near Eastbourne.

One nice way to see the Sussex countryside without having to make too much effort is to take a steam train along the 11 mile Bluebell Railway, one of the most famous scenic railways in the country.

Centred in the middle of Sussex and only an hour by train from London, the county's vibrant and hedonistic cultural hub of Brighton is very popular with tourists with its huge pebbly beach, seaside treats and eclectic array of nightlife, independent shops, galleries and eateries. From Brighton you can either travel east to Brighton Marina and the quaint seaside towns of Saltdean and Peacehaven or discover further coastal towns to the west like Shoreham and Worthing.

The small towns of Rye in East Sussex and Arundel in West Sussex both offer an enchanting glimpse into Sussex life with their fine historical buildings surrounded by spectacular countryside.

Art is also widely on offer in the region. The excellent Towner Gallery in Eastbourne has exhibitions that rival any in the country, Pallant House Gallery in Chichester is also excellent, and anyone interested in sculpture should check out the Cass Sculpture Foundation in Goodwood. The beautiful Glyndebourne is a world famous opera house set in stunning parkland and gardens, and Chichester is big in the theatre scene.

Activities

With the entire Sussex coastline to enjoy, watersports and beach activities are popular here. Sailing, swimming, wind and kite surfing, and sea kayaking are all easily available to try. West Wittering is one of the nicest beaches in the region and the local area is good for sailing.

Walking, cycling, horse riding, mountain-biking and paragliding are all very popular, especially in the South Downs National Park and along the South Downs Way National Trail.

Vineyard tours are a great way to explore the countryside in this up and coming English wine region. Breaky Bottom is a favourite, but Ridgeview and Nutbourne Vineyards are also good and open to the public.

From breakfast through to dinner, Sussex has a diverse range of eateries in between its many attractions. Traditional British pubs can be found in abundance throughout the region in settlements of all sizes; however if you fancy a more modern dining experience, cafes, bistros and restaurants with a broad range of themes and menus can be found in the larger towns and cities.

For great nightlife and a lively list of gigs, shows and events, punters should head towards the larger settlements of Brighton, Worthing and Eastbourne. Audio, Concorde 2 and Lucky Voice Karaoke are all great for a laugh and a dance in Brighton after a tour of the city's diverse range of bars.

Family days out

Sussex has a variety of kid-friendly amusement parks including the affordable Knockhatch Adventure Park in Hailsham and Treasure Island in Eastbourne.

Sussex is a perfect place for nature lovers of all ages with plenty of nature reserves, farms and zoos for younger explorers. Marwell Wildlife and the smaller Drusillas both have domestic and exotic animals, the latter is particularly aimed at younger children. For more wild fun in the outdoors, you can also head to the Stoneywish Nature Reserve in Ditchling which has more than 50 acres of fields, play equipment and lakes that are teaming with wildlife.

The fascinating educational fun, the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum has a wealth of historic buildings transported from all over the country and dating back to the 13th century. Amberly Working Museum is a 36 acre site dedicated to the industrial heritage of sussex, and you can travel round the site on all manner of old vehicles including a narrow gauge railway, a tram, a fire engine and a historic bus.

Getting There and Getting Around

Sussex is easily accessible by train, car or coach - public transport is the most sensible option because there are serious traffic and parking issues in most parts of the county. As an indication of travel time, Brighton is about an hour by train from London and around two hours by car.

The county is very well connected by local train and bus systems so, traffic aside, getting around by car or public transport will not be a problem.

For more ideas, please visit our things to do in Sussex pages.