Sussex has 225 km of coast from Chichester Harbour in the west to Camber Sands in the east! Dotted along that coast are dozens of beaches made up of a mixture of pebble, shingle, and sand. At last count, we found a total of 50 Sussex beaches (27 beaches in West Sussex and 23 in East Sussex) giving Sussex residents and visitors alike plenty of choice when it comes to a trip to the seaside. Most (but not all) Sussex beaches have restrictions for dogs during the summer so always check before setting off with your hound.
There are also three award-winning Blue Flag beaches in Sussex namely Hove Lawns, Marina St Leonards, and West Wittering. Other Sussex towns that have won Seaside Awards include Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Worthing, Saltdean, Brighton and Pelham Beach in Hastings. All in all, that’s a lot of beaches to explore, so we thought we’d share some of our favourites.
Felpham and Aldwick beaches
On a visit to Bognor recently we discovered these two beaches. Both Felpham and Aldwick have easy parking, café facilities and toilets just a bucket and spade away from the beach. As is typical along this stretch of coast, when the tide is out you are blessed with large stretches of sand. There’s a long promenade that links these two beaches via Bognor which is great for a cycle ride. Dogs are not allowed on the beach from May to the end of September.
Climping and Elmer beaches
Climping Beach has an undiscovered feel, particularly if you walk west away from the car park where fields come almost to the water’s edge. The beach has suffered badly from erosion and it feels a little wild. There’s a car park (keep going down the lane to Bailiffscourt) and there is also a coffee shop. Dogs are allowed on Climping Beach.
Just a short walk from Climping is unusual Elmer Beach. Here you’ll see a number of rock sea defences which provides an interesting bay at high tide and rock pools for exploring at low tide. However, parking is difficult and you may have to walk along from Middleton or Climping. There are no beach facilities but there are shops and pubs in Elmer.
With some roadside parking and the Sea Lane Café, this is another favourite beach that feels rural rather than urban despite being so near to Worthing. Dogs are allowed but from 1st May to 30th September they are only allowed between the two groynes near the Sea Lane café. There’s a grassy area just behind the beach with easy walking to Ferring and Worthing.
Whilst Brighton Beach may have a bit of a buzz and some bustle and hustle, Rottingdean feels quieter. It’s backed by the Undercliff Walk, stretching from Brighton Marina to Saltdean and there is parking nearby. There is also a small café and a seasonal lifeguard service with the facilities of Rotingdean itself just a short walk away. Dogs are not allowed from May to September.
Tide Mills Beach
In between Seaford and Newhaven, there are two small car parks on the lane that leads down to Tide Mills ruins and this beach but they fill up quickly on a sunny day. The beach itself is backed by undeveloped land and the ruins of the old Tide Mills village and it feels lovely, open and spacious. There are no facilities (although sometimes there’s a coffee van in the car park) but it is possible to walk along to Seaford for coffee and a bite to eat. Dogs are allowed.
Birling Gap beach
Birling Gap Beach is reached by one of the most stunning roads in Sussex. Paid parking is on the cliff top and then you descend to the beach via a set of stairs. The beach is backed by cliffs and it’s important not to sit too close to them as there could be significant rock fall. There’s great rock pooling and fossil hunting to be had and back at the top of the cliffs is a National Trust café.
Cooden and Bexhill beaches
In between Bexhill and Eastbourne, Cooden Beach has parking close to the beach and a train station. Dogs are allowed on this unspoilt and undeveloped beach and Cooden Beach Hotel offers fantastic food. Heading back towards Bexhill and beyond, Bexhill Beach stretches for about 3 km. There is a promenade and lifeguards on duty during the peak summer months. There are reasonable facilities here too with public toilets, cafés and a children’s play area. Dogs are restricted during the summer but there is nearby parking.
We can’t not mention Camber Sands south east of Rye. This is a long (about 8 km) and gloriously sandy beach backed by sand dunes. It has parking, a lifeguard service, and good facilities including cafés, toilets and disabled facilities. Dogs are allowed between May and September but must be on a lead and restricted between Zones F and H on the beach.
It’s been hard to pick our favourite beaches because all our Sussex beaches have something unique to offer. There is also much hard work afoot to protect them and our waters.
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