Sussex Exclusive

Discover, explore and savour the best of Sussex

Sussex Day & The Most Sussexy Things to do

Lewes Castle

Sussex Day is the 16th of June each year. It’s our county day and a day on which to celebrate our rich culture and heritage. The 16th is also St Richard’s Day. St Richard of Chichester is the patron saint of Sussex.

Pevensey Castle

Sussex Day originated in Worthing in 2006 and was the idea of a local resident, Ian Steedman (who sadly passed away in February 2023). Since 2013, in the run-up to the 16th June, the Sussex flag is flown in the six ancient Rapes of Sussex (a Rape was a territorial and administrative region of Sussex from before the Norman conquest). The Sussex Rapes were Chichester, Arundel, Bramber, Lewes, Pevensey and Hastings. Other villages and towns where you’ll spot the flag at this time of year include Peacehaven, Newhaven, Seaford, Shoreham and Worthing. And in some towns, the Sussex Charter is also read out and Sussex by the Sea (the unofficial anthem of the county written by William Ward-Higgs in 1907) is sung.

Arundel Castle

So, if you’d like to celebrate Sussex Day in style, here is our list of the most Sussexy things to do:

Bramber Castle

Visit Chichester Cathedral

St Richard was the bishop of Chichester and you’ll find a statue of him (made by Sussex sculptor Philip Jackson – based at Cocking near Midhurst) outside the cathedral. This year the cathedral is hosting a Produce Showcase on the 16th of June in the cloisters from 10 am and 1 pm.

Chichester Cathedral

Picnic at the Sussex Rapes

Head to Arundel, Bramber, Lewes, Pevensey or Hastings castles. Or if you have time, visit all of them! If you want to be really Sussexy take a picnic that includes a Sussex Churdle, Sussex Pond Pudding or Banoffi Pie.

Hastings Castle

Make your  way to Worthing

Worthing is the birthplace of Sussex Day, and to mark the day, town crier for Worthing and Adur, Bob Smytherman will be reading the Sussex Charter at 9.30 am in Montague Place and at 10.30 am at Beach Green in Lancing. While you’re in Worthing, enjoy a very Sussexy trip to the pier or beach and some of the local art! And make sure you visit Slake Spirits at the Chalk House where you can “immerse yourself in the rich folklore of Sussex for the evening”.


Get up the South Downs

Nothing could be more Sussex than the South Downs but which part of the Downs is the most Sussexy? Hmm, hard to decide, but if you don’t fancy walking the whole of the South Downs Way, strong contenders would have to be Beachy Head, the Long Man at Wilmington, Devil’s Dyke, Chanctonbury Ring or the Temple of the Winds at Black Down.

Temple of the Winds Black Down

If you’re at Black Down, enjoy a bit of Tennyson and his words: “You came, and looked and loved the view, Long-known and loved by me, Green Sussex fading into blue, With one grey glimpse of sea.” If you’re at Chanctonbury Ring, visit Wiston winery for some Sussex wine. At Devil’s Dyke, try hang gliding and if you’re at Wilmington, head to the local brewery for some Sussex beer. And of course, at Beachy Head you need to snap some Instagram photos of the iconic lighthouse.

Long Man of Wilmington

Play stoolball or Toad in the Hole

We have some wonderful traditional Sussex games which include stoolball and Toad in the Hole. Toad in the Hole is a pub game that involves a toad table at which players throw brass coins (toads). They play it at The Hop Sun Taproom in Haywards Heath and at various venues in Lewes, Eastbourne and Hastings. If you want to be really Sussex, make sure you speak in the proper Sussex dialect as you play!

Sussex taproom

Morris dancing

Morris dancing may not be unique to Sussex but we have some unique Sussex sides that dance in some very Sussex venues. And on the 17th June, there is the very first Sussex Day of Dance being held in Lewes. Dancing will take place at four locations and there will be three or four Morris sides at each location at any given time. The Morris sides attending include Mythago Morris, Long Man Morris, Blackpowder Morris and a number of others. They will be collecting for the Sussex Wildlife Trust and there will be a mass dance-off at the end in Harvey’s Brewery Rear Yard (so yes, that sounds like a pint of Sussex beer will be had!).

Sussex Day Morris Dancing

Drink Sussex 

The newest edition to our Sussex heritage has to be our burgeoning drinks industry in the shape of our Sussex wine estates and spirit makers. So you could celebrate all things Sussex with a Sussex wine tour. Alternatively, Rathfinny wine estate between Alfriston (brilliantly Sussex) and Seaford is close to the Downs (and the famous White Horse carved into the Downs) and to Harvey House which makes Sussex gin. At the other end of the county, Tinwood Vineyard is close to Boxgrove Priory and Halnacker Windmill – two very Sussex landmarks. Or try Parham House in West Sussex – another iconic Sussex house and on the 16th of June, local gin producer South Saxon Spirits will be hosting an event there.

Parham House Sussex

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you may also like:

The 25 Best Places to Visit in Sussex

Things To Do In Sussex 2023


Follow us

Latest newsletters


Related posts

Scroll to Top