Now divided into West Sussex and East Sussex, the historic county of Sussex is rich in heritage, culture, stunning views, great houses, fascinating towns, vast landscapes and wonderful places to explore. In fact, you could spend a lifetime here and probably not discover it all. But if you visit all or indeed most of our 25 best places to visit in Sussex, you’ll start to get an idea of what an incredible county Sussex really is!
At the very centre of both Sussex and English history sits Battle Abbey and Battlefield. It’s the very place where the Normans defeated the Saxons at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, and a new era in our heritage and culture was born. For that reason alone, it is always worth a visit for anyone with even a passing interest in history or historical architecture and it makes Battle a perfect starting point for a journey of Sussex discovery.
You can explore the battlefield with its selection of sculptures getting ready to fight, and then circuit the main buildings, explore some of the cellars and head to the Abbey rooms which include the magnificent dormitory and has views across to Abbey School. After you’ve found the ice house and walled garden you still need to walk the precinct wall and climb to the top of the gatehouse to enjoy the most spectacular views of the surrounding Sussex countryside.
2. The South Downs and the South Downs Way
There is perhaps no more iconic landmark in Sussex than the South Downs, a chalky ridge of hills and escarpments that cover 670 km square. Running from Eastbourne in East Sussex, right through West Sussex and on to Winchester in Hampshire, they are the place of many legends and stories and have played their part in the life of Neolithic man, the Romans, the Norman conquest, the defeat of the Spanish Armada, pirates, smugglers, World War II defences and more.
The South Downs Way is one of only 15 national trails in England and Wales. It’s 160 km long (100 miles) and runs through the South Downs. It was recently named “10th Most Beautiful Hiking Trail in the World” by outdoors specialist Zalando. Notable places en route are many and include Harting Down, Amberley, Bramber, Cissbury and Chanctonbury Rings, Devil’s Dyke, the Jack and Jill windmills, Wilmington, the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head.
Above all else though, the South Downs and its many footpaths are breathtakingly beautiful and evocative, with incredible views north across the Weald and beyond, and south out to sea. Whilst some stretches may be busier than others, you’ll often find yourself alone, listening to the call of the wind, following in footsteps that date back thousands of years, and sheltering in the shade of trees that are bent double into the wind.
The great thing is, you can explore the South Downs and the South Downs Way in sections right across the county and from almost wherever you happen to be. From sunrise to sunset and in fair weather or foul, the South Downs simply never fail to evoke a gasp or a wow, and of course, in addition to that, a trip to the South Downs nearly always includes a vigorous walk with replenishments in a local pub when you descend.
Lewes sits very nearly at the heart of West and East Sussex making it a good base from which to explore the county. It’s a town that seems to have history in every brick and pavestone and at its very centre is the magnificent Lewes Castle with two towers that you can climb. Built by William the Conqueror’s brother-in-law, William de Warenne, and dating back to 1087, this in itself plays a central role in the history of Sussex.
But Lewes’ splendours are many and include the ruins of a powerful medieval priory, a house owned by Anne of Cleves, a house owned by Virginia Wolf, a long and loving relationship with beer, a nature reserve, a selection of markets, hundreds of sculptures and even a 15th century bookshop as well as some marvellously narrow, steep and cobbled streets. From the top of the castle towers, you can trace some of the route of the South Downs Way in the distance as well as the twist and turns of the River Ouse. Then descend and follow the streets below past the famous law courts and down to the old wharf.
4. Arundel and its castle
As you approach Arundel from the A27 and ring road, Arundel’s castle and cathedral stand proud and majestic before you. It’s quite a sight, beaten only by the entrance to the castle itself, which as you turn the first bend in the path, opens up to the momentous tower looking down on you from above. You feel humble as you can continue your way into the grounds.
The castle dates back to 1067 with a Norman keep, medieval gatehouse and barbican but was almost entirely rebuilt in the late 1800s in Gothic style. Its history however can’t be ignored and the castle has been the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors for over 850 years. The castle itself is home to an incredible historic collection of 16th century furniture, tapestries, clocks, and portraits including work by Van Dyck and Gainsborough. There are huge stone fireplaces where it’s easy to picture a knight warming his hands after a long, cold ride to the castle, beautiful Victorian and Edwardian bedrooms and the impressive state rooms to explore. And of course, no visit is complete without a climb up the keep. It’s a tough climb but well worth the views across to the sea!
Our top recommendation however would be to visit Arundel Castle in the spring during the Tulip Festival. Arrive early and hurry up to the gardens on a sunny day and you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported to another country. An explosion of colour with an ornate water feature and the cathedral as a backdrop makes it feel as exotic as it does regal.
5. Uppark House and Garden
In one of the most westerly corners of Sussex, resplendent up on the South Downs is Uppark, a grand late 17th century house and former home of the infamous Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh. If you loved Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice or Upstairs Downstairs this is for you. Sir Harry (once described as a witless playboy) and his father brought together an impressive collection of art, furniture and fittings which can be viewed as part of the house. Think opulent bedrooms with huge four-poster beds, gilded rooms, delicate 17th century furniture, 18th century tapestries, a Chinese style “pagoda” cabinet and a very significant dolls’ house. It’s got it all. And downstairs in the servants’ quarters, you can almost hear the scurrying about and preparations for a grand meal for the house guests.
Whilst the house in itself is magnificent, it’s made even more so by the wild and far-reaching views across the Downs and the fact that for all itself sophistication and splendour, Uppark feels remote. Add to that, tales of extravagant parties held by Sir Harry including the Prince of Wales and naked dancing on the tables, along with ventures overseas to exploit areas of America, meetings of the Hellfire Club and a terrible fire that ripped through the house and you start to get a feel for this evocative house. Tucked up a long drive, Uppark has a feeling of intrigue, romance, and extravagance and is another “must visit” for anyone who loves historic houses and social history.
While you’re visiting Uppark, you might also want to nearby Harting Down from where you can see the ruins of Uppark’s Vandalian Tower.
One of our most picturesque Sussex villages has to be Bosham in West Sussex just west of Chichester. It’s a photographer’s dream, wrapped as it is around a little harbour with the water at high tide washing the feet of the quayside houses. Many a time an unsuspecting tourist has parked on the waterfront at low tide only to find their car subsequently washed away. But apart from being ridiculously pretty, it’s also a village that packs a fair punch when it comes to historical interest.
Bosham was a village of great importance in Roman times and legend has it that King Canute’s daughter is buried here. It also has links to the Norman conquest and features in the famous Bayeaux Tapestry. There’s an old windmill, lots of old and interesting architecture and many nearby footpaths to explore. Alternatively, just grab an ice cream and sit on the harbour wall or enjoy a meal at the well-known Anchor Bleu right on the waterfront.
7. Thorney Island
Not quite an island because it is now joined to the mainland by a strip of land, this nature reserve is owned by the Ministry of Defence and is an unusual and slightly off the beaten track place for a visit. A walk around Thorney Island is about 12 km long but you have to stick to the path as well as pass through a security gate to get on to the island. Once there, there is little to do apart from admire the incredible wildlife and amazing views all around from Chichester Harbour to Hayling Island and, of course, out to sea.
As with so much of our Sussex countryside, it has an interesting history. It’s home to one of the oldest Saxon churches in Sussex whilst in 1933 a plane crash alerted the Ministry of Defence to its suitability as a strategic defence and the original islanders were moved off. In the 1970s, it was used as a refuge for the “Vietnamese Boat People”. But most of all, any visit to the island is a reminder as to what a wild and inhospitable place it must have been back in the mists of time when it was an island and people were trying to live and survive there.
8. Rampion Offshore Wind Farm
You may not automatically think of a wind farm as somewhere special to visit but Rampion is both environmentally important and pretty unique. As the south coast’s first wind farm, it has 116 turbines on a 70 km square site and is between 13 and 20 km off the Sussex coast. On a clear day, you can see it from the South Downs anywhere from Worthing to further east of Brighton – although too far away to get a good photo, and always slightly mysterious on the horizon. Generating power equivalent to that needed by about 350,000 homes, there is also an on-shore visitor centre.
But why stop at views from the shore and the visitor centre? You can now actually get out on the water and visit the farm itself with Sussex Boat Trips who will take you in amongst the turbines. Because the area is no longer fished, it is teeming with marine life and there is something simply awe-inspiring about looking up at the towering turbines as they do their slow and majestic dance.
The little village of Ardingly in West Sussex doesn’t often get mentioned in a list of the 25 best places to visit in Sussex but it should and for a number of reasons. Firstly, just outside the main village is Wakehurst Place. A National Trust property and part of Kew Gardens (and home to Kew’s wild botanic garden) it is also the UK’s largest conservation project, houses the Millennium Seed Bank and surrounds a beautiful Elizabethan Mansion. With gardens, woodlands, lakes, sculptures and an incredible variety of plants to enjoy, Wakehust also hosts a number of memorable events throughout the year, like its Glow Wild event when the grounds and house are lit up with the most amazing display of lights, lanterns and projections.
Apart from Wakehurst, a visit to Ardingly should always include a trip to the reservoir. This man-made reservoir was built in 1979 and covers 184 acres. There’s an activity centre from where you can enjoy kayaking or sailing but there are also some fantastic walks which can include the famous Balcombe Viaduct and stunning Balcombe Place.
Before you leave Ardingly, you might want to check out the South of England Show Ground which has a year-long calendar of events including Christmas markets and the highlight of the summer, the three day South of England Show. And don’t forget Ardingly College, which not only has an important role in the history of Sussex education but also some fabulous architecture and views to enjoy. You could say, that for a small village, Ardingly packs quite a punch.
You cannot visit Sussex and not visit Rye. It almost needs no introduction, but any visit has to start at Mermaid Inn in Mermaid Street, one of the most photographed streets in the country. Mermaid Inn is a legend in its own right with cellars dating back to 1156, although the inn was rebuilt in 1420. Stories abound about ghosts and smugglers, and the infamous Hawkhurst Gang are supposed to have hung out here in the 1730s.
The steep, cobbled Mermaid Street is achingly beautiful, lined with historic old buildings and Virginia Creeper and from here you can start your discovery of what is an old medieval port and one of the Cinque Ports. There is the Ypres Tower built in 1249 with stunning views, and Lamb House to explore. Lamb House is a National Trust property built in 1722. In 1726 King George I stayed here and other famous occupants since then include writers Henry James, E.F. Benson, (Mapp and Lucia) and Rumer Godden (Black Narcissus). When you’ve finished with the boutiques and antique shops of the cobbled streets and the bric a brac of Strand Quay, you mustn’t forget to head out to Rye Harbour and the nature reserve.
Whilst in East Sussex, stay a little longer and visit the home of Rudyard Kipling, namely Bateman’s near Burwash. Another National Trust property, the custodians will tell you that a visit here is like going back in time and you can almost hear and see the early 20th century occupants of Kipling and his family. And it’s true. Captured just as it was when the family was in situ and tucked down a quiet and secluded lane, Bateman’s is highly evocative.
The house itself is a Jacobean which predates Kipling by several hundred years and it also has strong links to the area’s iron industry for those that are interested. But its main allure is its collection of Kipling keepsakes and memorabilia, and its aura of Edwardian romance with delightful lawns, rambling meadows, an old mill and secluded walks.
And you cannot leave the area of Burwash without spending a little time tracking down some of Mad Jack Fullers’ follies. In and around nearby Brightling, there are five follies in total thought to be built in the early 19th century. They are the: Sugar Loaf, Pyramid, Tower, Needle and Observatory. Unfortunately, you can’t gain access to them all, but it is great fun trying to find them.
Just outside Handcross (near Haywards Heath) are the house, gardens and ruins of Nymans. This National Trust property was owned and lived in by three generations of the Messel family who over the course of over 100 years worked hard to develop and improve first the house and then the gardens. The last Messel to live at Nymans was Anne, who was married to the Earl of Rosse (one of her sons was the Earl of Snowdon who married Princess Margaret).
As with so many of our wonderful and historic houses, in 1947 fire struck and destroyed a large part of the house. It was never fully restored although some parts of the house remained habitable and can now be visited. The great storm of 1987 also did considerable damage to the grounds. But all that said, the gardens are absolutely enchanting with fantastic views of the Ouse Valley, a sunken garden, walled gardens, rose gardens, long walkways, and varied and intriguing planting.
Petworth dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 and is a pretty town known for its boutiques, galleries and antique shops. It’s also home to a number of events including a Farmers Market, Petworth Festival and an Antiques and Fine Art Fair. But of course, it’s most famous for its 17th century Petworth House and the surrounding Pleasure Garden and Deer Park.
Petworth House is a Baroque-inspired National Trust property that includes grand staterooms and an impressive display of 17th century opulence and splendour. Many of the rooms are simply dripping with great paintings and you cannot fail to be impressed by the magnificent carved room, the Marble Hall, the sculptures of the North Gallery and the grand dining room.
You can find out more here: 10 Reasons to Visit Petworth.
No visit to Sussex is complete without a visit to Brighton! It’s bohemian, cosmopolitan, quirky and kitsch all rolled into one and stitched up with a bit of stylish and cool, and you probably should put it at the very epicentre of any visit here.
Where to start? Well, a walk along the seafront and visit to the Palace Pier is a great starting point and there are lots to see apart from the sea. The Upside Down house, the British Airways i360 viewing tower, the beautiful bandstand and the West Pier ruins are all on your route and if you walk far enough you come to the waterfront Rockwater restaurant and café at Hove before you head back.
From the seafront, you should really explore the iconic lanes and North Laine quarter with all their little boutiques and nuances, before you round off with a tour of the stunning Royal Pavillions, and a night out at the Brighton Dome. Or of course, you could also opt for one of the guided ghost walks around the town before you head back to stay at the wonderfully bizarre and eclectic Hotel Pelirocco in Regency Square.
15. The Bluebell Railway
If you’re lucky, from various strategic points in mid-Sussex, you can occasionally hear the whistle and cheer of a steam train pulling its way along the historic Bluebell Railway … the oldest preserved, standard gauge railway in the country.
The Bluebell Railway is managed by the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society (all volunteers) and includes 11 miles of heritage railway line which runs right through the heart of the Sussex countryside. The trains include the classic Pullman from the 1920s and trains run between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead with stops at Horsted Keynes and Kingscote.
As soon as you arrive, you know you’re in for a fantastic experience with a traditional station and ticket office in 19th century style, and staff in period uniforms. Vintage suitcases are stacked on the platform and if you arrive early, you can explore the small museum or watch steam trains pulling in or out of the station from the bridge. There are all sorts of special events on offer to make a trip on the line extra memorable including Afternoon Tea and Silver Service Dining and the staff are attentive, helpful, and informative, helping to create a genuinely special “step back in time” experience.
16. Sussex Vineyards
Sussex is fast gaining a reputation for producing some really superb wine and you’ll find vineyards aplenty from east to west. That means you really cannot leave Sussex without visiting at least one, and in order to really do our wine justice, you should probably visit half a dozen. To be honest, it’s hard to cherry-pick the best of the bunch (excuse the pun) because they nearly all have something great to offer, but working our way from east to west, here are some suggestions:
The Rathfinny Estate near Polegate and Eastbourne was established in 2010. Their three principal grape varieties are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier as well as a small amount of Pinot Gris and they are known for their world-class sparkling wines. More importantly, they have a Tasting Room Restaurant and also offer vineyard picnics, summer tours and cellar visits.
At the other end of the county, near Chichester, Tinwood Estate was established in 2006 and is another local producer fast gaining a reputation for producing outstanding sparkling wines. They also do harvest experiences and have a tasting room as well as luxury lodges within the estate if you want to stay.
Finally, in more central Mid Sussex and right on the edge of Ashdown Forest, there is Bluebell Vineyard Estate where they are producing world-class still and sparkling wines and growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier vines along with Seyval Blanc, Bacchus, Ortega, Chasselas and Merlot. As you’d expect, they too offer tours and tasting visits which take you “through the art and science behind winemaking, before a tutored tasting of our award-winning current releases”.
Hastings makes it on to our list as one of the best places to visit in Sussex in part due to its rich history and heritage which includes everything from pirates and smugglers to Foyle of Foyle’s War. But there’s also lots else to see. Start by exploring the narrow back streets of the Old Town where it’s all too easy to imagine illegal contraband being hauled up the steep steps and stashed behind ancient doors. Carry on right to the top of the Old Town and head over to Hastings Castle which has proud views over the town and coast below. Unsurprisingly, it’s a Norman castle that was originally built immediately after the Norman conquest but it was substantially rebuilt in subsequent years. Sadly, today, it’s little more than ruins, but that notwithstanding, there are some fabulous views of the surrounding area.
Leaving the castle, take the West Hill Cliff funicular train back down to earth. It still uses the original wooden Victorian coaches, and it runs through a tunnel which is quite unusual. Grab a coffee and a bite to eat in George Street where you come out (and take a look at some of the street art) and then head over to Rock-a-Nore and take the East Hill train – the UK’s steepest funicular which first opened in 1902. This takes you up to Hastings Country Park, a nature reserve in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The nature reserve has 345 hectares of ancient gill woodland, heathland, grassland, stunning views, and three miles of sandstone cliffs and coastline. When you’ve finished exploring, take the steps back down to The Stade and take some photos of the distinctive and traditional black fishing huts, watch the fisherman come in or buy some “fresh off the boat” catch of the day. There’s also an art gallery here (Hastings Contemporary) with an ongoing programme of exhibitions and the Shipwreck Museum. And if you’re visiting in May, look out for the Jack on the Green celebrations which are really quite something to see.
If you want to see wallabies, and who doesn’t, then head to Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens just outside Horsham and just up the road from South Lodge (a fabulous place for some lunch). But Leonardslee has much more than just wallabies. Work on the house and gardens started as long ago as 1801 and the current Grade II listed house which is Italianate style was built in 1855. It has a wide veranda and views across the valley. It is also home to the renowned Interlude Restaurant and open for Afternoon Tea. The rooms are currently being renovated but you will be able to stay there soon.
The woodland gardens cover 240 acres and include valleys, lakes, a rock garden and of course, the wallabies! The grounds are also currently home to Anton Smit’s stunning sculpture exhibition entitled “The Walk of Life” and you’ll find his thought-provoking pieces throughout the grounds. There are plenty of other reasons to visit Leonardslee as they host a series of intriguing events throughout the year including their light festival at Christmas. In 2018, the owners also planted a pinotage vineyard and are now hosting wine tastings and don’t forget to visit their truly incredible Dolls House exhibition. In fact, you might just want to stay the night in one of their stunning newly refurbished rooms!
Winchelsea won’t take you long to explore but it will take your breath away! Combine it with a visit to Camber Castle and then return to Rye via a walk along a section of the 1066 walking trail if you want to fill a day.
Although small, Winchelsea is actually a town and one of the Cinque Ports. Known as New Winchelsea (because Old Winchelsea was destroyed in a storm in 1287), it was built from 1288 onwards and during the 14th century was an important hub for fishing, shipping, trade, wine and very possibly piracy.
The town is laid out in a grid style underneath which is a network of medieval cellars which it is possible to visit (check with the museum first). Enter the town up a steep hill via the 13th century Strand Gate and take a moment to soak up the views from the lookout. If old buildings are your thing, Winchelsea is a treasure trove and you should visit the remains of two monasteries (Greyfriars and Blackfriars), the central church, the Court Hall (home to the museum), the town well and a host of other buildings. There’s something slightly mesmerising about Winchelsea, which is inland but has views of the sea and a strong sense of the past. When you’re ready, leave via the Pipewell Gate and head over to Rye.
20. Wey and Arun Canal
Travelling by water is a pleasure in its own right and a boat trip on the Wey and Arun Canal is a delicious way to explore. The transportation of goods in the late 18th and early 19th century was slow, dangerous and difficult. But in 1816, a crucial canal that linked Guildford, London and the River Wey to the north, and the coast and River Arun to the south was opened. This represented a quick and effective way to move goods from the coast to London and back, and for a number of years, the Wey and Arun Canal was a busy and important waterway. However, the canal couldn’t compete with the arrival of the train, and by 1871 the Wey and Arun Canal was closed and gradually fell into a state of disrepair, neglect and abandonment.
Then in 1970 a group of volunteers set about restoring the canal and nowadays you can enjoy boat trips along a fabulously sleepy and picturesque section just south of Loxwood. The canal boat trips navigate their way through various locks and you can also book on to special event trips such as their cream tea or Halloween trips. The trips are both a unique and tranquil way to enjoy local wildlife and gain a deeper understanding of times gone by.
Bodiam is another of our great Sussex castles that has the wow factor. Approaching from the Battle direction (so from the south) you see it, standing proud and magnificent in the distance. It’s a 14th century moated castle and although it’s a ruin, it’s none the less impressive for it. Bodiam was built during the 100 year war by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge (a Sussex knight) and it was a great show of status. In its heyday, it would have been pucker indeed and over the years, it played its part in both the War of the Roses and civil war before gradually falling into decay.
The surrounding moat gives it added splendour and there’s a WWI pillbox that adds a touch of context – you feel like you’re in such a sleepy corner of Sussex but actually, in days gone by, war and danger were never far away. The last private owner was Lord Curzon the former Viceroy of India who bought in in 1917 and left it to the National Trust. Other owners have included Mad Jack Fuller who is famed for building a number of extraordinary follies nearby (do visit them too if you have time).
Personally, I recommend walking the full circuit around the castle before you enter via the gatehouse. This just gives you a sense of the beast. Once you’ve crossed the moat and you’re in, you can explore the remains of the great hall, kitchen, the south west tower and the chapel. Then head to the café for some coffee and cake!
22. Beachy Head to Cuckmere Haven
As you come out of Eastbourne, take the Beachy Head Road to explore a fascinating part of our Sussex coastline. First up, you come to Beachy Head itself, an iconic Sussex landmark in its own right with its chalk cliffs and its distinctive offshore red and white striped lighthouse. The lighthouse was built to replace the Belle Tout lighthouse which is on the next peak of the cliffs as you walk west. The Belle Tout was decommissioned in 1902 and has subsequently appeared in numerous films and TV shows (think James Bond and Changing Rooms) and has even been a private house.
From there, follow the coastline to Birling Gap, through the Seven Sisters Country Park and on to Cuckmere Haven. Chalk cliffs, stunning views, wildlife, rockpools and the meandering River Cuckmere are the order of the day, with gentle water sports, at Cuckmere Haven or a café stop at Birling Gap. You can follow the South Downs Way from Beachy Head all the way to the River Cuckmere but if you’re going by car (and it’s a wonderfully undulating and winding road), you’ll be struck by the fantastic views of the flood plains at Cuckmere. On market day, you might also want to head on to the market in pretty East Dean. As markets go, you could say it’s small but perfectly formed!
Chichester is a cathedral city which dates back to Roman and Anglo Saxon times and there are reasons to visit aplenty both in and around the city. You really have to start at the magnificent cathedral which was founded in 1075 and has examples of both Norman and Gothic architecture. It’s also home to evocative cloisters, two rare medieval sculptures and a collection of modern art. When you’ve finished exploring here, you should also take time to visit the adjacent Bishop’s Palace Gardens.
The city itself is also famous for its ancient city wall and distinctive medieval Market Cross as well as the dynamic Festival Theatre. Make time to visit Pallant House Gallery as well as St Mary’s Hospital, one of the oldest almshouses in the country (visits by arrangement). There is a wealth of interesting architecture within the city to explore as well as the nearby Canal Basin, Chichester Harbour and Fishbourne Roman Palace.
24. Towner Eastbourne
Sussex has some great art galleries and art centres including the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea and Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, but the Towner is perhaps most notable for being as striking on the outside as it is inside.
Founded in 1923, the Towner collects and exhibits contemporary art of both national and international importance, “showcasing the most exciting and creative developments in modern and contemporary art”. With almost 500 works, the Towner is home to some significant modern art including work by Eric Ravilious (1903–1942), Dineo Seshee Bopape, John Akomfrah, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Tacita Dean, Grayson Perry and Wolfgang Tillmans. It also has a sensory room, a new collection library and a cinema as well as an art school programme that includes drawing, making, designing and film making.
In 2019, German artist Lothar Götz was commissioned to transform the exterior walls with what he describes as Dance Diagonal . The results are dazzling and although this was originally a short-term commission, it has now been extended to 2024. And apart from anything else, it makes an amazing Instagram shot!
If you are planning on visiting the Towner, why not make a weekend. You’ll find out top recommendations for a weekend in Eastbourne here.
We are blessed with quite a few Elizabethan mansions in Sussex, and Parham House and Gardens has to be one of our best! The current Parham House dates back to the late 17th century and what strikes you first as you arrive along the meandering path that takes you through parkland to the house, is the strange combination of silence and awe. The house looks magnificent and is another Sussex building that seems to conjure up the very spirit of yesterday. The South Downs shimmer quietly before you as you explore four acres of walled garden which include a wendy house like no other, a 1920s greenhouse, sculptures, a herb garden, a rose garden, white, blue and gold borders and more. It’s a journey of discovery with teasing paths, hidden benches and secretive doorways.
When you’ve explored the gardens and surrounding grounds, you head into the house to be met by the Great Hall, the Great Parlour, the Saloon, the Great Chamber, the West Room and Ante Room, the Green Room, White Room and Long Gallery. Each room holds its own combination of delights and treasures including great paintings, tapestries, fine china, gilt-framed mirrors, great rugs, exquisite boxes, toys and a fine selection of period furniture. Finally, before you leave, don’t forget you still need to head over to the private church where you’ll get great views back to the house.
Choosing the 25 Best Places to Visit in Sussex wasn’t easy. The truth is, we have hundreds of amazing places which are all worth a visit from the large and impressive to the small and intricate. So if your favourite place in Sussex isn’t on our list, please let us know and perhaps we’ll add another 25 great places to visit to our list!