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Things to do in West Sussex

Picture courtesy of West Sussex County Council.

West Sussex, located on the coast of central southern England, is a beautiful county with much to offer its visitors.

Over half of the county lies in areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with acres of green and pleasant countryside and miles of sunny coastline.

There are a host of vibrant towns to visit in West Sussex.

The county appeals to many because of the quiet beauty of the South Downs, stunning vistas of the High Weald and many historic and family attractions.

West Sussex boasts some of the finest walking country in the British Isles.

With over 4000 km (2,500 miles) of footpaths, you can wander into some of the quietest corners of Southern England and discover landscapes of great beauty, which have inspired generations of writers, poets and artists.

Picture courtesy of West Sussex County Council.

On the south coast of West Sussex in the lea of Selsey Bill is the seaside town of Bognor Regis. Bognor was given the title "Regis" in 1929 by King George V, who convalesced here. This is one of the sunniest places in Britain, with lovely clean beaches, parks and gardens, lively cafes, restaurants and pubs.

An ideal base for touring the county, Picture courtesy of West Sussex County Council.West Sussex Tourist Information is available at the centre of Bognor Regis in Belmont Street.

The small port of Littlehampton is situated at the mouth of the River Arun. The harbour is popular with yachtsmen cruising the south coast; there are pontoon moorings for visitors, two yacht clubs and marinas also an angling club with vessels for hire.

Best Villages in West Sussex Chart

1. AmberleyThatch Cottages and Castle533
2. BramberSouth East in Bloom Winner757
3. East DeanDistinctive Flint Houses206
4. SteyningTimber Framed Buildings5,812

Best Villages in West Sussex

On either side of the harbour are good sandy beaches with safe bathing, an unspoiled stretch to the west, is designated as a site of special scientific interest. Littlehampton's annual two-day Regatta takes place in August. The town has a variety of restaurants and pubs.

Worthing Picture courtesy of West Sussex County Council. is the largest town in West Sussex, with good shopping facilities, theatres, pubs and restaurants. The sandy, pebble beach is safe for families and popular for windsurfing and sailing. On the promenade fresh fish is on sale from local fishermen.

The lovely city of Chichester has many fine historic buildings, it is the county town of West Sussex. Visit the Norman Cathedral, the 13th Century priory and Georgian Pallant House and take a walk along the circular walls for fine views over the city. Nearby Fishbourne Roman Palace is a 'must see'.

You can enjoy a days racing atPicture courtesy of West Sussex County Council. 'Glorious Goodwood' Park. Chichester Festival Theatre hosts cabaret and comedy nights, family days, talks and other events, visit during July for the Summer Festival of music and drama.

The ancient town of Arundel , is well worth a visit, to see the castle and its treasures. The town has a toy museum the children will enjoy, and a visit to Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Arundel is an enjoyable experience for all the family.

Picture courtesy of West Sussex County Council.If you enjoy visiting country houses we recommend a visit to Petworth House, one of the finest country houses in the care of the National Trust. For garden lovers we recommend the two lovely gardens in Haywards Heath Borde Hill Garden, registered as a Grade II Garden and Park by English Heritage. High Beeches Gardens offers you twenty acres of enchanting, landscaped, woodland and water gardens to explore.

Learn more about West Sussex at West Sussex County Council's website.

Days out in West Sussex

  • Arundel Castle & Gardens
    Built at the end of the 11th century, Arundel Castle is both ancient castle and stately home. It has been the home of the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors for 850 years.
    Arundel Castle & Gardens
  • Bignor Roman Villa and Museum
    The Roman villa is situated in a superb rural setting to the north of the South Downs. The mosaic floors, discovered in 1811, are some of the finest in Britain.
    Bignor Roman Villa and Museum
  • Bognor Regis Museum
    Bognor Regis, the first purpose built holiday resort, its history and development.
    Bognor Regis Museum
  • Borde Hill Garden
    The Stephenson Clarke family moved to Sussex in the 1840's and Stephenson R Clarke purchased Borde Hill in 1893. About 1912 his passion for collecting trees and shrubs began by financing expeditions to the Himalayas and China.
    Borde Hill Garden
  • Cass Sculpture Foundation
    The Foundation's ever-changing display of sculpture, including over 60 large works, is now recognised around the world.
    Cass Sculpture Foundation
  • Chichester Cathedral
    For 900 years Chichester Cathedral has stood at the heart of Chichester. Each generation has left its mark on the Cathedral, so this magnificent building has unique architecture ranging from original Norman features to the towering Victorian Spire.
    Chichester Cathedral
  • Chichester District Museum
    Chichester District Museum, housed in an eighteenth century corn store, explores the history of Chichester and District.
    Chichester District Museum
  • Denmans Garden
    The unique 20th century garden, jointly owned by renowned garden designer and author John Brookes MBE and Mr Michael Neve, is beautifully planted for all year interest
    Denmans Garden
  • Devil's Dyke
    The sinister sounding Devil's Dyke is a huge dry chalk valley and a historic beauty spot on the South Downs.
    Devil's Dyke
  • Fishbourne Roman Palace
    Fishbourne's impressive remains came to light in 1960 when a new water main cut into the previously unsuspected foundations and mosaics.
    Fishbourne Roman Palace
  • Fishers Farm Park
    Situated in the heart of the West Sussex countryside, Fishers Farm Park is a perfect day out for young families and grandparents alike.
    Fishers Farm Park
  • Fontwell Park Racecourse
    A very warm welcome awaits you here at the 'Jewel of West Sussex' that is conveniently located on the A27 between the picturesque towns of Arundel and Chichester.
    Fontwell Park Racecourse
  • Goodwood Racecourse
    Horseracing was started at the Goodwood Racecourse by the 3rd Duke of Richmond in 1802. It continues to stage twenty-two days of the finest racing in the sporting calendar as well as being a firm diary date in the English Summer Season.
    Goodwood Racecourse
  • High Beeches Gardens
    Enjoy twenty acres of enchanting, landscaped, woodland and water gardens.
    High Beeches Gardens
  • Hollygate Cactus Garden and Nursery
    This unique collection of over 30,000 plants has been built up over the years and is well known throughout the world. It features many rare plants from the more arid areas of the world such as USA, Mexico, South America, Africa etc.
    Hollygate Cactus Garden and Nursery
  • Horsham Museum
    Horsham Museum stands out as a place you must visit. Rich in history, it is like no other.
    Horsham Museum
  • Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens
    Leonardslee is internationally famous for its wonderful display of Rhododendron and Azaleas. In May the gardens are considered to be one of the most magnificent gardens in Europe.
    Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens
  • Newtimber Place
    Newtimber Place is a Sussex moated house, built of flint and brick with a roof of Horsham stone.
    Newtimber Place
  • Nymans Gardens
    Nymans is a garden for true gardening enthusiasts. It successfully combines the horticultural attributes of a plant collector's garden with a clear design which is easy on the eye.
    Nymans Gardens
  • Pallant House Gallery
    A contemporary wing adjoining a Queen Anne townhouse holding one of the best collections of Modern British art in the country.
    Pallant House Gallery
  • Petworth House
    A magnificent late-17th century palace set in a beautiful park, landscaped by 'Capability' Brown and immortalised in Turner's paintings.
    Petworth House
  • RSPB Pulborough Brooks
    RSPB Pulborough Brooks is set in the sheltered Arun Valley within the South Downs National Park.
    RSPB Pulborough Brooks
  • Saint Hill Manor
    One of the finest Sussex sandstone buildings in England, Saint Hill Manor was built in 1792 by Gibbs Crawford.
    Saint Hill Manor
  • St. Mary's House and Gardens
    This historic house in the downland village of Bramber was built in 1470 by Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester, Provost of Eton College and founder of Magdalen College Oxford.
    St. Mary's House and Gardens
  • Standen
    The Victorian family home of Standen is a celebration of all aspects of the Arts and Crafts Movement.
  • Steyning Museum
    The museum draws together a wealth of objects which recall days long gone and others which seem like only yesterday
    Steyning Museum
  • Uppark House and Garden
    Like many National Trust properties, Uppark House is not just about the historic house and gardens, but also the fascinating lives of those who have lived there.
    Uppark House and Garden
  • Wakehurst Place
    As well as having an exceptionally fine Elizabethan house, Wakehurst Place has some spectacular gardens which are actually managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    Wakehurst Place
  • Weald and Downland Open Air Museum
    At the heart of the Museum's collection are over 45 historic homes, farms and workplaces that have been rescued from destruction and restored as far as possible to their original form.
    Weald and Downland Open Air Museum
  • West Dean Gardens
    A visit to West Dean Gardens is the perfect day out for all the family.
    West Dean Gardens
  • Worthing Museum and Art Gallery
    An elegant Edwardian building houses one of the most interesting museum and art galleries in the South! Collections are diverse and include local history, archaeology and geology as well as ceramics and glass.
    Worthing Museum and Art Gallery
  • WWT Arundel Wetland Centre
    Gliding through our reed beds in silent electric boats is the best opportunity in Britain to glimpse a rare water vole or see vividly-coloured kingfishers.
    WWT Arundel Wetland Centre

Places to Visit in West Sussex

  • Amberley
    Amberley is on the South Downs Way and can be reached by train. It has Sussex thatch cottages, a church and majestic castle ruins overlooking the Wild Brooks nature reserve.
  • Ardingly
    The village of Ardingly, pronounced Arding-lye, is on the eastern edge of West Sussex. It is 33 miles south of London and 14 miles from the south coast resort of Brighton.
  • Arundel
    Arundel is a small hilltop town with a skyline dominated by the Castle. High on a hill, at the head of the Arun gap, stands Arundel Castle, surrounded by magnificent grounds.
  • Ashington
    Ashington is situated in the Horsham District within West Sussex. The parish is approximately 10 miles from Horsham, 4 miles from Storrington and 9 miles from Pulborough.
  • Bognor Regis
    Bognor Regis is 70 miles southwest of London on England's pretty south coast. It proudly boasts the most sunshine in England, making it ideal for family holidays and weekend breaks by the sea.
    Bognor Regis
  • Bosham
    King Harold sailed from Bosham to visit Duke William, before the Norman invasion of 1066.
  • Bramber
    The pretty village of Bramber regularly wins the 'South East in Bloom' competition. It features the 15th century St. Mary's House and the ruins of Bramber Castle.
  • Burpham
    Burpham is a village situated roughly 2 miles north of Arundel and nestled between the banks of the River Arun and the hills of the South Downs.
  • Chichester
    Chichester is the County town of West Sussex and one of the UK's finest smaller Cathedral cities. Its plan and walls date from the Roman occupation and it has splendid examples of late 18th and early 19th century architecture.
  • Crawley
    With Gatwick Airport on its doorstep and an express rail link to London, Crawley is one of South East England's premier shopping centres. The County Mall, provides parking for 1800 vehicles, provides the ultimate in shopping convenience.
  • Earnley
    Situated in rural West Sussex, close to the historic city of Chichester and just a few minutes from the sea, the village of Earnley is certainly one of the more calm and quiet villages of West Sussex.
  • Eartham
    Eartham is a quiet Sussex village with a fine pub and an interesting little church. The chancel arch of the church is Norman, and has two figures carved on its inside faces, on one side a hare and on the other a bearded man.
  • East Dean
    The delightful village and parish of East Dean is on the outskirts of Chichester, tucked away between the West Sussex villages of Singleton and Upwaltham.
    East Dean
  • East Grinstead
    East Grinstead, on the edge of Ashdown Forest at the very east of the county and only 30 miles from London, has a High Street with the longest continuous run of 14th century timber-framed buildings in England.
    East Grinstead
  • East Wittering
    Head southwards from the beautiful West Sussex Cathedral City of Chichester and signposts indicate The Witterings.
    East Wittering
  • Felpham
    Felpham, pronounced Felf-fm by locals, is a small coastal village of around 10,000 people in West Sussex. It is a village in its own right, but is adjoining the larger town of Bognor Regis.
  • Goring-by-Sea
    Goring-by-Sea is a small neighbourhood in the West Sussex Borough of Worthing. It has around 7.800 residents, a good number of whom have chosen to retire to this attractive community.
  • Hardham
    In the village of Hardham you will find the tiny 11th century St. Botolph's Church. St. Botolph's contains one of the UK's earliest and most complete schemes of mediaeval wall paintings.
  • Henley
    Henley is a small hamlet with 16 houses in the middle of the 15,000 acre Cowdray Estate. Henley is well known for its idyllic setting on the side of a north-eastward facing sandstone hill...
  • Horsham
    Rich in history, Horsham District in the north east of the county, is a showcase of rural England, an inspiration for poets, artists and film makers alike.
  • Littlehampton
    The West Sussex seaside resort of Littlehampton is 17 miles west of Brighton, at the mouth of the River Arun.
  • Lurgashall
    Lurgashall, north west of Petworth, is a classic Sussex village with a triangular cricket green overlooked by the Noah's Ark, a friendly pub with a strong cricketing connection.
  • Middleton-on-Sea
    The West Sussex village of Middleton-on-Sea is in the eastern suburbs of Bognor Regis. It is a small seaside community of around 5,000 residents.
  • Midhurst
    Midhurst has its origins in the middle ages. The buildings round the Market Square are particularly attractive and include Elizabeth House, a rare example of a four-story timber-framed house.
  • Pagham
    Pagham is a small, sea front town boasting a nature reserve located close to Pagham Lagoon. It has enough interesting wildlife to attract both the amateur and serious birdwatcher.
  • Petworth
    The magnificent Petworth House dominates Petworth; one of Sussex's most important country towns.
  • Pulborough
    Pulborough is the home of Parham House and Gardens, set in the heart of an ancient deer park, on the slopes of the South Downs. The house and gardens have been lovingly restored by the Pearson family.
  • Rusper
    The parish of Rusper dates back to at least the 12th century A.D. The parish is nestled between Crawley and Horsham and is home to around 1,500 people.
  • Selsey
    Selsey is a small seaside town just 8 miles from Chichester on the West Sussex coast. It lies at the tip of the Manhood Peninsula and is almost an island, being surrounded on three sides by the sea.
  • Shipley
    The village of Shipley, has views of the South Downs and the iron age Chanctonbury Ring camp. The church was built by the Knights Templar around 1125.
  • Shoreham
    A short car ride from Shoreham is Shoreham Airport, officially opened in 1911, was host to the British pioneers of air flight. The oldest licensed airport in the world.
  • Singleton
    Singleton is one of West Sussex's small and charming villages in the Lavant Valley.
  • Slindon
    Slindon is on the South slopes of the Downs and mostly in the care of the National Trust. Charming and unspoiled, with brick and flint houses there are walks through the surrounding beech woods and open downland.
  • Steyning
    Steyning lies inland from Shoreham-by-Sea, it has a wealth of timber framed buildings, including Woodhouse Cottage in Mouse Lane, and 14th and 15th century half type houses with projecting first floors in the High Street.
  • West Itchenor
    The pretty village of West Itchenor is just southwest of Chichester, in a delightful area of West Sussex.
    West Itchenor
  • West Wittering
    The delightful village of West Wittering lies in a beautiful part of West Sussex, close to endless stretches of untamed beach and windblown sand dunes.
    West Wittering
  • Worthing
    The popular seaside town of Worthing, has a largely pedestrianised shopping centre, all on level ground. Worthing was immortalised by Oscar Wilde in 'The Importance of Being Earnest'.

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