Sussex is a popular tourist destination year-round, and at only 90 minutes from London, it’s a fantastic place for a weekend getaway. While arguably best known for Brighton, there’s so much more to the Sussex coast than just this bustling city.
If you’re looking for a luxury escape that’s not too far from the big smoke, Sussex is an ideal choice. These are some of its lesser-known hotspots to check out for a relaxed stay along the sunny south coast of England.
A charming town in West Sussex, Petworth makes for a brilliant location for a weekend escape. Steeped in heritage splendour, Petworth is the perfect place for sipping tea in a charming cafe, browsing for antiques or soaking up the beauty of its historic properties, such as Petworth House and Gardens. The Old Railway Station is a unique rest stop – an original train station that has been beautifully restored and converted into a hotel where you can enjoy the classic Edwardian features as part of your Petworth experience.
Camber Sands is a beautiful beach nestled on the East Sussex coast with miles of golden sands and beautiful seascapes. It’s a relaxed area with ample flora and fauna, and unspoiled landscapes that make for the perfect place for a coastal weekend. Fill your seaside break with watersports, scenic walks and seal spotting. Just 20 minutes from the quaint town of Rye, where you can enjoy charming cobbled streets and historic buildings, Camber Sands offers a laid-back elegance and intimate coastal cottages from where you can relax and unwind in style.
Tucked away in the heart of East Sussex, Alfriston looks straight out of a postcard with friendly local pubs, independent shops and miles of rolling countryside in the South Downs National Park to explore. From the Rathfinny Wine Estate to the National Trust’s Clergy House and the Long Man Brewery nearby, The Star is a wonderful 15th century inn with four-poster beds, seasonal dishes served at their on-site restaurant and antiques aplenty. Need an escape from London life? The wholesome country living in Alfriston is ideal.
Watched over by a striking castle, Arundel has an old-time feel and is a romantic town that couples impressive architecture with a fairytale ambiance and a picturesque setting on the edge of the South Downs. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway with your partner, Arundel is a delightful area in West Sussex where you can boat across Swanbourne Lake, dine in cosy pubs and soak up the decades of history at Arundel Castle. End your days in an inviting manor house at The Pig in the South Downs which is hidden away down a winding country lane.
A quiet village tucked away in the South Downs, home to artisans, creatives and families who have lived here for generations, Ditchling is an increasingly rare find that has pubs filled with friendly locals, beautiful walking routes and stunning countryside. In addition, there are plenty of appealing restaurants and cafes serving up the finest in seasonal local produce. Wander through quirky museums and artists trails before settling in at your own luxury lakeside cabin, complete with its own wraparound deck and boats to borrow.
From taking a ride on the steepest cliff railway in England to exploring the Old Town or visiting Hastings Country Park, this is truly an area of incredible natural beauty and a fascinating place to visit. This town has some great shops, an award-winning pier and so much history to dive into. When you’re ready to call it a day, there’s nowhere better than The Old Rectory which has vintage-inspired decor, a fantastic menu and period features, topped off by a charming walled garden and relaxing spa.
Lewes is an old market town north-east of Brighton, famed for its independent stores, eponymous castle and medieval streets. Lewes is a town that always has something going on, from firework and bonfire events to Easter celebrations, but it’s also home to a local brewery, friendly cafes, Southover Gardens and Lewes Priory. Skyhouse Sussex is one of the finest hotels in the area and an attraction in itself as a chic eco-friendly home and the UK’s first carbon-neutral B&B.
A Roman cathedral city filled with evidence of its past, Chichester boasts a plethora of Grade II listed buildings and a great selection of interesting attractions, from the City Cross which dates back to the 1500s to the famous Goodwood Racecourse. Chichester is renowned for its shopping, as well as its incredible cathedral and the beautiful accompanying Priory Park. This special Roman city is a wonderful choice for a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. Stay in a lovingly restored Georgian building in the city at East Walls Hotel, with classy interiors and luxury touches throughout.
There are so many places to visit along the Sussex coast with some hidden gems still waiting to be discovered, from historic villages to quaint boltholes and stunning coastal respite. With these destinations so close to London, you’re just a stone’s throw away from avoiding the tourist traps and experiencing the real Sussex with all the heritage, beauty and luxury accommodation it has to offer.