Sussex is centrally located on the coast of southern England, and has large areas of green and pleasant countryside, vibrant and varied cities and towns plus miles of south facing sunny seaside. Mid-Sussex contains charming villages, windmills and the spectacular Balcombe viaduct. There is also Ashdown Forest, where you can visit “pooh sticks bridge”. If you spend your time throwing sticks upstream of the bridge, you’ll be enacting the famous game associated with Winnie the-Pooh!
The city of Brighton offers a mix of history and culture, sophisticated shopping, buzzy restaurants and glittering nightlife – with the laid-back charms of the seaside. 14 miles of coastline, including the award-winning beaches of Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, make Sussex by the sea a popular spot for families. The town of Worthing also has lots to offer with its theatres, restaurants and shopping.
A few miles inland is photogenic Arundel with its castle and antique shops, and the beautiful South Downs. The Roman city of Chichester has an imposing cathedral, a major art gallery and the renowned Chichester Festival Theatre, plus the wildlife-rich inlets and bays of Chichester Harbour and the beaches of West Wittering and East Head.
To the east is 1066 Country, with the site of the Battle of Hastings, and on the coast, the old Cinque Port of Rye, bohemian Hastings, nearby Bexhill and pretty countryside inland. Along the coast is Eastbourne, a seaside resort with award-winning beaches and a grand promenade leading to the iconic white chalk cliffs of Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters. This area offers lovely scenic walks along the coast and through picturesque villages, with great views over the Channel.
Just a short journey from London and Brighton, Mid Sussex allows you to discover a world of unspoilt charm and outstanding natural beauty, including the designated South Downs National Park.
Mid Sussex contains charming villages, windmills and the spectacular Balcombe Viaduct. Ashdown Forest is nestled in Mid Sussex, home of Winnie the Pooh’s “Hundred Aker Wood”. You can even visit “Pooh Sticks Bridge” and play the infamous Pooh Sticks.
Over 60% of the Mid Sussex district is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from the gently rolling High Weald in the north to the chalk escarpments of the South Downs. This area of Sussex is at the heartland of some of the most beautiful countryside in England and includes parts of the spectacular South Downs Way.
The unique pair of Jack & Jill Windmills sits happily on the South Downs overlooking the ancient routes and paths that criss-cross this green and pleasant land. So it’s no surprise to learn that this natural beauty has inspired poets, artists, writers and filmmakers alike.
Lasting signs of Sussex’s history and heritage nestle in the unspoilt countryside. Ancient woodlands sit with medieval timber-framed and tile hung houses. Winding country lanes bordered by natural hedgerows lead to historic houses, ancient churches, and hidden villages with cricket greens, and duck ponds overlooked by the village pub.
Discover the Great Gardens of Sussex – gardens that are linked by plant hunters, design, and a rich Weald soil providing the ultimate growing conditions for a range of exotic and unusual plants – are waiting to be discovered. You can make time to explore the woodland glades at High Beeches, Borde Hill’s sub-tropical Dells, and the fascinating horticultural styles of Nymans. Plus don’t forget to visit Kew’s ‘Country Garden’ at Wakehurst Place and its important Millennium Seed Bank, or the lakes and natural woodland setting at nearby Leonardslee.
The three market towns of Burgess Hill, East Grinstead and Haywards Heath offer speciality shopping and a place to enjoy a bite to eat, whilst antique shops, galleries and local crafts can be found in many of the villages.
Walkers and cyclists return year after year to explore the hundreds of miles of Mid Sussex paths. There are many excellent golf courses set in stunning countryside, sailing and fishing on reservoirs, and leisure centres and outdoor facilities that offer a multitude of activities including fun pools, tennis and pitch & putt.
A number of major and local events are held each year – International show jumping at Hickstead, veteran car and steam rallies, outdoor summer concerts in beautiful surroundings, country fairs and the South of England show at Ardingly.
So, on your days off, whether exploring the countryside, enjoying the fresh air and tranquillity or taking a relaxing break away from the hustle and bustle, this charming corner of Sussex offers you an unforgettable experience.
For more information, download the Mid Sussex Guide.
Located on the south coast of England, less than an hour from London by train, Brighton is one of the UK’s most popular destinations.
Whilst it has long been known as a seaside resort, there is far more to Brighton than just fish and chips on the beach! Here are a few fun facts to give you an insight into this vibrant, historic and diverse city.
‘Brighton’ is not the city’s full name – Brighton is actually formally known as the city of Brighton and Hove. Many locals still consider the two to be separate towns.
Brighton borders the UK’s newest national park – you only need to travel 10 minutes outside of the city to reach the South Downs – the UK’s newest national park.
Brighton is home to Britain’s oldest cinema – the historic Duke of York’s cinema – it’s reputed to be the oldest cinema in continuous use in Britain, and offers cosy, theatre-esque surroundings in which to watch the latest releases and re-runs of the all-time classics.
Today Brighton is considered a very desirable place to live, and walking around you may recognise some famous faces! Brighton’s creative vibe has always attracted artists, actors and musicians in particular, with Sir Paul McCartney, Nick Cave, Adele, Noel Gallagher, Fat Boy Slim, and even Hollywood actress Cate Blanchett all having owned homes in Brighton at some point or other. Speaking about Brighton, Cate Blanchett is quoted as saying, ‘I miss Brighton enormously, enormously. There is so much I miss, including rain. I miss the verdant countryside.’
Brighton is sometimes also referred to as ‘London by Sea’. Brighton first became fashionable amongst day-trippers and holidaymakers from London in the late 1700s, when the then Prince of Wales, who became King George IV, became a regular visitor. The palace he built, a beautiful Indian and Oriental inspired building called the Royal Pavilion, is one of England’s most unique landmarks.
Brighton is the only town in Britain with a Grade I listed pier. Brighton’s West Pier is one such building despite these days being derelict. Opened in 1866, it originally started life as a promenade for well-to-do Victorians, but by World War I had evolved into a pleasure pier with rides and a concert hall. Although no longer joined to land, and completely derelict after decades of disuse, its distinctive shell remains one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.