Five of The Most Charming Towns in Sussex

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Sussex is a county in South East England that is home to a number of well-known cities and seaside towns, making it a particularly popular area to visit during the warmer months. This being said, there are a variety of lovely spots that are well worth visiting for a couple of nights or even just a day trip at any time of the year…

Arundel, West Sussex

Arundel is home to some of the South East’s most prominent historical buildings. Here you’ll find Arundel Castle: a 10th-century residence inhabited by the Duke of Norfolk and his family. Visitors can pay to enter the castle and explore the incredible structure and renowned gardens for themselves. We recommend visiting during the month of April when the highly-anticipated tulip festival takes place, which sees the castle grounds bloom with colour. Built in 1873, Arundel Cathedral is another popular attraction—visitors tend to be drawn to its  intricate stained glass windows. The town is happily packed with quaint cafes and homely pubs too, making it easy to grab a bite to eat before exploring the town’s iconic antique shops. 

photo of the river Arun and Arundel castle

Petworth, West Sussex

The small town of Petworth is nestled picturesquely amongst acres of verdant farmland. Should you find yourself visiting the area, be sure to pay a visit to Petworth House and Park—a National Trust house that is home to an impressive collection of art, including works by Turner and Gainsborough. The 700-acre deer park designed by Capability Brown is another prominent attraction here; the spectacular landscape features fallow deers, forests and glassy lakes. The town itself is a delight to wander, and is home to cobblestone streets lined with cafes, independent shops and antique markets. We recommend paying a visit to The Welldiggers Arms—a stunning countryside pub that boasts sweeping views and serves a killer Sunday roast!

Photo of the deer at Petworth Park

Rye, East Sussex

With its vine-covered cottages, maze-like streets and whimsical atmosphere, it’s no wonder that the seaside town of Rye is perhaps one of the best-loved towns within East Sussex.  If you have time, we recommend visiting the nature reserve, which is home to a vast collection of wildflowers and scenic walking routes. You’ll also find a range of quality eateries and cosy pubs in the town: one of the most popular (and most often fully booked) is, The Fig, where they use fresh, locally sourced ingredients in their wholesome brunch, lunch and dinner offerings. Camber Sands is also just a ten-minute drive away and is the nearest sprawling swathe of sand if you’re looking to paddle during the warmer months.

photo of wholesome street in Rye

Haywards Heath, West Sussex

Haywards Heath is a historical town located in the heart of Mid Sussex that is home to a number of pastoral delights, including Victorian and Edwardian architecture, sprawling gardens and traditional English pubs. The town of Ardingly is just a ten-minute drive away too, and here you’ll find a glistening reservoir, which is enjoyed thoroughly by locals during the warmer months. If you’re making a weekend of it, you could also visit The National Trust’s botanic gardens and country estate of Wakehurst, which is a horticultural haven of fairytale forests, vibrant meadows and lively nature reserves. 

Lake with lily pads in haywards heath

Hastings, East Sussex

This coastal town is packed with historical appeal and one of the most significant attractions is, of course, the crumbling ruins of Hastings Castle, which were central to the momentous 1066 battle. Other popular spots include Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, Alexandra Park and the Old Town, all of which are worth visiting if you’re in the area. With a golden beach too, Hastings makes for a particularly enjoyable summer staycation, when you’re able to sprawl out on the beach and take full advantage of the area’s leafy pub gardens.

Hastings town