East Sussex boasts the London magnet of Brighton, pretty Lewes and sun dappled vineyards; West Sussex is dreamy - think Bosham, Arundel and those Downs. Both Sussexes have rolling hills and medieval towns, and are fringed by a dramatic coastline with gorgeous beaches. These delightful counties are fruitful corners for seekers of stylish antique shops, beautiful clapboard houses and family fun at the seaside.
Bohemian Brighton: home to Fatboy Slim, Graham Greene’s mods and rockers, and the UK’s only Green Party seat. The grand old pier is worth a leisurely stroll, while the Royal Pavilion is a must-see. Kemptown is the city's Notting Hill, all antique shops, quirky boutiques, gay bars and boho eateries. The South Lanes are admired for their upmarket boutiques; the North Lanes are loved for their characterful stores.
The chalk hills of the South Downs stretch across the whole of Sussex (and into Hampshire). They’re a dream for walkers – try the Seven Sisters hike, a dramatic clifftop route that runs from Seaford to Eastbourne. In West Sussex, Devil’s Dyke offers some of the finest views of the Downs. It’s a popular spot with hand-gliders, and has a network of cycling trails for all abilities. In East Sussex, there are a string of sunny vineyards to explore – try Breaky Bottom near Lewes for a glass of the region’s finest sparkling wine.
Little ones will love Ashdown Forest, home to Pooh Bear’s Hundred Acre Wood and the original Pooh Sticks Bridge. Also popular with families is the Bluebell Railway - a cherished heritage line with vintage steam trains running from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead. Don’t miss the beaches; Camber Sands is the only sand dune system in East Sussex and is great for kids to run about in... prepare for donkeys and trippers in summer. West Wittering Beach, near Chichester, is a gorgeous sandy stretch set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Wander around one of England's most beautiful - and well-trodden - medieval towns, a cobbled maze of steep streets and narrow lanes. Most famous of these is Mermaid Street, which is bright with boutiques, art galleries and craft shops. Down on Strand Quay are pretty tug boats and a farmers' market on Wednesdays. At Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, located just outside the town, gaze at fishing boats and spot birds soaring overhead.