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Our guide to luxury Sussex holidays

With its rippling Downs, winding coastal paths, iconic chalk cliffs, and chocolate-box towns, this is the place for rambles, rides, and long-awaited R&R. Here's our Unique guide to luxury Sussex holidays.

Sussex is speckled with charming towns – including Rye, Lewes, and Billinghurst – while bohemian Brighton, with its luminescent pier and vibrant spirit, marches to the beat of its own drum. Spanning 280 hectares, the South Downs National Park straddles both East and West Sussex, punctuated by water meadows, kissing gates, and Seven Sisters' iconic white chalk cliffs. Stretched out under candy-pop parasols at East Wittering or puttering along the River Arun, it's hard to believe that Sussex is under two hours from London – but that's what makes last-minute escapes here all the more tempting.

So, pop a bottle of Nyetimber and unlock our guide to luxury Sussex holidays, where we uncover all the sea glass gems along this unspoilt shingle stretch, including what to see, do, and where to dine before it's time to pack up the bodyboards and walking boots. As for where to call home in Sussex, expect sylvan escapes in back-to-nature settings where wild swims at dusk are de rigueur and storied grain barns with riverside hot tubs add a touch of added romance. Whether you're gathering the whole crew or looking for somewhere to say "I do," you'll find it all – and then some – in this chapter of Britain.

Locations in Sussex

Whether sandwiched between High Weald and the South Downs AONB, or cast away on Winchelsea´s shores for weekends spent beachcombing, Sussex satisfies cravings for both coast and country.

Collections in Sussex

Whatever´s on your wish list – be that a tennis court to ace your A-game, water views to drink in at dusk, or EV chargers to keep you on the open road – our curated collections in Sussex have every fleeting fancy covered.

Things to do in Sussex

Sussex is a hobbyists paradise; hit the pit at Goodwood, catch the Gold Cup at Cowdray Park, or hop aboard a vintage steam train as it chugs towards the 14th-century Bodiam Castle, with its fairytale moat and medieval ruins.

Things to see in Sussex

Hunt for Pooh sticks in Milne´s Ashdown Forest, or don your Galilean binoculars for an evening of world-class opera at Glyndebourne. From chalk Sisters to storybook scenes in Rye, Sussex is a see-it-to-believe-it sort of place.

Journals about Sussex

Pour a fresh pot and let tales of storybook homes, folkloric beach shacks bedecked in vintage finds, and lavish manors plucked right from the Hamptons´ summer playbook plant the seed for your next Sussex staycation.

The Great British Spa-cation

The Great British Spa-cation

Put the wrapping paper down and the feet up. This year, the most sought-after winter stays are all about warm water therapy, palatial living, and never missing out on poolside Champagne.

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Channel 4’s Extraordinary Escapes

Channel 4’s Extraordinary Escapes

Sandi Toksvig returns with a star-studded line-up of celebrity friends to showcase the very best homes across Britain and Ireland, with a few Unique Homestays visited en route.

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The best surfing beaches in the UK and Ireland

The best surfing beaches in the UK and Ireland

Surfing nirvana needn´t be confined to far-flung places. Whether a seasoned boarder or a born-again “grommet”, surf trips on home soil know how to pack a punch (and stay under the radar).

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Sussex FAQ´s

Looking for advice on finding the best sandy beaches? Want to know the longest walks in the county? If you have a Sussex-specific query, you might find the answer here. For everything else, visit our general FAQs.

How far is Sussex from London?

Depending on where you travel to and from, Sussex is roughly between 35 and 50 miles from the capital. By train or car, it’ll take you around an hour, plenty of time to catch up with old friends or make grand plans for family expeditions on the coast.

Are there any sandy beaches in Sussex?

Yes. Whilst the crunch of shingle underfoot is common across beaches in Sussex, Camber Sands and West Wittering are two golden sandy beaches that buck the trend. Camber Sands welcomes sun worshippers and kite surfers alike, with large dunes backing onto the beach that make for hidden picnic spots out of the wind. At West Wittering, the sand stretches for miles, as far as East Head. With the tide out, shallow puddles make like paddling pools warmed by the sun and serene Hayling Island sits peacefully on the horizon. Whether it’s a game of beach cricket or a cone of chips on the sand, these sandy beaches are just the spot for welcome together time.

Where are the prettiest Sussex towns to visit?

Packed with seaside charm, Rottingdean is a small village popular with visitors and locals alike. It was once home to Rudyard Kipling (and his former house and gardens are open to the public) and is best known for Beacon Mill, a Grade-II listed black smock windmill made from wood. Seaford is also popular, a sleepy coastal town framed by white chalk cliffs where the sea often reaches 20 degrees. Though it's the historic town of Rye that is often voted as the prettiest in Sussex, with cobbled stone streets lined by mediaeval Tudor homes and olde worlde inns at every corner.

How long does it take to walk the South Downs?

The South Downs Way snakes its way along chalk escarpments and undulating ridges for 100 miles, from Winchester to Eastbourne. It’ll take approximately nine days to walk, if you’re planning to tackle it all at once, depending on your ability. To the south, breathtaking views of the English Channel and the Isle of Wight; to the north, heathland ridges that bleed into the wooded Weald. The path passes through five National Nature Reserves and over a dozen Sites of Scientific Interest but, above all, represents an opportunity to tap out of the mayhem and get lost in the wilderness – without ever really being lost at all.

What food is Sussex famous for?

Depending on where the mood takes you, you might like to try fresh, buttery Selsey lobster caught fresh and sold on the fishermen’s launch into the sea (at Selsey). Or perhaps warm bowls of local whelks, cockles, or mussels, stewed in a creamy garlic bisque. In February, East Sussex welcomes the Rye Bay Scallop Festival, celebrated in abundance caught just off the shore. In October, Rye also celebrates Wild Boar Festival, caught regularly in the area in the 17th-century. You’re also likely to find Sussex dishes revived from the past; there’s Sussex Churdle, a cheese-topped 17th-century pastie filled with liver, bacon and onion, or Sussex Pond Pudding, a buttery, spiced pastry cooked in pudding cloth and filled with sweet fruit like lemon, apple, or gooseberry.

Own a property in Sussex?

Are you the keeper of a bohemian shack by the sea? Or the custodian of a woodland bolthole? From the South Downs to Bosham to Thorney Island, we´re seeking Sussex´s most unique homes to join our growing portfolio.

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