Top Ten Sussex Beaches
Away from the main Sussex beaches of Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne and Hastings, there are some hidden gems. These are ten of our favourites:
A traditional seaside town with a sand and shingle beach, Bexhill has beach rock pools to discover, huts for hire and seafront cafes to indulge yourself in. But what makes it special is the stunning modernist seafront De La Warr Pavilion, which today is in art gallery. Even if you don’t go inside, it’s worth a visit just to admire the outstanding architecture of the building.
On the Sussex/Kent border, the brilliant Camber Sands offer the only sand dunes on the east Sussex stretch of coastline. With its wide bay the site is popular with kite-boarders but there is plenty of room for everyone on this sandy expanse. Interestingly, the beach was used to replicate Normandy when filming the D-Day landings for the 1962 blockbuster movie The Longest Day.
Part of the Seven Sisters Park, Cuckmere Haven is one of the most dramatic and windswept of all the Sussex beaches - located as it is beneath spectacular chalk-white cliffs. Whichever approach you take, arriving at the beach leaves an impression - whether you hike along the winding Cuckmere River or walk via the coastguard cottages from Seaford and get the full view of the cliffs disappearing into the distance – a stunning spectacle.
Hove beach has a distinctly different feel to the hustle and bustle of Brighton’s trendy front. Hove is more laid back and frequented mostly by locals who can be seen roller skating, dog-walking and jogging along its splendid esplanade. With a backdrop of some of the country’s finest Regency apartments and the fantastic Hove Lawns where foreign students hang out and play sports – there‘s plenty of people-watching to be done here.
All the usual seaside activities can be found at Littlehampton including kitesurfing, sailing and fishing. What makes Littlehampton stand out from other Sussex beaches is the funky East Beach Café that has won plaudits for its food and as well as a host of design awards for the steel exterior intended to look like a giant piece of driftwood.
The most southerly tip of west Sussex, Selsey’s ever-changing shingle beach is found at the tip of the bizarrely named Manhood Peninsula. Almost cut off from the mainland by the sea, there is one road in and out of Selsey, which due to its prominent location is prone to coastal erosion. Selsey crab is the local delicacy in these parts.
Unspoilt Pett Level is completely transformed at low tide, the departing water leaving lots of sand and the remains of an ancient forest thought to be left over from a time when sea levels were lower. If you like cliffs, rock pools and nearby woods, this peaceful place is for you. A great location for both a play and a walk any time of year.
Famed for being the landing place of William the Conqueror’s invasion in 1066, Pevensey Bay is an old fishing village at the end of the sea wall from Eastbourne. Today it is a popular tourist attraction associated with the nearby medieval Pevensey Castle. A small resort, it is popular with families as it is less noisy and crowded than some of its larger counterparts.
A famous beach on a spit of land south of Chichester, West Wittering is known for its natural beauty, clean water and unspoilt beaches. The grass lawn that leads down to the beach is great for picnics while a walk around the headland takes you to the mudflats of Chichester Harbour – a sanctuary for all kinds of wading birds and a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
An undeveloped part of the Sussex coast, Winchelsea doesn’t look like much when you arrive, but clamber up the bank from the road and the chances are you’ll have much of this unspoilt, sloping shingle beach to yourself. Only three miles from the picturesque town of Rye, there’s plenty of sand when the tide is out and a nice drop into the sea when it’s in. It’s also a great site for stone-skimming.