It’s known for its distinct local accent, relatively affordable housing & easy commute from London, but what else do you know about Sussex? Here to fill you in is traveller Emily Hollings.

We all know the name thanks to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Prince Harry & Meghan Markle), but what on earth is there to do when you’re an hour & 16 minutes from London?

From it’s rolling green hills and spectacular coastline to it’s vibrant and colourful history, the county of Sussex (that’s both East and West!) is fast-becoming the new trendy destination to tick off your British list:

 

1. ENGLANDS GREEN & PLEASANT LAND

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Devil’s Dyke in Sussex. Image by Discovering Britain

So, to start with the obvious, Sussex is incredibly green. Our fair county is even said to have inspired William Blake’s famous hymn ‘Jerusalem’ (it’s a true British classic, forget the Rolling Stones) and it’s iconic ode to “England’s pleasant pastures”.

The rolling green fields and hills stretch as far as the eye can see, and they pave the way for some of the most wonderful country walks our country has to offer.

This makes it entirely possible to walk from the South Downs to the beach in just a few hours, or to venture through the Hundred Acre wood (home to our favourite Winnie the Pooh Bear) before stopping at a local pub (there are hundreds to choose from) for a drink of Pimm’s.

It’s even possible at certain magical spots to see most of Sussex from a single viewpoint – why not try the Devils Dyke at the top of the South Downs? The views are breathtaking.

 

2. BRILLIANT BRIGHTON

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Image: Nabil Aiman/Unsplash

Ah, Brighton! Home to 1/5 of Sussex’s population alone, (that’s 1.5 million people) it’s not hard to guess why this party town draws in crowds by the thousands every day.

It’s a city defined by its colourful residents, breathtaking coastline and intoxicating atmosphere.

Every cobbled street and shop window in The Laines is home to something wacky, unique and bold just waiting to be discovered, yet there’s still a distinctive air of sophistication and regality which dates way back to the city’s defining Regency period (take the Royal Pavilion as an example – built for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert, no less).

And as if you needed any more convincing, Brighton is just one hour away by train from central London – from tightly-packed offices to the ocean breeze in under 60 minutes! I’d endure Southern rail for that.

 

3. FANCY A SWIM?

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Seven Sisters – Sussex – Image by www.sevensisters.org.uk

It’s important to note that Brighton-by-sea isn’t the only seaside attraction in Sussex. Shoreham, Worthing and Eastbourne all offer classically British pebble-beaches (beach huts were made for a reason, eh?), perfect for a day outcome sunshine or rain.

With a coastline that stretches for more than 80 miles, it’s easy to imagine the number of exciting places at our disposal. You can take in the eye-watering view to France with a long walk across the impressive white cliffs of The Seven Sisters, or go for a swim in the spectacular waters of Camber Sands (yep, we have sandy beaches too).

 

4. A RICH HERITAGE

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Arundel Castle Sussex – Image by www.arundelcastle.org

Considering we’re a small island nation, we have an impressively rich and varied history. There’s so much to discover within Sussex, and the sheer diversity of history alone means it’s virtually impossible to see it all. It’s arguably most famous for being the site of the defining Battle of Hastings in 1066, when the French invaded, but is also noted for its wide range of historic castles, palaces and homes.

Why not visit the beautiful and medieval Arundel castle, or the home of Henry VIII’s wife, Anne of Cleves? Or, if you fancy sampling a bit of our transport heritage, why not sign-up for a traditional journey on our world-famous Bluebell Railway, which has been operating steam-trains since the 1950’s and is one of the most sought-after experiences in Sussex.

 

5. EXPLORE THE CULTURE

We couldn’t possibly conclude this list without mentioning the impressive centuries-old ‘Culture of Sussex’ title which defines our noble county. Within this exists our notoriety for being an independent and strong-willed region (our motto is quite literally ‘We want be druv’) and if that doesn’t make Sussex great, then I’m not sure anything will.

Sussex has also been home to some of British literature’s most iconic names: Rudyard Kipling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A.A Milne and Beatrix Potter to name a few…plus you can actually visit the sites these authors and poets wrote most of their famous works! The region is equally known for its proud musical and artistic heritage, and Brighton is home to both the Brighton Arts Festival AND Brighton Pride, which is the UK’s largest gay pride parade.

 

Which reason would entice you to visit Sussex?