Historic Sussex is a goulash of a county in South East England. From the vibrant nightlife and eccentricity of Brighton, to the rolling chalk hills of the South Downs and deep woodlands of the Sussex Weald, the county has long been a retreat for Londoners keen to escape the hustle of the city. Wimdu has a variety of cottages and self-catering accommodation in Sussex to suit every traveling experience and budget.
The Sussex coast developed rapidly in the final years of the 18th century, buoyed by sea bathing becoming a fashionable source of health among the wealthy. Brighton, Hastings, Worthing and Bognor all received heavy investment, but, as with many English seaside resorts, their allure diminished as travel to sunnier climates became more affordable to the masses. But, for many, it is precisely the deterioration of these now oft- forgotten seaside resorts that adds to their charm.
Where to Stay in Sussex
Accommodation options in Sussex match the variety of the landscape. If you are looking for some peace and quiet, away from Brighton's nightlife, Wimdu has an array of romantic cottages, bed and breakfast options and family-friendly accommodation set in the lush Sussex countryside or high in the South Downs. For those keen to soak up the to beach-side ambience and energy of Brighton, we have apartments close to the promenade and the main drag of Brighton seafront, as well as further options in the buzzing Old Town of nearby Hastings.
Fun Facts about Sussex
- England’s first casino opened at the Metropole Hotel Brighton in 1962.
- Brighton Marina is the largest of its kind in Europe. It boasts 1600 berths and covers 126 acres.
- Oscar Wilde wrote 'The Importance of Being Earnest' whilst living in Worthing in 1895.
- Rudyard Kipling wrote a number of poems about Sussex, including: "Sussex by the Sea" and "The Run of the Downs".
- Beachy Head has been an incredibly popular spot for suicide attempts since the 1600's. The survival rate of jumpers is a tragic 5%.
Things to See and Do in Sussex
Brighton, which achieved city status as recently as 2001 as part of the millennium celebrations, is the capital of the county. With only 150,000 residents, however, the city is very accessible and easy to cover on foot, so there is no need to worry about the location of your holiday home. Its shingle beaches, vegan-friendly cafes and the rich nightlife on offer all give the city a strong sense of identity. A sunny day should be spent walking along the promenade with an ice cream in hand, playing the on ancient slot machines or shopping in the vintage treasure trove of Brighton's North Lanes. If it rains, head to The Royal Pavilion. It was built in the 19th century and its unique, strikingly decadent India-meets-Gothic architecture make it impossible to miss. With its vibrant arts scene and university, there are a vast array of art galleries to be explored.
Further down the coast lies historic Hastings. The fact it is often neglected in favour of its trendier neighbour Brighton, only adds to its appeal. From the gnarly fishermen selling the day's catch, to the cavernous pubs, originally frequented by smugglers but now selling some of the best English ale in the country, Hastings is both local and proud. New additions such as the Jerwood Gallery on the seafront and the Russian Gallery that has opened just down the road in St Leonards-on-Sea, are signs that the town is moving forward. The planned rebuilding of the pier, which sadly suffered an arson attack in 2010, has recently won approval and will only add to the energy of the place. No day should end in Hastings without a peruse around the secondhand furniture and vintage stores in the Old Town, followed by a well-deserved, locally-brewed pint in the First In, Last Out.
A walk through the cobblestone streets of Rye - ducking under timber-framed buildings and passageways as you go - is certain to evoke imagery of a bygone era. The tales of smugglers, pirates and ghosts still linger in one of England's most picturesque medieval villages. A short trip to Camber Sands is also a must, with its sandy beaches, dunes and eye-catching views of the abandoned Dungeness Power Station in the distance.
While famous for its boisterous Bonfire Night celebrations – best viewed from the panorama afforded by a clamber up the South-Downs- Lewes has plenty to offer the visitor, even when not burning effigies. The ruins of the hilltop castle, the traditional brewery and the Georgian high street are all key attractions of this town that lies a short, half hour bus ride from Brighton. A short drive on from Lewes, up into the South Downs, lies the The Long Man of Wilmington. It is believed that this hill figure was laid in the 16th or 17th century. At 69.2 metres tall, the figure which holds two 'staves' looks in perfect proportion when viewed from below.
Food in Sussex
Following on from the success of Bill's in Lewes, Bill's Brighton opened in 2005. Located in a former bus depot, it has a reputation for fantastic weekend breakfasts and wonderful comfort food. The Jolly Sportsman in East Chiltington, a 20 minute drive from Brighton, is a fantastic stop for lunch. Located in the beautiful Sussex countryside the gastro pub is famous for fantastic local ales, a log fire and wonderful food. The sweetbread and kidney of Ditchling lamb and blackberry cheesecake can not be recommended enough. After a painstaking three year restoration job, Alistair Hendy, photographer, stylist and food writer, has brought a Georgian house in Hastings back to its former glory. After a look round AG Hendy and Co Home Store Kitchen, settle down for a fantastic fish supper - the crab and fish stew is highly recommended.
Getting around Sussex
Despite the scenic Brighton Shoreham Airport being located within touching distance of Brighton, more often than not London Gatwick will be your first port of call. From here, direct trains run to Brighton frequently and take just over 30 minutes. Brighton is a compact, small city so is best explored on foot. You can also rent bicycles for a pleasant ride along the promenade. The South Downs are easy to reach by car, although buses do run to many of the nearby towns. Wimdu has an array of self-catering holiday homes and bed and breakfast options if you wish to base yourself in the scenic countryside that inspired the much-loved tales of Winnie the Pooh.