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The best beaches in Sussex

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The best beaches in Sussex

Whilst other regions of the UK such as Cornwall and Devon are renowned for their beaches all over the world, it is worth remembering that Sussex is home to a number of world-class beaches too.

A feature on Heart recently revealed that four Sussex beaches received Blue Flag status. Brighton, Hove, St Leonards and West Wittering all received the prestigious status, which is given to beaches that are clean, safe and meet the highest environmental standards.

If you are staying in coastal Sussex holiday cottages, then read on to find out what the best beaches in the county are and what nearby attractions and restaurants people can visit.

Brighton beach

With the iconic Brighton Pier as a backdrop, visitors to Brighton beach can get involved in typical British seaside fun by day and enjoy beachside club culture by night. Brighton beach is housed in a cove, meaning that it is safe for families to swim in the sea and there is also lots of room on the beach to allow you and your family to set up base.

There are lots of activities you can enjoy, from watersports like stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking to volleyball and beach football.

Nearby Attractions

British Airways i360

British Airways i360 near Brighton beach

Just a stone’s throw away from the beach is the British Airways i360M, which opened in August 2016 and is the world’s tallest moving observation tower. Visitors can glide up to 138m in a fully enclosed glass observation pod that can carry up to 200 passengers for 360-degree views across Brighton & Hove, the South Downs and the beautiful Sussex coastline. You can even overlook Brighton beach where you may have been catching the rays.

The attraction also boasts the Nyetimber Sky Bar and guests can enjoy sparkling wine and other drinks from the local area.

Royal Pavilion

Royal Pavilion

The Royal Pavilion is a stunning palace in the centre of Brighton that boasts a tremendous amount of history. Built originally as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV, the house is now a hotspot for holding a range of exhibitions.

Visitors can explore the palace and see a mix of styles from India and China in the banqueting room, the great kitchen, the music room and the garden and estate.

From this month, the palace is displaying a Jane Austen by the Sea exhibition to mark the bicentenary of her death. This will explore her relationship with coastal towns, and life in Brighton during her time.

The exhibition is running until 8 January 2018 and fans can get an insight into the seaside context of Austen’s plots such as Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Emma (1816). Some of the highlights of the display include King George IV’s specially-bound copy of Emma, mourning brooch containing a lock of Jane Austen’s hair, one of her music books, and important rare manuscripts and letters.

Restaurants and cafes to eat at

Lucky Beach

Lucky Beach

Lucky Beach serves sustainable food and drink on the beach and in its fishermans arch. The award-winning food is local with their beef hamburgers made from organic Sussex beef, the fish being landed locally in Brighton and the chicken and pork is free-range and raised locally.

There are breakfast and lunch menus and these include delicious meals such as a bacon butty, breakfast burgers, a full English breakfast, hot fish tacos, BBQ chicken tacos, fresh plaice and chips and the triple-dan chan half pounder burger.

If you just want a drink after spending some time on the beach, then Lucky Beach is the place to head as it has its own organic accredited roaster and its coffee is well-known in the region.

Hove Beach

Hove Beach

This sand and shingle beach has a large promenade and is close to a number of shops and other attractions.

The beach has a lifeguard service and the water quality is regarded as excellent, hence why it has been awarded Blue Flag status.

Visitors can go sailing, swimming and surfing at Hove beach, but families with children can also explore the rock pools between Roedean and Saltdean at low tide.

Nearby Attractions

Hove Park

Hove Park is popular amongst dog walkers, runners and other local residents as the park’s 40 acres provide plenty of space for visitors to relax.

The park has a mix of large areas of open grass, mature trees, flowers and other recreational facilities. On the eastern side of the park there is the ‘Fingermaze’, a piece of public sculpture carved into the park and lined with stone and lime mortar.

There are also 12 tennis courts, a floodlit basketball court, 3 football pitches and a children’s playground as well.

Sea Life Brighton

Sea Life Brighton is close to Hove beach and allows visitors to enter an underwater world by going nose to nose with sharks and other maritime animals.

The aquarium features a Stingray Bay, a rainforest adventure and underwater tunnels that can be explored.

As well as sharks, visitors can see seahorses, penguins, turtles, clownfish, jellyfish and lots of rock pool creatures.

Restaurants and cafes to eat at

Big Beach Café

Big Beach cafe

This independent café and coffee bar is literally a frisbee throw away from the beach and is an eatery where diners can enjoy excellent coffee, all-day breakfasts, fish and chips, light lunches, ice cream, cakes or pastries.

The Big Beach Café has a licenced bar and an alfresco dining area that is open from 10am. The head chef Dan Stockland will this year be bringing the café back to basics with traditional seaside favourites as well.

St Leonards beach

This popular shingle beach is just west of Hastings and is backed up by a promenade and is also within walking distance of lots of shops and other attractions.

St Leonards beach, which is dog-friendly, is really safe for swimming and bathing and is an award-winning coastal resort having been awarded Blue Flag Status and a 2017 Seaside Award.

Nearby Attractions

True Crime Museum

The True Crime Museum is just a short distance away from St Leonards beach and is set in 3,000 sq ft of seafront caves.

The museum boasts the largest collection of crime memorabilia in the UK and gives visitors a fascinating insight into the world of serial killers, poisoners, forensics, gangsters and more!

Open daily from 10am – 5pm, you can see a real lethal injection deathbed, the genuine acid containers that were used by John George Haigh to dissolve his victims, to name just a few of the displays.

Blue Reef Aquarium, Hastings Castle & Smugglers Adventure

Blue Reef Aquarium

Discover Hastings says beach goers should visit three of the largest attractions in Hastings; Smugglers Adventure, Blue Reef Aquarium and Hastings Castle.

At Blue Reef Aquarium you can go on an undersea safari and enjoy incredibly close encounters with seahorses, native sharks, giant octopus and hundreds of amazing aquatic creatures. The aquarium’s Jungle Discovery zone is fascinating as it is home to exotic snakes, curious bearded dragons and the striking iguana. You can even face your fears and get hands on with the reptiles during daily animal encounters. Visitors can then go on the West Hill Lift, a famous cliff railway opened back in 1902 that is still the UK’s steepest funicular railway, to Smugglers Adventure.

At Smugglers Adventure you can journey through the labyrinth of secret tunnels and passages and discover the dangers and hardships faced by Sussex smugglers of the eighteenth century. This will include discovering underground caverns on a voyage back through time to the heyday of smuggling

Across from Smugglers Adventure is Britain’s first-ever Norman castle. Here you can take in the breath-taking views of the coastline at Hastings Castle and discover the history of this iconic building.

Visitors can learn about the Battle of Hastings and how it unfolded in the medieval siege tent, wander through the castle grounds and explore the whispering dungeons and the remains of the chapel.

Restaurants and cafes to eat at

Eat at the Stade

This seaside café has a great range of ciders, beers and wines and serves breakfast, lunch, home-made cakes and lots more.

Eat at the Stade only opened back in 2011, but its location in Hastings Old Town has made it a hugely popular destination for foodies.

The café also offers visitors the chance to take food away meaning that you can eat fish and chips on the beach.

Littlehampton West Beach

Littlehampton West beach is actually of special scientific interest as it is home to one of only three sand dune systems in West Sussex.

The beach is great for relaxing and is perfect for picnics, swimming and fossil hunting. In fact, the Littlehampton Museum actually runs an annual guided fossil hunt.

The sandy beach offers great views of neighbouring Bognor and the Isle of Wight if it is a clear day. It also easily accessible as it is just a 15-minute walk from the centre of Littlehampton or a short car journey.

Nearby Attractions

Look & Sea Centre

Look & Sea Centre

The Look & Sea Centre is located alongside Littlehampton Harbour where the River Arun meets the sea.

The attraction is well worth a visit as it has a heritage exhibition, gift shop, viewing tower and restaurant all under one roof.

The two-storey viewing tower, which gives visitors a 360-degree view of a large area of West Sussex, including Arundel, Chichester and the South Downs, is truly stunning as well.

The heritage exhibition allows you to find out more about the region’s maritime history and geography of Littlehampton.

The gift shop allows you to purchase souvenirs to take home and it also houses the Littlehampton Visitor Information Centre.

Harbour Park

This nearby attraction is perfect for families who are staying in luxury cottages in the Sussex area.

Harbour Park is regarded as the number one thing to do in Sussex for families as their rides and attractions are designed for all ages.

The park is right next to the beach and due to the fact that it is so close means that you can easily combine a morning on the beach with an afternoon at the park or vice versa.

Some of the thrilling rides at the park include the ocean coaster, the orca whale ride, the dolphin leap and the whirlpool waltzer.

Restaurants and cafes to eat at

East Beach Café

The East Beach Café is well-known for its great food, great location and for being housed in a building with great architecture.

The café is located right on the beach offering customers stunning views, and fresh seafood by using the best local and seasonal ingredients.

The classic English food that is served includes locally-caught fish, beef burgers, fish soup, traditional fish and chips, plus lots more.

Bognor Regis East Beach

Being the nearest beach to the town centre makes the award-winning East Beach a popular one to visit. As well as a large pay and display car park nearby, there is also on street pay and display parking next to the promenade.

During the summer months, lifeguards are on duty, and the Foreshore office on the promenade can provide first aid, beach information, safety information and tide times.

The beach itself is like most pretty Sussex beaches with a sloping shingle bank leading to an expanse of flat sand that is exposed during low tide. To see what the weather is like at Bognor Regis East Beach you can watch a live video here.

Nearby Attractions

The Victorian Pier

The Bognor Regis Beach website says the Victorian Pier is certainly worth a visit.

It says, “The Victorian Pier, built in 1865, is the most-visited attraction with an amusement arcade, excellent fish and chips and an upstairs bar with sea views. The pier is also home to the popular Sheiks nightclub. Opposite the Pier you can try your luck at crazy golf.”

The Bognor Regis Promenade

The promenade at Bognor Regis is some 2.7 miles in length and stretches from Aldwick to the west, and Felpham to the east. The promenade at East beach has a number of concession outlets providing tea and coffee as well as tasty hot and cold snacks and of course the all-important ice creams. There is also a beach shop where buckets and spades and other traditional beach goods can be purchased.

There is a land train that runs along the promenade to enjoy the sea views, and there are also children’s rides to enjoy for a small charge as well.

Restaurants and cafes to eat at

Water’s Edge

This stylish fish and chip shop and café is situated on the Bognor Regis Pier and is somewhat of a seaside heaven to eat, drink and relax.

Diners can eat in an outdoor area, which has great sea views, or can take their food away to eat it on the promenade or beach.

Image Credit: Visual Air, British Airways i360, Les Chatfield (flickr).