Best places for a picnic in Sussex
- Credit: Kate Hliznitsova / Unsplash
Spread out the rug and feast on cucumber sandwiches at one of these top picnic spots around Sussex.
Remember to stay local and practise social distancing guidelines while out and about, and some locations will require an advance booking.
Nymans, Handcross, Haywards Heath RH17 6EB
You are welcome to bring a picnic to this gorgeous National Trust garden. Unroll the rug on the lawns in front of the house or in the meadow, before sauntering around the rose garden, past the long borders and beneath the immense topiary. Dogs can be exercised in the lovely woodland adjacent to the garden, which offers a 45-minute circular stroll.
Bateman's Ln, Burwash, Etchingham TN19 7DS
Rudyard Kipling’s Jacobean home is surrounded by idyllic gardens and rolling countryside. Feast on lunch in the picnic area or the quarry garden before exploring the house and the garden, with its meadows, pond and river. Children can enjoy toys and games in the picnic area, quarry garden and the children’s bedroom. Dogs are welcome on leads in the garden and can stretch their legs on the 2.5-mile mapped walk around the estate.
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W Hoathly Rd, East Grinstead RH19 4NE
Throw the picnic hamper into the car and head to this charming Arts & Crafts house and 12-acre hillside garden. Children will love playing on the plantation, where they can build their own den, perform in the theatre and explore the higgledy-piggledy fence! There are also several lovely walks on the estate and surrounding countryside, ranging from one to 10 miles.
Devil’s Dyke, near Hove
Devil's Dyke Rd, Brighton BN1 8YJ
John Constable described the view from the top of the dry valley known as the Devil’s Dyke as “the grandest in the world”. Spread out your picnic blanket and enjoy spectacular views over the Weald and along the South Downs before sauntering along the South Downs Way or down into the Dyke, where wildflowers and butterflies abound. This is also a beautiful place to enjoy a sunset picnic if you’re feeling romantic.
Chanctonbury Ring, near Storrington
Pulborough BN44 3DP
The clump of beech trees atop the Downs near Washington is steeped in mystery and legend. Folklore says that if you walk around it three times anti-clockwise, the Devil will appear, but that if you walk around it three times clockwise, luck will be bestowed upon you! The grassy expanse around the summit offers gorgeous views all the way down to the coast and is a great place for a picnic. There are car parks just off the A283 and the A24.
Kingley Vale, near Chichester
South Downs National Park, Chichester
This National Nature Reserve is beloved by children and tree huggers alike! Huddled amidst the woodland are immense, ancient yew trees that are exciting to behold; some are said to be 2,000 years old. The open grass downland in the heart of the vale is a lovely place to enjoy a summer picnic. If you fancy a walk, there are short strolls around the reserve or longer hikes out to the village of Stoughton. Park at West Stoke.
Lewes BN8 5BP
If it’s a hot, sunny day, combine a river swim at Barcombe Mills with a picnic on the grassy riverbanks. You can do a nice circular walk up to the Anchor Inn and back, and if you fancy a row upon the water, boats can be hired for £6. NB stay safe: do not swim immediately after eating, and do not swallow the river water.
The Seven Sisters
Seaford, Eastbourne BN25 4AD
Soak up the sea air and views over the big blue atop the Seven Sisters cliffs. Find a spot in the Cuckmere Haven, which offers a stunning view of the dramatic chalk cliffs or Birling Gap, where grassy expanses atop the cliff are ideal for picnics. Keep dogs on leads on the cliff tops and stay well away from the cliff edges, which can erode suddenly.
West Wittering Beach
Pound Rd, West Wittering, Chichester PO20 8AJ
The sandy beaches of West Wittering are a beautiful place to walk, sunbathe, swim and picnic. This is a Blue Flag beach, which means its water is deemed good for swimming, there are lots of water sports opportunities in the sea lagoon (x-train.co.uk), you can walk dogs on the sand dunes of East Head and spot sea birds and seals in the sea and wetlands.
Glyndebourne, near Lewes
New Rd, Lewes BN8 5UU
It is traditional to take your own picnic (or order a Leith’s picnic) when you visit Glyndebourne. Each performance at this iconic opera house has a 90-minute interval, during which people unroll the picnic blanket and tuck in. During the summer festival expect to see women dressed in ballgowns, supping glasses of bubbly at elaborately laid out picnic tables.
Goodwood Races, near Chichester
Selhurstpark Rd, Chichester PO18 0PS
Enjoy a picnic aside the racetrack at Good-wood. Unload the hamper in the Three Furlong picnic park overlooking the racecourse, where car berths can be reserved in advance or in the family-friendly Lennox Enclosure.
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