11 of the prettiest beaches in Sussex
- Credit: Archant
Across East Sussex and West Sussex, we have numerous beautiful beaches offering more hours of sunlight than anywhere in Britain. Excluding the bigger, busier town beaches like Eastbourne, Brighton and Worthing, here are 11 of our favourite coastal spots.
1) West and East Wittering beaches
Perched on the edge of the Chichester Harbour AONB, this stunning pair of sandy beaches are trendy spots served by a large car park managed by the West Wittering Estate. A stroll between the two beaches is easily done if you fancy a change of scenery during your day out on the coast.
For even more variation, you can head further along the coast towards our Hampshire neighbours to find East Head, a wonderfully natural beach managed by the National Trust with stretching views to Thorney Island and Hayling Island.
This seaside town is renowned for its fishing heritage, and on either side of the Selsey Bill - the headland that creates the area’s fishermen-friendly conditions - you’ll find beaches made up of mostly shingle.
An instantly recognisable part of Selsey’s panorama - the lifeboat station slipway jutting out into the waters - was removed in 2017. Still, the views looking out onto the English Channel remain one of our county’s highlights.
Located on the outskirts of Bognor Regis, this shingle beach is backed by Pagham Lagoon and Pagham Harbour, an ancient port that is now a nature reserve managed by the RSPB.
Compared to the relative hustle and bustle you might well find in parts of Bognor Regis, the beach at Pagham will provide a welcome spot of calm. Just off the beach, you’ll find a small arcade if you’re in the mood for some traditional amusements.
4) Camber Sands
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With most of Sussex’s beaches being a combination of shingle and groynes, Camber Sands stands out as one of the few with beautiful golden sands. Its scientifically important dune system is the only type in East Sussex, and this unique environment has often been used as a filming location.
Inevitably, it can get quite busy on parts of the beach nearest amenities, but the beach is large enough that you can easily find a quieter spot after a short walk, perhaps towards the mouth of the River Rother, where you’ll find the best sand. As the sand provides easy access to the water, the beach is popular with kitesurfers and windsurfers, and there’s a good chance they’ll make up part of your view if the wind conditions are favourable.
5) Cuckmere Haven
Looking down onto Cuckmere Haven from Seaford Head with the Coastguard Cottages in the foreground and the Seven Sisters Cliffs in the background is a view that everyone from Sussex should experience at least a few times in their life.
When you’re down on the beach itself, the views are equally as stunning as the cliffs towering above, and the Cuckmere River makes its way into the sea. If you want to see more of the river meandering through the countryside, you can head further inland to the Seven Sisters Country Park.
6) Winchelsea Beach
Not far from Cuckmere Haven and the Seven Sisters, you’ll find Winchelsea Beach, another of Sussex’s quieter beaches that looks out onto Rye Bay. As is typical with most of our county’s beaches, mud and sand will only be revealed at low tide, with the rest of the area being made up of shingle.
Winchelsea - a former medieval port that’s now reportedly the smallest town in England to have its own mayor - is a little inland from the beach and will be a good spot to work into your day out in the area. You can also pay your respects to writer and comedian Spike Milligan on the grounds of St Thomas’s Church.
This suburb of Worthing is a couple of miles away from the town’s centre, and its beach is particularly notable for its vibrant green background where countryside runs right up to the shingle at the Goring Greensward.
These green areas are a welcome alternative if the pebbles aren’t an inviting spot to set up camp, and you’ll find another similar spot behind the beach huts. For stunning views back down onto the coast at Goring's head up to Highdown Hill, the site of a former fort.
8) Climping Beach
Wedged between Elmer Beach and Littlehampton’s West Beach, Climping is a scientifically important site whose dunes and vegetated shingle distinguish it from nearby beaches close to built-up areas.
Similarly to Goring, the countryside runs right up to the beach, producing wonderful vistas with rural and coastal mixing and meeting. You admire these views on a walk all the way up to the West Beach at Littlehampton, where you’ll then be rewarded with further sights over the mouth of the River Arun to the rest of Littlehampton.
9) Cooden Beach
Hop off the train at Cooden Beach Station, and you’ll be just minutes away from this traditional shingle beach on the outskirts of Bexhill-on-Sea. From London’s Victoria Station you can be at Cooden in under two hours, making it ideal for an easy escape from the city.
Cooden Beach Golf Club is set directly behind the beach, with the 18-hole course providing stunning views over the beach and this part of the coast. Golf isn’t the only popular sport in the area; you’ll often see kitesurfers and windsurfers out on the water.
10) Hove Beach
While day-trippers may typically flock to Brighton Central Beach on either side of the Palace Pier, locals are more likely to set up at Hove for a more relaxed beach-going experience. Beach huts - perched just in front of Hove Lawns - are available for rent if you want your own spot of privacy.
If you need some time away from the beach, Hove Lawns also provides several different activities, including a sheltered lagoon for watersports, cafes and tennis courts. As one of the sunniest places in Britain, you can enjoy a walk along the seafront late into a lovely summer evening.
11) East Preston Beach
Not too far away from Climping Beach, East Preston is a beach taking its name from the nearby village with a rich farming heritage. It has certainly changed since its pastoral roots. Still, many original properties remain, making it attractive to those seeking to live in a village location with easy access to the coast.
The shingle beach is open to dogs throughout the year, and your four-legged friend will enjoy a stroll here just as much as you. If you stroll further along to Kingston Beach, there’s another Greensward that you can work into your dog walk.