With one of the best beaches in the UK, lauded as a top place to grow up and boasting truly stunning scenery on the Sussex coast, East and West Wittering are more than a day tripper or surfer’s paradise

Constantly topping the ‘best places’ lists and home to a coveted Blue Flag beach award, framed by rolling dunes dotted with swathes of long marram grass, and on one of the most natural coastlines in the country, it’s no wonder The Witterings in West Sussex are known by the locals as ‘God’s Pocket.’

Nestled between Brighton and Portsmouth, on a peninsula with its own sunny microclimate, the twin villages of East and West Wittering are catnip to city slickers eager to escape urban life.

The chocolate-box cottages, cosy olde worlde pubs, thrill-seeking waters sports, along with views of the Isle of Wight and colourful boats and yachts bobbing about in the Channel, aren’t just attractive to the ‘Wittering Classes.’

Tourists from all over the globe and country flock to the Witterings to indulge in a break beside the sea and to see just why these picturesque villages have been named the ‘best place to grow up’ on the British coast.

With one of the best beaches in the UK in West Wittering, and a truly unspoilt, off-the-beaten-track coastal retreat two miles down the road in East Wittering, the villages topped the list, compiled by estate agents Savills and Knight Frank, who described them as places ‘for parents who want to see their kids sailing after school and clambering over the rock pools at the weekend.’

It’s a far cry from the 1950s when the Witterings were written off as ‘a jumble of bungalows and chalets near the beach in an untidy half grown-up state,’ by architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner.

Now a British cross between Bondi and a rustic version of The Hamptons, on the risqué sounding Manhood Peninsula, near the mouth of Chichester Harbour, the villages are jammed with cottages festooned with roses and honeysuckle, stores selling souvenirs, sticks of rock and fudge, tea rooms and surf shops.

Visitors can spend lazy days on the sandy beach at West Wittering, then take a ten minute stroll to its neighbour where the beach is shingle, but there is a smorgasbord of cafes and restaurants along with an ice cream parlour. Or take a tour of the Witterings and surrounding area with Chichester Harbour Water Tours (chichesterharbourwatertours.co.uk) where you can book seal and bird-watching tours as well as fishing trips.


Packed with nature’s finest elements and seaside charm by the bucket and spade load, West Wittering has enticed Hollywood royalty, rock ‘n’ roll icons and Britain’s best loved TV stars to move there.

Actress Kate Winslet has called the village home since 2015 but West Wittering made the headlines back in 1967 when Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards had his Grade II-listed estate there raided by police because of the band’s illicit drug use. Richards and lead singer Mick Jagger successfully appealed against their respective one-year and four months prison sentences after Sussex officers found WHAT at the property. Richards still owns the estate but spends most of his time living in America now.

Singer Michael Ball grew up in the Witterings and described West Wittering as ‘heaven on earth’ in a 2015 interview in The Telegraph adding that it was ‘the perfect place to get back to in touch with normality.’

Only Fools and Horses star Nicholas Lyndhurst, who famously played Del Boy Trotter’s brother Rodney in the sitcom, also grew up in the area and loved it so much he still lives there.

The TV actor went to East Wittering Primary school and now lives in West Wittering with his wife Lucy.

Great British Life: Fresh fish and seafood is catch of the day. (c) Getty Fresh fish and seafood is catch of the day. (c) Getty


After a day on the water or even just lazing on the beach, that salty sea air will leave you with a hearty appetite. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants at the Witterings to make sure you don’t go hungry – or thirsty.

Tuck into a bacon butty or smashed avocados on toast at Drifters (www.drifters-ew.co.uk) in East Wittering for breakfast, boa buns or small plates for lunch or even a posh fish finger stone baked roll for dinner.

The Goat (www.goatcoffee.co.uk) in East Wittering comes highly recommended for coffee while Billy’s big breakfast (2 fried eggs, 2 bacon, 2 local Butcher’s sausages, hash browns, beans or tomatoes, mushrooms and local bakery toast) at Billy’s On The Beach (www.billysonthebeach.co.uk) would keep most sunseekers happy all day – and night.

Snuggle up in a beach hut which is part of The Wittering (www.thewittering.com) in West Wittering where you can dine on The Wittering burger while sipping on a cocktail or two in front of the beach.

The Lamb (thelambwittering.co.uk) is a popular country pub which comes with a smattering of seaside charm as well as great beer, fantastic food and an outside beer garden.

Over in East Wittering, the family-run The Shore Inn (www.theshorepub.co.uk) serves lunch using locally-sourced ingredients along with real ales, ciders and lagers.

And if you’re staying in a rental, self-catering villa or house, then check out Something Fishy (somethingfishy.fish), the fishmongers on the parade at East Wittering which sells the freshest fish, local crab and lobster.


As you’d expect at the seaside, most of the stores in the Witterings are coastal inspired or are rental shops for water sports and activities which include surfing, windsurfing, paddleboarding, kite surfing and sailing.

You can hire everything you need at 2XS (2xs.co.uk) on the beach at West Wittering and can have lessons in most of the activities at their wastersports school.

For wetsuits, boards and helmets, head to Shore (shore.co.uk) in East Wittering where you can also find out lots of information about surfing in the area.

If you’re looking for a souvenir of your stay, there are plenty of keepsakes, handmade gifts and artisanal homeware, some of which is recycled and a lot of which is beach-inspired at New Waves Box (newwavesbox.co.uk), which shines a light on sustainability. We love the £79 Weaver Green fleece throws made entirely out of recycled bottles.

Take a piece of the Witterings to decorate your own home with nautical but nice furnishings from Beachcomber (beachcombergift.com) a unique, dog-friendly shop, while little ones can choose a toy from Salty Dog Emporium (saltydogemporium.co.uk.

For a souvenir that will last a bit longer than a stick of rock and bring back happy memories every time you wear them, head to Boutique 20 (www.boutique20.co.uk)

for the latest women’s fashion and accessories.

Choose a piece of exquisite hand-made jewellery, enamels, oil painting or print from artist Linda Foskett who is the owner of The Little Art Gallery (thelittleartgallery.online). Along with her own coastal and countryside pieces, Linda showcases other artists’ work.

Great British Life: Little OrchardLittle Orchard


With its coastal décor and seven ensuite rooms, The Beach House (beachhse.co.uk) boutique bed and breakfast is a breath of fresh air while there’s an array of luxury seaside properties available at www.welliesandwindbreaks.co.uk who specialise in high-quality holiday homes in the Witterings and surrounding area for families and groups of friends, including dogs.

We love Little Orchard (https://www.welliesandwindbreaks.co.uk/property/579429/little-orchard/) in West Wittering, which sleeps up to 10 in five bedrooms and comes with a pizza oven, trampoline, hot tub and EV charger.

Or you could hit the road around the Witterings in a premier motorhome (premiermotorhome.uk). Choose from a new or used motorhome which have all mod cons and are perfect for couples and families, and come with awnings and even solar panels.

Great British Life: Surfing is a popular pastime (c) GettySurfing is a popular pastime (c) Getty


Cut a tube, climb the foam or smash the lip at the Witterings, or, if you have no idea what we’re talking about – us neither! – then learn to surf at this fantastic stretch of coastline. There are lots of watersports schools in the area, but Natural Surf School is the only Surf England accredited surf school.

They teach wannabe surfers from the age of three and all levels from beginning to intermediate and advanced. Totally rad, Dude!


If all that sea, shingle and sand isn’t enough of a seaside vibe for you, head to nearby East Head (nationaltrust.co.uk/east-head) to check out the stunning dune spit that rivals even those of Camber Sands in the east of the county. Soak up the sun with your toes squished into the powdery sand, or go for a stroll by the sea keeping a look out for a seal or two who like to play there.


Although they’re only a short stroll apart, a house in West Wittering costs around a third more. The average price for a property there was £840,292 over the last year, according to Right Move, while a similar one in East Wittering was £544,981.

Detached houses were the most popular in both villages with a price tag of £1.120, 467 in West Wittering which was almost double the cost of a similar property in East Wittering at £696, 574.

A semi-detached house in West Wittering costs £521,037 compared to £489,248 in East Wittering while a flat is an affordable option in the former at £223,400 while a terraced house in the latter costs £362,857.