With its iconic chalk cliffs with breath-taking vistas of the English Channel, picture-postcard perfect resorts with piers, fresh salt air and pebble beaches, nothing competes with a oh-we-do-like-to-beside-the-seaside Sussex staycation.

But it’s not just the Victorian resorts of Eastbourne, which is hosting the Turner Prize at the Towner this year, or the warren of twisting Lanes of Brighton, with its John Nash-designed Royal Pavilion, the seaside retreat of King George IV, that has tourists flocking to visit from all over the country.

While Sussex By The Sea is revered for its impressive coastline, one of the best in the country, it also has another reason to tempt visitors: the South Downs National Park. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – which is also an International Dark Skies Reserve, and one of the best places to stargaze in the UK, is home to wildlife, stunning landscapes and verdant green rolling hills made famous the world over by local artist Eric Ravilious.

And boasting more than its fair share of ‘best places to live – including the current Sunday Times ‘champion’ Wadhurst, praised by the judges for offering ‘pretty much everything needed for modern life but in miniature’ - the bonfire capital of the world, Lewes, and Petworth that’s so picturesque it is the star of TV smash hit series Bridgerton, these rural idylls boast countryside instead of seaside views.

The South Downs Way, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022, boasts some of the finest flora and fauna – as well as epic vistas towards France. It forms a trail between Eastbourne and Winchester, which is popular all year round.

There are fascinating historical sites across the county from the Fishbourne Roman Palace and Gardens, the largest Roman home in Britain, to the Bluebell Railway with its Victorian station and steam engines.

Camber Sands, where the golden shore goes on for miles, in the east, and the wildly beautiful Witterings, in the west, are a year-round mecca for surfing, swimming and relaxing.

For the perfect mix of countryside and ocean, the cinematic walk along the Seven Sisters is as iconic as it is dreamy.

Sussex now sparkles for an altogether different reason since being given the same status as Champagne and Bordeaux as a protected wine region. The Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) guarantees the quality and geographical provenance of still and sparkling wine.

The unique soils and climate of the Sussex countryside means it is well and truly on the world’s wine map. Estates such as Tinwood, Nyetimber, Bolney, Rathfinny and Ridgeview all offer tastings and in some you can dine among the vines. A truly wonderful way to enjoy another side of this fascinating and truly stunning county.

How to spend 48 hours in Brighton



The Ivy
It might not have the guaranteed celebrity clientele of its London counterpart, but The Ivy in Brighton is a feast for the senses. With its opulent Art Deco interior, it looks more like a movie set than a restaurant.
But even on a ‘school night’ it is buzzing with not a spare seat on one of those beautiful velvet curved couches to be had. Feast on melt-in-the-mouth rib-eye on the bone or The Ivy Hamburger. The honey cheesecake is a winning dessert while the delicious cocktails are expertly shaken and stirred.


The Royal Pavilion
One of the most iconic buildings in Sussex, the twirling peaks soar above the skyline and are instantly recognisable. The regency grandeur is paired majestically with Indian and Chinese touches. Be sure to visit the Prince Regent Gallery inside and wander around the park. brightonmuseums.org.uk/royalpavilion


Brighton i360
What better way to take in the scenery of the area than with full, 360, panoramic views? Ride the smooth trip up the tower and see Brighton and Hove in all their glory. Sip on bubbly, take in the sights, and snap plenty of selfies to remember the experience. brightoni360.co.uk


Brighton Pier
Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside. Yes, for classic fairground fun, you can’t do any better than the bright lights, blaring rides, and brilliant arcade machines. Be lured in by the scent of warm, sugary doughnuts and stay for the penny slots that will entertain you for hours.


Hotel Du Vin
This cosy boutique location is close to the beach, so whether you want to shop or swim, you’re in the right place. The quirky exterior complements the cosy interior, fit with spacious rooms, quality sheets, and the fullest English breakfast to stoke you up before exploring.

Great British Life: Great British StaycationsGreat British Staycations (Image: Newsquest)