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14 of the most romantic towns and villages in Sussex

Amberley Castle comes complete with a portcullis
Amberley Castle comes complete with a portcullis

‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,’ wrote romantic poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. We’ve discovered countless reasons to fall for these 14 Sussex towns and villages all year round, not just on Valentine’s Day

ALFRISTON

Lying on the banks of the River Cuckmere at the foot of the South Downs, if you conjure up an picture postcard image of a quintessential English village then Alfriston ticks every box. There’s a village green, beautiful church, winding High Streetlined with half-timbered buildings, thatched cottages, cosy inns and tea rooms. If these picturesque walls could speak they would have fascinating tales to tell. One of most notorious groups of smugglers operating in the South of England in the 18th and early 19th centuries was the Alfriston Gang, led by Stanton Collins, who met at Ye Olde Smugglers Inne. Under cover of darkness they would bring their contraband down the river. For more law-abiding citizens, Alfriston’s location halfway between Chichester and Canterbury meant it was once a popular stopping off point for pilgrims, who preferred The Star. Built in the 14th century as a religious hostel, the gorgeous oak-beamed building is now a hotel and restaurant run by mother-and-daughter team Olga Polizzi and Alex, of television’s The Hotel Inspector fame. For a romantic Valentine’s toast that overlooks one of the UK’s largest and most scenic vineyards head to Rathfinny. Mark and Sarah Driver established the wine estate in 2010 and produce Sussex Sparkling wines that rival champagne. It’s located against the sweeping backdrop of the South Downs National Park, and for keen walkers Alfriston is on one of the most spectacular sections of the Hampshire to East Sussex trail, the South Downs Way

FIVE OTHER THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT ALFRISTON

MUCH ADO ABOUT BOOKS: Book-lovers are spoilt for choice in this treasure trove of new and antiquarian books in West Street.
DRUSILLAS PARK: This award-winning small zoo and adventure play park has been enchanting families for generations.
ALFRISTON CLERGY HOUSE: This medieval house is notable as the first property bought by the National Trust in 1896 for the sum of £10.
ANDREW’S CHURCH: A surprisingly large church for a village of this size, St Andrew’s has earned the name ‘Cathedral of the Downs’.
MARKET CROSS: This focal point in the High Street is the only remaining market cross in Sussex, aside from one in Chichester

CHICHESTER

Praised by judges for having both ‘class and a heart’, the county town and only city of West Sussex was named as the Best Place to Live in the South East of England in the 2023 annualSunday Times’ Best Places to Live guide.
Adding to the feelgood factor, kind-hearted locals are also happy to share their beloved corner of Sussex with others as Home Office statistics show the people of Chichester took in the highest number of Ukrainian refugees per capita in the country.
The cathedral city is a dream for theatre and art lovers. Opened in 1962, Chichester Festival Theatre was the first modern thrust stage theatre – where the main performance area juts out into the audience – for more than 500 years. 
Make a date for the upbeat musical Fantastically Great Women That Changed the World which opens on February 14 and is based on the book by suffragette relative Kate Pankhurst. 
Pallant House Gallery houses one of the world’s best collections of 20th-century British art. Until April 21 there’s an exhibition showcasing celebrated British romantic artist John Craxton including brooding landscapes painted in Britain in the early 1940s through to joyful paintings and drawings inspired by his adopted homeland in the Mediterranean.
With Valentine’s Day in the offing a fitting Chichester resident is writer Suzanne Fortin, who won the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers with her book All That We Have Lost in the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s annual awards.
 
FIVE OTHER THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT CHICHESTER
BISHOP’S PALACE GARDENS:
This tranquil retreat in the heart of the city is the perfect place to stroll and unwind.
FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER: Running from June 15 to July 21, this cultural highlight in the county’s calendar has something for everyone.
CHICHESTER MARINA: The UK’s second-largest marina occupies a rural setting and is a haven for yachties and walkers alike.
CRAFTY BISHOP: Raise a toast at the homely Deanery Close bar serving the city’s biggest collection of craft beer.
GOODWOOD ESTATE: The home of the Dukes of Richmond for more than 300 years has been named as one of the country’s top wedding venues.

LEWES

This pretty East Sussex county town literally gives other places a run for their money in more ways than one.
Introduced in 2008, the Lewes Pound was the biggest UK launch of a local currency since the first time the town had its own currency between 1789 and 1895. 
Aimed at supporting small local business owners and encouraging people to shop locally, five per cent of every pound is donated to charity. 
Southover Grange, a magnificent 16thcentury manor house, is now home to Lewes Register Office and a beautiful backdrop for weddings. It has its own romantic tale spanning two generations of one family.
In 2021 Ian Kerr married his wife Jenny in the same room where his grandmother – who once lived in the Grange – wrote love letters while courting his grandfather in the early 1900s. 
There’s more romance at Glyndebourne, the world-famous opera house in the Lewes countryside. It began when John Christie fell in love with soprano Audrey Mildmay. In 1934, three years after they married, he founded the opera house as a mark of their shared passion. 
Continuing the love story, his grandson Gus Christie is married to opera star Danielle de Niese. Many readers will have grown up with The Family From One End Street by Eve Garnett, which is still in print today. Set in the Leweslike town of Otwell-on-the-Ouse, the author lived in Keere Street, which runs from the High Street to Southover. 
A plaque on the wall of number 12 marks her former home.

FIVE OTHER THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT LEWES

BILL’S:
Now a national chain, the very first Bill’s restaurant was opened in 2001 by Bill Collinson in Cliffe High Street.
HARVEY’S BREWERY: The oldest independent brewery in Sussex has overcome one fire and two floods to quench the thirst of the county.
CARMILLA: Released in 2020, the coming-of-age love story set in the 1790s was filmed in and around Lewes and Plumpton.
ANNE OF CLEVES HOUSE: While their love story didn’t last long, this beautiful timber-framed medieval house was given to Anneof Cleves by Henry VIII after the end of their six-month marriage.
THE DORSET ARMS: Walkers, cyclists and families are given a warm welcome at the 300-year-old pub that’s also the haunt of the town’s Cliffe Bonfire Society.

HAYWARDS HEATH

Nestled in the shadow of the South Downs, local legend has it that the town’s name comes from a notorious highwayman called Jack Hayward who rode the original heath, connected to Clair Park off Perrymount Road.
These days the town’s many green spaces are wonderful places to stroll, relax and, when the weather’s warmer, enjoy a picnic or concert.
There’s 14-acre Victoria Park and Beech House Gardens which is home to the local petanque club and has a miniature railway that’s been delighting the young and young at heart since 1954.
In the month of February, Haywards Heath is certainly the place to say it with flowers as some ofthe county’s most beautiful gardens are on the doorstep. 
Wakehurst, the wild botanic outpost of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, covers 500 acres with diverse landscapes and plants from around the world, while the National Trust’s Nymans is set around a romantic house and ruins. 
Another option is Borde Hill, where ‘garden living rooms’ take visitors on a journey through different horticultural styles. 
Back in the town centre, the Broadway has a great selection of restaurants, bistros and wine bars, with something to please all tastes. 
The oldest part of Haywards Heath is Muster Green, which was the site of a battle during the English Civil War. Here you’ll find the town’s oldest building; the 16th-century inn called the Sergison Arms which retains an old-world charm and is well-known for succulent steaks awarded an accolade by the Craft Guild of Chefs.

FIVE OTHER THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT HAYWARDS HEATH

OUSE VALLEY VIADUCT:
Built in 1838 to carry the London to Brighton line over the River Ouse, this structural marvel provides a dramatic backdrop for photos.
FUN POTS: A pottery heart is among the many things you can make at this Sussex Road pottery studio which has sessions for adults and children.
BOLNEY WINE ESTATE: Raise a toast with a glass or two of award-winning wine from the vineyard that recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. 
SOUTH OF ENGLAND SHOWGROUND: The South of England Show held in June is an exciting three-day spectacle of displays, competitions and rural crafts. 
HART COUNTRY STORES: Treat yourself to fine food and drink from British producers at this farm shop and café in South Road.

MIDHURST

Situated right in the heart of the South Downs National Park next to the River Rother, this ancient market town is regularly named as one of the best places to live in the UK, with a hat-trick of accolades in 2016, 2018 and 2022.
Last autumn a grand Midhurst mansion was in the spotlight as the setting for the new ITV dating show My Mum, Your Dad where single parents are nominated by their children for a second chance at love. The house was described as ‘the most romantic countryside location’ by host Davina McCall. 
Midhurst hasalso starred in the ITV detective drama Foyle’s War with scenes shot in Knockhundred Row, Church Hill and The Swan Inn.
Midhurst is no stranger to being in the royal and celebrity spotlight as Cowdray Park, the home of British polo, is on the doorstep. Polo has been played on the estate for over a century and Cowdray hosts the prestigious Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship. 
King Charles, Prince Harry and Prince William have all played at Cowdray with Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie and Sarah, Duchess of York among the regal spectators.
Staying with famous names, local residents include actor Hugh Bonneville, best-known as the Earl of Grantham in Downton Abbey and more recently as Mr Brown in the heartwarming Paddington films. Born in London, Hugh said he first fell in love with Sussex when he first visited the South Downs as a child, and who can blame him?

FIVE OTHER THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT MIDHURST

NOBLE AND STACE:
The artisan producer sells delectable handmade chocolates online and through selected local shops – buy some for your Valentine and keep a few for yourself.
MADHURST: From humble beginnings 10 years ago, the Midhurst Music, Arts and Drama Festival has grown into a monthlong event throughout August.
SPREAD EAGLE HOTEL: Steeped in history, the Spread Eagle has welcomed guests since 1430 including Queen Elizabeth I, Admiral Lord Nelson and Guy Fawkes.
FITZCANES CAFE: What’s not to love about this independent North Street café that serves sweettreats for two-legged customers and special ice cream for dogs?
THE CRAFTY PINT: Stock up on Valentine’s Day tipple including beers, ciders, wines and spirits from small local producers 


PETWORTH

The passionate and turbulent love life of Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine has been immortalised in numerous books and films.
There are said to be more books about the French emperor than any man in history. 
Pivotal scenes in Ridley Scott’s newly-released Napoleon, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby, were filmed at 17th-century Petworth House. 
It was the biggest production ever to take place at the National Trust property – taking a week to prepare for two days of filming – and the trust said the producers ‘fell in love’ with Petworth because of its French-style features.
The grand property, set in a 700-acre deer park, is no stranger to stardom as it was also used as a location for the second Netflix series of Bridgerton. 
Petworth is famous for its art collection, making it the ideal stand-in for an art gallery in the period drama and filming took place in the North Gallery. 
English romantic artist JMW Turner was a frequent guest at Petworth, along with other famous painters such as John Constable.
Elsewhere, art-lovers can indulge their passion at Newlands House Gallery, situated in an historic townhouse and with changing exhibitions of 20th-century art.
Petworth is also another worthy contender on the Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide, and the perfectly preserved market town is also a paradise for shoppers. 
With  almost 40 antiques shops and galleries within a half-mile radius it has also scooped the accolade of being voted Best Antiques Town.

FIVE OTHER THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT PETWORTH

PETWORTH FESTIVAL:
Venues throughout the town echo to the sound of live music covering all genres, as well as comedy, from July 10-27.
THE HUNGRY GUEST: Winner of Delicatessen of the Year, the Middle Street business is packed with artisan foods including Sussex cheese.
PETWORTH COTTAGE MUSEUM: Meet Mrs Cummings as she puts on the kettle and invites visitors to step back in time at a 1910 estate worker’s cottage.
MYSTIQUE MASALA: Spice up your life with a meal served at home by a personal chef – and optional waiters – from the awardwinning East Street restaurant.
THE OLD RAILWAY STATION: Stay in a converted Pullman railway carriage or the main station in one of the county’s most unusual B&Bs, or book afternoon tea in the old waiting room.


BRIGHTON & HOVE

If you’re happy and you know it then chances are you’re in Brighton. The cosmopolitan seaside resort has been voted the happiest place to live and work in the UK, with another survey naming it as one of the best cities for families. 
A long-time favourite for romantic getaways, Brighton gets a mention in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth Bennet’s sister Lydia runs away to Brighton to be with her beau George Wickham.
Brighton has been fashionable since the Prince Regent – later King George IV – and his colourful entourage first visited in 1783. 
Visitors soon flocked to the ‘Queen of Watering Places’. With some of England’s finest examples of Regency architecture, the literal jewel in the crown is the Royal Pavilion, the Prince Regent’s ornate and eccentric onion-domed pleasure palace. 
Away from the prying eyes of London, and after a secret marriage, the prince spent much of his time in Brighton with his first love Mrs Fitzherbert. The city has since become renowned for its diverse communities and inclusivity.Known as the gay capital ofthe UK, it hosts the biggest annual LGBTQ Pride Festival.
It’s also a magnet for theatre and filmlovers. The Theatre Royal is one of the country’s oldest playhouses and the atmospheric Duke of York’s, which opened in 1910, is the UK’s oldest purpose-built cinema.
For a romantic tear-jerker, the adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel The End of the Affair, starring Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore, is among many films shot in Brighton.

FIVE OTHER THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT BRIGHTON & HOVE

ENGLISH’S OF BRIGHTON:
Whether or not you believe they’re an aphrodisiac, a plate of oysters in the city’s oldest seafront restaurant is a classic experience.
HAND IN HAND: Say cheers at this colourful corner bar in Kemptown which has its own microbrewery plus Sunday jazz.
BRIGHTON GIN: If beer’s not your thing enjoy the spirit of the city at Brighton’s first gin distillery, which produces the first craft gin to be certified 100 per cent vegan.
BRIGHTON FESTIVAL: The largest arts festival in the country has been wowing audiences since 1967 so make a note in your diary for this year’s event from May 4-26.
BRIGHTON I360: Love is in the air at the landmark seafront observation tower which is a top spot for popping the questions and also licensed for weddings.

RYE

With one of the most photographed streets in England, swashbuckling tales of smugglers and pirates, secret passages, literary links with a thriving independent shopping scene, it’s easy to see why Rye is beloved by visitors and the rich, famous and infamous alike.
Quaint and cobbled Mermaid Street has graced many a postcard and chocolate box and here you’ll find the equally photogenic namesake inn. The half-timbered exterior of the Mermaid Inn leads to low beamed rooms, once the haunt of the notorious 18th-century Hawkhurst Gang.  Nowadays, cosy up for a drink in the Giant’s Fireplace Bar. 
Once a fishing village, Rye grew into a harbour town and in 1336 was made one of the five Cinque Ports in recognition of its role in defending the south coast.
Illustrious names have visited the town throughout history and in 1573 Elizabeth I bestowed the town with the title ‘Rye Royal’ after her three-day stay. A list of famous authors have been enamoured by Rye and made it their home. 
Henry James and EF Benson both resided at Lamb House, now a National Trust property, from 1897 to 1916 and 1919 to 1940 respectively. Henry James wrote five of his best-known novels in the town including The Wings of the Dove, The Ambassadors and The Golden Bowl, while EF Benson used it as the fictional setting for his Mapp and Lucia novels with Rye renamed Tilling and Lamb House becoming Mallards. Regular visitors included HG Wells and Rudyard Kipling.

FIVE OTHER THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT RYE

ETHEL LOVES ME:
Treat yourself to one-off, original and unusual items at this High Street shop including vegan perfume and gifts made from recycled materials.
THE COBBLES TEA ROOM: An institution for 60 years, the tea room dates back to when sisters Doris and Iris began serving tea and cake in the front room of their cottage.
RYE HARBOUR NATURE RESERVE: This sweeping wetland landscape, with five hides accessible to wheelchairs, is one of England’s largest and most important wildlife sites.
RYE HERITAGE CENTRE: Housed in a converted 19thcentury sail loft, marvel at a vintage scale model of the town with a sound and light show.
KNOOPS: Warm up with 20 different types of hot chocolate, ranging from 28 per cent white chocolate to 100 percent dark, at this chocoholic’s dream café in Tower Forge.

ARUNDEL

Another Sussex contender for the best quality of life is Arundel, coming first out of a list of 50 towns and praised by the Daily Telegraph for its ‘rural glamour’. 
One local family can certainly vouch for Arundel being a top place to live in more ways than one. For more than 850 years successive Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors have made Arundel Castle their home. 
Over the centuries the landmark turreted castle, perched high above the town and now home to Edward William Fitzalan-Howard, the 18th duke, has welcomed guests including King Henry VIII and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
Today’s visitors can follow in their footsteps around the fairy-tale castle. Stylish and packed with history, it’s no wonder Arundel has stars in its eyes. Films shot in the town include The Young Victoria, The Madness of King George and, coming out this February, Wicked Little Letters with Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley. 
Even Doctor Who, then played by Sylvester McCoy, dropped by in 1988 for the show’s 25th anniversary story Silver Nemesis.
Dominating the skyline is Arundel Cathedral. Originally the Church of St Philip Neri, it was renamed in 1965 leaving Arundel as one of the only cathedral destinations not classified as a city. 
An annual highlight is the cathedral’s Feast of Corpus Christi which has been celebrated for more than 140 years with a magnificent floral carpet laid up the central aisle. This year’s festival is May 29-30.

FIVE OTHER THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT ARUNDEL

ARUNDEL WETLANDS CENTRE:
Watch the birdie at the 60-acre reserve where residents include Rogue and Storm, the largest and rarest of the pelican species with a 10ft wingspan. 
KIM’S BOOKSHOP: Pick up romantic poems, novels and much more at this bookworms’ paradise piled high with thousands of titles.
AMBERLEY MUSEUM: Take a trip back in time and explore the south’s working past at this nostalgic attraction where an old Southdown open top bus is among the latest exhibits.
DENMANS GARDEN: Say it with flowers at this award-winning garden with a shop selling unusual plants grown on site.
PALLANT OF ARUNDEL: Originally started as a wine merchants, this delicatessen has around 250 wines including locally produced English wine.

HORSHAM

High life expectancy, health and happiness were among the factors that saw Horsham crowned as the best place to live in the Halifax Quality of Life survey.
It’s apt that one of the greatest English romantic poets Percy Bysshe Shelley was born on the outskirts of the market town and was inspired by the local landscapes. 
‘As in the soft and sweet eclipse, when soul meets soul on lovers’ lips’- a line from Prometheus Unbound – has been repeated in many a Valentine’s Day card.
Other literary links include Sussex author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle choosing Horsham as the fictional setting for the Openshaw estate in his Sherlock Holmes short story, The Five Orange Pips. 
Other notable real-life residents include Catherine Howard, who spent her youthful and carefree days near Horsham before she married Henry VIII.
Collyer’s Sixth Form College was founded during his reign and recent alumni include comedian Harry Enfield and TV presenter Holly Willoughby.
Warnham Nature Reserve, a 92-acre site, owned and managed by Horsham District Council, is a beautiful spot for a romantic stroll with its tranquil millpond and naturerich woodlands that are home to roe deer.
In the town centre the historic Carfax, with its pretty 19th-century bandstand, is a focal point. The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, built in 1247, is the oldest existing building in Horsham and it’s no surprise that many couples choose to get married here. It’s also been featured on the BBC’s Songs of Praise.

FIVE OTHER THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT HORSHAM

CHRIST’S HOSPITAL:
Recently celebrating its 350th anniversary, the distinctive bluecoat uniform is little changed since Tudor times. 
SOUTH LODGE: The five-star country house hotel is a perfect venue for a meal for two or some indulgent chill-out time in the luxury spa.
THE HORNBROOK INN: Cosy up around the roaring log fire at this oak-beamed dog-friendly pub and restaurant. 
HUXLEY’S BIRDS OF PREY CENTRE AND GARDEN: Meet impressive feathered friends including owls, eagles, falcons, hawks and buzzards housed in award-winning gardens.
LEONARDSLEE LAKES AND GARDENS: One of England’s finest woodland gardens includes a captivating collection of wallabies and a new vineyard with the first wines on sale this year.

WORTHING

While they certainly don’tlive up to the image of sexy lingerie, a pair of Queen Victoria’s enormous bloomers are among the many unusual items at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery. 
The voluminous pants, with a 52in waistband and bearing a VR monogram, are part of the UK’s largest costume collection. 
With its thriving arts and entertainment scene, one of the biggest seaside resorts on the south coast has shaken of its image as a sleepy retirement town and in 2023 it was named as the best coastal town to move to by lifestyle website Muddy Stilettos.
Despite this recent renaissance, Worthing has provided plenty to write home about for a long time. Oscar Wilde penned The Importance of Being Earnest in Worthing and in 1805 Jane Austen stayed in the town with her mother and sister at Stanford’s Cottage in Warwick Street; now a Pizza Express restaurant. 
In 1817, the year of her death, she drew on her time beside the Sussex seaside to use Worthing as the backdrop for her unfinished novel Sanditon. Nobel Prizewinning English playwright Harold Pinter lived in Ambrose Place from 1962 to 1964 and it was here he wrote The Homecoming.
Pick up an exclusive present for your loved one at the quirky seafront art quarter. Based in beach huts, East Beach Studios are home to painters, sculptors, jewellers, ceramicists, knitters and other artists. Stroll past the Seafront Gallery, a new outdoor exhibition space with art set on stone plinths.

FIVE OTHER THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT WORTHING

THE CRABSHACK:
This rustic family-owned and run seafood restaurant and beach bar has a large terrace overlooking the sea.
WEST TARRING: Tarring High Street, one of Worthing’s most historic streets has a trio of timber-framed cottages dating from medieval times.
MONTAGUE GALLERY: Run by local artists, you can hone your own skills at weekday and weekend workshops. 
WORTHING PIER: A former Pier of the Year winner, the Art Deco Grade-II listed pier also has the added attraction of the Pavilion Theatre.
THE DOME: Opened in 1911, this period cinema is one of the oldest in the country and its Projectionist’s Bar is also open to non-cinemagoers.

EAST GRINSTEAD

From one of the longest continuous runs of Tudor buildings in England to its warm welcome, East Grinstead has plenty to be proud of. 
The ‘capital’ of the High Weald National Landscape, the town occupies an enviable spot on a sandstone ridge beside Ashdown Forest.
It was here that Sir Archibald McIndoe pioneered the use of plastic surgery to reconstruct the injured faces of World War II pilots and air crew; men that were affectionately known as members of the Guinea Pig Club.
In turn, East Grinstead became known as ‘the town that didn’t stare’ as the patients were integrated into the community. 
In recent times East Grinstead has attracted an A-list of celebrity names. The Dormans Park estate was once the home of Tom Cruise, who sold it to Peter Andre, and Adele also bought a nearby mansion where she lived until 2019. 
Rock band Led Zeppelin once owned Hammerwood Park, one of the first examples of Greek Revival architecture in UK. The musical legacy continues with a programme of concerts at the country house which is also open to the public.
Mark time with loved ones on the Sussex spot of the Prime Meridian, or Greenwich Meridian Line, which has been the standard measurement of time since 1884. It passes through East Grinstead from the eastern side of town and is marked by terracotta stones, a line of trees, rock installation and plaque.

FIVE OTHER THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT EAST GRINSTEAD

BLUEBELL RAILWAY:
Make a date to book a nostalgic afternoon tea on this heritage line which starred in the 2000 remake of The Railway Children.
SACKVILLE HOUSE: Escape the hustle and bustle of the High Street in this timber-framed Landmark Trust house built in 1520.
THE DORSET ARMS: Formerly the Newe Inn, the Ounce and the Cat, this High Street pub has been serving pints for more than 500 years.
ST SWITHUN’S CHURCH: Situated on a hill top at the entrance to the town, this inclusive church welcomes everyone regardless of their faith.
EMMA LOUISE: Set the Valentine’s Day mood with jewellery, candles, scented bath bombs and more from this eclectic High Street gift shop.

CROWBOROUGH

Both the largest and highest inland town in East Sussex, Crowborough’s most famous resident was the prolific author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
While he wrote hundreds of works and essays covering topics including science fiction, politics and history, he’s best-known for creating one of the most enduring fictional characters, Sherlock Holmes. 
Conan Doyle lived at Windlesham Manor, now a care home, from 1907 until his death in 1930. His home was just a short walk from the Beacon Golf Club where he was captain.
Crowborough has commemorated the writer with the world’s first statue of the author located at the crossroads and looking out towards Rotherfield; his favourite view.
It’s not often you find a nature reserve in a town. Crowborough Country Park, owned and managed by the town council, is a peaceful 16-acre oasis with woodland, streams and ponds. 
With its diverse habitats and wildlife, it’s hard to believe it was once a working quarry. 
The town is set within the High Weald National Landscape and borders the Ashdown Forest, a site of European significance for birds and heathland. Originally a deer-hunting forest in Norman times, it is now one of the largest free public access spaces in the southeast.
It’s also renowned for being the setting for the Hundred Acre Wood in AA Milne’s beloved Winnie-the-Pooh books.

FIVE OTHER THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT CROWBOROUGH

CROWBOROUGH CROSS:
Standing at the crossroads in the middle of Crowborough, this former coaching inn is the only listed building in the town centre.
TRANSFUNK FURNITURE: Tired and unloved furniture is given a new lease of life at this Fermor Way business which also sells hand-crafted Sussex soaps.
SAXONBURY TOWER: Take a turn around this folly built in 1828 by Henry Nevill, 2nd Earl of Abergavenny.
DUDDLESWELL TEA ROOMS: Serving tea since 1935, take a drive out to this former cottage where there’s free water and biscuits for dogs. 
ZEST CONTEMPORARY GIFTS: Pick up the perfect present for your loved one at this Aladdin’s cave of gifts in Fernbank Shopping Centre.

STEYNING

Occupying an enviable spot at the foot of the South Downs and with 125 listed buildings, Steyning oozes history and character. 
Praised for its ‘vibrant village vibes’ it has also been flagged up as one of the best places to live by The Times. 
Historic and contemporary ex-residents, including celebrated British actor Lawrence Oliver and Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell, would certainly agree with that. 
Irish poet WB Yeats stayed at Chantry House with his mistress Edith Shackleton Heald and wrote some of his last poems and the play Purgatory there.
The Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson moved to Steyning in 2014 and her latest books including The Oak Tree and The Woolly Bear Caterpillar have been inspired by walks in the surrounding countryside.
According to legend a Saxon shepherd, who was reduced to begging after his father died, pulled his poorly mother around Sussex in a cart. 
When the rope on the cart broke he decided to build a church on the spot.  That church is St Andrew’s and the boy became St Cuthman. The church also has a Tudor screen made to commemorate the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.
Dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, Steyning’s plethora of picturesque and historic buildings include the landmark clock tower. The original wooden clock faces are now on display in the town’s museum. 
Nearby, a small alley opens out into charming half-timbered Cobblestone Walk which now boasts a collection of independent shops and boutiques.

FIVE OTHER THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT STEYNING

CHEQUER INN: This 15th-century coaching inn continues to welcome travellers and locals with its open fires and home-cooked food.
PAWS FOR TEA: Next to the Cobblestone Tea House in the namesake walk is a dedicated doggy cafe where your four-legged friend can enjoy Barkjeeling, Earl Greyhound and other novel treats.
LYDIA MAE DESIGN: Also in Cobblestone Walk, you’ll find hand-designed eco-friendly cards, prints and decorations.
TOTTINGTON MANOR: Just outside the town, this hotel is a wonderful place for afternoon tea and the restaurant showcases regional ingredients.
POLICE STATION: Most cop shops aren’t noteworthy, but this flint-walled building off the High Street has to be one of the country’s most attractive stations.


 



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