A cross between a British Bondi and a rustic iteration of The Hamptons with rolling dunes and swathes of marram grass and Tamarisk, along with the requisite seaside beach huts, windbreaks and dogs running cinematically across the sand, The Witterings look like the set of a Richard Curtis movie.

Add in a coveted blue flag for West Wittering’s white powder shore, which is part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty encircling the East Head sand dune spit, with breathtaking panoramic views of the South Downs and Isle of Wight, along with the more natural, unspoilt, off-the-beaten-track retreat of East Wittering, and it’s impossible to find a better place along Britain's coastline.

In fact, the twin villages nestled by the creeks, inlets, tidal flats and mouth of Chichester Harbour, in the risqué sounding Manhood Peninsula, have been showered with accolades including being named the ‘best place to grow up’ on the British coast by Savills and Knight Frank. The prestigious estate agent even described The Witterings as the ideal location ‘for parents who want to see their kids sailing after school and clambering over the rock pools at the weekend.’

The locals have gone one further, calling the picturesque villages which attract surfers and city slickers in equal measure for their chocolate-box cottages festooned with honeysuckle, cosy tea rooms, ye olde world pubs and thrilling water sports, as ‘God’s pocket.’

West Wittering, seen as the most glamorous of the pair, was ranked ninth in The Telegraph’s 2024 Most Beautiful Seaside Villages in Britain list. As well as having some of the most expensive streets in the country, the judges said it also has ‘nice places to eat – such as the Wittering [pub] – and sits by an excellent white-sand Blue Flag beach, lined with colourful beach huts. It also has an unusual microclimate that makes it one of England’s sunniest spots.’

Not bad for a place dismissed as a ‘jumble of bungalows and chalets near the beach in an untidy half grown-up state’ back in the 1950s by architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner.

Now there is a smorgasbord of seaside delights to be enjoyed at West Wittering for sports lovers and families who can go windsurfing, kite surfing kayaking, sailing, play tennis, or just splash in the sea or relax in the sun. There are lifeguards on duty between the middle of May and September and dogs are welcome although there’s an exclusion zone between 1 May – 30 September in an area the length of the beach huts.

East Wittering has restaurants, cafes and nearby pubs to enjoy and while the beach is shingle, it becomes sandy at low tide, which is perfect for children and dogs to run along. There is also an ice cream parlour by the beach entrance for cooling off and taking a refreshing break from all the fun in the sun during summer.

The picturesque West Wittering beachThe picturesque West Wittering beach (Image: Getty)

Famous Faces

The Witterings are catnip to Hollywood icons, rock and roll legends and Britain’s best-loved TV stars who clearly do love to be beside the seaside there. There are so many celebrities living there that West Wittering has been dubbed a ‘stardusted hotspot’ by The Telegraph.

The newspaper has named the village one of the ‘beautiful corners of Britain where celebrities are taking over.’

Actress Kate Winslet has called the village home since 2015. The Titanic star lives in a £4million mansion in West Wittering with her family and is often spotted shopping in Waitrose – the supermarket of choice for celebrities – in Chichester.

Claiming that The Witterings is the ‘best for celebrity spotting’ The Telegraph said: ‘If it’s good enough for Kate Winslet, it’s good enough for the rest of us.’

But it’s actually Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards who hit the headlines in West Wittering back in 1967 when the Grade II-listed cottage by the beach he’d bought the year before was raided by police during a party. Richards and lead singer Mick Jagger were arrested over a minor drug offence. They pleaded not guilty at Chichester Crown Court and spent time in Lewes Prison where they were held until sentencing was decided.

The pair faced a three-month prison sentence, but the penalty was quashed when the judgement caused public outrage. The Times newspaper’s then editor William Rees-Mogg wrote a statement in their defence, claiming they were being treated unfairly because of their public profile.

Richards still owns the estate and although he spends a lot of time in America now, he still turns up at local council meetings where he reportedly opposes new beachfront developments.

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 TV sitcom, also grew up in the area.

The Frasier actor went to East Wittering Primary school and now lives in West Wittering with his wife Lucy where he is often spotted at the local beach café.

The Witterings are a stardusted hotspotThe Witterings are a stardusted hotspot (Image: Getty)

Food and Drink 

Being by the seaside is hungry – and thirsty – work but luckily there are plenty of gorgeous places to eat and drink in The Witterings, starting with The Wittering Pub, just a stone’s throw from the beach.

This local free house is perfect for a quick bite to eat using fresh, local and sustainable ingredients where possible. There are rooms if you wish to stay and a stunning garden – both dog-friendly – to include all the family on a bucket and spade adventure. In the summer sip a cocktail or two in the coastal cabin or beach huts serving pizzas, daily specials, and ice cream.

Just a short drive from The Wittering, The Old Piggery Farm Shop is a little gem in the Sussex countryside with bags of parking, and a tea room offering delicious lunches, afternoon tea, local crab sandwiches and a warm welcome. Dogs are welcome and can even tuck into doggy ice cream and fabulous treats before you browse the large range of gifts and homeware, garden furniture and more on sale here.

Tuck into a bacon butty or smashed avocados on toast at Drifters kitchen bar near the beach in East Wittering for breakfast, boa buns or small plates for lunch or even a posh fish finger stone baked roll for dinner along with a sundowner.

If you’re extra hungry make room for 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, a dog-friendly seaside café where delicious food is the order of the day.

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

Pretty beach huts line the sandPretty beach huts line the sand (Image: Getty)


Away from the water sports and surf shops – 2XS seems to be the most popular with its water sports school – there is a smattering of eclectic, independent and even luxurious shops selling everything from fudge to pieces of art.

If you’re looking for a unique souvenir or memento of your stay, head to New Waves Box, which is a short walk from the beach at West Wittering. Here there’s a curated collection of homeware, creative and inspiring gifts, beach goods and quality hand-crafted items inspired by the coast and nature. There’s a sustainable section where you can pick up recycled and upcycled goods – we love the recycled eco-friendly Weaver Green blanket throws made out of 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles, a chic bargain at £50.

Take a piece of the Witterings to decorate your own home with nautical but nice furnishings from Beachcomber a unique, dog-friendly shop in East Wittering, while little ones can choose a toy from Salty Dog Emporium.

For something truly original, stop by The Little Art Gallery in the heart of West Wittering. Run by resident artist Linda Foskett, the contemporary gallery offers exquisite hand-made jewellery, enamels, oil paintings or prints from local artists, as well as Linda herself. The artwork is inspired by the Sussex countryside and coast, and Linda even takes on bespoke projects from decorating a room to an entire house. 

The glorious golden beaches mean The Witterings were named as a beautiful corner of BritainThe glorious golden beaches mean The Witterings were named as a beautiful corner of Britain (Image: Getty)

Where To Stay

With its seven individually decorated rooms, The Beach House boutique bed and breakfast is a breath of fresh air in the heart of West Wittering while there’s an array of luxury seaside properties available at welliesandwindbreaks.co.uk who specialise in high-quality holiday homes in the Witterings and surrounding area for families and groups of friends, including dogs. Whether it’s a weekend break or a longer staycation, they have a portfolio of holiday homes, as well as extensive knowledge of the local area and properties to help you pick the perfect home-away-from-home.

We love Beachwood, a 4/5 bedroom holiday home at the western end of Marine Drive West, just 20 metres away from West Wittering beach, and a ten minute stroll to East Wittering with its shops and restaurants.

Or you could hit the roads around The Witterings in a premier motorhome (premiermotorhomes.uk). Choose from more than 50 new or used motorhomes which have all mod cons and are perfect for couples and families, and come with awnings and even solar panels. If you’re looking for adventure on the go or just want to travel in style, they have all the motorhomes on site for you choose from. 

Water sports are popular hereWater sports are popular here (Image: Getty)

Must Do 

Cut a tube, or climb the foam at the Witterings, dude! Yes we’re talking about learning to surf while visiting this fantastic stretch of coastline. There are loads 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.

The sand dunes at East Head, West Wittering BeachThe sand dunes at East Head, West Wittering Beach (Image: Getty)

Must See

Head to the sand dune spit that is East Head to check our the spectacular sea views, soak up the sun while squishing your toes into the powdery sand, or watch for the seals that like to play there.