5 of the best art walks in Sussex

Stedham Common heathlands at dawn

The Heathland Sculpture Trail guides you through different heathland sites within the park, including Stedham Common [pictured] - Credit: Sam Moore

From spotting sculptures in the heathlands of the South Downs National Park to chasing contemporary art galleries along the coast from Hastings to Eastbourne, these art walks in Sussex are good for body and mind

1. Heathland Sculpture Trail, South Downs National Park   
Where: Midhurst. 
When: All-year-round. 
Duration: Approximately eight-and-a-half-hours to walk in total. You can break it up into smaller bursts. 
How much: Free. 
This scenic walk will guide you past seven sculptures created by Graeme Mitcheson, which are located across different heathland sites within the park. Each one tells a story of the history, wildlife and people who call it home. Tales are brought to life thanks to the NFC tag and QR code on each one – simply scan it on your phone and a video will pop up that reveals all. The starting point is Cranberry on the Mire near Oakhanger and the end point is Wiggonholt Cricket near Pulborough. You can download a map from the website.

2. Pulborough WildArt Trail 
Pulborough, RH20 2EL to RH20 4DU. 
When: All-year-round.  
Duration: Approximately 1 hour 20 minutes at a relaxed pace.  
How much: Free. 
This 4-kilometre trail stretches from Pulborough Station to the RSPB Pulborough Brooks Nature Reserve. The route is peppered with sculptures along with facts about the local history and wildlife. You can see the full trail map via the app, which has all the sculptures marked out as well as handy commentary and some fun, interactive elements.

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A view of one of the cupolas on the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, East Sussex

A view of one of the cupolas on the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, East Sussex. You can see Bexhill promenade, Eastbourne and even Beachy Head on the horizon - Credit: CompellingPhotography/Getty Images/iStockphoto

3. Coastal Culture Trail 
: From Hastings to Eastbourne.  
When: All-year-round. 
Duration: About 18 miles (29 kilometres) end-to-end. Approximately 6 hours to walk at a relaxed pace. 
How much: Free. 
Stretch your legs on this 18-mile walk that follows the coastline linking three of the county’s leading contemporary art galleries: Towner Gallery Eastbourne, De La Warr Pavilion and Hastings Contemporary. The galleries are the rewards that bookend the sections and there are lots of recommended places at which to stay, eat and drink along the way. All you need to do is get your hands on the illustrated Sussex Coastal Culture Trail Map & Guide, which is available to download and to buy at all three galleries. The scenic route is practically traffic free and fairly flat. It follows the railway line so if your legs get tired you can always hop on a train to speed things up. 

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A view of the Coastguard Cottages at Seaford, towards Seven Sisters

A view of the Coastguard Cottages at Seaford, towards Seven Sisters - Credit: Alexey Fedoren/Getty Images/iStockphoto

4. Art Walk At Coast Guard Cottages 
Various dates, including Saturday 18th September 18, 2021 from 10.30am to 1.30pm. 
Where: Southdown Road, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 4AR. 
Duration: 3 hours. 
If you want a hands-on experience, check out these relaxed art walks by Artist Catherine Greenwood at Seaford Head. First, you’ll meet for a coffee, so Catherine can hand over the kit – sketchbooks, graphite drawing sticks, pen and ink and watercolours are available for use. You’ll then be given an introduction to drawing en plein air as you discover the landscape. The aim is to create a visual diary of your walk. Artists of all abilities are welcome. Lunch is provided. The location can change, depending on the weather. 

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South Heighton Pottery pieces on display in the garden as part of Artists Open Houses Festival in Brighton in June 2021

South Heighton Pottery took part in the Artists Open Houses Festival in June 2021 - Credit: South Heighton Pottery

5. Artists Open Houses 2021 Winter Festival  
When: November 27 & 28, December 4 & 5, and December 11 & 12 (summer 2022 dates to be confirmed). 
Duration: You can spend as long as you like discovering the trail while it’s on. 
How much: Entry is free.  
This much-loved trail invites you to stroll the city, stopping at artists’ houses and studios to view their work along the way. It's a great way to meet artists of all ages and stages in their careers and get a close-up look at their creations. Expect everything from paintings and prints to photography, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, jewellery and more on display. There’s a number of workshops to take part in, as well as homemade cake and tea on tap.