Beyond Brighton – Fascinating Places to Discover
The city of Brighton has a quirky, unique flavour all of its own. But there’s more to East Sussex than Brighton & Hove. Here’s some information about some of our local towns and villages, covering the best bits you don’t want to miss!
Shoreham-by-Sea – 7 miles from Brighton city centre
Shoreham by Sea is a delightful little ex-fishing town seven miles or so west of Brighton. It’s an ancient place bordered to the north by the beautiful South Downs National Park, to the west by wide, flat valley of the River Adur and to the south by the Adur and Shoreham Beach, quieter and cleaner than Brighton beach and far from the madding crowds in summer.
Must sees in Shoreham:
Eating and drinking in Shoreham:
- The lovely Church of St Mary de Haura, built in the 1090s, just a few years after the 1086 Doomesday Survey. Church St, Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 5DQ
- The 12th century Marlipins Museum, 36 High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea, one of the oldest non-religious buildings in Britain
- The colourful houseboats on the Adur’s west bank, a famously rebellious and eccentric community of people who like to live life their own way
- Shoreham Airport Visitor Centre, – Located in the beautiful Art Deco terminal building, Brighton Shoreham Airport, Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 5FF
- Shoreham Fort, Forthaven, Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 5HY– A well-preserved Palmerston Fort built in 1857 to defend against Napoleon the Third
- Sussex Fishing and Boat Tours on Basin Road North
Portslade – 5 miles from Brighton city centre
Portslade is a suburb of Brighton and Hove but the original village, a little way inland, dates back to the 1500s. The village marks the West Sussex border, and there’s a scenic public footpath taking you from the seafront right to the spine of the South Downs escarpment with its epic sea, downland and country views.
Must sees in Portslade:
Eating and drinking in Portslade
Newhaven – 9 miles from Brighton city centre
Newhaven is a ferry town at the mouth of the River Ouse, a few hours from the attractive French port of Dieppe. The town dates back to around 480 AD when the Saxons built a village on the site of the current town.
Must sees in Newhaven:
Eating and drinking in Newhaven:
- Catch the ferry to Dieppe, running two times a day
- Explore the beachside remains of the village of Tide Mills, built in 1761 and now derelict, once a huge seawater lagoon created to store seawater to power a series of mills
- Walk along the river’s western bank to Newhaven Fort, a Palmerston Fort built on Castle Hill, the site of a Bronze Age fort, in the 1850s, Sussex’s biggest defence work and now a museum
- Explore the Brighton to Newhaven Cliffs Site of Special Scientific Interest, where you can find fascinating Santonian and Campanian fossils
- Walk the scenic footpaths along the river going north towards the South Downs
- Visit Paradise Park gardens, garden centre and kiddie attractions
Seaford – 13 miles from Brighton city centre
Seaford is a sleepy traditional seaside resort with a long, scenic promenade. Parts of the Dad’s Army movie were filmed there in the late 1960s, where the town played the part of the series’ fictional location Walmington on Sea.
Must sees in Seaford:
Eating and drinking in Seaford:
- The magnificent white cliffs at Seaford Head are worth walking up simply to enjoy the remarkable views east and west
- Walk from Seaford Head to the end of the promenade to the east, paralleling the bay’s huge sweep of pebbly beach
- Seaford Head Golf Course also offers exceptional coastal and downland views
- Visit the Seaford Museum at the Martello Tower on the esplanade
- Walk the Seaford Heritage Trail starting at the rail station, a two hour five mile walk where you’ll discover Seaford’s smuggling past and fascinating political intrigue
- The Eric Slater Trail marks the places where the famous local artist found inspiration
- The Poppy Trail marks the town’s wartime heritage
- The South Downs Way and Vanguard Way walks both pass through the town
Lewes – 9 miles from Brighton city centre
The ancient town of Lewes nestles in the South Downs, a beautiful little town and artistic centre with its own ancient castle and walls, a plethora of excellent antique shops and emporia, and lots of tiny twittens – historic alleyways – to explore.
Must sees in Lewes:
- Lewes castle, museum and ancient wall walks, right in the town centre
- Anne of Cleves’ house
- The excellent Sussex Guild of Craftsmen gallery and beautiful gardens at historic Southover Grange
- Art Wave, an annual arts and crafts festival with galleries and open houses to visit
- The Chalk Gallery, where local artists exhibit their work
- Out of town – Charleston Farmhouse, Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum and Glyndebourne Opera House
- Malling Down Nature Reserve
- Mount Caburn ancient hill fort
- Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare in nearby Ringmer
- Monk’s House
- Cliffe High Street, with its numerous excellent antique shops and emporia
- The Priory ruins and park
- Pells Pool outdoor swimming pool
Ditchling – 8 miles from Brighton city centre
The pretty village of Ditchling is an ancient place offering gorgeous views of the South Downs, stunning ancient architecture and some jolly good pubs.
Must sees in Ditchling:
Eating and drinking in Ditchling:
- Ditchling Common, with its unique variety of heath grassland habitats
- The Clayton to Offham Escarpment, of significant biological importance because of its rare chalk grassland, woodland and scrub habitats
- St Margaret’s Church, founded in the 11th century
- Stoneywish Nature Reserve
- Ditchling Beacon, a steep snakey road with remarkable views of the misty Sussex plain, as far as the North Downs
- The Ridgeview Wine Estate
- Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft
- Mid Sussex Golf Club
- The White Horse on West Street
- The Bull, on the High Street
- The Sandrock Inn on the High Street
Steyning – 13 miles from Brighton city centre
Pretty Steyning has been around since Anglo Saxon times and offers a very fine high street, lovely historic buildings and great shops. In the Middle Ages Steyning was a busy river port used to send wool downstream for export, an important trading powerhouse. Now the river has silted up and it’s hard to imagine a port was ever there.
Must sees in Steyning:
Eating and drinking in Steyning:
- The Steyning Festival, a biennial two week event in late May/early June with theatre, music, literature, talks, walks and community events
- The High Street, home to a host of brilliant independent shops
- Visit Steyning Museum to discover the town’s remarkable history
- Nearby Bramber Village, with its castle and historic St Mary’s House and Gardens
- St Andrew’s Church with its Norman carvings
- Scenic, peaceful Alderwood Pond
- Hobjoins Barn – perfect for bargains!
Come back for more!
- Whites at the White Horse, on the High Street
- Baloos Bistro, High Street
- The Old Tollgate Hotel on the St, Bramber
- The Star Inn, High Street
- The Chequer Inn, High Street
- Rhubarb Cafe, High Street
- Chez Joel, High Street
This is just the tip of an awesome Sussex iceberg, all manner of amazing and beautiful, quirky and ancient towns and villages to discover around Brighton. Come back again for more – we’ll be updating this page regularly with new destinations and attractions.