With the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the east, South Downs National Park to the west and popular resort towns along the coast, Brighton’s surrounds are worth the journey. Pubs with rooms, restored farmhouses and luxury spa mansions are all to be expected in these areas, while Brighton’s traditional seaside amusements are all but a car ride away. Here, we list our top hotel choices for your next stay in the area.
This 900-year-old castle, a 45-minute drive from Brighton, in the thatched-roof village of Amberley once hosted Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth II. Now part of the Relais & Châteaux boutique group, it retains all of its grandeur, including an imposing portcullis and topiary-edged grounds with a tennis court, a putting course and a croquet lawn. Rooms, complete with timber ceilings, span from modern Classic iterations to Premier Deluxe options with fireplaces, while the restaurant serves small plates of citrus-cured salmon and roasted cauliflower with coconut.
Constructed in the 1920s by an antique specialist who reclaimed materials from ancient buildings, “grandiose” is a good starting point for describing this collection of mock-medieval mansions. Bailiffscourt is known for its spa, which features relaxation rooms and a heated outdoor infinity pool. Dinner in the dining hall keeps things local, featuring sparkling wine from Sussex and meats and cheeses sourced from nearby farms. It’s located 45 minutes from Brighton and just 12 minutes from Arundel Castle.
Perfectly positioned for South Downs rambling, this ivy-covered B&B in rural Steyning, 25 minutes from Brighton, is within easy reach of hiking trails. When you’re not out and about, luxuriate in the grounds, take a dip in the heated pool, and challenge your travel companions to table tennis or snooker. Breakfast is served in the smart conservatory, featuring cooked classics along with the Springwells Signature – porridge topped with caramelised demerara sugar, double cream and whisky.
On the southern edge of the South Downs National Park, 45 minutes from Brighton, this gastropub welcomes visitors with a roaring fire, exposed red-brick walls and pints of local beer. The ever-changing seasonal menu features English fare, such as pigeon, sole and wild mushrooms, while it’s complemented with additions like curry sauce and chorizo. Rooms are named after former landlords and echo the pub’s cosiness with cable-knit pillows, vintage furniture and Nespresso coffee machines.
Television personality James Braxton, as seen on Antiques Road Trip, owns this delightful old coaching inn – but his sons run the place, so you won’t find him pottering around. It’s furnished with all sorts of curios, as you might expect, such as milk-churn bar stools, vinyl records and a leather pommel horse, while head chef Matt Pask specialises in pies like shepherd and fish. The village of Wartling has excellent access to the medieval manors and forested hills of High Weald, and Brighton is around a 50-minute drive away.
This five-star luxury hotel, 50 minutes from Brighton, sits at the north-western edge of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Keen birdwatchers will be able to spot great tits and thrushes in the adjoining National Trust woodland. Back at the Utopia Spa, guests can enjoy signature treatments, including a champagne-and-truffle facial and a basalt lava stone massage, before tucking into the 10-course seasonal menu at AG. Former Michelin-starred chef Johnny Stanford designs the menu, favouring dishes like confit trout paired with cep custard and sweet vinegar.
Half an hour’s drive from Brighton and just north of the Seven Sisters white cliffs, Saltmarsh makes an ideal base for exploring the South Downs Way. Set in a restored 16th-century farmhouse, its interiors epitomise countryside living – think wooden beams, fireplaces and wall antlers. Owner Nina and her team like to keep things local: the coffee at the hotel is roasted in nearby Litlington, while teas are from Kent & Sussex Tea Co and scones are freshly made at the hotel. Help yourself to wine and gin and tonic at its snug honesty bar after a day out exploring the South Downs National Park.
Heading to Brighton with a special someone? Discover our guide to the most romantic hotels in the city, and book now on Culture Trip.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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