The south coast of the UK has plenty of attractions on offer – from hiking across the South Downs and swimming off Cuckmere Haven to fine dining in Brighton and tasting English wines in the Sussex countryside. Culture Trip’s local insiders share their top recommendations.
The UK’s winemaking scene has exploded in recent years. And Ridgeview Wine Estate produces some of the country’s finest sparkling wines from its enviable location in the South Downs National Park, a 25-minute drive out of Brighton. Book a tour and tasting, complete with views over the picturesque, quintessentially English countryside. Recommended by local insider Clare Scott
The UK’s newest national park opened fully in 2011 and is a must-visit for nature lovers and hikers. It covers a significant area between Eastbourne and Winchester, so you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to trail options. As a starting point, try the Chattri trail or the Jack and Jill Windmills walk. Expect rolling hills that pay off your hard work with gorgeous views and picture-perfect English country pubs, where you can enjoy a hard-earned pint. Recommended by local insider Clare Scott
Whether you’re venturing out onto the South Downs or spending time exploring the mixture of vintage shops, seaside attractions and exciting food options that makes Brighton so special, you’ll need somewhere to put your feet up after a hard day. The Artist Residence is a cut above your usual city centre options while still maintaining that boutique Brighton vibe. It’s not cheap, but the quirkily gorgeous interiors and sea-view rooms make it worth the splurge. Recommended by local insider Clare Scott
On a sunny day in Brighton, the beach is always busy – especially if it’s a weekend. If this is the vibe you’re looking for, great, but for something quieter why not take the Undercliff Walk. It’s a 5mi (8km) stretch, along the coast under the famous white cliffs, from Brighton to Rottingdean, and you can do it on foot or by bike – there are local bikes for hire all over town. It also offers birdwatching opportunities for any twitchers out there. Recommended by local insider Clare Scott
There’s something particularly appealing about a dip in a Victorian lido on a hot summer’s day. Built in 1860, Pells Pool, in Lewes, is the oldest freshwater lido in the UK still in operation, and it’s fed by spring water drawn from below the baths. The combination of a 45m outdoor pool plus sun terrace, lawn and paddling pool for little ones makes for a perfect family afternoon out. Recommended by local insider Ellie Ricketts
The Seven Sisters Country Park, named after the seven cliff heads in the area, is just a 15-minute drive from Eastbourne and a 35-minute drive from Brighton. It’s secluded enough to feel like a break from the city while being incredibly easy to access. Explore the scenery and spot wildlife on one of several walking trails or pack a picnic, frisbee and some suntan lotion for some quality time on the beach. Recommended by local insider Ellie Ricketts
Cuckmere Haven is a pebbly beach in the Seven Sisters Country Park that’s popular with watersports enthusiasts. You’re welcome to bring equipment, but there are also opportunities for the uninitiated to learn to kayak, canoe and stand-up paddleboard in the nearby Cuckmere Meanders with adventure company Buzz Active. A partnership with Sussex Wildlife Trust means you can add a guided nature walk or fire-lighting session to your visit. Warm clothes and a thermos are a must on colder days. Recommended by local insider Ellie Ricketts