East Sussex’s beautiful coastline and rolling hills attracts many visitors, particularly those escaping London for the weekend.
Unlike many British seaside towns, Brighton is thoroughly modern and is undoubtedly the area’s most lively and cosmopolitan destination. Long a magnet for trendy, young, creative types, Brighton is filled with interesting shops and boutiques and has a buzzing nightlife scene, where up-and-coming musicians and comedians regularly perform. That isn’t to say Brighton is without history – it has plenty of Georgian architecture, the old town is a maze of narrow lanes and it is home to the fascinating Royal Pavillion, the ‘pleasure palace’ built by the fun-loving King George IV. For a fix of classic British sea-side tackiness, Brighton Pier obliges, with its fairground rides, amusement arcades and candy-floss sellers.
Away from Brighton, East Sussex takes on a calmer, more genteel feel, with several wonderfully preserved historic towns. Picture perfect Rye looks as though it hasn’t been touched in centuries and popular Lewes combines Georgian architecture with twisting medieval lanes and a picturesque ruined castle overlooking the town.
Just inland, the tiny village of Battle was the site of probably the most significant battle in English history – the Battle of Hastings, at which William the Conqueror defeated King Harold. The atmospheric ruins of Battle Abbey now stand on the battlefield and an interesting visitors’ centre tells the story of the battle.
East Sussex also has its fair share of picturesque castles: Bodiam Castle, enchantingly reflected into the moat in which it sits, looks like something out of a fairly story, while the ruins of William the Conqueror’s first Norman stronghold at Pevensey Castle tell a fascinating story.
East Sussex also has its own White Cliffs, known as the Seven Sisters. Considered by many to be more spectacular than the more famous White Cliffs of Dover, they provide beautiful, undulating cliff top walks.