Enjoy a trip to a historical site, or a day in the countryside. Find the best places to shop or experience the local wildlife. Perhaps you fancy a day trip to enjoy the quieter pace of the small towns of Sussex or to visit a garden. Maybe you're up for a day trip to a mysterious place or one of the or many other great days out in West Sussex. Below are a few of our best picks in the area. If you would like any further information or directions, please do not hesitate to speak with our Reception team who will be happy to help.
The official West Sussex tourism information site: www.westsussex.info
With a vast selection of Castles and Stately Homes in the West Sussex area, we are spoiled for choice, so here are a few of our must-see recommendations while you are in the area...
Arundel Castle - Situated across the beautiful countryside of Arundel and overlooking the River Arun, Arundel Castle was built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel. With old existing features, such as the motte, dry moat and gatehouse, history really comes alive here. Experience the rich and grand interiors and the stunning walled gardens also add another aspect to the Castle’s beauty.
With tours, workshops and events available, visitors are able to learn about the history of the Castle in great detail. Furthermore, there are places to eat and shop.
Petworth House - This magnificent country house and park has been a family estate for over 800 years and contains internationally important art collections with numerous works by Turner, Van Dyck, Reynolds and Blake, ancient and Neo-classical sculpture, fine furniture and carvings by Grinling Gibbons. Continuing to pass through wealthy family owners, the estate has become the grand and beautiful place it is today, displaying a rich decor and neatly landscaped grounds.
Parham House - Originally belonging to the Abbey of Westminster, King Henry VIII granted the manor of Parham to a London mercer called Robert Palmer. The foundations were then laid in 1577 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The Parham Estate today spans across 875 acres and has different parts to it. There is a historic deer park which encompasses rare and protected pieces of nature including trees, animals and insects and has limited access to visitors.
The Royal Pavilion - The spectacular seaside palace of the Prince Regent, who later became King George IV, is inspiring for its exotic and oriental style both internally and externally. Now housing some of the finest collections of art and furniture, including examples of Chinoiserie style, original pieces lent by The Queen and a magnificent display of Regency silver-gilt.
Uppark House & Gardens - This elegant 18th Century House poised on the South Downs portrays the lifestyle of wealthy Britain, showing rich Georgian interiors and a beautifully landscaped garden. With links to fame, such as the garden being inspired by Capability Brown and Humphry Repton, and the mother of H.G Wells once being a housekeeper here, many stories can be found within these walls...
With a rich history, West Sussex has many museums and sites of historical interest to enjoy.
Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre - Just a few moments from the Castle, is the Amberley Working Museum. With a large 36 acre site, there is a lot to explore, from railways and bus services (both of which freely carry you around the site) to printing workshops and much more. The museum is dedicated to the industrial heritage of the South East but is also home to traditional crafts people such as the stained glass makers, black smiths and potters. There is also a great restaurant and many picnic sites from which the beautiful surroundings can be savoured.
Bignor Roman Villa - Bignor Roman Villa, situated just minutes away from Amberley Castle, lies in the centre of the South Downs National Park. Explore the Villa on your own, or maybe take the tour as staff are always available. Enjoy the tea rooms with lovely homemade cakes or take a look around the shop. The site's beautiful mosaics are not the only thing that may capture the eye due to the unrivalled views and access to walks along the South Downs. A short distance from the Villa lays the quaint village of Bignor, with houses, gardens and a 13th Century Church to explore.
Fishbourne Roman Palace & Gardens - If you wish to venture further than Bignor, then you can take your mind back and imagine what would have been the luxury of this extravagant Roman residence at the largest Roman villa in the country. Stroll around the recreated Roman gardens – the earliest gardens found anywhere in the country – and enjoy the largest collection of mosaics in situ in the UK.
Goodwood House - At the heart of the beautiful Sussex countryside lies the opulent English country house that has been home to the Dukes of Richmond for centuries. Goodwood House has picturesque views of the surrounding scenery, as well as charming woodlands to explore. They serve a sumptuous cream tea in the Ballroom on Open Days for visitors taking a tour of the House.
Weald & Downland Museum - Discover rescued traditional rural buildings set in a beautiful landscape, which tell the stories of the men, women and children who lived and worked in them over a 950-year period. Enjoy the Museum’s 40-acre site and visit the collection of historic buildings – with 50 to explore and many of the exhibit houses furnished to recreate historic domestic interiors. There is a regular programme of domestic and craft demonstrations, including cooking in a Tudor kitchen; blacksmithing in a Victorian smithy; plus seasonal demonstrations. Take a walk in the woods, visit the café kiosk or enjoy your own picnic.
The beautiful market towns and cities of West Sussex, set in the heart of the south downs national park leave so much to explore. We have chosen a short selection of our favourite places to see before you leave, near to the castle and a little further afield!
Arundel - Charming, stylish and full of history, the picturesque market town of Arundel in West Sussex is probably most famous for two stunning landmarks - Arundel Castle and Arundel Cathedral. Enjoy a great range of things to do for families, couples and groups including fishing, boating, wildlife watching, outdoor swimming and walks on the nearby South Downs. Shop at independent boutiques, antique markets and art galleries or eat out overlooking the River Arun in one of Arundel’s pretty waterside pubs, cafés and restaurants.
Petworth - The beautiful market town of Petworth, a centre for arts and culture, is set in the heart of the south downs national park and surrounded by the walls of Petworth house and park.
Chichester - The City of Chichester, shaped by its unique heritage, is made for exploring. Blending old and new, Chichester offers an enticing mix of designer label boutiques, high street shopping, renowned art galleries and stylish restaurants and contemporary cafés. Home to the beautiful Bosham Harbour, only a ten minute walk from the city centre.
Brighton - Discover attractions such as the Brighton Pier, the Royal Pavilion and the brand new British Airways i360. The city is also home to a cornucopia of cultural delights as well as big name shops and hundreds of independent boutiques. There are many award-winning restaurants in Brighton & Hove catering for all tastes from classic fish 'n' chips to creative vegetarian restaurants and even a zero waste restaurant.
Bognor & Littlehampton - Traditional seaside towns with many rides and amusements for the children. Be sure to enjoy the towns many parks and gardens, or just relax at one of the town's café's or public houses. Take in a show at the Alexandra Theatre, or enjoy some live music at one of the towns many music pubs. The town is proud of its clean beaches and relaxed welcoming atmosphere. If relaxing on the beach isn't for you, the town is ideally positioned to explore the surrounding towns, historic sites and natural beauty of the South Downs National Park.
There are short rambles, beach side walks and longer trail walks with stunning views for you to enjoy in West Sussex, here are a small selection of what we recommend to get you started. For more ideas, shorter local walks or for any maps to be printed, please speak with our Reception team who will be happy to help.
Amberley - Amberley is a chocolate box village with many old buildings, thatched cottages, a castle, a church, two pubs and a shop. There is also a working pottery. Amberley Wild Brooks is a large area of flood meadows, one of the richest wetlands remaining in the UK.
Amberley to Arundel - This linear West Sussex walk explores the River Arun from Arundel upstream to Amberley. The start is Arundel railway station (grid ref. TQ024064) where regular trains connect with the end of the walk at Amberley.
South Downs Way - Experience some of our finest countryside between Winchester, the first capital of England, and the white chalk cliffs at Eastbourne. If you're looking for attractive wildlife, visible prehistory, fine pubs and pretty villages, or if you just fancy a challenge, the 100 miles of the South Downs Way awaits you.
Centurion's Way - The Centurion Way was once the Chichester to Midhurst Railway line. The section between Lavant and Chichester was used for the transportation of sugar beet and was closed completely in 1957. The tracks were removed in 1993. The name Centurion Way was suggested by a local schoolboy and is based on the fact that the path crosses the course of a Roman road. The easy access trail (1.5km) runs from Chichester to West Dean Estate and is available for cyclists and walkers to use. The easy access trail runs on a section of the Way, close to West Dean.
Halnaker Windmill - Visit this Grade 2 listed building, World War 2 Observation Post and Neolithic Earthworks in Halnaker village near Chichester. This iconic Sussex landmark, perched on Halnaker Hill and visible from a wide surrounding area, is well worth the climb to admire close up. The wildflower-rich chalk grassland at the hilltop is a great spot to get away from it all and enjoy fine views of the coast across a patchwork of woods and farmland. Access is only possible by foot, it is possible to park 2 miles away in a lay-by and make the picturesque walk to the windmill.
There are so many interesting days out, places to visit and leading tourist attractions in West Sussex. Here's our selection of some of the best places to go for a good day out...
Way & Arun Canal - The Wey & Arun Canal runs through Surrey and West Sussex in Southern England. This rural waterway is recognised as a national heritage asset, as well as providing a haven for wildlife. The Trust has several ongoing restoration projects, and lengths of the canal are now in water. Trip boats with up to 50 seats run cruises on the idyllic Loxwood section of the canal.
West Dean Gardens - Nestled at the foot of the South Downs, West Dean Gardens is one of the greatest restored gardens open to the public today. Visitors can explore a wide range of features on a gentle walk around the grounds. From surreal trees to the restored walled garden, West Dean Gardens proudly presents its rich creative and social heritage. Complete with its own Visit England endorsed restaurant, it is the perfect way to end a day out with a well-deserved afternoon tea!
WWT Arundel Wetlands Centre - See the wild side of Arundel! WWT Wetlands Centre is a beautiful reserve nestled in the South Downs National Park. Take a free guided boat safari to glimpse a rare water vole or see vividly coloured kingfishers. Hand feed our collection of birds, including the nene, one of the world’s rarest water birds.
South Downs Heritage Centre - A unique attraction in a stunning oak-framed barn. Independent artists showcase their work, local award winning food producers are in the food hall.
St. Mary's House & Gardens - St Mary's is an enchanting historic 15th century timber-framed house, with magnificent gardens, and charming cottage-style tea rooms, in the picturesque award-winning downland village of Bramber, West Sussex...a place of fascination and mystery.