Hugging the English Channel, East Sussex is a coastal county that once formed part of the South Saxons’ kingdom. It is marked by striking chalk hills and the ridges of the Weald, an ancient tract of raised forest and heath that is one of England’s most heavily wooded remaining areas.
Things to do in East Sussex
Whether you want to delve into England’s tumultuous history or soak up the scenery on long-distance hiking trails, East Sussex offers all of this and more.
Admire the Seven Sisters. Stretching along the coast of East Sussex are the Seven Sisters, a series of chalk sea cliffs that form part of South Downs National Park. From the visitor’s centre, a walking trail follows the Cuckmere River to where it meets the English Channel while the long-distance South Downs Way rises above the Seven Sisters. Directly east is the chalk headland of Beach Head and the squat Belle Tout Lighthouse.
Sightsee in Hastings. Famed for the 1066 Battle of Hastings, this picturesque coastal village is watched over the former castle home of William the Conqueror. Browse the exhibits on display at the Hastings Museum & Art Gallery or explore the town’s maritime past at the Shipwreck Museum and Hastings Fishermen’s Museum. On the Battle of Hastings site stands a partially ruined Benedictine abbey, a visitor’s centre and a playground.
Visit the home of Rudyard Kipling. Dating from 1634, Bateman’s is a Jacobean Wealden mansion that was home to Rudyard Kipling between 1902 and 1936. Step inside this sandstone residence to see Kipling’s former study and get up close to his personal belongings before touring the beautifully landscaped gardens. Also on the property is an 18th-century watermill that has been lovingly restored and is Grade II listed.
Getting around East Sussex
East Sussex is around 1.5 hours’ drive from London and Heathrow Airport, which has flights to destinations across the globe. Trains link the county’s main towns while buses serve smaller villages. Several long-distance pathways traverse East Sussex, including South Downs Way, the Sussex Border Path and the High Weald Landscape Trail.