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Pocket Guide: East Sussex

A short journey south of London lies the beautiful and historic county of East Sussex. Spanning rolling green hills and dramatic coastlines, the county is a firm favourite among United Kingdom holidaymakers. It's not only natural beauty that pulls in the tourists, though. East Sussex is also home to a plethora of stunning villages, lively towns and exquisite hotels, making it a charming all-round holiday destination.

Sensational Seaside Towns

The East Sussex coastline is one of the county's main draws, but not only by virtue of its natural beauty. Punctuating the coastline is a number of Victorian seaside resorts.

Eastbourne and Hastings offer visitors the best chance to hark back to the days of elegant Victorian holidaying. The seafront promenades are lined with stunning period buildings and the air is filled with that nostalgic fish and chip fragrance. Both towns offer some stunning seafront hotels, as well as some more pared-down, friendly guesthouses.

Bohemian Brighton

A little further along the coastline, Brighton and Hove is an altogether different kettle of 'fish and chips'! Behind the seafront row of elegant Victorian hotels and Regency town-houses lies a town of thriving culture and welcomed diversity.

The city's theatres provide ample evening entertainment, while the bohemian North Laine provides plenty of independent shops and cafés, ideal for afternoon strolls.

In addition to the grand hotels of the seafront (The Grand and The Hilton Metropole are among the best known), expect a medley of charming bed and breakfasts. Smaller outfits such as Brightonwave and One Broad Street offer a more personal stay, coupled with an enviable central location.

Rural Sussex

Just north of the wealth of stunning seaside towns lies a vast expanse of countryside. Whether you're heading into the Down for a hearty walk, or prefer to retreat into the depths of Ashdown Forest to enjoy a peaceful spa hotel, there's plenty for tourists in rural East Sussex.

The Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club sets the standard for tranquil accommodation in the countryside. Nearby, visitors can take their pick from walks in Ashdown Forest or entertaining the kids at the local Llama Park.

A favourite spot with walkers lies just outside of Brighton, at the Devil's Dyke. This unusual landscape is picturesque in itself, but the panoramic views over nearby villages is something else.

Historic Towns

East Sussex has a rich history, much of which is still on show in the county's many historic towns and villages. Few towns are as rich with history as the county town of Lewes. It has a high street lined with stunning period buildings, and set just back from the main drag is an 11th century castle. To complete the package, the town houses some of the finest hotels in East Sussex, as well as a number of great places to eat and drink.

History buffs are likely to head straight for the aptly named village of Battle. The site of the Battle of Hastings, Battle sits in the heart of 1066 country. There's a traditional hotel in the village centre, and plenty of dazzling walks in the surrounding area.