Though Brighton has plenty of pristine beaches and seaside attractions to keep you entertained on a holiday, the surrounding area of Sussex is home to many wonders for fun day trips. From quaint medieval towns to dramatic headlands, here are the must-visit places near Brighton.
Ashdown Forest is a medieval forest that was once used for deer hunting but is now part of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The peaceful forest is the habitat for deer, birds and other grazing animals, and it even inspired the Hundred Acre Wood in A.A. Milne's 'Winnie-the-Pooh'. While visiting the forest, you can see places like Roo's Sandpit, the North Pole, Galleon's Lap and Pooh Sticks Bridge. You can also ride horses on bridle paths for a different perspective of the landscape.
Shipley Windmill is a large, eight-sided smock mill that was built in 1879. The mill was once owned by writer Hilaire Belloc and operated until 1922, and there were tours to see the mill machinery and watch flour being ground. Though the interior is closed to the public now, the exterior can be seen from a scenic footpath nearby.
Home to one of the best examples of a medieval castle, Arundel is one of the must-visit places near Brighton. The castle in Arundel was founded in 1067 during the Norman Conquest of England. Though it was damaged in the Civil War, it was restored and offers tours of the armoury, dry moat and chapel. It also has some of the most beautiful views of River Arun and the landscape from its towers. Arundel is also home to a 19th-century French Gothic cathedral.
Located in East Sussex, Lewes is one of the most historically and culturally important towns in the area. You can explore the old quarter with its cobbled streets and medieval timbre homes or hike to Lewes Castle to see the home of Anne of Cleves. There's also a museum dedicated to the history of Lewes Castle and a charming country home, Glyndebourne, with spectacular lawns for a nature walk. Glyndebourne also has a calendar of opera performances for the summer season.
The Long Man of Wilmington, also known as the Lone Man, Green Man and Lanky Man, is a massive figure in the hillside that's believed to date back to the Iron Age. Nestled in the picturesque Sussex countryside, the figure is a sight to behold. You can study the features of the Long Man of Wilmington and wonder about its origins and purpose as you tour the beautiful landscape.
Devil's Dyke is a fascinating nature feature with a rich history. According to legend, the 300-foot valley was created when the devil attempted to flood Sussex. He was scared off by a rooster, which caused him to throw the earth into the sea. In addition to its unique history, Devil's Dyke offers spectacular views of the valley carpeted in wildflowers and verdant foliage. Be sure to bring your camera!
Located near Seven Sisters, Beachy Head is one of the highest chalk sea cliffs in Britain and offers views across the southeast coast from Dungeness to Selsey Bill. In addition to taking in the views, you can visit the Beachy Head Lighthouse on the sea below the cliff or the Belle Tout Lighthouse on the headland to the west. The area is popular and has walking routes along the headlands as well as many restaurants and ice cream vans.
Historic Rye is a great place to take it easy and explore quiet streets and hidden gems. The citadel in the upper part of town is filled with steep cobbled streets and timeworn houses that call back to the 18th-century smugglers who once lived there, and you can see the remnants of old fortifications from Rye's time as a Cinque Port. For more history, you can visit the Rye Castle to learn about the town's incredible past. There's also the Camber Sands, a quiet beach on the English Channel coast, and the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve salt marsh and beach.
History buffs will love a visit to Battle. The medieval town arose after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and is now home to the Abbey of St Martin. The abbey was constructed by William the Conqueror after his battle victory and was purportedly placed on the site where the Anglo-Saxon king fell. When you visit the abbey, you can see a re-enactment of the battle and take an archery lesson for a fully immersive experience.
Perched 813 feet above sea level, Ditchling Beacon is one of the highest points in South Downs and offers some of the best views across the sea. The beacon was once used to alert locals to invasions, but it's now popular for picnics, nature walks and hang-gliding with views of South Downs and Sussex Weald. You'll also see idyllic fields with grazing sheep and wildflowers.
Now that you know all the best places near Brighton, you're ready to plan your holiday itinerary. Take a look at deals on Brighton hotels on Expedia and explore other things to do in Brighton during your trip!