Top places to live in Sussex Chichester
Bright lights, cathedral city. The administrative capital of West Sussex is pastoral and quaint with fine dining galore and indie HQ Draper's Yard. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.
The cathedral city and administrative capital of West Sussex is steeped in history and culture, whilst being neatly sandwiched between Chichester Harbour and the rolling South Downs. It’s hardly the edgiest of Sussex’s cities but it’s without a doubt the loveliest and most pastoral, a blend of Roman walls and Georgian architecture, alongside some surprisingly high quality postwar buildings.
Head to the Chichester Harbour Hotel for fine dining and fresh seafood at The Ship restaurant. If you want pub grub, go slightly out of town to the Lavants, host to the Royal Oak and the Earl of March. The former in particular is a genuine destination pub for its seasonal modern British food. For more beachy vibes try Drift-In Surf Cafe at nearby East Wittering which serves great coffee alongside surf accessories.
There’s a good mix of high-street faves and indies. Draper’s Yard is a great spot for quirky independents including Paint Pot which upcycles furniture and Paulo Sussex, with his own brand of small batch jams and chutneys. For clothes small boutiques like Little London Boutique, and Preview sit alongside high street hits Mint Velvet and Hobbs.
The city is home to its own Festival Theatre and independent New Park Cinema and of course, there’s the gothic-style 12th-century cathedral itself. Nearby are the stunning West Dean Gardens, Fontwell Racecourse in the rolling Downs, and the wide sandy beaches of West Wittering. Step back in time at the Weald and Downland Living Museum.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE
A respectable £414,806. The majority of sales in the past year have been terraced properties (£393,010). Detached go for an average of £393,010 and semi-detached are £396,899. Bell and Blake are local indy estate agents and Kenton Budd do residential only.
The state primaries in Chichester are decent. Parklands Community Primary School is rated good by Ofsted, as are Fishbourne C of E Primary, Kingsham Primary, St Richards Catholic and Jessie Younghusband Primary. For state secondaries, it’s more good ratings for Chichester High School while Bishop’s Luffa is outstanding.
In terms of indies, Prebendal is a small co-ed prep with a family feel, that’s also a choir school for the cathedral. Unsurprisingly in that case, music is a speciality. There’s also Westbourne House and Oakwood Prep. Seaford College has day and boarding options.
BEST KEPT SECRET
Bishop’s Palace Gardens, just a short walk from the cathedral, are relatively undiscovered by locals and visitors.
You can be at London Victoria within 90 minutes although the average journey time is slightly longer. Season tickets from £5,112. Good rail links also to Portsmouth and Southampton.
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