Life’s a beach! The best places to hit the water in Sussex
Bustling beaches, watersports, lidos and quiet, sandy havens - dive in at our pick of the best coastal and open-air hotspots around Sussex.
Is it us or is it hot in here? *fans self vigorously* Let’s all be a bit smug about living near the coast, because Sussex is packed with busy and more secluded beaches (yes, there are some), watersports hotspots, lidos and splash parks. Here’s where to head to cool off – and where to avoid when the crowds kick in. Remember to take your litter home with you.
Brighton is the obvious choice for beachfront dining, swimming (near West Pier is a great spot and if you get there early enough you might see fish!) and entertainment, and the Palace Pier is open for business, with social distancing measures in place. Further east, Eastbourne Pier is also ready and waiting for visitors and there’s miles of shingle to enjoy. To the west of Brighton, Worthing is a bit smaller and less hectic, but no less enjoyable. Littlehampton is a great kid-friendly choice, it’s sandy, with a fun and cute seafront and amusement park. It’s also currently home to a temporary observation wheel, after a successful similar venture in Worthing last year.
For those who prefer a quieter, more secluded beach without quite so much fanfare, razzle-dazzle and front, Climping, halfway between Littlehampton and Bognor, is a good choice. Elmer, along the same stretch near Bognor, is quieter too.
Sandy West Wittering is one of the loveliest and most unspoiled beaches in the South, but it’s kept that way with restricted parking and limited facilities and at the moment you need to book your parking in advance. It gets very busy during the holidays – tailbacks can start from Chichester.
For rockpooling, beautiful clifftop walks and breathtaking views, head to Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters.
Camber Sands in Rye is practically world-famous for its unspoiled sand dunes, but it definitely attracts the crowds at high season so plan ahead if you want to visit.
Lancing Beach has ideal conditions for kitesurfing, which Muddy is desperate to try out as it looks amazing fun. Brighton Kitesurf and SUP Academy offer lessons, as the name suggests, in kitesurfing and paddle-boarding.
Over at Hove Lagoon, try SUP, wakeboarding and windsurfing with Lagoon Watersports, and the same company runs higher octane watersports like jet-skiing, yachting and powerboating from Brighton Marina.
Out East, Rye Watersports offers kitesurfing, sailing, windsurfing and SUP. It all happens at Camber, so bear in mind as per above it gets rammed in high season and do plan and book ahead. You can try all these with Worthing Watersports too, at Goring-By-Sea. Although it’s hardly Cornwall or Devon standard when it comes to waves, you can surf in Sussex. At West Wittering, 2XS offers surfing tuition and hire, as well as windsurfing and paddle-boarding.
Lidos and Splash Pads
Can’t be bothered with the beach? Head to one of Sussex’s outdoor pools instead – at the moment all of these need to be booked online so don’t just turn up. Arundel Lido has pools with a view – these are heated, although it’s hardly needed in this weather. Enjoy lovely views of the castle from the 25m main pool, and let the kids splash about in the paddling pool.
Pells Pool in Lewes is the UK’s oldest freshwater pool and is fed by the River Ouse. It’s not heated, but it warms up as the summer progresses. There’s a paddling pool for younger kids too.
For a swim that looks as good as it feels, head to Saltdean Lido, the UK’s only Grade II listed Art Deco outdoor pool.