The most Instagrammable spots in Sussex
Daily walks getting a bit monotonous? Keep yourself motivated to get outside and hone your photography skills to boot by doing it for the 'gram.
‘At least we can get out for walks!’ is wearing a bit thin as we enter week number oh-god-I’ve-no-idea-who’s-even-still-counting of lockdown number ditto.
Why not pep up your local stroll with an Insta challenge – searching for the shot can often be the impetus to look at your ‘hood through fresh eyes and find beauty in the everyday.
Here’s your starter for 12 with some of the most Instagrammable hotspots in Sussex, for exploring locally or to add to the ‘to-visit’ list once restrictions ease. Drop your tips for where and how you get the perfect shot in the comments below!
The tunnel of trees marking the old Roman Stane Street that leads up to Halnaker Windmill is one of those rare sights that’s spectacular all year round. It’s also – pro tip – dead easy to shoot and images look markedly different, and pleasantly infinitely more dramatic, than what you see with the naked eye.
Stopham Bridge, Pulborough
This ancient bridge over the River Rother is ideally viewed from the nearby White Horse so once lockdown eases you can combine a pub lunch with an Insta-fest in one easy swoop. It’s a popular spot with paddleboarders and kayakers too and the river’s shallow enough for paddling. The bridge itself is a replacement for an even more ancient bridge, a wooden one, which it replaced in 1423.
There isn’t much of Leonardslee that isn’t worth photographing, but the magnolias, azaleas and camellias will add floral colour to your Insta during the early spring, and the rhododendron displays are another particular highlight. But to be honest, any time of year you visit you’ll come back with a spectacular shot.
Glorious at any time of day, never more so than at sunrise and sunset. There are a number of dewponds (man-made ponds designed to capture water for grazing animals) across the South Downs but this one on Ditchling Beacon, with its sentinel windswept hawthorn, is the most iconic and rewarding to photograph.
Mournful, statuesque and dignified, the old West Pier is the most-photographed building in Brighton and the very definition of ‘desolate beauty’ as it slowly but inexorably surrenders to the sea. For maximum Insta points visit at sunset in winter to catch the equally iconic starling murmurations over the skeletal building against a multicoloured sky.
With 200 acres of parkland set in the stunning High Weald, Borde Hill is another guaranteed Insta-winner and you could find a new shot every time you visited. During the summer, the rose gardens are of the kind you can practically smell through a photograph alone.
One of the biggest and best yew forests in Europe is also home to a grove of trees that are thought to be among the oldest living things in the entire UK. The ancient grove was said to be the meeting place of witches and Druids, now it welcomes anybody looking to get iconic shots of twisted, gnarled boughs straight out of a dark fairy tale.
Lavender fields? Pah, soooo pre-lockdown. This is a much rarer and more beautiful seasonal sight for sore eyes, a field of glorious lupins studded through with oxeye daisies, poppies and other native wildflowers backed by a pretty church framed, in turn, by the rolling South Downs. With a series of natural paths between the blooms you can snap little ones running free too.
Trainspotting will never be anoraky again after you’ve watched them thundering over a structural marvel that’s nearly 1,500m long and 100 feet high. The Ouse Valley Viaduct is said to be the most elegant in the country. Photo opps abound. And for bonus points remember the River Ouse, responsible for the valley over which the viaduct presides, is pronounced ‘ooze’.
A sandy beach is in itself a rarity in Sussex but Camber Sands also boasts one of the longest and most unspoiled dune systems on the South Coast. It’s an iconic setting for everything from wedding photos to children and Fido running free, and it’s a next-level Insta winner however you shoot it.
Bluebell woods on Spithandle Lane, near Wiston
Deep in the lanes of rural West Sussex lies this astonishing bluebell wood, accessed via a network of footpaths and bridleways on the snigger-worthy named Spithandle Lane. It’s reckoned by locals in the know, and backed by Muddy, as one of the best in Sussex. Add it to your bluebell walks next year and listen out – you’ll often hear the first cuckoo here too.
Knepp Estate, Dial Post
One for the wildlife lovers. Knepp is not only home to an astonishing range of species including free-roaming longhorn cattle, deer, Tamworth pigs and Exmoor ponies, it’s also the site of the wildlife success story of 2020, the white stork chicks. Home to a sizeable colony of white storks including the famous wild residents who bred here successfully last year, Knepp is one huge photo opportunity and the patient are bound to be rewarded with something very special.