If you want to guarantee your stay in East Sussex will be amazing, make sure you book your holiday accommodation ahead of time – saving you hassle and stress while you're travelling. The fantastically varied county is full of charming historical sites, food and drink events, and fantastic stretches of golden sand beaches, so don't let anything detract from your awe-inspiring surroundings! For your trip to East Sussex, browse through our selection of holiday rentals on Tripadvisor or Airbnb.
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Visit East Sussex: home to the Battle of the Hastings!
East Sussex is the site of rolling green hills, tiny medieval villages that have been around for nearly a thousand years, and longer in some cases; and a coastline that inspires jealousy from around the word. Plus, it's also home to one of the most famous battles in English history: The Battle of Hastings, wherein William the Conqueror took over the English throne in 1066. East Sussex is also where travellers will find Brighton, the liveliest of all the cities in this region, with an amazing nightlife and kitsch shopping options guaranteed to entertain any weekend getaway.
Best time to visit East Sussex
Tucked away in the south of England, East Sussex is one of those places in the UK lucky enough to get a real, warm summer – most years. That's why, in terms of weather, June until early September are the best times to visit for the warm weather, when travellers can laze around on the beach or take leisurely walks along the cliff edges to see Beachy Head.
Having said that, autumn and spring are fantastic as well, with the cooler weather making it more pleasurable to take long walks, and as it's East Sussex's shoulder season, there are typically fewer tourists and cheaper holiday rentals. Winter is similar in terms of travellers being more likely to find affordable accommodation in East Sussex, and the cosy, snowy, cold weather makes it perfect for a weekend getaway, enjoying the local cafes, the theatre, all followed by smores by the fireplace in your holiday accommodation.
How to get to East Sussex
There are a number of different ways to reach East Sussex. The easiest would be to drive, and thanks to the location the drive is typically not that long, or that difficult. Just 60 miles from the centre of London, it can be reached in an hour and a half via the M25 – and the drive takes you through miles of rolling green countryside, which is very scenic.
Alternatively, there is also the option to get the train or the bus, both of which take roughly 2 hours from London. Depending on where you want to travel to in East Sussex depends on what route you choose, but the easiest way is typically to get the train from London Victoria to Polegate, and then from there catch a connecting train to your accommodation. Due to its easy accessible transport links, it could be a good idea to visit East Sussex for a day trip while in the capital. Step from the door of your holiday apartment in London to the shore in just a few hours, and be back in time for a show on the West End!
Where to Stay in East Sussex
Brighton is essentially the capital of East Sussex, and it's a city that sees a large volume of tourists every year. Choose a bed and breakfast in Brighton and enjoy its fantastic pebbly beaches, the beautiful Palace Pier, and the wealth of its rich history. The city is also home to the largest LGBTQ+ community outside of London, as well as having an incredible nightlife, and all the old-time pleasures of a traditional English resort, such as a visit to the Royal Pavilion, or a pint from the pub on the seafront.
One of the most historic towns you can find across the south of England, Rye is the winding, cobble-stoned street village of your English countryside dreams. Split into two sections, the newer part of town at ground level, rising up to the high, older part of Rye that was once known as the citadel. Here, the houses are still reminiscent of the 18th-century smugglers who used this part of town to plan their next heist – which visitors can learn all about in the Rye Castle turned museum, that offers a unique window into the history of the town. There's also the Camber Sands just a short walk away, which is known – locally and around the country – as the best beach on the English Channel coast.
Famous for the Battle of Hastings, one of the most famous battles in English history which saw William the Conqueror defeat Harold Hardrada in 1066, claiming the English throne as his own. Today, the town of Hastings still basks in that unique segment of history, sitting in the shadow of the famous hill and castle where the battle was fought. In fact, it was this very hill that caused the French to win; William arrived here first and built the wooden castle of Hastings as his base, before arranging his army at the top of the hill where they had the upper hand over the English army. The centre of town has that old-time charm, with plenty of cafes and boutique stores, and there's nowhere better to book a short term apartment rental looking over the historic grounds.
Often overshadowed by its neighbour, Brighton, Eastbourne is a classically English seaside resort, with Victorian-style hotels, a 19th century Pier, an incredible art gallery featuring the work of some of Britain's most prominent modern artists – and historical monuments such as Redoubt Fortress. The recent influx of students has caused a "millennial" effect on Eastbourne, transforming it into a popular spot for travellers and families alike, all looking for the best holiday rentals to make their stay fantastic. Reserve a holiday home in Eastbounre where you can your party can crash after a long day of enjoying the vibrant coast.
Once one of the most active seaports in the south of England, Seaford went into decline when the harbour silted up a few centuries ago. After decades of being ignored, it was the Victorian's who discovered the charm of the town's long pebble beaches, and suddenly the tourist industry in Seaford was reborn. Here, travellers can spot the Martello town, first built as a defence point, and now the site of the town's museum. Plus, it's just a short walk to the chalky South Downs, which offer incredible views stretching out for miles over the sea.
What to do in East Sussex
One of the must-see attractions in the whole of East Sussex, the Royal Pavilion in Brighton was once the party palace of Prince George – who later became King George IV. Easily one of the most extravagant and opulent buildings in the country, let alone the county, the Royal Pavilion was once compared to "a strange, odd Chinese place" by Queen Victoria.
Camilla's Bookshop is home to over 500,000 second-hand books, making it the perfect destination for any lovers of literature. Set in a charming old Victorian townhouse across three floors, the store itself reflects the character and nostalgia held within the pages of the volumes on its shelves.
Found right at the southern tip of the South Downs, Beachy Head consists of several cliffs making up the highest point of these amazing chalk rock formations. Nestled between Eastbourne and Newhaven, visitors can also see the Seven Sisters Cliffs here, as they make their way westwards down the coast. Best viewed from afar, Beachy Head is a strikingly white cliff face that rises from the sapphire blue sea.
The second biggest arts festival in the UK following Edinburgh, Brighton Festival is a multi-cultural celebration of music, theatre, dance, film, circus, art, literature and more, all taking place across outdoor and family-friendly events. Taking place every year in May, the festival is known for being daring and introducing innovative artists into the mainstream industry.
The very spot where the Battle of Hastings was waged nearly 1000 years ago in 1066, the abbey here was built in 1070, having been ordered by the pope as a way of penance for the loss of life during the battle. The foundations of the original church are also still here, as is the altar where King Harold was reported to have taken an arrow to the eye, ending the battle and changing the face of English society forever.
Once the first stronghold of William the Conqueror when he first landed on British soil in 1066, Pevensey Castle was explicitly built as a point of defence while the army was based here. Just half a mile from the town of Pevensey, the castle even has a moat, and visitors can still see the sturdy Roman walls that have survived the ages.