Why visit Sussex?
Sussex, the historic county and ancient kingdom of England, has so much to offer visitors with some of the best weather in the UK, gorgeous countryside with rolling hills, ancient woodland and iconic white cliff coastline perfect for walking, thousands of years of history, medieval villages, magnificent castles, beautiful gardens, stunning modern art galleries, major arts and cultural festivals, cutting-edge technologies of ‘silicon beach’ and a heaven for food lovers.
Much of Sussex is made up of the beautiful South Downs National Park, a line of chalk hills that run from west to east, meeting the sea at the famous white cliffs of Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. Further to the east of the South Downs lies the High Weald, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, famous for its wooded rolling hills and ancient woodlands. This gorgeous countryside is perfect for walking, or if you are looking for something more exciting why not try paragliding?
Art and Literary connections
Charleston farmhouse near Lewes was the country meeting place for the group of artists, writers and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury set. Writers such as Virginia Woolf and EM Forster were regular visitors and economist John Maynard Keynes lived there for a time.
The 17th-century house of Bateman’s was the home in the early 20th century of writer/poet Rudyard Kipling, author of the Jungle Book.
Both Charleston and Bateman’s are now open to the public, allowing you to experience the homes as their owners did and both feature beautiful gardens.
A foodie’s heaven
With some of the best restaurants outside London, farmers’ markets offering excellent local produce and numerous gastropubs, Sussex is a heaven for food-lovers. Sussex produces award-winning cheeses, craft beers and wines. Yes, English wine!! The chalky soil and dry, sunny climate is producing excellent reds, whites and rosés. Sussex sparkling wines are competing with French champagnes and regularly winning awards at international festivals. Local breweries producing traditional ales and craft beers include Harvey’s in Lewes, Arundel Brewery and Dark Star which started in the cellar of the Evening Star pub in Brighton.
Thousands of years of history
With its closeness to London and its position on the south coast of England, just across the sea from France, Sussex has witnessed major events in the history of England. The most famous event and the one that probably had the biggest impact took place in 1066 at Battle near Hastings. 1000 years before that, though, it is now thought that the Roman invasion of Britain happened at least in part through Sussex. Throughout the region, you can see the evidence of the last 2000 years from the spectacular castles at Arundel, Bodiam and Herstmonceux to the remains of the largest Roman palace north of the Alps at Fishbourne with wonderful mosaics.
Throughout the year, the county hosts festivals big and small. Held on 5 November, the Lewes Bonfire Celebration is the UK’s largest and most famous Bonfire Night festival. The Brighton festival is the largest mixed arts festival in England (second only to the Edinburgh Festival in the UK). For the whole month of May, you can experience art in many forms - theatre, music, dance, literature, visual arts, performance, comedy and cabaret among others. June sees Eastbourne hosts the Aegon International tennis tournament which features on the WTA and ATP tours. Played on grass, it is considered a ‘warm-up’ for Wimbledon that takes place the week after. In August Eastbourne also hosts Airbourne, Eastbourne International Airshow which is one of the largest free air shows in the UK.
Cutting Edge technologies and architecture
Sussex is not just sleepy traditional villages. The city of Brighton has earned the nickname of ‘silicon beach’ for its growing reputation as a centre of innovation and creativity for start-ups and particularly digital technology.
Innovative and award-winning architecture can also be found throughout the county. Brighton sees the opening in 2016 of the world’s first vertical cable car, i360. In recent years, state of the art galleries have opened, The Towner in Eastbourne and the Jerwood in Hastings.
So why not take the opportunity to explore all that Sussex has to offer by taking a language course at The English Language Centre Eastbourne, joining the social programme that we have created to help you see the sights or use your free weekends to discover it for yourself.