East Sussex

Map of East Sussex
An iconic image, The Seven Sisters and Cuckmere Haven, nr Seaford

East Sussex is a county in the South East of England.

Cities, towns and villages

Other destinations

Hastings rooftops

It is also possible to cycle from Tunbridge Wells to East Grinstead (and Crawley) along the The Forest Way, which passes through Forest Row. The two paths link up on an on road link; see sustrans and East Sussex County Council Cycle Network Page for more information.



The Rocks that underlay most of East Sussex are Jurassic to Cretaceous in age (150 million years ago to 65); around 2 million years ago the Wealden Anticline was formed, due to the continental collision of Africa with Europe. The dome extends from the coast to the North Downs, in Kent and Surrey and across the channel to France; Sussex has played an important role in Geology, the first dinosaur was identified (others had been found, but not identified) in Cuckfield, in West Sussex, one of the greatest hoaxes of modern times, the Piltdown Man was 'discovered' in Piltdown near Uckfield and the cliffs that line the coast are noted for their specimens of Ammonites, fishes and other marine animals, (the cliffs at Peacehaven, near Brighton are famous for their giant ammonites). Dinosaur footprints can be seen at Fairlight, East of Hastings. For those interested in Minerals small deposits of Aluminate are present in the Tertiary sands of Newhaven


In prehistoric times, the whole of Sussex was populated by tribesmen, some of whom settled on the tops of the downs. Sites can still be seen at Firle Beacon, Mount Caburn and other sites.

From the invasion in AD46 Sussex played a major role in Roman Britain. The Romans left Pevensey Castle and various Roman Roads as a reminder of their presence. In West Sussex Fishbourne Roman Villa remains a prime example of Roman houses in this part of the world. From the 5th11th centuries, Sussex became the Kingdom of Sussex, controlled by a succession of monarchs.

Lewes Castle, Lewes

It was in East Sussex where the Normans landed in 1066 at Pevensey, where they fought Harold's army at a field near Battle which can be visited to this day. Battle Abbey was built by the Normans after the battle. Most of the county churches had their first stones laid at this time. During the Middle Ages, a great number of Castles were built or improved onBodiam Castle and Lewes Castle are prime examples. Most the churches in Sussex date from this time and offer brilliant examples of Middle Ages architecture.

Under the Tudors, Sussex prospered. Anne of Cleves House in Lewes is perfectly preserved with many examples of Tudor architecture. Hever Castle just over the border in Kent was frequented by Henry the Eighth himself. To ward against the Spanish, during Elizabeth's reign beacons were set up to warn of invasions, these live on as names, such as Ditchling Beacon and Crowborough Beacon. On Ashdown forest Iron working prospered, it is remembered today in the form of deep pools, once used to power the billows for the furnaces.

The Flamboyant Royal Pavilion, Brighton

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Brighton was transformed from a small fishing village to seaside resort, with the Royal Pavilion being a stunning example of the eccentricity of the King and his subjects. Elsewhere in the country, towns grew and great houses began to be built in Lewes and Rye. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, Sussex's coast became popular with Londoners escaping the city on the new railways. Brighton continued to grow with the expansion towns like Eastbourne and Hastings, which offer fine examples of period architecture. The Volks Electric Railway was constructedthe first electric railway in the world. Some great houses, such as Firle House and Glyndebourne were constructed (Glyndebourne is a popular and world famous opera venue). Great Gardens were set up, like Sheffield Park near Uckfield.

The Royal Military Canal

Sussex was not just a place for pleasure; it was a place for defense. Some of the most important military constructions include the Newhaven Fort and the Royal Military Canal in the east, with Martello towers built along the coast. These monuments remain in Seaford, Eastbourne and Rye. In the 20th century, Sussex played a major role in WWI and WWII; in both Newhaven Fort assisted with the D-day landings and as a naval base.


Sussex has a varied and beautiful geography. From the stunning Seven Sisters Chalk Cliffs near Eastbourne to the flat marshes of Pevenensy and the high Ground of Ashdown Forest to the beautiful lowlands and river landscapes of the Lower Weald. Sussex is the most Forested county in England and lost in Friston Forest or Ashdown Forest (although much of it is open land) it is easy to believe. often the only thing breaking the horizon is trees or the Downs.

The country has a dense and varied network of footpaths (see East Sussex Footpaths) making walking easy, walking books and ordinance survey maps are easily available - there's really no excuse to go out walking!


English - dialect is Home Counties.

Speakers of other languages may have trouble being understood, but locals are often willing to be patient and multilingual dictionaries are available at book stores. Tourist information offices hold multilingual information. Speakers of English from other countries (e.g. Canadians, Australians and Americans) should have no trouble at all understanding.

Get in


The Seven Sisters Ferry, leaving Newhaven

After a checkered history ferries to Newhaven run to Dieppe (run by Transmanche Ferries) throughout the year, taking 5 and 4 hours,

Transmanche Ferries would be your first port of call. Phone 0800 917 1201 (UK) or 0800 650 100 (France).

Alternatively tickets can be bought at the two ports, the ferry port in Newhaven is on the East Quay, while in Dieppe it is the east of the main harbour, both are well signposted

The Ferries to Dieppe are some of the newest sailing in the English Channel, and due to the former troubled history of the route (and massive subsidies) this can be cheaper than Dover to Calais, also the view from the ferries of the Seven Sisters and Cuckmere Haven is beautiful.


The A22, A/M23, A24, A26, A27, A272 and numerous other roads go into Sussex, destinations within Sussex include, Brighton, Lewes, Newhaven, Eastbourne.

Coming from the North

East Sussex is connected to the motorway network via the A/M23, which passes Crawley (in West Sussex) and south towards Brighton; from the A23 the A272 and the A27 - both offering great access to East Sussex; alternatively the A22 runs from London to just outside Eastbourne, passing by East Grinstead, Forest Row, Uckfield, Hailsham and Polegate. It offers a great route through the countryside and Ashdown Forest.

Coming from the West

The A272, A27 and A264 head towards East Sussex. Simply follow the signs to any town in East Sussex.

Coming from the East

Head towards Brighton, Newhaven or Eastbourne - these will bring you into East Sussex

By train

There are services from London, Hampshire, Surrey and Kent; main terminus's and destinations are:

From London

Trains come from Victoria to Gatwick Airport, Brighton, Eastbourne, Ore, Hastings and Lewes.

Trains come from London Bridge to Brighton, Buxted, Crowborough and Uckfield.

Trains come from St Pancras to Haywards Heath, Brighton and Burgess Hill.

From the West

Trains come from Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea stations to Brighton and Hove.

Trains come from Southampton Central to Brighton and Hove.

From the East

Trains come from Ashford International to Hastings, Bexhill, Eastbourne and Brighton.

From the North

Trains come from Bedford to Haywards Heath and Brighton, via St Pancras, London Blackfriars and Gatwick Airport.

Trains come from Reading to Gatwick Airport, where you can change for trains to Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings and other destinations.

From the Continent

Trains come from France and Europe through Calais and Ashford via the Eurostar train system. You will have to change trains at either St Pancras or Ashford to get into East Sussex.

All the major towns in East Sussex have a rail connection, for further information and train times can be found on the National Rail Planner or by calling 0845-748-4950 from anywhere in the UK (costs quite a bit, so if you have got a WAP enabled phone it may be better to use services provided on them.)


Gatwick Airport (IATA: LGW), services the world, it is just outside East Sussex, but you’ll see the county on the way in! There is also the smaller Lydd Airport running to Le Touquet in France; at the moment it is a small airport, however major expansion is expected. Lydd Airport is in Kent, but about 10 km from East Sussex. To the west there is Shoreham Airport (or Brighton city) which deals with mainly UK destinations.

Get around

Lewes Station and Southern trains

The county has a fairly good road network, with almost every destination attainable by road; traffic is a problem though, with most towns having inevitable weekday traffic. Travelling into popular destinations on a sunny Bank Holiday can prove frustrating. Brighton is the main transport hub, with the M23/A23 running North-South from London and the Brighton Mainline running parallel to it. The majority of trunk (A) roads radiate southwards from London to the East Sussex coast and can vary from dual-carriageway/motorway (M23/A23) to the more common single carriageway roads with the A22 (London to Eastbourne, via East Grinstead and Uckfield) and A21 (London to Hastings, via Flimwell and Tonbridge) though these do alternate between single and dual-carriageways where use is heavier.

The majority of east-west traffic uses the A27 which runs slightly inland from Pevensey in the East past Eastbourne, Lewes, Brighton and Hove and into West Sussex travelling through Worthing, Arundel and around Chichester before forming the M27 in Hampshire. Other commonly used routes include the A26, A259 and A272. The A26 runs NE from Newhaven towards the Kent county-town of Maidstone and north of Lewes is used by the frequent Brighton-Tunbridge Wells bus service.

The A259 runs along the coast of East Sussex in its entirety as the road starts in Folkestone (Kent) and crosses the Romney Marshes before entering the county and linking almost all seaside towns from Rye and Hastings in the east to Brighton and Hove in the west. The A272 is a popular route with bikers and starts in East Sussex connecting Buxted, Uckfield, Newick and Chailey before crossing into West Sussex and Haywards Heath where it continues to meander on to Winchester, Hampshire.

Many of the smaller roads can offer scenic views and investing in a good quality road-map is recommended. You can expect a range of roads from those described above to single-carriageways and narrower with some locations accessible by single-track roads. Road users can also be varied as cyclists often train on the London-to-Brighton bike route (the event is in early June every year) and horse-riders and farm equipment can often be found on more rural roads.

Trains from London cover the major towns in the county. National Rail have maps covering the county with most train services currently being operated by Southern. Routes exist along the coast from Ashford via Hastings and Eastbourne to Brighton as well as from Brighton to Seaford via Newhaven. Services from Brighton also travel west towards Portsmouth and Chichester. There are two smaller spurs routing into London from Uckfield, via Crowborough and Oxted. Or from East Grinstead. There is another line from Hastings via Battle and Tunbridge Wells (Kent) to London. Services from the county tend to terminate in Victoria but there are also services that route through London Bridge (from Brighton and Hastings), terminate at Charing Cross (from Hastings) and call at St Pancras (from Brighton, before continuing to Bedford). The vast majority of services terminate in South London (Westminster) with the exception of the First Capital Connect service operating from Brighton through London Bridge, Blackfriars, City Thameslink and St Pancras before continuing to Luton and Bedford.

Buses are fairly good; with Buses from Brighton to Tunbridge Wells (£6.00 return), Eastbourne to East Grinstead and Heathfield in the North, Brighton and Newhaven in the West and Bexhill and Hastings in the East, as well as local routes.

Traveline South East gives more route details and routes into the surrounding counties. Essentially if there is a main road, the chances are there is a bus route along it. Most of the services in the county are provided by one of the main bus operators (Stagecoach or Arriva) with services in Brighton & Hove operated by a company of the same name (although part of Go-Ahead). Services cater for most major towns radiating into the countryside. Brighton & Hove, for example, has services covering nearby Peacehaven, Newhaven and Lewes with some services extending to Ringmer, Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne.

Everywhere is accessible by roads, but be aware that traffic is fairly horrific in most of the towns and Brighton during the rush hour(s) it is well worth buying either a county map or a country map (the AA and RAC among others produce decent enough maps, which are fairly modern). since roads in Sussex can be small and attractions in 'out of the way' places


Drivers thinking of travelling between Ditchling and the Beacon should be aware of the width restrictions (6'6") and speed limit. Expect slow moving traffic and, in the summer-time buses operating from Brighton (number 79). Caution is advised when using this road.


Hastings Country Park


On the Forest Way

Walking or cycling either in part or the whole thing

Long distance trails

These either pass wholly or partly through East Sussex; all are marked on Ordnance Survey (OS) maps.

Shorter Walks

Homes and Gardens

Features a sculpture trail, kitchen garden, medieval cloister garden and the longest medieval moat in England.

Historic Attractions

The Imposing fortress of Bodiam Castle

East Sussex has had a rich and varied history, from the site of an invasion to measures to protect against one - its all here:

Family Attractions

Drusilla's Park is noted for its cute residents - not what you might expect in deepest Sussex!

East Sussex has many family attractions for all ages and interests

Literary Attractions

Batemans on a cold winter's morning

Whether it was the beautiful Sussex Countryside or their travels, writers have been drawn to East Sussex; their houses are popular tourist attractions.

Scenic towns and villages

Rye on a rainy afternoon

The Beautiful countryside of East Sussex is mathced by some charming towns.

Sporting Attractions

The Beautiful Seven Sisters, near Cuckmere Haven

Farms and other animal attractions

Seaside Resorts

Brighton Pier - Eastbourne, Hastings and St Leonard's have piers too

'Sussex by the Sea' the whole coast of Sussex is suitable for bathing with good water quality; however these three resorts have more facilities etc.:

Artistic Attractions

Brighton is the artistic center, but its ripples have spread into the countryside

Steam railways

Reminders of the 'Age of Steam', all these lines have steam locomotives, often running special trains, such as Thomas the Tank Engine or Diesel Trains


Sussex is pretty well serviced for food, every town has at least one supermarket with almost every village have a pub (or public house), food is to the standard of the rest of the UK, with a greater variety in towns. Brighton and Hove prides itself on having a vast cultural array of foods, from Mexican to McDonald's and from Chinese to Celtic. Specialist diets (vegan, vegetarian kosher etc.) are well supported, although in the countryside and surrounding towns there will only be one or two (albeit very nice) vegetarian dishes on the menu

It is highly recommended to visit a farmers shop or market, since produce here is generally much better quality and often a lower price than supermarkets. Most towns will have a farmers market at least once a month. Farm shops are dotted around the country:

A Cow

Organic food shops are also popular:

Supermarkets also stock organic produce.

For more details on food produced in East Sussex Sussex Food Finder will be able to assist. More eclectic towns such as Lewes, Brighton, and to an extent Eastbourne, have specialist dealers with organic, locally produced, fairtrade (which is increasing in popularity, with Uckfield and Lewes being named 'fairtrade towns') foodstuffs on offer.


Harveys Brewery, Lewes

Sussex has numerous local beers and drinks, with cider being mainly produced in the east (connections with Kentish cider), Lewes houses Harvey’s Brewery which supplies almost all of East Sussex and much of West Sussex with award winning real ale, wine is produced and with global warming kicking in Sussex and Kentish wine is being compared to Champagne (increasingly favourably), home pressed apples juice is for sale at farms and farm shops. The usual array of drinks are available at all bars and clubs, varying in price quite considerably.


Line of Quality Seaside Hotels in Eastbourne

Loads of hotels in Brighton, Hastings and Eastbourne due to their seaside resort heritage. In outlying areas its best finding a hotel and booking it in advance, since there are relatively few, however those that do exist tend to be of good quality.

The usual chains of hotels are beginning to spring up.

The towns below have accommodation throughout the year:

Individual town pages will have more information on accommodation.


East Sussex has various Private schools (boarding and day) along with colleges and two universities, The University of Sussex (Falmer, just outside Brighton) and The University of Brighton (4 sites, 2 in central Brighton, 1 at Falmer and 1 in Eastbourne) because of the two universities Brighton has a rich, varied and exciting night life.

Sussex for free

A Market during the Brighton Festival

There's plenty in Sussex for those who don't wish to spend plenty of cash on attractions:

Go next

Long Man of Wilmington, on the route of the South Downs Way

Attractions outside of East Sussex include:

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, December 08, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.