A Road Trip In Sussex

Sussex - A South East England Road Trip

Sussex is a great destination if you want to do a road trip in the south of England.  This south east England road trip delivers in a number of ways:  Culture, history, outdoor activities and even wine making.  Sussex also has a pretty thriving food scene and, of course, it has the wonderfully vibrant Brighton and Hove. 

So enjoy our wonderful homegrown road trip in the South of England, an absolute pleasure to discover. 

Road Trip in Sussex - Jump To...

Why Visit Sussex, England

Welcome to Sussex, a county in England that offers something for everyone. Nestled between the South Downs and the English Channel, Sussex is a place where history, culture, and natural beauty converge to create a unique and memorable experience for all who visit.

Sussex’s landscapes are a highlight, with the South Downs National Park providing endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re into hiking, cycling, or simply enjoying panoramic views, the rolling hills and scenic trails of the South Downs are not to be missed. The county’s coastline, featuring the striking Seven Sisters cliffs and the bustling Brighton beach, adds to the natural allure, offering both relaxation and adventure by the sea.

History buffs will find plenty to explore in Sussex, from the historic site of the Battle of Hastings at Battle Abbey to the charming castles of Lewes and Arundel. Each town and village in Sussex has its own story to tell, with ancient landmarks and historical sites around every corner.

Cultural events and festivals are a big part of life in Sussex. The Brighton Festival and Fringe, for example, transforms the city into a hub of artistic activity every year, attracting performers and visitors from across the globe. Meanwhile, Lewes Bonfire Night offers a unique and vibrant celebration that’s renowned throughout the country.

Best Time to Road Trip in Sussex, England

Planning a road trip through South East England, particularly in Sussex, offers an unforgettable journey through some of the most scenic and culturally rich parts of the UK. The best time to undertake a road trip in this region, enjoying the freedom and flexibility of traveling in a motorhome, is during the late spring to early summer months (May to June) and early autumn (September to October).

Late Spring to Early Summer: Embarking on a road trip through South East England during these months means experiencing the region at its most vibrant. The weather is warm, making it perfect for exploring the stunning landscapes, from the rolling hills of the South Downs to the picturesque coastline. This period is ideal for a South East England road trip, as the longer days allow for more sightseeing and outdoor activities, and the main attractions, including the quaint villages and historic sites of Sussex, are less crowded than in the peak summer months.

Early Autumn: A South East England road trip in early autumn is equally appealing, with the changing foliage adding a spectacular array of colours to the already beautiful landscapes. The cooler temperatures are ideal for hiking and exploring the great outdoors without the summer heat. Tourist spots are quieter, and roads less congested, making it a peaceful time to enjoy the rich heritage and natural beauty of the region.

Traveling outside the peak season of July and August not only avoids the busiest times for tourism in South East England but also offers a more relaxed atmosphere to enjoy everything Sussex and its surrounding areas have to offer. Whether you’re interested in the history, culture, or simply the breath-taking views of a road trip in South England, a road trip in a motorhome during these shoulder seasons promises a memorable adventure with the added benefits of milder weather and fewer crowds.

Sussex, East of England Road Trip

Total Distance

140 miles / 225 km approx.


7 - 14 days

Driving Time

5 hours approx.

Sussex, East of England Road Trip

Using the map. This map takes in 9 stops.  If you have a touch screen, use two fingers to increase the size or decrease. If you click on each of the stops, it will give you the name of the stop.  

Our Road Trip of South England

Sussex Road Trip at a Glance

~ Chichester ~ South Downs  ~ Arundel ~ Brighton ~ Lewes ~ Seven Sisters ~ Eastbourne ~ Hastings ~ Rye ~


Chichester, a cathedral city in West Sussex, England, blends historic charm with modern culture, making it a fascinating destination for visitors. The city is known for its Roman past, stunning cathedral, and vibrant arts scene, courtesy of the renowned Chichester Festival Theatre. 

A masterpiece of Norman architecture, Chichester Cathedral has stood at the city’s heart for over 900 years. Notable for its stunning spire, visible from miles around, the cathedral houses a remarkable collection of art, including modern sculptures and medieval frescoes.

Just a short distance from the city centre, Fishbourne Roman Palace is one of the largest Roman home sites in Britain. The palace’s mosaics are among the finest in the country, offering a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of its ancient inhabitants. The mosaics are simply fabulous, it really is a must do when visiting this area.

Chichester Harbour is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so you can find some lovely walks in this area. The harbour’s estuaries and wetlands are a haven for wildlife, particularly birds, making it a popular spot for sailing and birdwatching too.

If you want to have a great meal out, you could do a lot worse than dine at the Brasserie Blanc. The food is simply delicious and pretty reasonable at £10 for a starter and £15-£20 for a main dish.  If you fancy a good breakfast from a local café, try the , The Fat Fig, they don’t have a website, but you can see them on facebook.

Take some time out to visit the Weald & Down Living Museum which is just a 14 minute drive from Chichester. Over 40 acres and 50 relocated historic houses, you can take a trip back in time.

South Downs National Park

The South Downs National Park, sprawling across the south-eastern coast of England, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a variety of trails that cater to both hikers and cyclists. The park’s rolling hills, ancient woodlands, and river valleys, not to mention the iconic chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters, provide a picturesque backdrop for any outdoor adventure. 

The South Downs is an area of England which covers 1600 square kilometres of beauty, so you may wish to look to see what suits your style of travel. We like a mix of walking and stately homes so that is what our south east of England road trip includes. 

Great Walks on the South Downs

Slindon Estate is a good place to have as a base for some beautiful walks. Ranging from 2 miles to 6 miles, there is a walk to suit everyone. A good circular walk is the Amberley & Bignor Hill.  It is 11.5 miles and will take approx 6 hours, or 3 hours on a bicycle.  It is close to Arundel so it fits in nicely with this road trip.

If you want to actually walk the the South Downs Way, you can do that in 8 days. It is 100 miles but there are so many different routes to take. 

Stately Homes in the South Downs

Petworth House in Sussex is a fabulous place to stop if you want to take an art collection that includes paintings by Van Dyck, Turner and Gainsborough. There is a 700 acre park to explore with stunning views of the South Downs. It is only a 40 minute drive from Chichester, so it makes it a great addition to this south east England road trip.

Goodwood House is a stately home which holds some amazing treasures – as well as hosting several events through out the year. It is still a family home (how the other half live huh?!) but you do need to buy a ticket as it is a guided tour. You can even enjoy an afternoon tea in the ballroom.  Only open on Sunday and Monday.


Arundel is a market town in West Sussex known for its impressive medieval castle and beautiful cathedral. It’s a great spot for history buffs, with the Arundel Castle and the Gothic-style Cathedral Church of Our Lady and St. Philip Howard as must-see attractions. 

At the WWT Arundel Wetland Centre, there are a number of trails you can take; The Discovery Trail, the Woodland Walk and the Reedbed Boardwalk.

But if you fancy something a little more strenuous, the Arundel to South Stoke circular walk which takes you from the historic Castle in Arundel, along the River Arun, through the picturesque village of South Stoke, and back. This particular walking route gives stunning views of the Arun valley, Arundel Castle, and the South Downs. It’s about a 6-mile (9.7 km) loop and you can even stop at The Black Rabbit pub for refreshments. 

Take some time to stock up on some of the most delicious food in the motorhome by visiting a fabulous deli called Pallant of Arundel. The food is just yum.

Now halfway through your road trip in south England, your fridge fully stocked from the delicious offerings in the deli, it is time to head to Brighton and Hove! 

Dive into the town's spooky side with the Arundel Ghost Experience. Journey through the ancient streets of Arundel after dark, sharing eerie tales and legends that have been part of the town's lore for centuries. A fun and slightly chilling way to see a different side of Arundel!

Brighton and Hove

Brighton and Hove is a vibrant coastal city in South England known for its lively beachfront, cultural diversity, and rich history. The city is famous for landmarks like the Brighton Palace Pier and the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, as well as its narrow lanes filled with unique shops and eateries. There is a new i360 viewing tower – a love and hate relationship going on with the locals, but it does what it says on the tin!

Damo spent a lot of his late teens here, with family so we have visited several times. My sister also ran the Brighton marathon and I came down to cheer her on.  

The Brighton Lanes are a great place to get lost in.  With numerous cafes and restaurants and bars to stop at and snack bars to your hearts content, it has all the shops you could possibly want. 

The Brighton Toy and Model Museum is located under the railway station, this hidden gem is home to one of the finest collections of toys and models in the world. With over 10,000 exhibits including model trains, antique dolls, and classic toy soldiers, it makes for something different to see in Brighton.

Nearby Devils Dyke Walk is a 3 mile walk that takes in panoramic views of the Sussex countryside. The Devils Dyke is a deep V-shaped valley which is one of the best viewpoints in the South Downs. It is said to be where the Devil and his wife are buried and you can reach it in less than 30 mins from Brighton.

Lewes and the Seven Sisters

Stop at the market town of Lewes on your way through to the Seven Sisters. It has a castle and museum which is well worth a visit. The town has wonderful history behind it which dates back to the Saxon times. The Lewes Arms, is over 220 years old and has a reputation of being the ‘most bonkers pub in Britain’ due to the events that it holds!  Fancy some pea shooting anyone?

The Seven Sisters, a series of iconic chalk cliffs located along the Sussex coast in South East England, stand as a breath-taking natural landmark within the South Downs National Park. Renowned for their striking white facades that dramatically contrast with the green rolling hills and the blue waters of the English Channel below, these undulating cliffs offer some of the most pristine and picturesque coastal scenery in the UK. 

A favourite among hikers, photographers, and nature lovers, the Seven Sisters provide a spectacular backdrop for outdoor activities, with well-marked trails. This natural wonder not only captivates with its beauty but also serves as a vivid reminder of England’s geological history and the ongoing forces of coastal erosion.

A lovely circular walk can be taken here, The Birling Gap, Seven Sisters and Exceat Walk,  which is only 13 km long, and is quite a challenging walk. Start from the Birling Gap carpark.

There is an easier walk you can do, which still allows the views of the Seven Sisters, which is the Birling Gap walk on its own. Its a more comfortable 5km, although does have some steep sections. Start this one from the Tiger Inn.

If you are visiting Lewes on at Tuesday, you may be lucky enough to see the Harvey's Brewery dray horses delivering the beer in the town.


Eastbourne offers a captivating blend of coastal beauty, outdoor activities, and cultural experiences. This part of your road trip itinerary through Sussex will immerse you in the stunning landscapes of the South Downs National Park and provide opportunities to explore the vibrant town of Eastbourne. 

For a cultural interlude stop at the Towner Art Gallery. This contemporary art museum hosts an impressive collection of modern British art and frequently changes exhibitions. The building on its own is quite something to look at, never mind what you get to see inside the gallery/

Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway Adventure Park  provides something different to do on your south east England road trip. Spend a few hours at the Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway Adventure Park. Ride the miniature steam trains on a one-mile track through gardens and around a lake. It’s a fun and quirky experience for all ages, offering a playful break from the hiking and the historical places that you have seen so far. Embrace your inner child! 


Hastings is an historic town and the site for what is probably the most famous battle in England’s history. Everyone learns about it at school in England. The Battle of Hastings in 1066. The battle lasted for one day, transforming the whole nation as Anglo Saxon England became Norman. 

Sitting on England’s southeast coast, it is renowned for its rich history, cultural scene, and natural beauty. From its well-preserved Old Town to the contemporary arts and the scenic Hastings Country Park, there’s plenty to explore. 

Wander the narrow streets and passages of Hastings Old Town, where you’ll find antique shops, boutiques, and traditional fishermen’s huts. The Old Town also hosts the Hastings Fishermen’s Museum, set in one of the town’s historic churches, which provides insights into the town’s fishing heritage. Spanning over 850 acres, Hastings Country Park  nature reserve offers breath-taking views, coastal walks, and diverse habitats. The Park recieved its first Green Flag Award in 2006 and has kept it ever since. 

Smugglers Adventure at St. Clements Caves  gives insight into the town’s smuggler history  set in the St. Clements Caves. This network of underground tunnels and caverns has been transformed into an attraction that tells the tales of smugglers who once used these caves. Visit the ruins of Hastings Castle, the first castle in England to be built by William the Conqueror. Learn everything about The Battle of Hastings. 

If you want to visit the Smugglers Adventure, Castle and Hastings Aquarium, then it is worth getting a 3 in 1 ticket to visit them all at a lower price of £25.00 rather than paying £33.25. The Aquarium is £15 on its own, so if you don't want to visit that, stick to single tickets.

Bodiam Castle & Rye

Drawing to a close on your road trip in the South of England there are a couple of stops that it would be amiss not to go to if you have time. 

Leave Hastings and head towards Bodiam Castle, a 14th century moated castle with a ruined interior. It is a 25 minute drive which will give you a glimpse into medieval splendour. Although it is a ruin inside, it just looks amazing on the outside, and you don’t often get the chance to see the moated castle with water. I always find it incredible that people actually lived in this size place! Slightly more space than our little motorhome. 

Once you have been to Bodiam Castle, head towards you final stop which is the gorgeous town of Rye. Rye is a town which is just a stones throw from the sea. It used to be a major port in England, but now it probably lays claim to the most photographed street in the UK! Mermaid Street is a cobbled, picturesque street full of historical charm and home to the unique Mermaid Inn.  

Bodiam Castle, East Sussex, England

Take a virtual tour of the Mermaid Inn, in Mermaid Street, Rye on Google now. If you visit, take your lunch in the 600 year old Inn which was rebuilt in 1420. It has a selection of 52 gins and 90 whiskies.

Visit the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve where there are a number of walks you can take. It is worth checking out the Discovery Centre to see if there are any guided tours or events which are run by the Wildlife Trust rangers. You will also find the gloriously sandy Camber beach, which is just miles and miles of sandy beach! It is the only beach in Sussex that has a ridge of sand dunes running down it – and that is what is is famous for. 

After stretching your legs and getting some bracing sea air, it has to be  a stop at Rye Fish Market and Seafood Bar to get locally caught fish from Rye harbour. Whether you eat in or buy fish to cook later, if you like seafood, this should be on your list. 

Festivals in Sussex

Brighton Festival: Held in May, this is one of the largest and most established annual arts festivals in England. It features a wide range of events, including music, theater, dance, film, literature, and visual arts, taking place across various venues in Brighton.

Lewes Bonfire Night: On November 5th, Lewes hosts the largest Bonfire Night celebrations in the UK. The event commemorates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and features processions, bonfires, and fireworks.

Brighton Fringe: Running alongside the Brighton Festival, the Brighton Fringe is England’s largest arts festival. It is open-access, allowing anyone to participate, and showcases a diverse range of performances from local and international artists.

Glyndebourne Festival: An internationally renowned opera festival that takes place in the Glyndebourne Opera House, located near Lewes, from May to August. It attracts visitors from all over the world for its high-quality productions.

Brighton Pride: You couldn’t put big festivals in Brighton and not include the pride festival. Brighton Pride is a ticketed event for the concerts, but of course you can support for free.

Hastings Seafood and Wine Festival: Celebrated in September, this festival showcases the best local seafood and wine. It features food stalls, cooking demonstrations, live music, and wine tasting sessions. Website links only work for the year they are hosting. It is wristband entry for the whole weekend.

Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival: Taking place over the August Bank Holiday weekend, this festival brings an array of jazz and blues performances to the historic town of Rye, featuring both free outdoor performances and ticketed events.

Eastbourne International Airshow (Airbourne): Held in August, this is one of the UK’s largest free airshows. It features military and civilian flight displays over four days along Eastbourne’s seafront.

Chichester Film Festival: Hosted by the Chichester Cinema at New Park, this festival in August showcases a selection of international films, premieres, and talks by filmmakers.

Does a Road Trip in Sussex, South East of England Deliver?

Oh my goodness, that is a big resounding YES! Sussex is amazing for a road trip through Sussex. It really is well worth it. A south east England road trip gives a great mix of scenery, history, walking and culture. It stands out as a key part of any road trip in South England or a trip through the South East. With stops ranging from the natural beauty of the South Downs to the historical sites in Chichester and upbeat quirkiness of Brighton and the stunning cliffs in Eastbourne.  

Whether you’re into outdoor activities or just want to explore small towns and their local life, Sussex fits the bill. The variety of experiences and the straightforward routes make it an essential choice for travellers looking to get a real taste of Sussex’s offerings on a fantastic road trip in the South of England, taking in the best of the English countryside.

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