9 Things to Do in West Sussex this Summer

Whether you’re local to the area or want to explore it, West Sussex has something for everyone.

With so many green spaces, historic villages, and bustling towns, it’s a wonderful place to visit in summer!

If you’re looking for a day or afternoon out in the area during the warmer months, there’s plenty to do — explore our top 9 recommendations below (and find some must-do extras at the end of this blog!).

 

Explore Arundel Castle

 

 An aerial view of Arundel Castle, West Sussex.

 

Looking for a historical, family-friendly day out? Arundel Castle is one of your best bets in West Sussex. Located in – you guessed it – the quaint market town of Arundel, family tickets to visit the castle are just £65 at the time of writing. That gets you access to the castle, bedrooms, and gardens for two adults and three kids — a great bargain for the sheer amount of areas to explore.

 

The Keep at Arundel was designed for defence in the 11th century, while the inner gatehouse and barbican were built as medieval defences. For even more history, visit the on-site 1380 Fitzalan chapel, which was founded by the 4th Earl of Arundel and was restored in the 19th century.

To make a day of it, we’d recommend an early lunch-time picnic in the gardens, a wander around the castle and gardens, before heading into Arundel town for some dinner. La Campania is a well-reviewed Italian venue, and The White Swan is the place to be for a local pub dinner. Round off the day with an evening stroll beside the gorgeous River Arun.

 

 

E-biking in the South Downs

 

A cyclist mounts a bike on a path through the South Downs.

 

South Downs National Park is a truly unmissable part of West Sussex. The area classified as the National Park is sprawling, stretching 87 miles through Hampshire, East Sussex, and West Sussex.

 

In West Sussex itself, the South Downs Way covers 48 miles of countryside. One of the best ways to explore it? By bike. Better still, by E-bike!

 

Depending on where you start from, there are plenty of places you can hire e-bikes from for the day — find a list of the rental companies here

 

Before you set off, take a look at what routes are available and the types of terrain on each, as they vary from paved to mountainous. Some routes in West Sussex include The Downs Link, Centurion Way, and Amberley and Bignor Hill.

 

If you’re just visiting to get a taste of the South Downs, there are plenty of nearby camping options and hotels to choose from so you can kick your feet up for the night after a long cycle.

You might like to start or end your route in the historic market town of Horsham – not far from our development of special new builds in Pease Pottage – where you’ll find steakhouses, Italian restaurants, pubs, and cafés galore.

 

 

Tour a local vineyard or brewery

 

 A close-up of grapes in a vineyard at sunset.

 

Looking for something a little more romantic or laid-back? Tinwood Estate offers a range of escapes amongst their glorious vineyards Take a tour of the vineyards, visit for afternoon tea, or go whole-hog with a luxurious stay in one of their lodges.

 

Very reasonably priced at £21 per person at the time of writing, the vineyard tours take you through the award-winning estate to the tasting rooms. Here, sparkling wines are paired with thoughtfully-prepared food plates.

 

By far one of our favourite things to do at Tinwood is to picnic among the vines and flowers!

 

Some other fantastic local wine estates to visit include Bolney, Kingscote (East Grinstead), and Ridgeview (Hassocks). Bolney, in particular, is something special; their restaurant serves daily specials cooked with only the freshest seasonal ingredients and pairs them with their award-winning wines.

 

Fancy a beer instead? We recommend a trip to the 360 Degree Brewery in Uckfield. Their well-reviewed tours take you through the brewing process in a casual but informative manner. You’ll spend it, glass in hand, trying beer straight from the tank at its various stages of development! 

 

The tour culminates in a further tasting experience in the taproom.

 

 

Amble around awe-inspiring Wakehurst

 

The walled garden and house at Wakehurst.

 

Wakehurst – previously known as Wakehurst Place – is owned by the National Trust and managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. On the High Weald of West Sussex, it’s easy to get to via car or bus, and tickets are well-priced for what you get.

 

Here, you can experience botanic landscapes from all over the globe — from a Himalayan Glade and a South American woodland to a local meadow restoration and vibrant wetlands. In the heart of the gardens, you’ll find the Mansion Pond the perfect place to unwind and escape the summer heat.

 

With three eatery options across the site, there are great options for fueling up when you need to.

If there are any keen horticulturalists (aka green thumbs) among you, be sure to head to the Millenium Seed Bank on-site, which plays host to 2.4 billion seeds for conservation purposes.

 

 

 

Swim, surf, and chill at West Wittering Beach

 

A row of beach huts on the sandy West Wittering beach.

 

On a hot summer day, we all want to be at the beach — and one of the most unspoilt locations in West Sussex is West Wittering.

 

This white sandy beach is the perfect spot for day-trippers that offers glorious views of Chichester. Whether you like to relax with a book or get active, there’s something for everyone here. 

 

The 2XS watersports centre offers a variety of equipment hires, from paddleboards and surfboards to windsurfing rigs and kayaks.

Get refreshed with a cold drink from the beach café (which is dog-friendly, by the way!).

 

 

 

Take the Bluebell Railway

 

A steam train on the Bluebell Railway line passing through Kingscote, West Sussex.

 

There are few places more beautiful than the Sussex countryside in bloom. And what better way to enjoy it than by steam train?

 

The Bluebell Railway is a heritage line that enjoys a fine collection of locomotives and carriages that have been immaculately preserved in the original style. Between the staff dressed in period clothing and the working original signal boxes, it’ll be a culture shock to step back into the 21st century when you hop off the train!

 

Steam trains run between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, stopping at Horsted Keynes and Kingscote (home to a gorgeous vineyard). You can purchase an all-day ticket so that you can get on and off as much as you like!

 

 

Bird-watching at Pulborough Brooks

 

A view of the green wetlands at Pulborough Brooks.

 

For a day spent unwinding in nature and spotting the wonders it has to offer, we recommend a visit to Pulborough Brooks. This RSPB nature reserve makes for a wonderful day out – solo or with family and friends.

 

You could choose to do the 3.7-mile circular walk or just see how you feel as you explore the area. After all, there are plenty of places that entice walkers to stop, picnic, and bird-watch. Keep an eye out for the Glossy Ibis, Golden Orioles, Marsh Warblers, Nightjars, and more — this place is truly rich in wildlife.

Visit the RSPB Pulborough Brooks page for an idea of the other joys you can experience here!

 

 

Go Ape at Tilgate Park

 

A happy child walking on a suspended zig-zag path at Go Ape.

 

Tilgate Park is home to a Nature Centre (with over 100 species), a walled garden, two cafés, a restaurant, and a Go Ape centre. In short: there’s plenty of ways to occupy yourself here! 

 

Young adventurers will enjoy Go Ape’s Treetop Adventure while older children and adults might like to take on the Treetop Challenge — hanging bridges, zip wires, and tunnels await.

Discover Tilgate’s activities and attractions here and find out more about Go Ape.

 

 

Enjoy afternoon tea at Leonardslee

 

A traditional afternoon tea spread, served on delicate china crockery.

 

It’s not been a smooth journey for the ancient gardens at Leonardslee. After a 9-year closure in which the Grade I listed gardens were nearly lost forever, Leonardslee finally reopened in 2019 thanks to a massive restoration project.

 

Now, you can experience the magnificent heritage for yourself. Enjoy a blissful walk around the lakes and gardens, and take in the wildlife – both native and non-indigenous. There’s even a troupe of wallabies, first introduced by naturalist Sir Edmund Loder in 1889. Daily visitation slots allow you to get up close and personal with these gorgeous creatures to watch the pros at Leonardslee feed the baby joeys!

After a morning spent wandering, you definitely can’t miss the opportunity to take afternoon tea in the drawing room of Leonardslee House. Here, you can enjoy the ultimate afternoon tea experience brought to you by Michelin-starred chef, Jean Delport.

 

 

Other great activities in West Sussex

 

By all means, this isn’t an exhaustive list! There’s plenty more to do in West Sussex, whether you’re just visiting – say, if you’re thinking of moving here – or you’re local to the area.

 

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the other great things to do in West Sussex this summer:

 

While you’re in the area, be sure to pop by our Woodgate development of new-build homes. Firmly nestled in the West Sussex countryside, our bustling community in Pease Pottage is well-connected to nature and city-life alike! Or, register your interest here if West Sussex has already stolen your heart.

 


Discover our available new builds at Pease Pottage in West Sussex!