West Sussex is a beautiful county in South East England on the English Channel Coast. It encompasses the districts of Adur, Arun, Chichester, Horsham and Mid Sussex, along with the boroughs of Crawley and Worthing.
This collection of districts and boroughs make for a rich and varied visit. With plenty to do and see across the county, you’ll enjoy stately homes, vibrant market towns, stunning countryside and villages bursting with history.
Things to do in West Sussex
1. South Downs National Park
You couldn’t visit West Sussex without spending some time in South Downs National Park. While wild camping in South Downs National Park isn’t permitted, you can still get a taste of the wilderness during your visit. Explore on the water, by paddling the South Downs or kayaking with views of grassland peppered with wildflowers. Alternatively, walk the South Downs Way for wonderful views and an escape from the city, but be sure to take a South Downs Way map!
2. Arundel Castle
Situated in Arun, West Sussex, Arundel Castle is oozing with history. Boasting coast to countryside views and famed for its connections to Mary Queen of Scots, Arundel castle is a spectacular day out. Arundel Castle tickets are reasonably priced from the website and we’d recommend checking for any special events during your stay, like theatre, plant fairs and medieval history weekends.
3. West Dean Gardens
Nestled at the foot of the South Downs, West Dean Gardens in Chichester, West Sussex is a beautifully restored garden open for the public to explore, including Victorian glasshouses, a 300 foot pergola, spring gardens and flint bridges. If you’re camping near Chichester, West Dean Gardens is a really special day out, and worth the journey even if you’re camping a little further afield.
4. Littlehampton West Beach
Littlehampton is a very popular West Sussex beach town. Littlehampton Beach is full of seaside entertainment with lots of facilities, but we’d recommend heading to pebbly Littlehampton West Beach for a quiet, coastal retreat. West Beach, Littlehampton has one of only three sand dune systems in West Sussex and visitors can enjoy a wander through the dunes over wooden walkways. The beach is mostly pebble and has been recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest! It’s also a dog friendly beach in West Sussex, so if the weather is sunny and you plan to rest a while on the beach, use Snow Peak’s handy Dog Anchor so even if you stop for a picnic, your four-legged friend can still safely explore the scenery!
Photo: Marcus Brown
Best campsites in West Sussex
1. Knepp Castle Safaris
Home to the largest rewilding project in lowland Europe and recently featured by the Guardian, Knepp Castle Estate is a really special place to stay when visiting deepest, darkest West Sussex. Knepp Castle camping is situated in a wildflower meadow on the edge of an ancient wood, so it’s perfect for wildlife. Knepp Castle also offers a night-time safari to listen to the trill of the nightingale, who have migrated here from Africa.
2. Under the Stars at Chichester
Camping in Chichester is the perfect way to explore further afield in West Sussex, especially the coast! There are lovely coastal walks straight from the campsite, and plenty of cafes and restaurants close by. Under the Stars is the perfect spot for relaxed, family camping in West Sussex, but it’s a very small site, so tents must be no larger than 4m X 6m. The Snow Peak Entry Room 2 Elfield will be the perfect size at 3.8m X 6m!
3. Chanctonbury View Wild Campsite
Situated on Gallops Farm in Findon, Chanctonbury View is a lovely new campsite and one of the most perfect places to camp on the South Downs Way. Small and friendly, it’s spacious and clean with basic facilities to make your stay more comfortable. It also has truly stunning views of the area.
Photo: Robin Hughes
Where to eat in West Sussex
1. The Crabtree
For a traditional, cosy English country pub, the Crabtree ticks all the boxes. Featured in the Michelin Guide, the quintessentially British pub can be found in Horsham, nestled on the fringe of the historic Sussex Weald.
2. Cassons Restaurant
In the heart of Chichester, you’ll find one of the best places to eat in West Sussex, it’s even recommended in the Michelin Guide. Bold flavours and classic cooking performed by an award-winning chef, it’s not to be missed if you’re in the area.
3. The Three Moles
For more traditionally British ‘pub-grub’, head to Selham to The Three Moles. This charming British pub has all the charm you’d expect from an old-world establishment. If you’re looking for an authentically English experience, you should visit for a Sunday roast, we’re assured it’s one of the best in West Sussex! They even allow dogs, so no one gets left out.