Looking for a staycation with a difference? If the idea of a summer getaway close to the coast or the beautiful countryside tickles your fancy, but the thought of a long drive puts you off – look no further than West Sussex!
Just over an hour’s drive from London, you can experience everything from hills, vineyards and farmland to stunning sea views, sandy beaches and tranquil harbours.
Follow our short summer break itinerary for the chance to experience some of the best that West Sussex has to offer.
Ideal for: Families
Themes: Beaches, active and outdoors
Location: Littlehampton, Arundel and Amberley
Start your trip bright and early with breakfast at East Beach Café in Littlehampton. From here, you’re perfectly placed for a morning of traditional seaside escapades (weather permitting!), whether you’re keen to lay out your beach towels, soak up the sun and dip in the sea at East Beach, spend a pocketful of pennies at Harbour Park’s family arcade or take to the nearby putting green at Norfolk Gardens for some gentle family competition.
If you’re not arriving until a bit later, head to the other side of the river for lunch and a rest stop at the Boathouse in the Marina. You’ll find a menu packed with fresh fish and delicious bistro staples, as well as sandwiches and a variety of vegan dishes. After lunch, take a leisurely walk along the River Arun to where the river mouth meets the sea and explore the 157-year old Napoleonic Littlehampton Fort. You’ll find yourself on the sandy stretches of West Beach – why not spend a while hunting for fossils along the shore or looking for tiny sea creatures in the pools around the sea groynes?
Head to your accommodation for the evening and pitch up a tent at Fox Wood campsite in Angmering. Its secluded woodland location on the edge of the South Downs makes it the perfect spot to feel at one with nature. For groups of friends travelling together, book a spot at Cuckoo Camp, a rustic site with a mix of grass and woodland pitches situated alongside the River Arun. They even ‘The Billabong’, a new self-contained large group camping facility complete with outdoor kitchen!
Get the whole family involved in preparing an evening feast by campfire and teach your little ones some new skills. Or, if you fancy exploring more of the local cuisine, head out on foot to one of the local pubs nearby – The Fox in Patching is just five minutes from Fox Wood, offering a tasty selection of pub classics, whilst cosy country pub, The World’s End, is only ten minutes further and boasts a lovely garden and play area. Head into Arundel for its pick of local restaurants – we recommend La Campania for an Italian selection the whole family will love or The Burger Shop Co. for a juicy burger menu and tasty milkshakes.
Get ready for a day of adventure and head towards Arundel! Fill up with a hearty breakfast at Motte and Bailey in the heart of the high street, before spending your morning exploring the fantastic Arundel Castle and its gardens. The summer months are filled with live re-enactments, jousting tournaments and even open-air theatre performances, so there will be plenty for everyone in your party to enjoy.
Next, take a 20-minute stroll from the castle’s perimeter into the leafy Downs until you reach Swanbourne Lake. From here, you can walk up around the lake to take in the scenery and watch the ducks and swans in their habitat or hire out a rowboat from the lodge and take to the water. Once you’re tired out from rowing, you can indulge in a traditional cream tea right by the lake from The Lodge. Alternatively, the WWT Arundel Wetland Centre is just across the road, offering discovery safari cruises along the river and the chance to get up close to spot the local wildlife.
Spend the early evening enjoying dinner with a river view at The Black Rabbit, just ten minutes further up the road on foot. The extensive pub menu provides just what you need after a long day of exploring, with a good selection of vegetarian and vegan options, children’s menu and lots of desserts to choose from!
Get a good night’s rest in the sizeable rooms at Arun Valley Bed and Breakfast in Amberley, the perfect home away from home for small families.
Start your final day in West Sussex with a delicious homecooked breakfast at the bed and breakfast, before walking along to Amberley’s Riverside South Downs to embark on a self-drive boat trip along the River Arun from Riverside or a guided kayaking experience with The Kayak Coach. The Kayak Coach will take you on a gentle river trip, with the tide pushing you along the way – making it an ideal kayaking experience for beginners (please note age restrictions may apply).
Your trip will bring you right back to the Riverside South Downs, making it the perfect spot for a well-earned lunch or cream tea and a chance to take in the breath-taking scenery of West Sussex one last time before heading off.
Are you spending a short staycation in West Sussex or are you planning one soon? We’d love to hear about your adventures or upcoming plans! Let us know what your ideal summer staycation would involve over on our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram.