The cathedral city of Chichester is a focal point for Velo South, marking the start and finish of the race. Chichester and the surrounding areas will be buzzing with things to do over the race weekend, so we’ve put together an itinerary of some of the things you simply can’t miss when you’re here.
If you don’t manage to fit it all in on race weekend, why not come back and visit Chichester again for a late summer adventure?
Ideal for: Families, couples, groups
Recommended stay: Two nights, Friday – Sunday
Start your day with a trip to The Novium Museum to explore the remains of ancient Roman baths and learn all about Chichester’s heritage. Running until the end of October, all the family will love the interactive LEGO bricks exhibition on show, featuring iconic moments in British History brought to life. After, wander through the town for spot of lunch at The Exclusive Cake shop and Vintage Tea Room or Boston Tea Party.
Let lunch settle with a stroll through the Cathedral and its grounds, including the beautiful Bishop’s Palace Gardens. From here, why not walk across to the Pallant House Gallery to explore over 20 innovative galleries of leading British art from 1900 to modern day? Round off your afternoon with a sweet treat from local favourite, Baileys Artisan Gelato, before sitting down to a wonderful dinner at one of Chichester’s many great restaurants, such as the Giggling Squid or Purchases.
Just outside of Chichester, West Dean Gardens offers one of the greatest restored gardens in England, where you can refuel with some mid-morning refreshments on the garden terrace. Nearby, the Weald and Downland Living Museum will take the family back in time to experience a bygone era of traditional arts and crafts in a unique natural setting. If you want to spend the day a little closer to Chichester, visit CASS Sculpture Foundation, a home for contemporary sculpture set in 26 beautiful acres on the Goodwood Estate. It makes it an ideal spot for a picnic, too.
If you’re looking for a more traditional country lunch, at the foot of the South Downs you’ll find pub-restaurant The Richmond Arms, West Ashling, serving up everything from local game and seafood to woodfired pizzas topped with local produce.
If you’re more interested in some coastal air, head outside to the sea as it’s right on Chichester’s doorstep. Grab your bikes, and cycle along the Salterns Way, a great leisure route which picks up from the centre of the city and goes out past Chichester Marina. Here, you’ll find the The Boat House Café, a perfect spot to stop for a light lunch or tea and cake whilst taking in the stunning harbour views. Carry on to Itchenor harbour and hop on a boat for an afternoon tour with Chichester Harbour Water Tours and see if you can spot the local seals! If you’re feeling up to something a bit more active, you might find a thrill in learning to paddleboard or kayak over at Chichester Watersports.
Explore a little further and take in the Manhood Penninsula (name derived from the Old English ‘Maenu-Wudu’, meaning common wood), which offers plenty of opportunities to observe nature and wildlife with the whole family at the nature reserve, RSPB Pagham Harbour. You’re also well-placed from here to try some fantastic local seafood, whether you nestle into the cosy surroundings of the Crab & Lobster restaurant, or head to Selsey and sample freshly caught crab, straight off the beach!
Finish your day with a seasonal dish from the carefully-crafted menu at The Blacksmiths in Donnington, featuring produce grown and sourced from within the area, and a glass of local ale or sparkling wine.
Seize the day with an early breakfast at Billy’s on the Beach in Bracklesham Bay, before embarking on a leisurely walk to nearby West Wittering to beat the traffic and take in the breath-taking scenes. From here, you can also try windsurfing, kitesurfing or stand-up paddleboarding at 2XS, unpack a picnic on the beach, or perhaps try Drift-In Café at Wittering Surf.
If you’re looking for a more relaxing final day in West Sussex, head up to explore Petworth House and enjoy a picnic in the acres of surrounding grounds, or head to The Hungry Guest Café, just off Petworth’s main square for a freshly prepared lunch with local ingredients. Just nearby, Midhurst is a hidden gem in West Sussex and is the heart of the South Downs National Park. Visit the South Downs Centre’s exhibition and cross the road to the Cowdray Estate. Discover its ruins, find local produce in the farm shop and enjoy a spot of lunch at the café. Afterwards, you can enjoy exploring the wealth of local independent shops before finally making your way back home.