The coastal charm weekender
From Lancing Beach to Chanctonbury Ring.
Catch the early morning kitesurfers on Lancing Beach before heading out into the countryside to discover the remains of a Norman castle and mysterious ring of trees on the South Downs Way
Ideal for: Couples, families, friends
Interests: Watersports, beach, seaside charm, nature, villages, walking, food & drink
Main areas: Lancing, Worthing, Shoreham, Steyning, Bramber, Ashurst
- Coming by car will offer you the flexibility to explore some real hidden gems in this part of West Sussex, so set the Sat Nav for Lancing Beach where your adventure begins. If coming from London, take the M23 then pick up the A27 along the coast. If coming from the west, the A27 will bring you to Lancing.
- Hopefully you’ll be visiting on a windy day and will be able to catch the kitesurfers on Lancing Beach – this is one of the most popular kitesurfing spots in West Sussex. Grab breakfast and a coffee at the friendly Perch café right on the beach for the best vantage point. Walk left (when looking at the sea) if you want to explore the wild, rugged beauty of Shoreham Beach, turn right, and within 20 minutes you’ll find yourself at the old-school seaside resort of Worthing, which is worth a look.
- Once you’re back at the car, pick up the A27 heading towards Shoreham and take Coombes Road on your left. This pretty country lane will take you past the imposing, historic Lancing College and Coombes Farm, a proper Sussex working farm. Here, you can watch lambs being born in the spring, enjoy tractor rides up into the Downs and visit at other times throughout the year when it holds special one-off events.
- At the end of the lane turn left and follow the road into the classic West Sussex village of Steyning. After a wander along the high street, pick up some picnic treats from the Sussex Produce Company, a well-stocked shop selling local produce from all over the region.
- Then it’s time to seek out Bramber Castle, just a five minute drive from Steyning. The remains of this castle, built by the Normans, are perched on a high natural knoll overlooking the South Downs with the River Adur snaking below you. It’s a peaceful spot to while away an afternoon, picnicking and taking in the sights and sounds of the Sussex countryside. If visiting on a week day, chances are you’ll have the place to yourself.
- Head to the tiny village of Bramber for a night at The Castle Inn Hotel, a small family run hotel serving home-cooked meals and local ales.
- Ensure you eat a hearty Sussex breakfast and get your walking boots on ready to discover the mysterious Chanctonbury Ring, a short 20-minute drive from Bramber. Take the A283 towards Washington until you see the signs to the car park on your left.
- Brace yourself for the climb up to the South Downs Way, which takes you through ancient woodlands and steep, flint escarpments. On some days, the woodland has a certain spooky feel about it, particularly if you believe the stories of pagan rituals and pilgrimages that are connected to the ancient site.
- Once at the top of the hill you’ll find yourself on the stunning South Downs Way. Turn left if you want to walk to Cissbury Ring, another similar hill fort, or right to explore Chanctonbury Ring.
- Continue walking through lush green fields full of cows and sheep, remembering to take in the stunning views across the West Sussex countryside. Ahead, you’ll see the imposing ring of trees that surround this prehistoric hill fort on top of Chanctonbury Hill. Before descending back to the car park, take some time to sit for a while and soak up the unique atmosphere of this famous West Sussex landmark.
- Back at the car park, it’s time to drive to The Fountain Inn in Ashurst, 10 minutes down the road, to feast on a post-walk lunch in the sunny garden. This characterful 16th century inn also has inglenook fireplaces for the colder months, a skittle alley and water mill in the garden. Plus, it was made famous by Sir Paul McCartney who filmed the video to Wonderful Christmas Time in the pub in 1979. Reason alone to book your trip now.