Searching for a cool and creative UK city for your next getaway? You can’t go too far wrong with Brighton! The resort’s mix of Victorian seaside glamour and contemporary attractions means there’s something to entice everyone to its shores.
While you’ll be able to shop ‘til you drop in the Lanes and enjoy a classic day at the seaside along Brighton Pier, the coastal city also has the added benefit of being within an hour of some of the South Coast’s top outdoor attractions.
From ancient Norman castles to spectacular walking routes, here’s just a few day trip suggestions if you’re holidaying in Brighton sometime soon:
Suitable for: history buffs
How to get there: Leave Brighton on the A270 and merge onto the A27. Continue until you reach Pevensey and then join the A259 to Hastings. You can also catch a direct train in just over an hour.
Whether you want to see exactly where the Normans defeated the Anglo-Saxon army in 1066, or you just fancy a scenic stroll through ancient woodland, Hastings is a great pick for a day out from Brighton.
While it shares Brighton’s Victorian seaside town vibe, Hastings also has several more unique outdoor allures up its sleeve. Your first port of call should be the ruined Hastings Castle. Set back on a hill overlooking the ocean, the Norman structure dates back to the 13th century and has a great exhibition on the Battle of Hastings. Alternatively, catch the train, or drive fifteen minutes inland, to Battle Abbey where the famous fight actually took place.
Finally, if you fancy stretching your legs, riding the vintage funicular railway up East Hill will give you easy access to Hastings Country Park. The 660-acre area is home to ancient woodland and offers fantastic vistas of the sea.
Suitable for: wannabe royalty
How to get there: Drive north along the A23 and then turn off onto the A27 towards Worthing. Continue until you reach Arundel.
Price: £15.00 adults (£10.00 if you’re just visiting the gardens), £5.00 children
Arundel Castle is arguably one of the most stunning fortresses in Britain – and you’ll find it just a short 40-minute drive away from Brighton!
Built in the early 11th century during William the Conqueror’s reign, it contains some stunning examples of Medieval architecture and is surrounded by gorgeous grounds. While only the keep, the gatehouse and the barbican remain of the original structure, Arundel Castle’s newer Victorian buildings are incredibly grand and include lavish staterooms once occupied by the Dukes of Norfolk.
The castle’s adjoining Fitzalan Chapel is equally as historic and was partially destroyed during the English Civil War. Don’t skip exploring Arundel Castle’s gardens, either. They’re split up into sections and feature balmy greenhouses, colourful tropical topiary and even a classic English rose garden!
Suitable for: anyone and everyone
How to get there: Head out of Brighton along the A270 and then turn onto Ditchling Road. Drive through Ditchling and join the B2112. Pass Haywards Heath, turn off onto College Road and follow signs to Wakehurst Place.
Price: £14.50 for adults, £7.25 for kids (free for National Trust members)
Another place brimming with beautiful blooms is the botanical gardens at Wakehurst. Found just 45 minutes inland from Brighton, the 500-acre area is set within the grounds of an Elizabethan country estate and is a lovely location for a family day out.
Stroll through wonderful woodlands featuring trees from around the globe, from the Himalayan-inspired Westwood Valley to Coates Wood that’s filled with Australian eucalyptus and Chilean monkey puzzle trees. Wakehurst is additionally home to the Millennium Seed Bank, a fascinating scientific centre which has preserved over 2.4 billion seeds from every country in the world for future generations.
You can easily spend a couple of hours exploring Wakehurst’s gardens before watching the scientists at work in the seed bank. Afterwards, take the kids to the charming Children’s Heritage Garden for a play before grabbing a bite to eat at the Stables Kitchen.
Suitable for: films fans and amateur photographers
How to get there: Take the A259 coastal road east and turn off at either the Seven Sisters Country Park or East Dean.
This is perhaps one of the most well-known coastal formations on the South Coast after the White Cliffs of Dover and Dorset’s Durdle Door!
You’ll discover the iconic Seven Sisters in between Seaford and Eastbourne, and they’re pretty spectacular up close. Recognisable from the silver screen in films like Atonement and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the plunging series of chalk cliffs can be easily admired on foot along the South Downs Way or from the rugged beach below.
You can access the Seven Sisters for a hike either from Birling Gap (where you’ll also find the cliffs’ National Trust visitors centre) or by walking alongside Cuckmere River to the sea from the scenic Seven Sisters Country Park. Make sure you take your camera as it’s very picturesque!
Suitable for: ramblers and adventurers
How to get there: Drive beyond the A27 and the entire area forms part of the South Downs National Park.
For those craving a countryside walk, few places in the region beat the South Downs National Park for its beauty and sheer number of walking trails.
Spread out across a whopping 3,000 acres, there’s plenty of space and a variety of terrain to tackle. Pull on your hiking boots or attach your mountain bike to your car for an adventure along the meandering South Downs Way. It starts in Winchester and ends in Eastbourne, although you can jump on the path just outside Brighton in Falmer or Lewes.
Another awesome destination in the South Downs is Devil’s Dyke – a deep V-shaped valley which, according to ancient folklore, was created by the Devil himself! Nowadays, it’s a Site of Special Scientific Interest and only 20 minutes by road from Brighton.
As well as planning an exciting itinerary of outstanding outdoor attractions, why not book a room at a Jurys Inn in Brighton? Offering you comfortable rooms, luxurious amenities and unbeatable locations, options range from the Jurys Inn Brighton in the heart of the city to the Jurys Inn Brighton Waterfront which boasts brilliant views of the famous Brighton Palace Pier.
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