Down to the Coast: Top Things to Do in East Sussex

Down in the Downs: here's our list of things to do in East Sussex.

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Chalk cliffs in Sussex, England, UK

Just east of Brighton on England’s southern coast is the county of East Sussex, propped up by the famous Seven Sisters cliffs. The vast region stretches from the seaside and portal to Europe inland as far as Kent and West Sussex, its westerly sibling. Its position guarding the coast long made it an important strategic area for the Saxons and Normans, which is why there are so many castles and whatnot. Once deterring invaders, they now attract them in droves in the form of tourists, a vacationing army that now counts you among them.

So, what are you to do while there? Stay in one of our Plum Guide apartments and rent a car to explore this leafy area in the corner of England. And print this page off, it’ll serve you well: it’s our official Plum Guide list of the ultimate things to do in East Sussex. 

The Seven Sisters

One of the top things to do in East Sussex is to pay a visit to the Seven Sisters, a series of white cliffs in the South Downs National Park. They're labelled as such, because they’re made up of seven hills and… who knows, perhaps some strange person saw the curvaceous nature as feminine and familial? In any case, they look bold, imposing and genderless to us, but we’re not hill experts. Check out the white sheen of the rock face, made of chalk, and see if you can borrow some to write some notes on a chalkboard or… whatever else chalk is used for. 

The Seven Sisters, East Sussex, England

The Seven Sisters, East Sussex, England

Explore the adjacent Seven Sisters Park, taking care with your GPS not to accidentally search for the Seven Sisters Station in London. Stroll along the coast and enjoy the utter tranquillity and scenic views, a far cry from the above-mentioned train station. Snap photos of the peaks of the cliffs, and keep your dog (and maybe kids) on a leash, to stop them falling off the edge. It’s a long way down. 

If you are travelling with children, book a stay at the whimsical Frodo's Lair. This Tolkien-inspired home will delight kids and big kids alike.

Frodo's Lair, Plum Guide home in Kent, UK

Frodo's Lair, Plum Guide home in Kent, UK

Take a trip to the beach

A list of things to do in East Sussex would be incomplete without mentioning the beach. Head down to the coast and you'll find sandy stretches with pointy dunes and a pleasant breeze. Spend the afternoon at the Camber Sands to sunbathe on that elusive sunny day. In cooler weather, embark on a hike along the rugged rear of the beach, and meander between the sand dunes. Gaze up at the kite surfers and pick up some fish and chips for a traditional old time on the English seaside. 

Other top beaches in East Sussex include the Eastbourne Beach, with its impressive pier and majestic edifices of Victorian design. Imagine yourself wandering along here in the 1800s, wearing a posh suit on the beach like they used to (sounds uncomfortable, but still worth a try). Make use of the quaint wooden cabins on Bexhill Beach and stroll along the sand and shingle strand of the Seaford Head Beach. And if you can’t get enough of the beach on your holiday, you'll love the the seaside views from Plum Guide home Sophie's Sunset.

Sophie's Sunset, Plum Guide home in East Sussex

Sophie's Sunset, Plum Guide home in East Sussex

Down Down Down

Head into the undulating valleys and mountains of the South Downs National Park. Among the main attractions is the iconic Beachy Head, a(nother) chalk headland by Eastbourne. Bring your binoculars and spot the Isle of Wight in the distance. Trek through the park and climb to the Devil’s Dyke viewpoint. Visit the towns of Arundel, Alfriston and Lewes, breaking up the pastoral topography with historic attractions. 

Lighthouse off the Chalky Cliffs near Eastbourne, East Sussex, England

Lighthouse off the Chalky Cliffs near Eastbourne, East Sussex, England

The Battle of Hastings

Come on, a bit of history you actually know about. What was the year again? It’s ’66, the year England won the world cup, but nine centuries earlier: 1066. Head to (not into) Battle, and admire the abbey built here to pay tribute to… the battle (of Hastings). You could go to nearby Hastings itself and recreate the battle with your family… the same battle that’s been going on since the car journey here. Check out the ruins of the crumbling 11th-century Hastings Castle and embark on the Smugglers Adventure that passes through underground tunnels. You should also clamber along the Hastings Pier and lose yourself in the bucolic wonderland of the Hastings County Park. 

University and football 

This might seem like a strange combination, but stay with us. Right by Brighton (which is worth a glance for its bohemian flair and coastal entertainment), lies the University of Sussex Campus. Take a look around and chat to the youths about what it’s like to be a student in this serene coastal area. Among its impressive structures are the Attenborough Arts Centre and the Falmer House, which is listed. Right next to the campus lies the American Express Community Stadium, where Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. play football. The stadium is pretty modern and fancy, and lights up the night skyline with its illuminated curves. 

Sussex is one of our new holiday destinations, which reflect a desire to escape the city and explore the great outdoors. Want to explore the other Sussex? Check out our guide to the best things to do in West Sussex.

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