Exploring East Sussex – 6 amazing sites within driving distance of The Grand Brighton

We’re so proud to call gorgeous Sussex our home. It’s a county famous for its inspiring leafy landscape, dotted with picturesque towns and framed by a stunning chalky coastline.

Here at The Grand hotel, we’re lucky enough to have some of Brighton’s most iconic sights on our doorstep – from the Royal Pavilion to the beautiful wreckage of the West Pier - but beyond our colourful city there is even more to explore. Jump in the car and discover Sussex your way, from sleepy seaside towns to the peaks of the South Downs.

We’re now also offering ready to eat Grand takeaways, so just let our team know if you would like to order one of our picnics or afternoon tea boxes to take with you as you explore.

Here are some of our favourite spots for a day trip or afternoon adventure, all of which you can easily drive to from The Grand.

Drive there in less than 30 mins

Devil’s Dyke – The South Downs on our doorstep

Step into another world just 5 miles outside of central Brighton at Devil's Dyke, a stunning valley in the South Downs National Park with views back across the city and the sea. Wander the grassy hills, take in the spectacular landscape, and enjoy an afternoon in one of the charming country pubs nearby. Nestled amongst the rolling green hills you’ll find The Shepherd & Dog, our favourite pub in the area, that boasts delicious food, a wonderful array of local beers and ciders, and a sun-soaked garden with unbeatable views.

Lovely Lewes – quintessentially Sussex

Just a 20-minute drive from The Grand and set amidst the heart of rural Sussex is the town of Lewes. Along its bustling high street and quaint twittens you’ll find a fabulous selection of lovely old-fashioned pubs and colourful independent shops to explore, as well as some incredible historic landmarks including its 16thCentury castle, the remains of Lewes Priory, Anne of Cleves House, and its famous brewery, Harvey’s, founded in the 18th Century and still brewing in the heart of the town. In the warmer months, you can hike up nearby Mount Caburn or take a more leisurely stroll to the beautiful Southover Grange gardens, the perfect spot to sit and while away a few hours in the sunshine.

Drive there in under an hour

Friston Forest & Cuckmere Haven – from the woodland to the waves

Take a gorgeous drive along the coast and just beyond the sleepy town of Seaford you’ll find Cuckmere Haven with its unforgettable views of the beautiful Sussex cliffs and the valley where the winding Cuckmere river meets the English Channel. From the handy car park, head South to the stunning beach framed by those famous chalky cliffs or North to explore Friston Forest, a picturesque beech woodland set amongst the grassy hills.

Wakehurst – immerse yourself in nature

Bask in the beauty of fabulous Wakehurst in West Sussex, one of the greatest treasures of the National Trust, managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens and often described as “Kew in the country”. Spending a day at Wakehurst is a delight – wander through the wildflowers of Coronation Meadow, explore the various native and international woodlands, and discover their innovative conservation journey at the Millennium Seed Bank.

Arundel Castle – steeped in history

West Sussex is home to magnificent Arundel Castle, an iconic 11th century castle that has been restored and remodelled to allow visitors enjoy an authentic and insightful experience. Immerse yourself in history and explore the gorgeous flower-lined grounds and the castles many original features, from the Norman Keep to the medieval Gatehouse and Barbican. This fascinating castle overlooks the River Arun and is just steps from the delightful town of Arundel with its lovely cathedral and eclectic shops and restaurants.

Birling Gap & The Seven Sisters – a postcard view of Sussex

The Seven Sisters, the famous stretch of stunning chalky cliffs between Cuckmere Haven and Birling Gap, is one of the most stunning natural landscapes in the country. Visitors can park at Seaford Head, the cliff before Cuckmere Haven, to take in the full view, or park right at Cuckmere Haven and enjoy the gorgeous 4 mile walk over the Seven Sisters until you reach Birling Gap. It’s a fantastic walk with plenty of perfect spots to stop and enjoy a picnic or a little rest with a truly beautiful backdrop. From Birling Gap you can jump on a bus back to Cuckmere Haven or complete the circular walking route inland and then back through Friston Forest.

Planning a seaside escape this summer?

Discover our seasonal offers at The Grand Brighton here.