When it comes to our beautiful country, few counties can beat East Sussex for its history, landmarks, scenery and people. From Brighton to Beachy Head, Hastings to Herstmonceux Castle, the county is rich in every sense, and makes for an ideal destination for short breaks and long stays alike. It’s small wonder that William The Conqueror decided to arrive here when he invaded Britain...
East Sussex has its roots in Saxon times (Sussex derives its name from ‘Kingdom of the South Saxons in 5AD), and was famously where Harold and William fought it out at the Battle of Hastings.
Happily, it’s been a bit quieter since the Norman Conquest - although the string of market towns such as Hailsham and Heathfield and the ports of Newhaven and Rye mean there’s always a gentle buzz.
The arrival of the Normans hasn’t been the only foreign invasion that the locals had to contend with, though - smuggling was once rife along the south coast and Rye, with its narrow streets and dark headlands - perfect for storing illegal cargoes, such as wool. Around 1300, a customs duty was placed on the export of wool, which was in great demand in Europe, and when smuggling started. That led to 1614, when the export of wool was made illegal, which in turn led to an increase in smuggling activity.
With such beautiful beaches, stunning countryside and famous landmarks on your doorstep, it’s little wonder that so many famous people (including Paul McCartney and Fatboy Slim) have called East Sussex home. The county has produced its fair share of notable names, however; Rory Charles Graham better known as Rag'n'Bone Man hails from Uckfield (where we also call home!); ITV presenter Holly Willoughby was born in Brighton; tennis superstar Johanna Konta grew up in Eastbourne, which is where former prime minister Theresa May was born.
While he wasn’t born in the county, John Logie Baird lived in Hastings in the 1920s where he carried out experiments that led to the transmission of the first television image. So East Sussex is the birthplace of TV… quite a claim to fame.
Need some notable landmarks to tick off the list? East Sussex has them by the bucketload; enjoy the incredible coastal vistas of the Seven Sisters or Beachy Head; walk along the majestic miles of Camber Sands, or take a woodland walk in Ashdown Forest.
If it’s historic buildings you’re after, why not visit Bateman’s in Burwash, former home of Rudyard Kipling (now a National Trust property); there are fortified buildings aplenty - Bodiam Castle, Herstmonceux Castle and Pevensey Castle to name but three; and finally, don’t forget Battle Abbey, which overlooks the famous battlefield from 1066.
If you love history, seek out the Long Man of Wilmington - but while it was one thought to originate in the Iron Age or even the neolithic period, a 2003 archaeological investigation has shown that the figure may have been cut in the 16th or 17th century AD. Still worth a visit, though!
What to do
If you’re looking for something a little more active, East Sussex is packed with attractions and distractions - whether it’s the steam locomotives at the Bluebell Railway, maritime history at Hastings Fishermen’s Museum or some fabulous opera at glorious Glyndebourne. Revisit East Sussex’s nefarious past at Smugglers Adventure, or simply head for Brighton where there’s enough to entertain for days - whether it’s shopping in The Lanes, strolling along the pier, enjoying the view from the i360 or marvelling at the majesty of Brighton Pavilion. You’ll never be bored in Brighton...
Stay with us
So hopefully we’ve given you just a taste of what East Sussex has to offer… now all you need to do is find a base for your travels.
Now it may seem a little forward and presumptuous, but our Victorian Gothic masterpiece at Horsted Place takes some beating; from the stunning Pugin architecture and gardens to soothe the soul, to a unique dining experience before you retire to the most comfortable of rooms.
Come, join us. Be our guest.