A picturesque mix of bustling cities and serene coastlines, East Sussex ticks all the boxes for a weekend getaway. Brighton’s free-spirited beaches are just the spot for sea-view picnics. St-Leonards-on-Sea’s coastline is jaw-dropping; further inland, Rye’s lacework of cobbled streets are packed with cute cafés and old-world buildings. East Sussex’s boutique hotels are equally alluring: check in to stylish B&Bs and revamped Georgian houses for cosseting stays by the English seaside.

When to go

Visit in summer to make the most of the beaches. September’s weather is a bit wetter, but good for castle-hopping and the perfect excuse for an indulgent afternoon tea.

Food & Drink

East Sussex knows how to indulge: banoffee pie, after all, can trace its origins here. The county spoils visitors with its many cake and ice cream parlours. Alfriston’s Badgers – once the village bakery – is 500 years old and still serves a decadent afternoon tea with home-baked scones and cakes. Brighton is a culinary hotspot; sample Terre à Terre’s imaginative menu full of vegetarian delights.

Not to miss

Take your bucket and spade to postcard-perfect Camber Sands beach, where you can craft an ephemeral fortress to rival nearby Bodiam Castle.

Nightlife

Boho Brighton is packed with vibrant discos, beachside bars and live-music haunts. Elsewhere, Rye has a handful of nightclubs as well as contemporary wine bars and late-night cafés. St-Leonards-on-Sea has a quieter evening scene; its cosy pubs make welcoming spots for a late-night drink.

Where to stay in East Sussex

Fun-loving Brighton has bustling shops and a buzzing nightlife. Take a relaxing seaside break at tranquil St Leonards-on-Sea. Beyond its rustic-chic boutique hotels and gourmet hideaways, Rye has a captivating history: William the Conqueror’s Norman invasion landed here.

How to get there

London Gatwick serves flights to both domestic and international hubs. Brighton is a half-hour’s train ride away, with excellent links to London, Rye and other towns in the region.

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Featured hotels in East Sussex

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