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Living in West Sussex, with Alice Luxmoore Styles

According to the Met Office, West Sussex is the sunniest county in the UK, so getting out and about to explore the miles of protected countryside is a complete joy. With a sweeping coastline, beautiful walking trails, charming villages, historic castles and a plethora of outdoor activities, it’s no surprise that West Sussex is a popular place to live. The great outdoors is very much at the heart of everything here. Bordering Hampshire, East Sussex and Surrey, the county brings together a dynamic and complementary balance of open green space and idyllic village life.

Alice Luxmoore-Styles, from our National Country House team, shares her favourite places with us.

South Downs Walks – There are plenty of routes to choose from in the glorious South Downs National Park, thanks to over 3,300km of footpaths, bridleways and byways. You can tackle the 100 miles of the South Downs Way, or cycle along Centurion Way and Meon Valley Trail which have been converted from old railway lines. Many routes also have country pubs and afternoon tea rooms dotted along the journey – great for reviving the energy levels! A weekend can be well spent walking between Polegate and Lewes, where you can see many of the things that make the South Downs unique: Saxon burial mounds; the Long Man of Wilmington carved into the hillside; the unspoilt Cuckmere Haven; one of the oldest cricket grounds in the world; the smallest church in England; and the home of Bloomsbury writer, Virginia Woolf.

Cowdray Park Polo Club - Recognised as the home of British Polo, Cowdray has a long and illustrious history, with the sport played here for more than a century. The Cowdray Gold Cup, inaugurated in 1956, remains Europe’s premier high goal tournament. Matches are open to the public and the location is glorious so it’s a lovely spot to while away an afternoon watching the polo with a picnic.

Sumners Pond, Horsham - a great family-run campsite in tranquil acres of woodland, as well as a working farm and fishing lakes. This beautiful and secluded setting is perfect for relaxing, or for the more active, you can explore the many footpaths and safe cycle-ways within and around the site. If you love camping, there’s everything from pitches and glamping by the lakes, to ‘safari tents’ and shepherds huts.

Brolly Brewery – very good hand-crafted beers from a husband and wife team. You can visit the brewery itself, or enjoy beer in their micro-pub, the Billi Tap. You might also find their beers at pop-up events throughout the county – and if you like local food with local beers, they have street trucks and local cheeses on hand!

Quarterdeck Café Itchenor – the harbour here is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest with the sheltered waters being a haven for wildlife. Naturally, it’s one of Britain’s most popular sailing destinations, which means there’s plenty to watch whilst enjoying a delicious sandwich or freshly brewed coffee in the courtyard at Quarterdeck Café.

Arundel Castle – a castle with almost 1,000 years of history! Overlooking the River Arun, this fortified castle has been the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors since 1067. There’s a packed events calendar throughout the year, including jousting tournaments, theatre productions and fairs. The magnificent gardens – of which there are many – are perfect for contemplation and inspiration!

West Wittering Beach - with impressive views of Chichester Harbour and the South Downs, West Wittering Beach is an expansive sandy beach which is renowned for its wildlife and unique beauty – as well as being an unbeatable spot for sunbathing! It’s a Blue Flag beach so great for swimmers and is also hugely popular with wind and kite surfers.

Bosham Walk - A great destination for visitors and residents alike! Found in one of the oldest and most picturesque villages in West Sussex, Bosham Walk Art & Craft Centre is a collection of twenty little shops in an old world setting, owned by The Manor of Bosham and The Hundred. Home to craft shops, it displays work from more than 100 arts and crafts sellers. There’s also a café and popular ice cream and sweet shop.

Wisborough Green Cricket – Sussex has long been at the forefront of cricket in the UK and it’s believed that the game has been played at Wisborough Green since around 1840. The team host charity cricket matches against the Lords Taverners, with celebrity residents often playing in these entertaining matches!

Goodwood - famous for Goodwood Festival of Speed, this historic estate plays host to the annual motorsports event, featuring both modern and historic racing vehicles, with the wonderful backdrop of Goodwood House.

Alongside motor racing, horseracing has also been at Goodwood since 1802 and there’s also two golf courses, an aerodrome and cricket club. Notably, the aerodrome is where pilots learnt to fly Spitfires and Hurricanes in the 1940s. The estate is stunning - hence its nickname “Glorious Goodwood” – and an afternoon can be spent ambling through the parkland and woods. Don’t miss Farmer, Butcher, Chef – the on-site award-winning restaurant which prides itself on sustainability, using estate reared meat and local produce in their seasonal menu.

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