East Sussex

Area guide

In East Sussex, rolling hills and gorgeous countryside, interspersed with delightful villages, meet an extensive coastline, pebbled beaches and imposing white cliffs, with a number of thriving towns thrown in.


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East Sussex is the home of individual, independent businesses and, to top it off, a large chunk of it is designated as a national park, ensuring that it will keep its unspoilt nature. Together with a glorious coastline, bustling cities and quaint, charming villages, things to do in East Sussex are never in short supply.

Our Sussex area guide offers key information on some of the best schooling options across the county, as well as typical property prices, transport links and an all-round engaging insight into the best bits the county of East Sussex has to offer.

The Strutt & Parker Lewes office has property for sale across the whole of East Sussex, particularly in and around the charming villages in the area, as well as some houses with sea views. They also work alongside our Country House Department in London.

Things to do in East Sussex

Residents are spoilt for choice in regards to how they choose to spend their leisure time. With such a variety of things to do in Sussex every visitor will find something to treasure.

For those looking to enjoy the great outdoors, the South Downs National Park covers a significant part of the county, providing a beautiful backdrop to any activity and ensuring that the area remains unspoilt.

The Seven Sisters Country Park combines two of the main selling points of East Sussex: the countryside and the coast. Located near Eastbourne, it is made up of 280 acres of breath-taking white cliffs and grassland, popular with birdwatchers as well as walkers and cyclists. With views over this striking landscape, as well as over the snaking Cuckmere River, is the Cuckmere Valley, a very popular National Trust owned expanse of grassland, with a wealth of wildlife. Nearby Beachy Head, the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, has the most amazing, far-reaching views and is, as such, a popular place for walkers. Much further inland is the Ashdown Forest; 6,500 acres of protected heathland, which is open to the public and is said to have inspired the children’s stories of Winnie the Pooh.

At the other end of the scale, Brighton has so much for the culture seeker, the shopper and the foodie. Wander the Laines, visit the Royal Pavilion or settle down in one of the independent cafés and while away a lazy weekend, just watching the world go by and devouring the delicious fare on offer.

With so much packed into the city it can be easy to forget the glorious beachfront that curls along the coastline. Hugely popular in the summer, Brighton beach is ideal for summer swimming and lounging, or even enjoying a refreshing drink along one of the many charming cafes, bars and restaurants that are nestled on the waterfront.

Why we love East Sussex

East Sussex has some of the most beautiful and varied countryside in Southern England including the South Downs, a dramatic coastline and thousands of acres of unspoilt forest, yet accessibility to the capital means that both commuters and day trippers don’t have far to travel, either by car or rail.

It also has some vibrant historic cities, towns and villages, including the city of Brighton & Hove, the bonfire capital, Lewes, the Port Cinque town of Rye, and the picturesque village of Ditchling.

East Sussex benefits from some of the finest country pubs serving gastronomic delights, usually using local farmers' produce. Lewes is also home to one of the oldest breweries in the UK, making some of the country’s finest ales.

The team in our Lewes office love Horsted Place for formal dining and dishes using seasonal produce; and Pelham House for fantastic simple food using local produce, in a fabulous setting.

Best pubs and bars
For a traditional, cosy local pub, look no further than The Griffin, in Fletching, which serves local beer alongside a great menu of local food, with views over the South Downs. A popular pub for walkers is The Tiger Inn, in the small village of East Dean, near Beachy Head. Further inland, The Lamb, in Wartling, is a relatively new pub, welcoming patrons with its inviting and comfortable bar and good food, including fish caught just off the nearby South Coast.

Best annual events
Things to do in East Sussex are in aplenty, with a variety of different annual events entertaining both locals and residents each year.

Renowned around the country, the Lewes Bonfire Night Celebrations are the world’s biggest. So much more than just a bonfire and fireworks; the town is transformed into a sea of costumes and processions.

In keeping with Brighton being one of the world’s top gay destinations, the Brighton Pride event is extremely popular, now in its 23rd year!

A fantastic, family-friendly and free event, Airbourne, Eastbourne’s international air show, takes place over a long weekend each August, and is undoubtedly one of the top air shows in the country.

Best secret spots and country walks
When our S&P Lewes team are looking to escape to the country for a few hours, they love the South Downs, Ashdown Forest and Seven Sisters Country Park.

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Properties for sale in East Sussex

Properties to rent in East Sussex

Key villages & towns in East Sussex

Schools in the area

Schools in East Sussex are among some of the best in the country. Well catered for all ages there is a fantastic array of both state and private schools, with brilliant boarding, grammar and same-sex schools.

There are excellent schools all over the county, including some of the best independent schools in the country, which attract pupils from London and all over the South East.

Lewes is particularly blessed with good state schools. South Malling C of E and St Pancras Catholic, both primary, have been judged ‘good’ by Ofsted and the Priory School, a comprehensive secondary, achieves good results. At the top of the High Street, Lewes Old Grammar School is a highly rated independent day school.

Roedean School, a day and boarding school for girls with a view of the sea, and Windlesham prep school, both in Brighton, are very well renowned. It's not just primary and secondary schools in East Sussex which have glowing reputations; Brighton College is the recipient of some outstanding accolades, including the Times’ independent school of the year award, and boasts the best GCSE and A-level results of any co-ed school in the country.

In the western fringe of the county, near Haywards Heath, Ardingly comes in the top 2% in the world for the IB, not forgetting sport and extracurricular activities, and Hurstpierpoint College receives excellent inspection reports and glowing feedback from pupils and parents. Eastbourne College, an educational community rather than an academic institution where pupils thrive on the impressive array of opportunities, make life-long friends and achieve excellent academic results along the way. Only mildly selective achieving the results of much more selective schools.

For a more comprehensive list of schools in the area we recommend the Good Schools Guide.

Transport links

By train

Twice hourly services from Plumpton to Victoria take an hour and from Lewes 65 minutes; from Eastbourne, a direct service takes about an hour and a half with additional indirect services. The Brighton to Victoria service runs up to three times an hour and takes just less than an hour. Although just in West Sussex, Haywards Heath is also a popular station for much of East Sussex and, from there, a twice hourly direct service to Victoria takes about 45 minutes.

Lewes to Brighton takes 16 minutes and runs every 10-15 minutes; the 35 minute service from Eastbourne to Brighton runs three times an hour.

By train

There are no motorways in East Sussex, but a number of key A-roads keep residents and visitors easily connected to nearby towns and cities (including London) as well as the national motorway network. To the North-West, the M23 is within easy reach and the M25 is accessible via the A21 or A22.

A unique county, East Sussex is a rare place that manages to offer everyone something different. With vibrant cities providing excellent shopping, cosy rural pubs and restaurants and a bounty of green countryside, it’s not hard to see why it’s such a popular place.