Friday, 9 August 2019

West Sussex – why go anywhere else?

Last year on a warm summer’s evening I was enjoying a walk with a friend along the beach on Selsey and happened to meet with a couple who were visiting West Sussex for the first time.

Living in London, they had decided to go out for the day and headed to West Sussex. Neither of them had visited the county before. They started at Chichester Harbour and had a long pleasurable walk followed by an excellent lunch then they decided to visit the RSPB Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve and were rounding off their day at Selsey beach. They were contemplating an overnight stay and that was the start of the conversation as they asked about accommodation in the area. In the end they decided that there was so much more to see that they would revisit for a week to sample all the delights that West Sussex has to offer.

To say they were enthusiastic about their day visit was an understatement! But is that surprising? Well to me, no. This county has so many things to do whatever age, interest or budget and through Experience West Sussex we are busy encouraging more people, whether residents or visitors, to sample the many delights that West Sussex has to offer whether you are young,  old or not so old!

Now add that to the fact the summers feel like they are getting warmer, and that is certainly the case this year, so having a staycation has many appeals. Rather than jetting off somewhere – resist the urge and in doing so help the environment too by reducing your carbon footprint and with the pound at an all-time low you will save money too.

So let me share with you some of the delights West Sussex has – if it is the great outdoors you hanker for there is nowhere better! Fabulous sandy beaches along the South Coast, so you can kayak, paddle board, windsurf, sail or just enjoy a lazy day on the beach and a swim in sea. In West Sussex, West Wittering has the illustrious Blue Flag award, which means high water quality and excellent facilities.

Then there is the magnificent South Downs National Park, Chichester Harbour and High Weald AoNB - all offering a range of trails to explore with varying landscapes. Pack your water bottle and a picnic and enjoy a hike getting away from it all – there’s nothing quite like it and we have some amazing views to discover. Prefer exploring our county on two wheels? We have some fantastic cycle routes in West Sussex and Experience West Sussex offers some fun cycling itineraries for you to try.

Fancy a wander around some lovely gardens? Well you are spoilt for choice in West Sussex – we have so many to visit including Wakehurst Place, Borde Hill, Leonardslee, Parham, High Beeches, and West Dean, to name just a few.

Is history more your thing? Where better than Arundel to visit with its castle, gardens and river walks. And at the end of the month there is the brilliant Arundel Festival – which has a great art trail. Or pop over to Bosham, visit the church, wander along the trippet and eat an ice cream or two. A meander around Petworth and Petworth House or Midhurst and Cowdray are all good ways to spend a day. Of course the Weald and Downland Living Museum gives a great opportunity to understand how people lived their lives hundreds of years ago and all in some amazing countryside.

We have some great National Trust properties from East Grinstead to the Hampshire Borders which provide a great family day out with so much to do and see.

And if you want art – well start at the amazing Pallant House Gallery in Chichester which has some fantastic art work to enjoy – easy to spend a day just browsing round Chichester and pop into the Oxmarket Art Gallery as well or combine it with a visit to the Cass Sculpture Foundation Park.
Now don’t forget we have some excellent vineyards across the county producing delicious wines – many offer tours to learn about English Wines and of course tastings! Our outstanding vineyards include Bolney Wine Estate, Tinwood Estate and Nyetimber, to name but a few.

More interested in birds and wildlife? A visit to Pagham Harbour Local Nature Reserve or RSPB Pulborough Brooks has much to offer, as does the Arundel Wetland Centre where if you are lucky you may also spot a water vole or two.

I could go on – we are so, so lucky in what we have in West Sussex. But don’t just let me tell you. We’ve interviewed West Sussex schoolchildren and asked them their favourite places to visit in West Sussex – this is what they had to say. So if you’re stuck for ideas for what to do or where to visit this summer holidays then why not try out some of their ideas!

But don’t forget – this is not just about summer holidays – you can Experience West Sussex’s many delights all year round.

I just hope I’ve tempted you to Experience West Sussex – there is nowhere quite like it.

Best wishes,

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