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Sussex celebrities and personalities share what they love most about the county

PUBLISHED: 09:25 06 January 2017 | UPDATED: 09:25 06 January 2017

Robert Bathurst (Jonathan Ford/ITV)

Robert Bathurst (Jonathan Ford/ITV)


Some of Sussex’s best known personalities have revealed in the magazine what they most love about the county. Here, we compile their stories, favourite restaurants, pubs, shops, views and places to visit

Ray Davies - January 2017

Even at the height of his fame, when the single Lola was in the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic, songwriter Ray Davies was railing against what he saw as the corrupt music industry. As his musical hits Brighton, chief Kink Ray Davies describes its genesis to Duncan Hall.

Dan Walker - January 2017

Crawley-born presenter Dan Walker’s 2016 has been a personal best. Now he has rounded off a year in which he’s taken his place on the famous BBC Breakfast sofa and covered the Olympics in Rio by publishing a book about football. Read the full interview here.

Shirley Collins - December 2016

Sussex folk singer Shirley Collins was a linchpin of the English folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s. Now, after four decades out of the spotlight, she’s releasing a new album. Veronica Groocock visited her home in Lewes to find out more.

Henry Normal - November 2016

Screenwriter, producer and Steve Coogan’s former business partner Henry Normal hadn’t written any poetry in two decades. Then a combination of family circumstances drove him to rediscover an intimate way of communicating. He spoke to Jenny Mark-Bell.

Robert Bathurst - November 2016

As Cold Feet returns after a 13-year hiatus, the actor spoke to Jenny Mark-Bell about getting the gang back together. He also shared his favourite Sussex locations:

• Shop - Cycle Revival in Heathfield.

• Restaurant - There’s a place in Western Road in St Leonards. It’s advertised sometimes as the Taj Mahal and it’s also known as the Lakshmi Mahal.

• Pub - The Lamb in Wartling.

• Walk - There are loads, but I love Cuckmere Haven.

• Visitor attraction - I just love the fishing boats at Hastings, and Birling Gap.

Mark Curry - September 2016

Television presenter and actor Mark Curry first fell in love with Eastbourne when he visited for Blue Peter. Last year he moved there. Mark spoke to Jenny Mark-Bell about the golden age of children’s television and his part in the 10th anniversary production of Wicked in London.

Julie Graham - July 2016

The Scottish actress Julie Graham has lived in Brighton for almost 20 years. She recently returned to our screens as matriarch Sheron Dawson in Benidorm but in real life camping is more her style, as Nione Meakin discovers.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor - June 2016

Sophie Ellis-Bextor told us why Sussex is her second home. She also let us know her favourite locations in the county:

Shop: Much Ado Books in Alfriston.

Restaurant: Well I would have said Moonrakers, but now I would probably say The Regency, an old school fish and chips shop on the front.

Attraction: I love all around where my dad lives. If I’ve got the kids with me we’ll go to places like Middle Farm, Paradise Park and Drusillas. I love going for long walks on the Downs too.

Walk: I love walking around Forest Row. Richard grew up around there so he’s always keen to go and see the Owl Tree and Pooh Bridge.

Caro Emerald - June 2016

Smouldering chanteuse Caro Emerald will entertain audiences at the Love Supreme Jazz Festival. She tells Jenny Mark-Bell how she keeps her retro sound fresh. Read the full interview here.

DJ’s Danny and Ilona Rampling - May 2016

Legendary house music DJ Danny Rampling and his wife, fellow DJ Ilona, live a jet-set professional life but spend their downtime relaxing at home in Hastings. Read the full interview here.

Hugh Bonneville - May 2016

Hugh Bonneville had a starring role in one of the UK’s biggest ever television exports. After playing Lord Grantham for six years, Hugh returned to the stage in Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People at Chichester Festival Theatre. Read the full interview here.

Jef Hanlon - May 2016

Jef Hanlon’s band supported The Beatles in 1963 before he became an influential agent, manager and promoter. Now he’s helped to recreate the magic of the Fab Four with new live show The Sessions. Read the full interview here.

Janet Dibley - April 2016

East Sussex-based actress Janet Dibley says the much-loved magazine Jackie was a must-read for women of her generation. Now she has landed a dream role in the musical celebrating the teen journal. Read the full interview here.

Caroline Lucas - April 2016

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, made history when she entered the House of Commons as the UK’s first Green MP in 2010. Here she tells Amanda Riley-Jones what she loves about Sussex and the unique city she’s proud to call home. Read the full interview here.

Eddie Izzard - March 2016

To say Eddie Izzard is ambitious is to be guilty of risible understatement. When he was a schoolboy at Eastbourne College, he thought seriously about joining the SAS, but instead applied his eagle-eyed drive to making people laugh. Read the full interview here.

Sally Gunnell - March 2016

Sally lives in Steyning and the record-breaking athlete was showing no signs of slowing down when we caught up. She also shared her favourite Sussex places:

If the family is celebrating a special birthday they might indulge in a trip to Gar’s Chinese in Brighton’s Lanes – a long-standing favourite – or The Salt Room, where they recently celebrated a milestone birthday for Sally’s father.

For a less formal occasion, The Fountain Inn in Ashurst is popular: “If we are on the way back from London we’ll pop in. It’s great for kids so it’s a last minute thing – ‘let’s go up to the pub and grab some food’.”

Susannah Constantine - January 2016

Television presenter Susannah Constantine – queen of the makeover alongside her friend Trinny – is bringing her impeccable taste to a project closer to home. We caught up with her just before she entered the jungle for ITV’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

Joe Stilgoe - November 2015

Ahead of his appearance at Wiston Weekend, Joe Stilgoe told us how he was succumbing to Sussex’s charms.

Kate Mosse - November 2015

Internationally-renowned Kate Mosse OBE was suffering authorial burnout after writing the harrowing conclusion to her Languedoc trilogy, Citadel. So, as a palate-cleanser, she wrote Gothic thriller The Taxidermist’s Daughter. Kate spoke to us here.

Sandy Foster - March 2015

The Bognor Regis actress Sandy Foster spoek to us on getting a role in Mr Turner, working with Mike Leigh and what’s to come next. Read the full interview here. She also shared her favourite Sussex places:

• Shop - I have a favourite genre of shops in Bognor. The charity shops are second to none. I love vintage and secondhand clothes.

• Pub - We used to frequent the William Hardwick in Bognor. There is a nice place called The Oystercatcher, which is between Arundel and Bognor.

• View - Bognor seafront. It’s not the prettiest, but my heart belongs there. I’ve written a play about Bognor Regis, because growing up, I used to watch Catchphrase with my grandmother, and the booby prize would be a trip to Bognor Regis. The audience would be wetting themselves with laughter, and I would be sitting there in my house in Bognor Regis, watching. As a young person, all you wanted to do was get out, but as an older person I just yearn for Bognor Regis and I love going back there. There’s nothing better than sitting on the seafront, eating a bag of chips and looking at that cranky old pier. It’s a magical place.

• Place to visit - Arundel Castle. It’s gorgeous. I would definitely take visitors to Bognor seafront, and for a nice walk on the South Downs too.

Robert Webb - March 2015

The Peep Show star came to Chichester to perform in the Jeeves and Wooster play Perfect Nonsense. Read the full interview here.

Charity Wakefield - February 2015

The Bexhill actress told us some of her favourite Sussex locations (full interview here):

• Place to visit - I love the De La Warr Pavilion, it’s so beautiful.

• Shop - Bexhill has really cool, tiny old teashops and there are a lot of really lovely vintage places.

• Building - I love Hastings Pier and I used to go there a lot as a kid. I used to go clubbing on the end of the pier.

Julia Donaldson - January 2015

Julia Donaldson is beloved by millions of children as the creator of the Gruffalo. The book, published in 1999, has been translated into 50 languages and has inspired a feature film and a whole host of merchandise. Now Julia is back in West Sussex, and inspiring another generation of children.

Full interview here

Lee Child - January 2015

His books weave tales of crime, mystery and intrigue, but author Lee Child is happiest when walking in the Sussex countryside.

Read the full interview here

Clare Holman - November 2014

The Lewis actress shared some of her favourite places to visit in Sussex (full interview here):

Shop - Bramwell & Cole, a clothes shop in St Leonards.

Restaurant - Hendy’s, a hardware store, in Hastings is the most amazing little place.

Pub - The Ship, in Rye

View - There’s a fantastic walk from Fairlight to Hastings, along the coast. It takes about two-and-a-half hours. The view from Fairlight is magnificent, one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. There’s a National Park up there.

Place to visit - Great Dixter (Northiam, Rye). 

Natalie Graham - September 2014

The journalist and presenter on how she spends her free time in Sussex. 

Michael Simkins - September 2014

The actor shared his favourite Sussex locations:

Restaurant - The Melrose on Kings Road, Brighton.

Pub - The Laughing Fish in Isfield.

Shop - Rin Tin Tin in North Road, Brighton.

View - Firle Beacon on the South Downs Way.

Place to visit - The County Ground, Hove.

Read the interview in full

Mike Payne - August 2014

The Littlehampton based illustrator spoke about Sussex having something for everyone: “I love the variety of countryside and coastland from East to West Sussex, the county has so much to offer... Couple that with charming towns such as Rye, Chichester and Bosham and you have something for everyone.”

Read the interview here

Kevin Kennedy - July 2014

The Coronation Street actor spoke about why Brighton has so much to offer: “It’s so easy to enjoy yourself in Brighton,” he says. “There’s so much to do, it’s beautiful and stormy in the winter, and like somewhere in France or Spain in the summer. It’s ideal for children, and there’s something here for everyone.”

Click here for the full interview

Carol Cleveland - July 2014

Restaurant: I’m not a vegetarian but I do love the award-winning Terre à Terre in Brighton. They do wonderful dishes which change all the time

Shop: I recommend Brighton’s Choccywoccydoodah, which is a magical shop. I’ve had their cakes for two of my big decade birthdays.

View: The Seven Sisters, spectacular from every direction. If I’ve ever had doubts about living in Sussex, I’ve sat near the lighthouse on top of the cliff and said: ‘This is why I live here and I never want to be anywhere else!’

Place to visit: I like to take a long walk with Tallulah from the top of The Downs down to The Shepherd & Dog pub at Fulking. It’s fun watching the ang-gliders and kites and dog-walkers from there.

Read the full interview here

Natasha Kaplinsky - May 2014

Restaurant: The Griffin Inn in Fletching - The atmosphere and cuisine are amazing and we always bump into people we know.

• Pub: The Coach and Horses in Danehill - We love this family-run pub on the edge of the Ashdown Forest.

• Shop: Trading Boundaries in Sheffield Green - We particularly like the courtyard boutiques and summer space for the children.

• View: From my parents’ window - They’ve dug a big pond in the back garden in the shape of Africa to remind them of home. The garden is beautiful in the summer, when it’s packed with wild flowers.

• Place to visit: St Mary’s Church, Barcombe - Where we had our marriage blessing. It’s a beautiful spot and brings me a lot of peace.

Read the interview here

Hofesh Shechter - April 2014

The guest director of the 2014 Brighton Festival told us what he loves about the city: “Brighton has such a buzz to it. The festival doubles or triples that buzz, and you really feel that people are engaged with the city.”

Sergio Torres - March 2014

The Crawley Town midfielder shared the moment he found out he’d be stepping out onto the Old Trafford pitch: “I walked into a television shop in Brighton, asked the salesman to switch channels so I could watch it live. When we were drawn away to Manchester United, I just went completely crazy.”

See the full interview here

Tom Baker - December 2013

Restaurant: I don’t go out much to eat as my wife is an excellent cook, but the Wild Mushroom at Westfield.

View: Coming into Rye from the direction of Udimore with its fields of sheep and cattle thrills me a lot.

Place to visit: Sheffield Park. The man who built the house and laid out the gardens knew he would never live to see the latter as we see them today.

Ray Mears - October 2013

Restaurant: Ashdown Forest with a picnic has to be the best restaurant in Sussex.

Shop: Trevor Mottram, the wonderful cookware specialist on the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells.

View: From Bo Peep hill near Alciston, looking north across the Weald, which is particularly lovely when you can see rare orchids and woodland in the distance.

Place to visit: Chanctonbury Ring. It’s amazing to think Charles Goring planted trees there in 1760 and lived to see them grow into maturity.

Ray Mears shares more here

Andrew Fionda - August 2013

Restaurant: My favourite restaurant and pub are rolled into one – the Griffin Inn at Fletching. How can you beat those views on a summer’s evening? Especially if you have a glass of wine in your hand.

View: Anywhere in Ashdown Forest. It’s the most beautiful place with picture-postcard views.

Shop: King’s Framers in Lewes. It’s an Aladdin’s cave.

Place to visit: Charleston near Firle. I can’t believe what those Bloomsbury artists did to their interiors. I’ve often been tempted to buy the plainest of houses and paint every surface, but I go for Pointing on the Farrow & Ball paint chart every time.

Cressida Bell - July 2013

Restaurant: The Jolly Sportsman in East Chiltington – a nice gastro pub.

Pub: The Ram Inn at Firle. It’s within walking distance of my mother’s house and serves good local food and Sussex cask ales.

Shop: The village shop at Firle, which has been delivering food to my mum since 1967. They don’t just sell basics, but delicacies, too – like my mother’s favourite tipple, Noilly Prat.

View: From the top of the downs, between Firle and Firle Beacon. I love the fact that you can see the sea just 20 minutes’ walk from my mum’s house.

Place to visit: Lewes on Bonfire Night. It’s thrillingly wonderful. I love the smell and the fact that Lewes changes character. It’s a very social occasion.

Sarah Raven - June 2013

Restaurant: We don’t really go to restaurants. We eat at home because I like to cook.

Pub: Rather than go to a pub, I would take a bottle of wine and sit in a field.

Shop: Etchingam Village Shop. It’s a wonderful new village shop crossed with a deli and it has everything from dog food to very good olive oil and fantastic take-Out meals made on site.

View: Cuckmere Haven. I love the combination of the Downs with the flowers, the beach and the shape of the winding river coming down.

Place to visit: Brighton. I like going there for a day out with my girls. We go to Cos for clothes and on to the Lanes, where we always find a lamp or vase in the bric-A-brac markets. You can eat well there, too.

Danielle de Niese and Gus Christie - May 2013

Restaurant: We love Chaula’s in Lewes because they serve authentic Indian dishes, based on traditional Gujarati cooking.

Pub: The Trevor Arms, our local, in Glynde. We know the publican and lots of people who go there.

Shop: Lew Howard & Son, the master butcher’s in Ringmer. He’s our sausage man and sells more than 50 delicious varieties.

View: The downland views are particularly beautiful from Telscombe towards Southease.

Place to visit: Friston Forest, where we often go biking. You can get lost there, which is a rarity in the south east.

Eve Branson - April 2013

Restaurant: The Crab and Lobster at Sidlesham. This 17th century pub and restaurant, nestling on the banks of the Pagham Harbour nature reserve, is one of the most stunning hideaways on the south coast.

• Pub: The Old House at Home in Chidham, near Chichester Harbour. Their steak and kidney pies are legendary and the staff are friendly too.

Shop: Panache, a charming ladies’ boutique in Emsworth, I wear their clothes all the time.

View: The unspoiled view of the South Downs from just above Goodwood House.

Place to visit: West Wittering, I walk along the seafront every day when I’m in Sussex.

Valentine Warner - February 2013

Restaurant: The Curlew in Bodiam. Their cheese soufflé is delicious and I look forward to it before I’m even there. It’s not the cheapest place in Sussex, but it’s where we go when we want to feel a bit spoiled.

Pub: The Swan Inn at Dallington. It’s a straightforward boozer and does what it says on the tin.

Shop: Heathfield Ironmongers. It sells billhooks and light bulbs that you can’t normally find, and some kind of rubber bin for storing logs – we have two!

View: I like to watch the sea smashing up Birling Gap.

Place to visit: Ashdown Forest. It’s beautiful. 

Jane Green - January 2013

Restaurant: Jamie’s Italian in Black Lion Street, Brighton. It serves good food, has a lovely atmosphere and the rooftop terrace is the icing on the cake.

Pubs: The Rose Cottage Inn in Alciston, which offers simple but delicious local fare and enjoys a fantastic view of Firle Beacon. I’d also like to give the Cricketers Arms in Berwick a thumbs up.

Shops: I have a weakness for Pearls of Alfriston, which sells bespoke classic and modern jewellery. Much Ado Books in the village is also great for browsing, and the locally sourced milk at Middle Farm near Firle is out of this world.

View: The breathtaking view of the winding Cuckmere River from High and Over near Alfriston.

Place to visit: Herstmonceux Science Centre which offers a real insight into the history of astronomy.


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