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Best places for a picnic in Sussex

PUBLISHED: 17:28 02 July 2015 | UPDATED: 15:31 21 February 2018

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto


Spread out the rug and feast on cucumber sandwiches at one of these top picnic spots around Sussex.

Chanctonbury Ring by Les Chatfield under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence ( via Ring by Les Chatfield under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence ( via

Nymans, near Haywards Heath

You are welcome to bring a picnic to this gorgeous National Trust garden. Unroll the rug on the lawns in front of the house or in the meadow, before sauntering around the rose garden, past the long borders and beneath the immense topiary. Dogs can be exercised in the lovely woodland adjacent to the garden, which offers a 45-minute circular stroll.


Bateman’s, Burwash

Rudyard Kipling’s Jacobean home is surrounded by idyllic gardens and rolling countryside. Feast on lunch in the picnic area or the quarry garden before exploring the house and the garden, with its meadows, pond and river. Children can enjoy toys and games in the picnic area, quarry garden and the children’s bedroom. Dogs are welcome on leads in the garden and can stretch their legs on the 2.5-mile mapped walk around the estate.


Standen, near East Grinstead

Throw the picnic hamper into the car and head to this charming Arts & Crafts house and 12-acre hillside garden. Children will love playing in the plantation, where they can build their own den, perform in the theatre and explore the higgledy-piggledy fence! There are also several lovely walks on the estate and surrounding countryside, ranging from one to 10 miles.


Devil’s Dyke, near Hove

John Constable described the view from the top of the dry valley known as the Devil’s Dyke as “the grandest in the world”. Spread out your picnic blanket and enjoy spectacular views over the Weald and along the South Downs, before sauntering along the South Downs Way or down into the Dyke, where wild flowers and butterflies abound. This is also a beautiful place to enjoy a sunset picnic if you’re feeling romantic.


Chanctonbury Ring, near Storrington

The clump of beech trees atop the Downs near Washington is steeped in mystery and legend. Folklore says that if you walk around it three times anti-clockwise, the Devil will appear, but that if you walk around it three times clockwise, luck will be bestowed upon you! The grassy expanse around the summit offers gorgeous views to the coast and is a great place for a picnic. There are car parks just off the A283 and the A24.


Kingley Vale, near Chichester

This National Nature Reserve is beloved by children and tree huggers! Huddled amidst the woodland are immense, ancient yew trees that are exciting to behold; some are said to be 2,000 years old. The open grass downland in the heart of the vale is a lovely place to enjoy a summer picnic. If you fancy a walk, there are short strolls around the reserve or longer hikes out to the village of Stoughton. Park at West Stoke.


Barcombe Mills, near Lewes

If it’s a hot, sunny day, combine a river swim at Barcombe Mills with a picnic on the grassy riverbanks. You can do a nice circular walk up to the Anchor Inn and back and if you fancy a row upon the water, boats can be hired for £6. NB stay safe: do not swim immediately after eating and do not swallow the river water.


Seven Sisters, near Seaford

Soak up the sea air and views over the big blue atop the Seven Sisters cliffs. Find a spot in the Cuckmere Haven, which offers a stunning view of the dramatic chalk cliffs or at Birling Gap, where there are grassy expanses atop the cliffs, ideal for picnics. Keep dogs on leads on the cliff tops and stay well away from the cliff edges, which can erode suddenly.


West Wittering, near Chichester

The sandy beaches of West Wittering are a beautiful place to walk, sunbathe, swim and picnic. This is a Blue Flag beach, which means its water is deemed good for swimming, there are lots of water sports opportunities in the sea lagoon (, you can walk dogs on the sand dunes of East Head and spot sea birds and seals in the sea and wetlands.


Glyndebourne, near Lewes

It is traditional to take your own picnic (or order a Leith’s picnic) when you visit Glyndebourne. Each performance at this iconic opera house has a 90-minute interval, during which people unroll the picnic blanket and tuck in. During the summer festival expect to see women dressed in ballgowns, supping glasses of bubbly at elaborately laid out picnic tables.


Goodwood Races, near Chichester

Enjoy a picnic aside the racetrack at Good-wood. Unload the hamper in the Three Furlong picnic park overlooking the racecourse, where car berths can be reserved in advance, or in the family-friendly Lennox Enclosure.


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