Where to find the best views in Sussex: 19 spectacular spots
PUBLISHED: 11:44 18 December 2020 | UPDATED: 14:14 18 December 2020
Whether it’s taking a look along the seafront on a sunny day or across the downs from Ditchling Beacon, Sussex is not short of stunning views. Here are 19 of our favourites
1) Mount Caburn
At 146m high, this landmark in the South Downs provides wonderful views over Glynde and the surrounding countryside. At the top there are also remains of an Iron Age hill fort if you needed another reason to visit.
2) Ditchling Beacon
This is the highest point in East Sussex and the third highest point in the South Downs so inevitably you’ll be able to get an enormous panorama from the top. Expect to see many cyclists when you make your visit as they seek to scale a challenging route that was used in the 1994 edition of the Tour de France.
3) Black Down
From the highest point in East Sussex we move to the highest point in West Sussex at 280m above sea level. As you walk around the area you’ll see for yourself how the landscape inspired poet Alfred Lord Tennyson.
4) Devil’s Dyke
This National Trust site five miles outside of Brighton is home to the UK’s longest, deepest and widest dry valley, the centrepiece of a unique landscape that is understandably incredibly popular with photographers.
5) Seven Sisters
Looking down past the Coastguard Cottages to the stunning white cliffs beyond is a sight everyone from Sussex should see at least once. Take a walk along the cliffs themselves for ever-changing angles of this stunning spot.
6) Cuckmere River
Go inland from Cuckmere Haven to see the Cuckmere River as it winds its way through the Seven Sisters Country Park and into the English Channel.
Since closing to the public in 1975 storms, fire, time and structured demolition have gradually seen the pier reduced to the shell that today creates such a distinctive part of the view from Brighton’s seafront. For an extra special touch you can sometimes see starling murmurations flying above the pier.
Whether you’re up on the ramparts to look down on Arundel’s pretty streets or you’re admiring it from ground level among countryside and the River Arun, this 11th century castle is central to getting some of the area’s best views.
On a clear day you can see all the way to cliffs beyond Brighton and even to the Isle of Wight from this South Downs viewpoint. Its position overlooking so much of Sussex is likely why it became the county’s largest Iron Age hill fort with a history going back five millennia.
10) Ouse Valley Viaduct
Located just north of Haywards Heath, this ornate structure stands majestically in the rolling countryside by Ardingly Reservoir. When you’re walking in the area - perhaps after a visit to nearby Borde Hill Garden - make sure you stop at the foot of the viaduct to find that perfect angle where each baluster lines up perfectly.
11) Mermaid Street, Rye
Of all the scenes you can admire in Sussex’s towns and villages, it doesn’t get much more iconic than Mermaid Street’s higgledy houses and cobbled streets.
12) From the top of St Mary’s Church, Rye
Staying in Rye, from the tower of the parish church you get the below view taking in the River Rother, Ypres Tower, Rye Golf Club and over into neighbouring Kent. At the time of writing you cannot go up the tower but the latest opening information can be found through the link above.
13) Beachy Head
Defined by the red and white lighthouse sitting 535 feet below the cliff edge, this viewpoint is a must-visit if you’re going to Eastbourne and its surrounds. There is also an RAF Bomber Command Memorial nearby and you will certainly feel connected to those who sacrificed the most in WWII if you catch a Spitfire flying past the lighthouse during the Eastbourne Airshow.
14) Birling Gap
Walk towards Cuckmere Haven from Beachy Head and you’ll pass the Belle Tout Lighthouse - a location with what is likely Britain’s best view from a B&B - before reaching Birling Gap. From here you’ll get the opposite views of the Seven Sisters to Cuckmere Haven while you can also drop down to the beach below to really feel the scale of the cliffs.
No one is entirely sure what this ancient hill figure known as the ‘Guardian of the South Downs’ actually means but we do know for sure that his presence on the slopes of Windover Hill makes one of Sussex’s best countryside views.
16) Bosham Quay
We head to the Chichester Harbour AONB for our next couple of entries, starting at this coastal village in one of the harbour’s many inlets. Boats sailing the peaceful water are an inherent part of this landscape and it is likely you’ll get the best views of the village aboard one of these vessels.
17) East Head
Sand dunes are incredibly rare habitat in Britain and you’ll find fine examples of them at this National Trust site just around from West Wittering and the beautiful beach there. Admire the rolling dunes and the yachts in the harbour while there is also a chance you’ll spot the occasional seal.
The tower was specifically designed to provide views over Brighton and the surrounding coast, generating some breathtaking 360 degree panoramas. The views from the bubble at its peak are likely the clearest you’ll find of Sussex while remaining on planet earth...
19) The whole county from outer space…
Admittedly this one is a little sneaky and it’s unlikely any of us will ever be able to see the view with our own eyes yet Sussex looks remarkably peaceful from the heavens. Astronaut Tim Peake - born near Chichester - captured this stunning image on New Year’s Eve of 2015.