Image: Chichester BID
Explore the historic city of Chichester, from the Roman city walls to the tranquil green spaces, discover stories of the city across 2000 years, enjoy a theatre performance or immerse yourself in some modern British art. Row or paddle along the canal, or take a scenic boat trip, explore our iconic Cathedral, or bounce at a trampoline park, break out of an escape room, bowl some strikes, or enjoy a film – there’s too much to do in a day, you’ll just have to stay!
There's plenty to keep you busy in Chichester. The city has been a bustling civic centre since Roman times and today you can still see evidence of our long history all around you.
Walk the City Walls (the most intact Roman walls in southern England); admire the iconic Market Cross; venture to Priory Park to see The Guildhall, a Grade 1 listed building dating back to 1282, and the remains of a Norman motte; or explore the award-winning Novium Museum, built over the remains of a vast Roman bath house, to bring Chichester’s hidden history and heritage to life.
Just around the corner from the museum is Chichester Cathedral (the only English cathedral with a surviving detached medieval bell tower) and its neighbouring secret garden, the Bishop's Palace Gardens, one of Chichester’s best kept secrets waiting to be explored.
Benefit from the extensive local knowledge of a tour guide to uncover more of the city’s past and explore the city centre’s mix of Georgian and Edwardian architecture.
For more inspiration, check out our 48 Hours in Chichester itinerary.
Theatre and Art in Chichester
For those seeking culture, Chichester has it in abundance. The city is home to the nationally important Chichester Festival Theatre and the internationally recognised Pallant House Gallery – housed in what is considered to be one of the most important 18th century townhouses in England – and a selection of smaller but equally as fascinating galleries and studios. Discover the historic murals or the Chagall window at Chichester Cathedral or stroll the streets spotting inventive street art or take our street art tour. Chichester is every art lover’s dream.
So, whether you’re seeking leading theatre productions at Chichester Festival Theatre, world-class art at Pallant House Gallery, cinematic delights at Cineworld or Chichester Cinema (one of the UK’s most acclaimed independent cinemas), cultural Chichester has it all.
You’ll be sure to find the perfect place to eat in the city of Chichester. From independent restaurants specialising in vegan or Korean food, to chain restaurants like Giggling Squid, Bill’s and Nando’s, Chichester has it all. There are plenty of ways to seek out good food in Chichester. Whether you’re looking for a healthy breakfast to start your day, a long and lazy brunch, a refuel whilst exploring the city, or an experience showcasing slow food and championing local ingredients there are pubs, bars, kitchens, restaurants, cafés and inns to suit everyone in this historic city.
For a pre-theatre drink or an evening of cocktails, explore the centre of historic Chichester. Here you’ll find bars with DJs and live entertainment, real ale, or an interesting wine list.
Chichester is located a few miles from the beautiful coastline in one of the sunniest spots in the UK and is surrounded by vast areas of rolling chalkland making ideal growing conditions for vines. Chichester is increasingly making a name for itself as the capital of English wine with a selection of small, local vineyards making award-winning wines and winning rave reviews from the wine critics. Vineyard tours and tasting experiences bring your chilled, crisp glass of Sussex (yes – we even have our own PDO) to life as you learn more about the delicate process which gets the grapes into your glass. With the popularity of real ale here to stay, no visit should be complete without sampling a pint of locally crafted beer, whether from a local pub or direct from the tap room.
The Chichester District embraces magnificent rolling hills, far-reaching farmland and woodlands, and a wild and wonderful coast. It’s this diversity, along with the unique climate which allows the area to produce such a wealth of outstanding food and drink. This foodie heaven is jam-packed with noteworthy places where you can sample Sussex produce. Buying local whilst you're here ensures low food miles, which has got to be a good thing.
Located under two hours from London, Chichester is a shopping haven to be discovered. With nearly 200 independent shops, famous names and chains, weekly markets and unusual boutiques, you’ll find everything you need for any occasion in Chichester.
From designer clothes, handbags and vegan shoes to jewellery, sports clothes, accessories and vintage clothing, you’ll find it all in our shopping hotspot.
The four main shopping streets of Chichester – North, East, South and West Street radiate from the distinctive Market Cross, and are host to a mix of high street favourites and small, independent retailers bringing variety to your retail therapy. Make sure you explore the City Centre’s ‘pallants’ and ‘twittens’ – within these secluded side streets you’ll find a myriad of interesting independents waiting to welcome you.
Chichester has a wealth of accommodation on offer, with something for all tastes and budgets. From the Chichester Harbour Hotel to the Premier Inn, Travelodge and various B&B, self-catering and camping options, there’s something for everyone.
Whether you’re travelling alone, with friends, family or even a wedding party, you’ll find great accommodation in Chichester. Stay close to the City Centre to explore Chichester Cathedral, Chichester Festival Theatre and Pallant House Gallery, or stay just outside in a cosy pub or a delightful self-catering cottage for close assess to West Dean College, West Dean Gardens, Goodwood and the Weald and Downland Living Museum.
Chichester for all the family
Chichester is a perfect location for school holidays or weekend breaks as it's packed full of family-friendly activities and things to experience. Discover modern art to inspire little minds, the South Downs Planetarium for a virtual trip to the stars, bring history to life at our museum or in our Cathedral, enjoy some outstanding theatre, or let off some steam with bowling, bouncing, escape rooms, watersports, cycling or walking, and in our beautiful parks and green spaces. Uncover local wildlife on a canal experience and refuel at our range of welcoming cafés and restaurants.
With something for all ages and interests, there’s plenty of reasons to have a good time in Chichester.
Dog friendly Chichester
Chichester city and the surrounding area is very dog-friendly and you’ll find a whole range of places to explore with your dog, including the Cathedral. From challenging ascents for outstanding views to walks which offer more even, flat terrain. Outside the city centre, attractions like West Dean Gardens and Weald & Downland Living Museum warmly welcome dogs on short lead. Many of the city’s cafes, pubs and restaurants accept dogs too.
Visit Chichester's Surroundings
Take a gentle 10-minute walk from the City Centre and find yourself in another world at Chichester Canal. This secret waterway is a haven of local wildlife and offers unique views of the Cathedral and stunning Sussex South Downs. Alternatively, jump on the bus or in the car for a 10-minute drive to West Dean Gardens – a garden lover's paradise and one of the greatest restored gardens open to the public today. Explore the impressive Victorian glasshouses and seasonal planting, as well as historic features and the odd surreal tree. You even can sign up to a garden-themed short course here to hone your green-fingered skills.
Its neighbour, the Weald & Downland Living Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Britain's rural history with its collection of rescued and restored rural buildings set out next door to each other, including recreated, working gardens reflecting the period and social status of homes from the 16th to the 19th centuries.
With West Sussex fast building a reputation for itself as the capital of English wine, thanks to its combination of climate and soil conditions, you simply cannot visit here without sampling some for yourself. Within Chichester’s immediate surrounding areas, you can discover two award-winning vineyards - Tinwood Estate and Ashling Park (and there’s plenty more a little further afield). Take a tour and learn more about how the grapes get into your glass, enjoy an afternoon tea or dinner overlooking the vines, or even lend a hand with the harvest.
Adjacent to the South Downs National Park and just a few miles from the coast, Chichester and its surrounding areas boast some of the most beautiful scenery in Sussex and offer a variety of opportunities to be immersed in nature and to spot wildlife – from woodland walks to expansive views from elevated viewpoints.
Chichester’s location amid vast areas of countryside close to the coast offers a wide variety of places to walk, with terrain and scenery to suit you. A short distance from the city you’ll find hilly climbs like the ever-popular Kingley Vale, The Trundle overlooking Goodwood Racecourse or the walk to Halnaker Windmill following part of Stane Street, the Roman Road to London, all of which deliver stunning vistas to the sea and beyond.
Flatter landscapes offer more accessible walks such as Centurion Way where you’ll encounter the Chichester Road Gang sculptures or strolls along the canal towpath accompanied by the sights and sounds of the resident wildlife – maybe even a Kingfisher if you’re lucky!
Prefer life on two wheels? Why not cycle the Centurion Way by hiring an App Bike from Chichester Park Hotel. The 5.5 mile (9km) trail runs between Chichester, Lavant and West Dean following the old dismantled Chichester to Midhurst railway line, which closed in 1991. It connects with the South Coast Cycle Route at Fishbourne, where you can continue westwards to visit Fishbourne Roman Palace and Bosham. Northwards, the route continues to West Dean House and Gardens and the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton.
Further afield, there’s no better place to make the most of the great outdoors than the Witterings in West Sussex. Home of some of the area’s best beaches including East Wittering and West Wittering, greatest watersports and finest views, it’s no surprise that the crowds flock here during the summer months.
But it’s not just the summer that offers the thrills. Visit off-peak for empty beaches, rolling waves and thrill-seeking sports to yourself. From SUP, windsurfing, surfing, kitesurfing and fitness to great walks and children’s camps, there’s something for all.
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