Discover Outstanding Attractions in Sussex
From stunning country houses and estates like Goodwood or glorious gardens, to fascinating heritage sites, spring-tacular trampoline parks, wildlife reserves or wine wonderlands, you’ll have no problem finding great days out to please the whole family and to suit every interest here in Chichester and the surrounding areas in West Sussex.
Exploring our history
Discover over 900 years of history under Chichester Cathedral’s iconic spire, uncover the stories of a historic Chichester through the ages at The Novium Museum. Peek into the small but perfectly formed Petworth Cottage Museum, Midhurst Museum (thought to be among the smallest in the country) and the Arundel Museum. Feel the past come to life around you as you explore the collection of restored rural buildings at the Weald & Downland Living Museum, home to the BBC's The Repair Shop. Marvel at the extensive displays of rural crafts and historic communications at Amberley Museum as well as a narrow gauge railway and vintage buses to ride on. Spend a day at the awe-inspiring Arundel Castle, where many original features remain, from the Norman Keep and medieval Gatehouse and Barbican, to the 14th Century Catholic Fitzalan Chapel and Regency Library. In the stunning formal grounds discover tropical and English gardens and the castle’s quirky Stumpery. Each spring, the incredible Tulip Festival features thousands upon thousands of colourful blooms and is a sight to behold.
Nose into life inside (and outside) some of Sussex’s most impressive stately homes. Petworth House, in the care of the National Trust, will fill you with wonder with its astonishing collection of art in the North Gallery and the magnificent rooms of this majestic house; the Carved Room, The Chapel, the Grand Staircase filled with murals by Louis Laguerre, the Marble Hall (to mention just a few) are incredible sights to behold. Further glimpses of a time gone by are at Uppark House & Gardens, Stansted Park, Goodwood House and Parham House.
In Chichester, you’ll find the exposed remains of a Roman Bathhouse at The Novium Museum as well as almost-intact city walls. Marvel at the mosaics at Fishbourne Roman Palace just outside the city – the largest Roman home found in the country. At Bignor, set in scenic rural location between picturesque Petworth and historic Arundel, find a roman villa with some of the most remarkable mosaics.
With a huge range of family-friendly attractions to uncover, your only problem is deciding where to go for your days out here in Chichester and the surrounding areas. Enjoy wonderful wildlife experiences where children can feed friendly deer, meet the feathery residents during a boat safari at Arundel Wetlands Centre or glide past swans, geese and ducks at Chichester Canal. You might be lucky enough to spot the seals on a boat tour of Chichester Harbour, or spend an hour walking with a delightfully inquisitive alpaca. Challenge the family at ten pin bowling, enjoy a few rounds of crazy golf or for older children test their puzzle-solving skills at an escape room. See how high you can jump at Flip Out or Air Arena trampoline parks, or for something a little more relaxing, grab some popcorn and settle in front of the big screen at the cinema.
Chichester is fast gaining a reputation as a destination for culture. From excellent exhibitions at Pallant House Gallery, Newlands House Gallery or Oxmarket Contemporary, and an array of smaller galleries in the market town of Petworth, to exceptional productions at Chichester Festival Theatre, where you’ll be entranced by musicals, comedy or edge-of-your-seat drama - many of the productions go on to transfer to the West End, such is the quality.
Recently handed a PDO (Protected Destination Origin) by the Government in recognition of the quality, Sussex Wine is enjoying the limelight – and deservedly so. Thanks to soil conditions which reflect those of the champagne region in France, plus a relatively warm, sunny position on the south coast, the vineyards which dot the surrounding areas of Chichester, Petworth and beyond have a trophy cabinet full of accolades for their outstanding wines. From Ashling Park Estate, with its luxury lodges and restaurant for an all-senses wine experience, to Tinwood Estate which runs daily tours and boasts on-site lodges with roll-top baths and a barrel sauna, as well as Blackdown Ridge, perched high in the South Downs, and Kinsbrook Estate, where owners Joe Beckett & Rebecca Dancer are among the youngest vineyard owners in the UK.
Whether the coast calls you for bracing walks amongst nature and soul-soothing scenery, for adrenaline pumping watersports, or a relaxing ‘bucket, spade and sunshine’ day out there’s a slice of Sussex coast waiting for you. The seemingly endless soft sands of West Wittering are a honey pot for sun lovers and beach-goers on warm days during spring and summer (car parking here must be booked in advance), although during the colder months you’ll discover a completely different beach; delightfully quiet and perfect for windswept walks to blow the cobwebs away. The neighbouring beach of East Wittering, and beyond, Bracklesham Bay, also beautifully sandy once the tide recedes, is a hot spot for water sports. On a windy day, you’ll see the waters dotted with surfers waiting to catch waves, or windsurfers and kitesurfers zooming across the bay. Selsey’s beaches are shingled with beautifully clear water - did you know that snorkelling is popular here, as well as diving a little further off-shore? No visit here is complete without stopping for local ice cream and sampling the fresher-than-fresh famous Selsey crab direct from the huts along the shore.
There’s no need to leave your dog behind as you explore the area’s attractions as the majority of attractions happily welcome dogs, though many such as Weald & Downland Living Museum and Fishbourne Roman Palace do require them to remain on a short lead.