Last Updated on November 7, 2022 by Helen E. White
Together, the counties of East Sussex and West Sussex can boast some of the best beaches in England.
Stretching for over 140 miles along the country’s south coast, from the historic town of Rye in the east to the cathedral city of Chichester in the west, the beautiful Sussex coastline offers something for all beachgoers. Best of all, most of the fun is within easy reach of London.
Those looking for a traditional English beach experience tend to flock to family-friendly resort towns like Brighton and Eastbourne or any of the many smaller seaside towns and villages overlooking the English Channel.
And, if proximity to attractions and services is less of a concern, sandy beaches like Comba Arenas offer plenty of opportunities for swimming and other water-based amusements.
- 1 The 11 Best Beaches in Sussex
- 1.1 1. Brighton Beach, East Sussex
- 1.2 2. Camber Sands, East Sussex
- 1.3 3. Eastbourne Beach, East Sussex
- 1.4 4. Hastings Beach, East Sussex
- 1.5 5. Bognor Regis, West Sussex
- 1.6 6. Pevensey Bay, East Sussex
- 1.7 7. Worthing Beach, West Sussex
- 1.8 8. Bexhill Beach, East Sussex
- 1.9 9. Bracklesham Bay, West Sussex
- 1.10 10. East Wittering Beach, West Sussex
- 1.11 11. Pagham Beach, West Sussex
The 11 Best Beaches in Sussex
Whatever your preference, plan your visit to England’s beautiful south coast with our handy guide to the best beaches in Sussex.
1. Brighton Beach, East Sussex
Ranked as one of the best beaches near London, Brighton Beach can be reached from England’s capital by train in an hour, or around two hours by car. However you choose to get to Brighton Beach, this attractive pebble beach offers plenty of opportunities for beachgoers to relax and have fun.
Those looking for excitement and a wide variety of fun things to do should head straight to the main beach area of town.
Centered on Brighton’s famous Palace Pier, there’s plenty of fun here besides sunbathing and swimming. Numerous food options are just stepping away, from classic fish and chips to fancier fare at places like Ohso Social to quick bites and sundaes.
When you’re done on the beach, you’ll be close to all of Brighton’s top attractions including the Sea Life Aquarium, the historic Royal Pavilion and of course the pier.
Address: Brighton Seafront Office, 141 Kings Road, Arches, Brighton, East Sussex
2. Camber Sands, East Sussex
Camber Sands is undoubtedly one of the most exclusive beaches in Sussex. While most of the beaches in this part of southern England are made up of pebbles, the soft sand beach at Camber is not unlike something you’d see on beaches in Florida or even the Caribbean.
Backed by a network of tall sand dunes that stretch five miles from end to end, the beach here is wide and long enough to support the large crowds that descend upon it when the weather is warm.
Those who want the added safety of lifeguards should head to the western end of the beach, near the mouth of the River Rother.
Amenities including public restrooms and ample car parking are available, though be prepared to walk across the dunes to access them.
When you’re done at the beach, visit nearby Rye to explore the cobblestone streets and alleyways of this picturesque medieval town.
Location: Camber, East Sussex
3. Eastbourne Beach, East Sussex
An easy walk from Brighton to the west or Hastings to the east, Eastbourne Beach offers the kind of traditional seaside experience early Victorian visitors would have enjoyed.
Backed by a long, wide promenade and the magnificent, manicured gardens that line the Grand Parade, the pebbly beach here is never as busy as its neighbors and offers a more relaxed, less-rushed atmosphere.
Four miles long, Eastbourne Beach is also extremely popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Popular water activities include the adrenaline rush of kitesurfing and surfing to less strenuous but equally fun activities like paddle boarding and kayaking. It is also a popular spot for windsurfers and wild swimmers.
4. Hastings Beach, East Sussex
The historic seaside town of Hastings has much to offer walkers and tourists alike. And if a fun time on the beach is at the top of your list, you won’t be disappointed.
With an extremely long and wide stretch of pebbles, with some packed sand at low tide, the beach here is just as suitable for relaxation as it is for adventure.
Families love the fact that there are plenty of other things to do in Hastings for kids, including arcade games, miniature golf, and even a fun mini-train ride. Water sports enthusiasts like the fact that they don’t have to stray too far from the main beach area, by the pier, to enjoy their favorite pastime in peace.
Feel free to wander, too. Nearby St. Leonards-on-Sea is just a 15-minute walk away and offers an equally lovely beach area. Both it and Hastings Beach offer restrooms and changing rooms, ample parking, and endless places to eat.
5. Bognor Regis, West Sussex
Bognor Regis, West Sussex’s best-known seaside town, has been welcoming beachgoers since the arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century. However, it was the introduction of package holidays by sea in the 1950s that really put Bognor on the map.
While these extended summer holidays remain popular, a day on the beach at Bognor Regis is just as enticing. The city’s two main beaches, West Beach and East Beach together offer a long, wide stretch of pebble beach bordered by a pleasant boardwalk almost three miles long.
At low tide, a large hard-packed area of flat sand is exposed and makes for a great place for children to play. There is also a large sand pit next to the boardwalk for children to play in.
Amenities include lifeguard services, public restrooms and changing rooms, as well as many shopping and dining opportunities.
Address: The Esplanade, Bognor Regis, West Sussex
6. Pevensey Bay, East Sussex
Head a few miles east of Eastbourne and you’ll find yourself in Pevensey Bay. Established as a fishing village in the 1600s, today Pevensey Bay is best known for its beautiful beach.
Consisting of a long stretch of pebbles deposited from nearby Beachy Head, the beach experience here is certainly a much quieter, more relaxed one than is found at other larger Sussex beach locations.
Fun things to do include relaxing on the wide beach, swimming, picnicking, and enjoying walks along the boardwalk.
Water fun includes everything from jet-skiing to kayaking, as well as sailing and windsurfing. The Pevensey Bay area is also known for its bird-watching experiences on the nearby Pevensey Levels.
Address: Sea Road, Pevensey Bay, East Sussex
7. Worthing Beach, West Sussex
Just a short drive from Brighton, the seaside town of Worthing offers a much quieter beach experience than its larger neighbor to the east.
Worthing Beach has remained relatively untouched, and its five-mile length ensures that, even in peak seasons, there’s plenty of room to relax.
As well as relaxing and sunbathing on this mostly pebble beach, families also enjoy the fact that the hard-packed sand, along with some rock pools, is exposed at low tide and offers kids endless opportunities to explore.
Off-the-beach fun includes strolling the wide boardwalk, exploring downtown, or enjoying a meal of fresh seafood. Worthing Pier Fishing Is Fun Too
In addition to its shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities, beachgoers can also make use of public facilities such as changing rooms and street parking.
Address: Marine Parade, Worthing, West Sussex
8. Bexhill Beach, East Sussex
Located midway between Eastbourne and Hastings, Bexhill-on-Sea has been a popular seaside destination since it was incorporated in 1902.
Bexhill Beach remains the big draw and features a long stretch of pebble beach with some sand exposed at low tide.
While families enjoy the clean, shallow waters and the fact that lifeguard services are provided during peak months, water sports enthusiasts like the fact that there’s usually plenty of room to launch your kayak, canoe or paddleboard.
Other popular water activities include rowing, sailing and jet skiing, with a number of rental companies nearby for those new to these sports and in need of equipment or lessons.
The beach also overlooks a wide boardwalk, providing easy access to food and beverage outlets, as well as shopping opportunities and attractions. Restrooms are available, along with ample parking.
Address: De La Warr Parade, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex
9. Bracklesham Bay, West Sussex
A beautiful, scenic 20-minute drive from the cathedral city of Chichester, Bracklesham Bay Beach sits on a nearly 500-acre conservation site.
As a result, you can expect a beach experience quite different to that on offer at most other beaches in Sussex. Here, the focus is very much on relaxation and peace and quiet while sunbathing and lounging on the beach.
This mostly pebble beach is long, and at low tide, the exposed, compacted sand certainly adds to the feeling of space.
Look out over the English Channel and on a clear day, you can see as far as the Isle of Wight in the distance. Exposed jetties at low tide provide an added sense of seclusion, also providing a little shelter from the sun and wind.
Besides swimming, other popular activities at Bracklesham Bay Beach include taking to the water in a kayak or canoe. Youngsters enjoy hunting for fossils, which are plentiful here, and it’s also a popular spot for bird watching.
Location: Bracklesham Bay, West Sussex
10. East Wittering Beach, West Sussex
East Wittering Beach is another West Sussex beach that is just a short drive from Chichester.
While it’s predominantly a pebble beach, some of the hard-packed sand is exposed at low tide, making it a great place for families wanting a quieter beach getaway.
While there are no lifeguards on duty, the water is shallow enough near the shore to be safe under adult supervision. The normally calm waters are also popular with water sports enthusiasts, especially those new to activities such as windsurfing, kite surfing, and surfing.
Services such as restrooms and parking are available in the town of East Wittering, along with a variety of restaurants.
A series of trails through the dunes behind the beach are fun to explore. Also worth checking out West Wittering Beach just two miles away.
Location: East Wittering, West Sussex
11. Pagham Beach, West Sussex
Just four miles west of Bognor Regis, Pagham Beach is another splendid spot for those who enjoy their beaches on the quiet side.
Boasting one of the sunniest places to visit in England, this tranquil pebble beach is perfect for those looking for a laid-back, laid-back beach experience.
When you’re not lounging under your umbrella, fun things to do at Pagham Beach include swimming to cool off or hopping on a kayak or paddle board for exercise. The beach is also a popular spot for those who want to try their hand at sailing, with a local yacht club located here, as well as windsurfing.
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The area is also popular for those interested in observing the local flora and fauna, with a Conservation area created to protect species of birds and other wildlife.