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South East - Brighton and East Sussex

top 10 places

Top 100 places to visit in south east england

Brighton and East Sussex

1. Brighton Royal Pavilion

This opulent seaside home was re-modeled in Indian style by John Nash 1815-1823 for George, Prince Regent and later King George IV. The Royal Pavilion's lavish interiors combine Chinese-style decorations with magnificent furniture and furnishings. Adorned with gilded dragons, carved palm trees and imitation bamboo staircases, the Palace's unique style mixes Asian exoticism with English eccentricity, with daring and inventive colours featuring throughout.

2. Sheffield Park Landscape Garden

Created by 'Capability' Brown, Sheffield Park is a magnificent internationally renowned landscape garden and parkland featuring waterfalls, cascades and four large lakes. It displays a profusion of colour all year, including bluebells, giant azaleas, rhododendrons and trees with spectacular autumnal colours. Sheffield Park was also the site of the first England v. Australia cricket match. Facilities include a gift shop, plant sales and a tea room.

3. Opera at Glyndebourne

Glyndebourne's founder, John Christie, opened the first opera here in 1934. His ethos was 'not just the best we can do, but the best that can be done anywhere.' As well as open air performances, there's also an impressive auditorium, and dinner can be booked in advance. The annual summer festival stages a diverse and rigorous programme of well know classics and some more unfamiliar pieces. Glyndebourne means the scent of summer evenings, champagne, picnics, and opera - of course.

4. Camber Sands

Camber Sands is the perfect seaside destination, with unspoilt views and sand and sea stretching for miles. It's the only sand dune system in East Sussex, and a favourite spot with kite and windsurfers. Plan your visit to coincide with a low tide and you'll have a huge expanse of flat, wet sand to play with. On sunny days you can relax in the dunes or sunbathe on the beach and swim in the sea. Kids will love the freedom to run around and play.

5. The Bluebell Railway

The Bluebell Line uses 100% steam power with fabulous working locomotives, and was the UK's first preserved standard gauge passenger railway, re-opening in 1960. It has developed into one of the largest tourist attractions in Sussex. Why not travel 1920's style in the Golden Arrow Pullman Dining Train! Events include Family Fun Weekends and the Victorian Picnic. Fares are reasonable and the line links Sheffield Park to Kingscote, with a further extension underway to East Grinstead.

6. Charleston Farmhouse

Charleston Farmhouse was the home and country meeting place for the writers, painters and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury Group. The interior, including walls, doors and furniture, was painted throughout by the artist owners Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell. Together with their collection of objects and art this forms a unique decorative style. Entry to the house is by guided tour, with special tours each Friday focusing on a particular aspect of the house each time.

7. Hastings

Hastings has a clifftop railway and walk with fantastic sea views, and the shingle beach boasts the last shore launched fishing fleet in the country. Tall wooden fishermen's sheds used for drying nets give the beachfront a distinctive character. Wander through the old town with its attractive Victorian and Georgian buidlings, where much of the TV series 'Foyle's War' was filmed, and browse the gift and antique shops, or take a walk along the beach and enjoy some fish and chips!

8. Rye and the Castle Museum

Rye is a picturesque coastal town with attractive streets and buildings, sited on a hill which appears incongruous in the flat surrounding countryside. Rye was once right next to the sea with an important harbour, which has since silted up, leaving the town looking somewhat stranded. Rye Castle Museum tells the story of Rye's long history as an 'antient town' of the Cinque Ports. Visitors can learn how Romney Marsh was formed, see an original smuggler's lantern and try on replica medieval armour.

9. Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle is one of Britain's most famous and evocative castles with medieval battlements, ramparts and a proper moat! Try on armour (on selected days in school holidays) and take in wonderful views across an archaeology-rich landscape. There's also a completely refurbished museum with displays that put the castle in its context. Did you know that Bodiam Castle even featured in Monty Python and the Holy Grail! Facilities include a shop and tea room.

10. Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

Brighton Museum and Art Gallery displays nationally and locally important collections of painting, photography, art and design, ceramics, fashion, and performance art. The Museum entrance is located in the Brighton Royal Pavilion gardens with a spacious foyer and shop. See pop singer Bryan Ferry's lime green suit (c. 1979) alongside King George IV's outsize breeches and major works by Salvador Dali and designer Philip Starck! The Gallery Cafe serves light lunches and afternoon teas.
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