The best beaches in East Sussex according to the travel guide
As the weather finally clears, our thoughts turn to beach days.
Here in East Sussex we are fortunate to have wonderful beaches, but with such a choice it seems impossible to decide where to go.
Fortunately, users of the “beach guide” have ranked the best beaches.
Let us know what you think of the list in the comments below.
6. Pevensey Bay
This rural pebble beach about five miles northeast of Eastbourne is known to be where William the Conqueror landed in 1066 before the Battle of Hastings.
In the 12th century the old port was a busy commercial port, although today the coast has receded so that the village of Pevensey is now about a mile from the beach.
The beach is quieter than most of the beaches along this part of the coast and, exceptionally for this area, there are no cliffs.
It is a good beach to enjoy a view of the canal and around the gentle curve of the coastline.
Northeast of the beach is a flat swampy area known as the Pevensey Levels.
It is home to the rare marsh spider and a wide range of interesting flora and fauna.
In 2016, the remains of a 50-foot whale washed up on the beach at Pevensey Bay, almost exactly where a similar large whale ran aground in 1865.
5. Bexhill Beach
The traditional south coast resort town of Bexhill is a good place for a family day at the beach.
The beach is mainly made up of pebbles held in place by a series of wooden groynes.
At low tide, however, a good stretch of fairly hard sand is exposed.
Swimming is generally safe at Bexhill and there are now RNLI lifeguards on duty during the summer with areas marked for swimming.
Bexhill’s seaside pedigree is clear with a good long promenade section not to mention some really nice beach huts.
4. Cuckmere Haven Beach
This tranquil pebble beach is dominated by the white chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters just to the east.
It sits at the mouth of the meandering Cuckmere River.
One of the best-known views from the beach is over the coast guard cottages towards the Seven Sisters.
This row of four cottages was built shortly after the founding of the National Coastguard Service in 1822.
However, they are currently threatened by erosion, with the cliffs being more than 30 meters closer than they were originally.
Cuckmere Haven is a popular spot for anglers with the mouth of the river offering rich pickings. The area is also abundant with wildlife.
The beach (and the backdrop to the cliffs) has been used as a filming location in many films, including Harry Potter and Robin Hood.
3. Brighton Beach
Brighton Beach is a pebbly beach with Blue Flag certified waters, a 4 mile promenade that is teeming with life in all seasons.
Unsurprisingly, it can get quite crowded on the holidays, but that’s part of the appeal.
The waters can be cold but are popular for swimming and water sports such as windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and wakeboarding.
They all look great from the comfort of a sun lounger! Children can have fun in the free paddling pool. Sand is imported every summer to accommodate the volleyball court.
There is a nearby Victorian pier and a traditional fairground as well as cafes, restaurants, fish and chips, and beach clubs.
Next to the pier is the Sea Life Center which is possibly the oldest aquarium in the world, dating back to 1872.
Brighton Beach is a short walk from the town and shops.
The east end of Brighton Beach is an official naturist beach. When it opened in 1980, it was the first in the UK.
In December, the waterfront hosts the winter solstice celebrations followed by the annual New Year’s swim. Brrrr!
There are plenty of homemade paper lanterns and lantern-making workshops if you want to make your own rather than buying one for a local store.
2. Birling Gap Beach
Birling Gap Beach is located at the foot of the towering sheer chalk cliffs known as the Seven Sisters.
Despite being situated between the well-known seaside resorts of Eastbourne and Brighton, it is one of the longest stretches of undeveloped coastline on the south coast of England.
Birling Gap Beach is a mixture of mostly pebbles giving way to occasional patches of sand. As the tide goes down, rock platforms reveal themselves, offering an array of rock pools to explore.
Access to the beach is via a sturdy tower staircase from cliff level. At the top you’ll find the National Trust Cafe lined with wood planks, along with a parking lot and a row of cottages that slowly disappear into the sea as the cliffs erode.
The white chalk cliffs here are white for a reason, and that’s the rate at which they are eroding; up to one meter per year in places.
As well as meaning the cottages fall into the sea, the unstable cliffs also present a significant hazard to anyone standing too close.
The Birling Gap cliffs are also of some geological interest and are a fine example of sedimentary layers. The beach is also a good place for fossil hunting.
Some areas of Birling Gap Beach are used by nudists.
1. Camber Sands Beach
Camber Sands is a bit unusual for a Sussex beach and the reason is in the name. Yes, sand! Unlike most of the beaches along the Sussex coast which are lined with pebbles and cobbles held in place by a series of groynes, Camber Sands is covered in fine golden sand. Not only that, but Camber is home to East Sussex’s only sand dunes.
The best part of the beach is the west end near where the River Rother flows into the sea.
Here it is wall to wall sand while further along the beach becomes more pebbles. It is also a large beach, which stretches almost 5 miles east of the village.
As the tide goes down, it gets even bigger with strips of wet sand revealed – just kind of sandcastles!
Camber Sands is a popular windsurf / kite-surf spot, which might suggest it’s worth bringing a windbreak. The beach is also considered to be one of the best places for beach walks in the UK.
Despite its fantastic natural assets, Camber Sands remains largely unspoiled. For most of the year, there’s a good chance you’ll find some seclusion here. Even in the height of summer, the crowds are bearable even though it is less than 2 hours from London.
- What is your favorite beach? Let us know in the comments.