With the cathedral city of Chichester providing its meanest seaside streets, West Sussex is a green and pleasant county, where seasons and hills roll gently, all against the ever-shifting backdrop of the sea.
Although much of West Sussex is in the South Downs National Park, there are no spectacular peaks or great dramas in this landscape; rather the promise of discovering the unexpected. What you may not expect is the rich quantity of space: a drive between sprawl-free villages may lead you up onto a big-sky point on the South Downs Way, or into ancient woodland. The seaside gets a little more crowded, with sailors, windsurfers and sandcastle-builders thronging the region’s pretty beaches and harbours, but the coastline is studded with ample beachside cafés and pubs. And, this being 21st-century England, there’s no shortage of fine food with which to fuel your explorations of this corking county.
All year round is great, as with much of the temperate south coast, but we particularly love May, when the country lanes are like green tunnels, and the seaside hordes have yet to descend. When there’s a big event on at Goodwood, the country lanes get gridlocked.