Now I love the beach where we live: Shoreham Beach; it’s perfect. It’s really big so you can do a decent morning walk, at low tide there’s a wide sand bank allowing you to swim in the sea with ease (despite being seaside obsessed I’m a little intimidated by the sea) and most importantly it’s rarely busy so you often have it to yourself.
With my birthday finally falling around a weekend (don’t you love it when that happens?) I was excited to spend it on the beach – this is exactly why we’d moved out of London, to have the beach on our doorstep at weekends. That was until I realised my birthday weekend coincided with the local WildLife festival. We didn’t have tickets and while I’m sure it’s a great event, my plan for a peaceful weekend was not going to happen – so we took the opportunity to explore more of the West Sussex coast.
West Wittering, south of Chichester, is one of my favourite beaches, and while I’ve been many times I haven’t visited since starting this blog – and it’s very deserving of a mention as a seaside destination.
There’s West Wittering, which is a very small village with a stunning sandy beach, and East Wittering, which is more of a small town with a pebbly beach. West Wittering is definitely the better option, but nearby Bracklesham Bay is worth a visit too if you have the time. If you’re driving West Wittering does have a car park, but it’s quite expensive; if you’re just stopping by for a beach walk instead of spending the whole day there I’d recommend parking in the village and walking the ten minute stretch down to the beach.
The beach itself is gorgeous – expansive sands, a lovely sea and lots of water sports to get involved with. The beach is manned by lifeguards, provided you swim within the flags, but my favourite part has always been to the west – where you’ll find a stretch of beach headed by sand dunes. It’s much quieter here and you can watch the sailing boats coming in and out of the harbour.
There’s also a lovely walk if you head west along the beach and follow it round, past the sand dunes, and then follow the beach through the nature reserve at the mouth of the harbour.
We love it here and visited on both the Saturday and Sunday, enjoying coffees and ice creams from local cafe The Landing, which is opposite the road to the beach. If you want a sit down lunch, there’s The Beach House which is lovely – we didn’t visit on this occasion but we’ve stayed there before and it’s perfect for anyone after a seaside weekend break – the food served in the restaurant is absolutely delicious (my husband still talks about their ribs…).
On this trip we stayed further in land, north of Chichester – at The White Horse in Chilgrove. In all honesty I’d rather have been nearer the coast, but it was one of the few places available given our last minute booking. And what a surprise it was! A gorgeous country pub set at the foot of the South Downs, just south of Beacon Hill (which is well worth a walk up for the views). It’s a little pricey for an overnight stay, but the rooms are lovely and the included breakfast was very impressive; it also has a relaxed restaurant where you can dine in the evening.
What’s more they have a beautiful garden with a view of the South Downs and I very much enjoyed sitting in the sun and sampling their wine list…I can definitely recommend the rose.
I’ve been to this area before and while I’ve not stayed there I have eaten at another amazing country pub – The Fox Goes Free – which also has a fabulous garden with views of the West Sussex countryside. They have rooms too, and would be well worth trying out if you’re in the area.
West Wittering is definitely one of the best beaches in Sussex, even if it is understandably busy as soon as the sun comes out. But head west and you’ll find a quieter area where you can sit back, relax and enjoy a very beautiful part of our stunning British coastline.