7,000 miles of craggy, crenellated coastline, Britain has beaches that beckon for building sandcastles, blustery walks and an ice cream cone. But few stretches are more beguiling than Sussex, whose sands roam from West Wittering’s giant dunes to Camber’s kitesurfing shores. Here are the two beaches we spend a lot of time at – one for autumn and one for a sun soaked summer day.
A pebble-dashed shoreline fronting the coolest city on the south coast. At the east end, the Brighton Palace Pier is a whirl of amusement arcades, candyfloss counters and fairground rides. At the opposite end, the skeletal remains of the 19th-century West Pier – ravaged by storms and fires – have become a local landmark. In summer months the beaches are packed with day trippers so we prefer a whack of fresh air on an Autumnal day, equipped with a thermos flask, picnic and a warm coat.
After years of financial wrangling, the West Pier is slowly rebuilding itself, with the i360 observation tower and a new restaurant, the West Beach Bar & Kitchen, allowing you to gaze on to the hauntingly beautiful relic. Away from the beach, Brighton’s tangle of ‘Laines’ – packed with antique shops and one-off boutiques – display the city’s independent streak, and food outlets are also thick on the ground. Don’t miss the world’s first zero-waste restaurant Silo; award-winning, small-plates specialist 64 Degrees; and Brighton’s oldest vegetarian address, Food for Friends.
We head to Kemp Town, Brighton’s arty, boho enclave. We love the antique shops, pubs and tiny restaurants tucked into skinny, bow-fronted Regency houses. Our favourite sot to head to is cafe Marmalade for a coffee and piece of cake after a morning spent walking along the beach.
In the right weather you might mistake Camber Sands for coastal California. We go here for white sands and five miles of sandcastle-making space. Our children love the giant sand dunes to the back of the beach and we love to get our thrills on and kite surf.
The shallow seas and safe conditions make this is a great spot for watersports. The Kitesurf Centre and Rye Watersports are two specialist outlets that we have used in the past but we now love to rock up with our own kit and paddle board and enjoy the perfect setting.
The beauty of a visit to Camber is that you can combine it with a visit to Rye. In the summer there is nothing better than a day of water sports followed by a pint at the clapboard-clad Globe Inn Marsh – the fish platter is worth lingering for.