West Sussex

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Despite being extensively invaded by the Romans, and more recently Londoners snapping up second homes, the county has thankfully retained plenty of its character. And many of the best places to stay in West Sussex can definitely be said to have plenty of character, whether you're booking into a country house hotel, B&B or holiday cottage (for a range of self catering options we recommend our online partner, Booking.com).

West Sussex's classic calendar events, like the horse racing and Festival of Speed at Goodwood, or the polo at Cowdray Park, are tempered by simpler pleasures, like walking in woods carpeted with bluebells or having a beer in a fine country pub.

The South Downs are a wooded ripple across the middle of the county, dominating the countryside and offering scenic landscape for walking, and views to the coast.

Chichester is the capital, a well preserved Georgian market town with a beautiful cathedral, rows of 18th Century townhouses, pleasant tea shops, and a world renowned theatre and arts festival, which keeps it feeling lively and cosmopolitan.

Arundel is another of the best places to stay in West Sussex. As well as being close to the South Downs and a number of West Sussex's Roman ruins, it's also a romantic little town, full of antique shops and good restaurants and topped by a faitytale-esque castle.

Closer to the sea you'll find creeks and harbours, hiding waterside villages and the odd ice cream van.

In this varied landscape, places to hang your hat are also a mixed bunch. Left over from days when folk went shrimping in Bognor for their annual escape, there is a sea of no-nonsense coastal guesthouses that do a brisk trade for the bucket-and-spade brigade.

At the other end of the scale, five-star country piles abound, where former Lords and Ladies peer from their canvas haunts at corporate types having a pow-wow or elegant ladies relaxing in the fluffy robes of a spa package.

To ensure a bed in one of the best places to stay in West Sussex, you'll need to make sure that you plan ahead. This is a very popular county, especially during the summer season, and good accommodation gets booked up well in advance. Alternatively save your visit for quieter months and come midweek, when you can savour all that West Sussex has to offer, without dealing with the crowds.

Best Places to Stay in West Sussex

For a quick country break

  • The South Lodge Hotel near Horsham is a classic county house retreat, set in 93 acres of woods and parklands. As well as views of the grounds, South Lodge also proffers views of the South Downs. The rooms are sumptuous and the restaurant has a Michelin star.
  • Ockenden Manor is a historic manor house just an hours drive from London. Ockenden also has winning views over the South Downs and Michelin starred cuisine.

To Relax

  • The Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa is a mid sized hotel converted from a very realistic mock-medieval house set in 30 acres of private parkland, just a short stroll from Climping Beach. The spa is award-winning.
  • The Park House Hotel is a family run hotel with a timeless feel in the heart of the South Downs National Park. Superb facilities for all including a top notch spa, indoor and outdoor pools, and a tennis court. Ideal location for Cowdray Park, the Roman villas at Fishbourne and Bignor, plus Chichester Cathedral and plenty of stately homes.
  • The Alexander House and Utopia Spa has earned a reputation as a great pampering escape. The award winning spa has Grecian style interiors and twenty five treatment rooms.

The best traditional pubs and inns

  • The Royal Oak is a revamped village inn, now a very popular restaurant with rooms. An ideal base for Glorious Goodwood or Chichester.
  • The Angel is a coaching inn in the centre of Midhurst which dates back to Elizabethan times. This is a great spot for walkers or for exploring Petworth, Arundel and Chichester.
  • The Crab and Lobster is a contemporary, yet cosy, restaurant with rooms in a charming waterside spot on the banks of Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve. The food is great and there are fine views of the salt marshes.

For something special

  • Amberley Castle near Arundel is a historic, 12th Century castle, complete with a moat and portcullis. As well as 19 atmospheric rooms, the castle also has acres of landscaped gardens.
  • Gravetye Manor is an Elizabethan gem known for its old fashioned hospitality and exceptional garden. Once the home of garden pioneer, William Robinson, this is now one of the last of the great, unchanged English county house hotels, with a private, caring owner. This is also a perfect base for Glyndebourne.

For a holiday cottage

  • If you want a little home from home, why not rent a holiday cottage or apartment? For a great selection, we recommend you visit our online partner, Booking.com.

Still not sure which to book? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in West Sussex, or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice. Alternatively look at our suggestions in either Hampshire or East Sussex.

 
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The best hotels in West Sussex

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  • The Horse Guards Inn

    Tillington, Petworth,, West Sussex

    On the outskirts of a 700-acre Petworth House, this wonderful homely inn is worth a detour just to experience its charm. Friendly staff, delicious food and a cosy atmosphere make for a thoroughly enjoyable stay - for families, couples and lone escapees.

    3 rooms from $113
    Country Escape  -  Located within the picturesque grounds of Petworth Estate this is a true country getaway
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the charming National Trust property of Petworth House
    Great walks  -  The South Downs boasts plenty of walking paths
    Quirky  -  An experience!
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
  • The Angel

    Midhurst, West Sussex

    Venerable Georgian coaching inn at the centre of lovely Midhurst. Recently refurbished white washed rooms with exposed beams and antique furniture. Some have spectacular views. Inventive cooking, private dining and lively bar. Dripping with history and well placed to explore the local area.

    15 rooms from $145
    Great walks  -  Explore the miles of walking trials on the stunning South Downs.
    Sights nearby  -  Explore Petworth House, Arundel Castle and Chichester.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Fishing  -  Excellent fishing nearby.
  • Old House Inn

    Copthorne, West Sussex

    A former farm house turned gourmet pub this delightful property is just a short drive from Gatwick airport. Spacious rooms feature design quirks and modern bathrooms with a retro twist. Dining is AA Rosette awarded and beautifully presented - plus a Full English is included in the room rate.

    6 rooms from $146
    Foodies  -  AA Rosette awarded and a fine wine list
    Sights nearby  -  The 16th century Wakehurst Place is just a short drive away
    Great walks  -  The South Downs has plenty of walking paths
    Full of character
  • Willow Barns

    Petworth, West Sussex

    This collection of barns has been lovingly converted by Amanda and William, who have recently purchased the next door pub, into a delightful country B&B. Bright rooms enjoying countryside views are decorated in pale palettes, wrought iron beds, sumptuous quilts and bathrooms with roll top baths.

    6 rooms from $146
    Country Escape  -  In the heart of the Sussex countryside, with many cycling and bridle paths on your doorstep.
    Great walks  -  Petworth to the historic market town of Pulborough is a popular walking route, amongst many others.
    Sights nearby  -  The historic town of Arundel with its impressive castle and cathedral is a short drive away.
    Birdwatching  -  The Arundel Wetland Centre has a bounty of bird and animal life for nature lovers.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide
  • The White Hart

    South Harting, West Sussex

    Comfortable contemporary pitstop close to the South Downs for couples, families and cyclists. A charming and quirky village inn, popular amongst locals and travellers alike. Rooms feature colourful tartans, exposed beams and modern bathrooms. Roaring fires and hearty meals create a cosy feel.

    6 rooms from $171
    Country Escape  -  Nothing completes a trip to the country like a stay in a quintessentially English village inn!
    Foodies  -  Hearty meals served elegantly - foodies will love
    Sights nearby  -  Fishbourne Roman Palace and Gardens in nearby Chichester is a must visit
    Local markets  -  The historic market towns of Petworth and Midhurst are simply charming
  • The Halfway Bridge

    Petworth, West Sussex

    Cosy inn with comfortable rooms serving superior pub grub and a warm atmosphere Ideal for couples exploring the Sussex countryside and groups wanting a good spot for a gathering.

    6 rooms from $186
    Local markets  -  The old market town of Petworth with its independant boutiques, cafes and antique shops is great for local exploring.
    Sailing  -  The seaside towns of Bogner Regis and Worthing are great for maritime activities.
    Great walks  -  The walking trails of the South Downs are accessible directly from the property.
    Sights nearby  -  The impressive Petworth House is just five minutes away and well worth a visit.
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
  • The White Horse

    Chilgrove, West Sussex

    Charming and cosy, award-winning gastro pub offering delicious food and contemporary B&B rooms with roll top copper baths and four-poster kingsize beds. Extra details set this apart from other B&B pubs. Suitable for walkers, families and couples.

    15 rooms from $199
    Private Hot Tub  -  Two rooms have private hot tubs
    Sights nearby  -  Chichester Festival Theatre
    Great walks  -  Ramble in the South Downs
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays, Good Hotel Guide
  • Royal Oak

    Chichester, West Sussex

    Charming 200 year old village inn turned popular restaurant with rooms in a quiet village. Cosy rooms with delicate pretty wallpaper and beamed ceilings. Downstairs a small bar pulls a good pint but the restaurant is the real showstopper. A lovely country escape.

    8 rooms from $206
    Country Escape  -  Ideally placed for country pursuits such as rambling, fishing and shooting, with hearty food and cosy interiors to return to.
    Foodies  -  Feast at the award winning restaurant, serving fresh, local and totally seasonal produce- a fine example of British cooking.
    Great walks  -  Bring your wellies and a packed lunch from the hotel and head out to explore the stunning landscape of the South Downs.
    Sights nearby  -  Explore the nearby Kingley Vale, home to one of Europe's most impressive and oldest yew forests.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
  • The Millstream Hotel

    Chichester, West Sussex

    Located in the quaint village of Bosham this hotel stronghold has been in the same family for almost 40 years. Rooms are decorated in a classic style, with traditional floral prints and built in wardrobes. There are leafy gardens with pond to explore, two restaurants and an excellent wine list.

    35 rooms from $211
    Sights nearby  -  The historic buildings of Petworth House and Arundel Castle and Cathedral are close by.
    Great walks  -  From the Bosham Walk to the lengthy South Downs Way there are routes for every rambler.
    Sailing  -  From the quirkily named Smuggler's Lane take the ferry to tchenor
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide
  • Park House Hotel

    Midhurst, West Sussex

    A timeless family hotel, in the heart of the South Downs National Park. Classically styled rooms brim with old school elegance and comfort. The popular restaurant serves locally sourced wholesome cuisine. A unique spot in West Sussex, complete with grass tennis courts, two pools and spa.

    21 rooms from $212
    Exclusive offer  -  Weekend Indulgence Getaway
    Country Escape  -  The hotel grounds boasts a croquet lawn, golf course, grass tennis courts and the surrounding hills beckoning for country walks.
    Total relaxation  -  With spa treatments, indoor and outdoor pool, sauna and steam room plus a terraced bar for whiling away the afternoon.
    Sights nearby  -  Roman villas at Fishbourne and Bignor, plus Chichester Cathedral and plenty of stately homes close at hand.
    Great walks  -  The hotel provides wellies for exploring the South Downs rolling into the distance.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Johansens, Sawdays
  • Crab and Lobster

    Sidlesham, West Sussex

    Contemporary waterside 16th Century Inn on the banks of Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve. Chic rooms ooze elegance and simple country charm. Enjoy a menu centered around locally landed fish and locally reared meats. A truly romantic escape in Dorset with views over the salt marshes.

    4 rooms from $212
    Foodies  -  Wonderfully falvoursome cuisine, with seafood from the local fisherman, meat from the local farms and honey from the neighbours!
    Country Escape  -  An ideal country escape, with plush rooms, mouthwatering cuisine, roaring fires in the cosy bar and plenty of local walking.
    Great walks  -  Burn off some calories between lunch and dinner with an afternoon stroll on West Wittering's pebbly beach.
    Birdwatching  -  Binoculars and a telescope are provided for spotting local birds and animals.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
  • The Goodwood Hotel

    Chichester, West Sussex

    An elegant country retreat on the Goodwood Estate. Two golf courses, a spa health club and a choice of restaurants make this hotel an ideal weekend getaway. Bedrooms are smartly decorated, many with private sitting rooms and patio terraces.

    91 rooms from $212
    Great walks  -  Stroll around the Goodwood Estate or explore the South Downs way
    Sights nearby  -  Just outside Chichester
    Swimming Pool  -  Heated indoor pool
    Spa
  • Ockenden Manor

    Cuckfield, West Sussex

    This tranquil and historic manor house is just an hour from London, with lovely gardens, indoor and outdoor pool and Michelin star fine dining. Rooms exude comfort and style. Relax at the spa, explore the South Downs or sit with your favourite drink on the terrace. A beautiful mini-break location.

    28 rooms from $238
    Foodies  -  The creative cuisine of Head Chef Stephen Crane has earned them a Michelin-Star, check out the seven-course Tasting Menu.
    Country Escape  -  Submerge yourself in this country house hotel, with every whim and comfort taken care of there is no need to leave.
    Great walks  -  This area boasts plenty of picturesque walks, ask your hosts to point out a few choice trails to follow.
    Views  -  To the South Downs
    Recommended by  -  Johansens
  • Spread Eagle Hotel And Spa

    Midhurst, West Sussex

    Handsome characterful medieval inn with four-poster beds, gourmet restaurant and contemporary spa in the pretty Sussex market town of Midhurst. History lovers and romantics will enjoy a weekend visit or mini break.

    39 rooms from $252
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor Pool
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Full of character
    Spa
    Recommended by  -  Frommers, Johansens
  • Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa

    Crawley, West Sussex

    Boutique country house hotel, set in 120 acres of parkland. Recently refurbished rooms are generously proportioned and sinfully luxurious. Enjoy the fine dining options and champagne bar. Spoiling facilities include spa and pool. Slip back to a simpler time where your day stops for afternoon tea.

    57 rooms from $265
    Total relaxation  -  This is truly a place to let go of it all, an oasis of luxorious suites, spa treatments, fine dining and picturesque grounds.
    Romantic Break  -  Inject a little romance into your weekend with two person tubs, enormous suites, tandem massages and candlelite dinners.
    Great walks  -  Take a stroll around the 120 acre parklands and manicured gardens that surrround the property.
    Spa  -  Award winning spa with wide range of treatments.
    Recommended by  -  Small Luxury Hotels, Tablet, Johansens
  • Gravetye Manor

    East Grinstead, West Sussex

    An Elizabethan gem of timeless comforts, with fine wood panelled bedrooms, four poster beds and an exceptional garden. Old fashioned hospitality with modern standards. Independently owned with Michelin starred cooking and lots of outdoor activities.

    17 rooms from $345
    Garden  -  Former home of garden pioneer William Robinson
    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    Fishing  -  Boasts a 3 acre lake for fly fishing
    Great walks  -  A range of wonderful local walks
    Recommended by  -  Johansens, Relais & Chateaux
  • Amberley Castle

    Nr Arundel, West Sussex

    Historic castle dating back to the 12th century. Atmospheric rooms, moat, and oak portcullis. Behind lie acres of landscaped gardens.

    19 rooms from $418
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
  • South Lodge Hotel

    Nr Horsham, West Sussex

    Classic luxury country retreat in 93 acres of parkland and woodland. Views over the South Downs, Michelin-starred restaurant, sumptuous rooms.

    89 rooms from $418
    Private Hot Tub  -  Book the Godman or Farriers Suite for your own private terrace with hot tub
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    5* Luxury  -  Very high service standards.
    Recommended by  -  Johansens, Small Luxury Hotels
  • Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa

    Climping, West Sussex

    Atmospheric mock medieval house with award winning spa set amid 30 acres of private parkland with direct beach access. Large rooms feature high beamed ceilings, antique four poster beds and luxury bathrooms. Dine in equally sumptuous surrounds. Well positioned from London as a weekend get away.

    39 rooms from $450
    Sights nearby  -  Visit Arundel Castle and try your hand at jousting.
    Great walks  -  Lovely coastal walks directly from the property.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Recommended by  -  Johansens, Tablet
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