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 plenty of the best places to stay in West Sussex can be found in properties that reflect this.

The South Downs are a wooded ripple across the middle of the county, offering good walking and views to the coast, where creeks and harbours hide waterside villages and the odd ice cream van.

Classic events like horseracing and the Festival of Speed at Goodwood or the polo at Cowdray Park are tempered by simpler pleasures such as walking in woods carpeted with bluebells or having a beer in a fine country pub.

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 girlfriends relaxing into the fluffy robes of a spa package.

And, except for Brighton, which deserves a list all to itself, the green, pleasant countryside is where our pick of the best places to stay in West Sussex were discovered; interestingly none are by the sea.

Best places to stay in West Sussex

Country House Hotels

  • Park House Hotel - Family run hotel with a timeless feel. Superb facilities for all including superb spa, indoor and outdoor pools, and tennis court. Ideal location for Cowdray Park
  • Ockenden Manor - Historic manor house just an hour from London. Great views over the South Downs & Michelin starred cuisine.
  • Gravetye Manor - Privately owned Elizabethan gem. Beautiful gardens, outstanding food. Perfectly placed for visiting gardens in the area.

Coaching Inns and Pubs

  • The Angel - Coaching inn in the centre of Midhurst with history dating back to Elizabethan times. Great spot for walkers and exploring Petworth, Arundel and Chichester.
  • The Royal Oak - Revamped village inn, now a very popular restaurant with rooms. An ideal base for Glorious Goodwood or Chichester.

Best Spas

  • Park House Hotel deserves another mention in this category.  Facilities include a 15m indoor pool, heated outdoor pool for summer months, jacuzzi, saunas and a wide range of spoiling treatments.
  • Alexander House and Utopia Spa has earned a reputation for being a great pampering spot. The award winning spa offers Grecian style interiors and twenty five treatment rooms.

Browse our pick of the best places to stay in West Sussex and start to plan your visit.

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The best hotels in West Sussex

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  • Ockenden Manor

    Cuckfield, West Sussex

    Tranquil and historic manor house just an hour from London, boasting oak-panelled cosiness and fine dining. Views across the South Downs, a great escape, full of character.

    28 rooms from $195
    Other Activities  -  Great for garden lovers: close to Nymans, Borde Hill, High Beeches and more!
    Restaurant  -  Michelin starred cuisine
    Views  -  To the South Downs
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  Johansens
  • Royal Oak

    Chichester, West Sussex

    Charming 200 year old village inn turned popular restaurant with rooms in a quiet village close to Goodwood Park and Chichester.

    5 rooms from $201
    Other Activities  -  Ideal base for Glorious Goodwood
    Special Offer
    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    Sights nearby  -  Explore Chichester and Arundel
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
  • The Angel

    Midhurst, West Sussex

    Venerable Georgian coaching inn at the centre of lovely Midhurst, with inventive cooking and contemporary guest rooms to match. Dripping with history.

    15 rooms from $209
    Sights nearby  -  Explore Petworth House, Arundel Castle and Chichester.
    Birdwatching  -  Good birding near the hotel.
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
  • Park House Hotel

    Midhurst, West Sussex

    A traditional family hotel with a timeless feel in the heart of the South Downs National Park. Ideal for families - tennis, pool and spa, and lovely walking on the Downs.

    21 rooms from $217
    Exclusive offer  -  Weekend Indulgence Getaway
    Sights nearby  -  Roman villas at Fishbourne and Bignor, plus Chichester Cathedral and plenty of stately homes close at hand.
    Swimming Pool  -  15m indoor pool & heated outdoor pool (summer only)
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Johansens, Sawdays
  • Crab and Lobster

    Sidlesham, West Sussex

    Contemporary yet cosy restaurant with rooms in a charming waterside spot on the banks of Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve. Romantic escape, fine seafood, views over the salt marshes.

    4 rooms from $226
    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
  • Spread Eagle Hotel And Spa

    Midhurst, West Sussex

    Historic coaching inn dating back to 1430. Traditional interiors, oak beams, and huge open fires. Antique filled rooms with contemporary comforts. Spa and award-winning restaurant.

    39 rooms from $306
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor Pool
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Recommended by  -  Frommers, Johansens, Michelin Travel
  • Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa

    Crawley, West Sussex

    Long established country house hotel with pool, spa and fine dining close to Gatwick. Extensive parkland and gardens.

    38 rooms from $354
    Garden  -  120 acres of parkland.
    Spa  -  Award winning spa with wide range of treatments.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor
    Recommended by  -  Small Luxury Hotels, Michelin Travel
  • Gravetye Manor

    East Grinstead, West Sussex

    An Elizabethan gem of timeless comforts, an exceptional garden and old fashioned hospitality. Independently owned with Michelin starred cooking.

    17 rooms from $387
    Garden  -  Former home of garden pioneer William Robinson
    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    Restrictions on children  -  Children welcome from 7 years.
    Sights nearby  -  Stay here for Glyndebourne
  • Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa

    Climping, West Sussex

    Atmospheric mock medieval house with award winning spa set amid 30 acres of private parkland with direct access to Climping Beach.

    39 rooms from $387
    Spa  -  Wide range of treatments using Temple Spa products
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  Johansens, Tablet
  • 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 $507
    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 $507
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    5* Luxury  -  Very high service standards.

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