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East Sussex

Photo of East Sussex

About East Sussex

Our East Sussex Collections:

The countryside rolls greenly, and the views are expansive - up to the medieval hamlets, ancient churches and the beautiful, varied coastline. You can see why East Sussex is a major destination for Londoners escaping to the coast. Colourful Brighton, genteel Eastbourne and historic Hastings are the county’s seaside headliners, but they’re just a few of the best places to stay in East Sussex. Battle and Rye don’t have the sea views, but there are plenty of beautiful sights to see, and then there’s the coastal walking and the South Downs Way to be getting on with.

Beachy Head, the Seven Sisters and Ashdown Forest are also within the borders of East Sussex. As is the Bluebell Railway, Great Dixter Gardens, Glyndebourne, Lewes, Leeds Castle and Bodiam Castle. So you’ll probably need to consult a map when you’re choosing where to book, to make sure you’re closest to the attractions you’re most interested in - or else select two or three of the best places to stay in East Sussex and travel around this pretty countryside.

What not to Miss

  • Buzzy Brighton is packed with independent shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, it’s got a traditional old pier, a pebbly seafront, the beautiful Royal Pavilion, an aquarium and plenty going on. Plus the new addition: the i360 Tower, a moving lookout pod brought to you by the people behind the London Eye.
  • Hastings offers nostalgic charm and the coast. Best known for the battle in 1066, this fashionable Victorian holiday hotspot has reinvented itself as an arty destination for seaside weekenders. Hastings’ now ruined castle, which you reach via funicular, was built by William the Conqueror, and there's an excellent exhibition in the grounds which will supply you with plenty of information and begin to tell you the story of 1066. The opening of the Jerwood Gallery, home of contemporary British art, has hipped the town up.
  • You’ll find out more about 1066 in nearby Battle, the highlight of which is definitely Battle Abbey.
  • On the edge of charming Rye, fringed by dunes, is the long, white sweep of Camber Beach, and the landscape just welcomes strolling, cycling and picnicking. Rye has some great restaurants and cafes, and there are some interesting historical secrets to uncover.
  • And Eastbourne is close to Beachy Head, Pevensey Castle and the South Downs National Park.

All of these centres have great options when it comes to choosing the best places to stay in East Sussex, but our Gurus have also come up with some remote country house hotels, perfect for a rural escape if you need one.

The Best Places to Stay in East Sussex

For a Beach Break

  • The Grand Hotel, Brighton is a glorious Victorian hotel right on the Brighton’s front. There are 200-odd elegant rooms and suites over seven floors - some with amazing views. Everything is luxurious, from the spa to the piano bar to the afternoon tea.
  • The Zanzibar International Hotel in St. Leonards on Sea, is a stylish, modern refuge right on the seafront. There are just eight rooms, impeccably, and individually, decorated in whites and nudes - some with double spa baths. Plus you'll find a great seafood restaurant and complimentary champagne with your breakfast!
  • The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne is a contender if your idea of a weekend getaway includes time spent in a luxurious spa. There are also indoor and outdoor pools, an award-winning restaurant, a putting green and a children’s playroom. Pets are welcome too. The Victorian stucco exterior and five stars help make for a memorable stay.
  • Ticking, stripes, white painted floorboards and driftwood tones are very much in evidence at the New England-style Gallivant at Camber Beach. The Beach Bistro and the Beach Cafe will keep you well fed while you enjoy the American retro touches and glorious beach.

Rural Escape

  • The Griffin Inn in Fletching is a very popular village gastropub with 12 comfortable rooms offering expansive views over the peaceful Ouse Valley. Rooms start from just £90 and are very family friendly.
  • Stone House is an antique-filled country house B&B which has been in the same family since 1495. Just outside the village of Rushlake Green, if you stay in one of the eight rooms you’re offered an excellent dinner, cooking classes, and pheasant shooting in season.
  • Ashdown Park Hotel is a country house hotel with excellent facilities for the whole family. The hotel has direct access to Ashdown Forest, with acres of parkland, plus a golf course, tennis courts, an award-winning restaurant with forest views and a beautiful spa.

Most Romantic

  • Buxted Park Hotel is a Palladian mansion turned 44 room country house hotel close to Uckfield, Wakehurst Place and Hever Castle. The modern, British restaurant has 2 AA Rosettes, and offers cookery classes, and the hotel is set amidst three hundred acres of stunning grounds, which includes three lakes, a deer park and a walled garden.
  • For under a hundred pounds a night you and your loved one can stay at Old Whyly, a listed manor house set amongst charming gardens. There are just three bedrooms, decorated with some beautiful antiques, plus an outdoor pool. Well located for Glyndebourne, there’s also a heated pool and tennis courts.

Brighton Chic

  • Probably the best-known hotel in Brighton on our list is drakes. Occupying a great position overlooking the pier this boutique property has a 24 hour bar, decent restaurant and freestanding baths in some rooms. Well designed rooms with huge beds.
  • Brighton’s original boutique hotel, Blanch House, in Kemp Town, has individually designed rooms including the Snowstorm, which houses a collection of snow globes. Home made biscuits on arrival are a popular touch.
  • The feng shui aware Myhotel is a decked out with karmic artwork and futuristic furniture and has an informal deli which serves richly delicious ice cream as well as a pleasant restaurant.
  • The Hotel du Vin in Brighton is as dependable here as its sister establishments all over the UK. There is a wine bar and brasserie and the loft suites have telescopes.

Fantastic Inns

  • The Mermaid Inn is an historic inn in the centre of Rye, dating back to the 13th century. There are 31 rooms, oozing with charm and original features: think carved four-poster beds, sloping, beamed ceilings and a vast fireplace in the bar. The restaurant has 2 AA Rosettes.
  • The George in Rye is historic, but very newly refurbished, so now you can expect all the modern, stylish trims inside a charming Georgian building. Each room is individual, and the atmosphere is relaxed.
  • Close to the South Downs, Wakehurst Place, and Gatwick Airport, the Old House Inn has been converted from a farmhouse, and has six spacious, quirky rooms. The dining has an AA Rosette award and a full English breakfast is included in the room rate.
  • The Ship Inn in Rye, is a laid back pub with a Michelin recommendation and ten simple rooms. It’s a traditional pub with all the best kind of details: exposed beams, wooden floors and solid, but weathered, furniture. Rooms start from £110 per night including fabulous breakfast.

Perfect Mini-Break

  • If you’re looking for a lively mini-break, Brighton is always a good choice, and the Artist Residence Brighton, is an arty, centrally located place to stay with great views and a cool cocktail bar. The 23 rooms and suites have been individually decorated and you’re close to the beach and everything else in Brighton.
  • The Printworks occupies a fabulous Victorian building in Hastings, once home to the local newspaper, and it's been decked out very stylishly by the owners. There are only two rooms, but both of them are packed with detail and original-features-loveliness. Rooms start from just £100 per night.
  • Swan House occupies an even older building in the heart of medieval Hastings - built in the 15th Century, this was originally the local bakery. Part timbered, this four room B&B has been tastefully decorated to make the most of the wonderful original features - including an old pulley used to move bags of flour.

Best B&Bs

  • The Rye Windmill B&B has been converted from a Grade II listed windmill. Importantly, only two of the ten rooms are in the windmill itself, and these are the ones to book. You’re right next to the river and within a short walking distance of Rye. The decor is simple and the breakfasts generous.
  • Jeake’s House is a quirky, old fashioned and slightly theatrical B&B in the centre of characterful Rye. The 11 bedrooms and public spaces have some great antiques, including beautiful four-poster beds, and they do a truly epic breakfast.
  • The Old Rectory, Hastings is a great choice for walkers and history buffs. The eight elegant rooms are in an 18th century building, complete with sitting rooms and beautiful gardens. The fresh cooked breakfasts include locally caught fish.
  • Una in Brighton is a B&B with 19 rooms all named after rivers. Excellent breakfasts and a bar where you can plan or reflect on dinner.
  • The Kemp Townhouse in one of the most popular parts of Brighton is another B&B where you can also have afternoon tea and there is an honesty bar.
  • Hastings House is right on the promenade in Hastings, a Victorian stucco charmer on the outside, turned funky B&B on the inside.

Great Value

  • A romantic option for under a hundred pounds a night is Pelham Hall, a gorgeous little B&B in picturesque Burwash in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are just three elegant bedrooms, decorated with plenty of character, plus a fantastic breakfast. You’re well positioned for National Trust properties, local market towns and beautiful scenery.
  • Ocklynge Manor is a picture perfect 18th century Georgian charmer in a beautiful walled garden. The three bright bedrooms make the most of the views and there are delicious breakfasts with home-made bread and marmalade each morning. And all starting from around £100 per night.

For a holiday cottage or apartment

  • If you think that self catering is a better option for you, then check out the wide range with our online partner Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Gatwick Airport is your closest airport, but Heathrow is quite convenient as well. Brighton has its own airport, which is connected to other UK destinations. 
  • You can also arrive in East Sussex by sea, docking at Newhaven - the ferries here cross from Dieppe, France. 
  • The county is also easily accessible by train from elsewhere in the UK.
  • If you want to hire a car - which we highly recommend if you’re staying in East Sussex, there's a lot to see - we suggest you visit our online partner, Holiday Autos.
  • This is the UK, so expect changeable weather whatever the season. East Sussex is popular in summer, of course, but it’s also beautiful in spring and autumn - if you don’t mind a chill and a bit of a shower or two. Winter is wonderful if you like things to be ‘bracing’.

Still not sure which to book?

Best Hotels in East Sussex

  • Cavalaire 9 rooms from $85

    Brighton (East Sussex)

    A welcoming Victorian townhouse B&B in one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan areas of this beautiful coastal city. Rooms are decorated with character; iPod docking stations, wonderful bed linen and the occasional four poster bed. A homely B&B, walking distance from all the top Brighton sights.

    Close to nightlife  -  Brighton Seafront Night Clubs.
    Sights nearby  -  Volks Railway and the Royal Pavillion
    Great walks  -  Brighton Pier, promenade and beach
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Check prices
  • Twenty Seven 5 rooms from $85

    Brighton

    Stylish and sophisticated B&B just minutes from both seafront and city centre. Feel at home with large double beds, crisp Egyptian cotton, fluffy bathrobes and free WiFi. The perfect base for exploring everything this eclectic city has to offer and close to the vibrant nightlife.

    Sights nearby  -  Brighton Pier and the Royal Pavilion
    Close to nightlife
    Value chic
    Restrictions on children  -  No children under 16
    Check prices
  • A room with a view 9 rooms from $103

    Brighton

    Contemporary B&B on the seafront. Rooms have cream furnishings, large bathrooms, big windows and 5* mattresses. Charming breakfast room and lounge area. Perfect location to explore this eclectic city from.

    Romantic Break  -  Enjoy stunning views of Brighton Pier, excellent walkable restaurants, wandering through the lanes and the peace inside hotel
    Local markets  -  Food and clothing markets through Brighton Lanes
    Sights nearby  -  Brighton Pavilion and Pier
    Great walks  -  Along Brighton seafront
    Check prices
  • Rye Windmill B&B 10 rooms from $104

    Rye, East Sussex

    Charming and unusual B&B - two rooms in the mill itself (one of Rye's most famous landmarks) the rest attached. Next to the river and within walking distance of Rye town centre.

    Landmark  -  Comes with a reputation.
    Check prices
  • Pelham Hall 3 rooms from $117

    Burwash, East Sussex

    A gorgeous little B&B in picturesque Burwash. Elegant romantic bedrooms impeccably decorated with lots of character. Fantastic breakfasts, friendly hosts, and plenty of local exploring. Perfect for a romantic getaway.

    Sights nearby  -  East Sussex boasts National Trust properties, world-famous gardens, important historic monuments from the Norman Conquest.
    Local markets  -  Rhye, Lewes, Tunbridge Wells nearby for antique shopping.
    Great walks  -  Along the North and South downs.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Check prices
  • Artist Residence Brighton 24 rooms from $117

    Brighton (East Sussex)

    This arty 23 bedroom hotel, cocktail bar and restaurant is centrally located in Regency Square, with sea views over the iconic West Pier. Cool, contemporary decor in the middle of Brighton with lots of galleries and good restaurants just minutes away. Really great for weekend group getaways.

    Close to nightlife  -  Explore everything this eclectic city has to offer.
    Great walks  -  A stones throw from the beach front
    Sights nearby  -  Walking distance to Brighton Pier
    Other Activities  -  Visit The Theatre Royal
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Sawdays
    Check prices
  • Griffin Inn 13 rooms from $117

    Fletching, East Sussex

    Very popular village gastropub with excellent food and 13 comfortable rooms, many with 4 posters, in picturesque Fletching, with fabulous views over the Ouse valley. Ideal for families.

    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    Views  -  Lovely garden views over Sheffield Park
    Full of character
    Check prices
  • Buxted Park Hotel 44 rooms from $124

    Buxted, East Sussex

    Palladian mansion, now a luxury country house hotel close to Uckfield. Ideal for a relaxing country getaway and close to sights such as Hever Castle and Wakehurst Gardens. 2 AA Rosette standard modern British cuisine and cookery classes too.

    Sights nearby  -  Close to Ashdown Forest and the famous Winnie the Pooh bridge, Hever Castle and Wakehurst Gardens
    Cooking classes  -  Check for timings.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Check prices
  • Old Whyly 3 rooms from $128

    Lewes, East Sussex

    Listed manor house set in beautiful gardens with heated pool and tennis court. Luxury B & B with antiques and a house party feel. Dinners can be arranged. Good base for Glyndebourne.

    Garden  -  Attractive outside space.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor Pool
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
    Check prices
  • Hastings House 8 rooms from $129

    Hastings, East Sussex

    Newly renovated victorian townhouse B&B in the centre of town. Modern bedrooms with vivid colours. Breakfast included and snacks on demand.

    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide
    Check prices
  • The Printworks 2 rooms from $130

    Hastings, East Sussex

    Hip seaside haven housed in an old printworks once home to the local rag. The property combines cosy comfort with loft style interiors to provide an upmarket bohemian sleepery an hour from London

    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Check prices
  • Ocklynge Manor 3 rooms from $130

    East Sussex

    This picture perfect 18th Century Georgian house sits in a glorious walled garden which maintains its beauty throughout the seasons. The bedrooms are bright and lovely sash windows make the most of the views. Delicious breakfasts with hand-made bread and marmalade can be enjoyed each morning.

    Sights nearby  -  Visit Beachy Head, with panoramic views of the English Channel
    Sailing  -  There are lots of sailing clubs in Eastbourne
    Views  -  Pretty garden views from each of the bedrooms
    Great walks  -  Walk the South Downs Way
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
    Check prices
  • The Old Rectory, Hastings 8 rooms from $130

    Hastings

    Elegant guest rooms provided in an eighteenth-century building. Guests can enjoy sitting rooms, beautiful gardens and the nearby town of Hastings. Freshly cooked breakfasts on offer, including locally caught fish and free-range eggs.

    Restrictions on children  -  Children from 10 and up only
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Check prices
  • One Broad Street 8 rooms from $143

    Brighton

    A great B&B just seconds from the beach and only 5 minutes from The Lanes. All white rooms with bright cushions and throws for a splash of colour, excellent breakfasts and great local knowledge for a homely stay. Perfect for weekends away or local exploring.

    Sights nearby  -  Brighton Pier, the Royal Pavilion and The Lanes
    Walking distance restaurants  -  Owners can recommend plenty of local eateries
    Restrictions on children  -  No children allowed
    Great walks  -  Brighton Beach
    Check prices
  • The Cloudesley 5 rooms from $143

    Hastings

    An excellent, eco-friendly guesthouse in the East Sussex town of Hastings. The rooms are spacious and elegantly appointed with stylish furnishings and tasteful artwork. Indulge in a range of spa treatments including reiki, deep tissue massage, Thai hot compresses and reflexology. A seaside charmer.

    Local exploring  -  Just a ten minute walk from the beach, it's perfect for exploring Hastings and the surrounding East Sussex countryside.
    Total relaxation  -  The ideal relaxing country escape with comfortable rooms and a hearty breakfast as well as massages, shiatsu and reiki!
    Sights nearby  -  History enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the nearby site of Englands most famous battle.
    Birdwatching  -  East Sussex is a great area for watching seabirds.
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
    Hotel Website
  • The Ship Inn 10 rooms from $143

    Rye, East Sussex

    Michelin recommended laid back pub with rooms in the centre of Rye. Old beams, wooden floors, pine tables. Simple and comfortable rooms.

    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
    Check prices
  • Zanzibar International Hotel 8 rooms from $150

    St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex

    Contemporary and stylish romantic refuge on the seafront. Impeccably decorated in whites and nudes, large light rooms, sea views. Fish restaurant.

    Restrictions on children  -  No children under 5 years.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide
    Check prices
  • Swan House 4 rooms from $150

    Hastings, East Sussex

    Former 15th century bakery. Stylish B&B in the heart of mediaeval Hastings. Tasteful interiors - original features complement contemporary designs. Guest lounge, breakfast room, courtyard.

    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
    Check prices
  • Black Rock House 5 rooms from $156

    Hastings

    A bijou property located on a residential road in the coastal market town of Hastings. Its contemporary decor and clean lines makes this hotel a refreshing place to stay. This manager owned property has a much talked about and locally sourced breakfast menu. A perfect coastal weekend break!

    Sights nearby  -  Visit historic properties of Great Dixter, Sissinghurst, Bodiam Castle and Battle Abbey as well as their beautiful gardens
    Great walks  -  Travers Country or Alexandra Park or Britain's steepest East Hill funicular
    Local markets  -  Old Town and Norman Road have collection of independent and craft shops
    Restrictions on children  -  Above the age of ten accepted
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide
    Check prices
  • Jeake's House 11 rooms from $156

    Rye, East Sussex

    An old favourite; quirky, old-fashioned and slightly theatrical B&B bang in the centre of Rye. Full of character, in a wonderful town for weekending.

    Sights nearby  -  Situated bang in the centre of town.
    Full of character
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Quirky  -  An experience!
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
    Hotel Website
  • Wartling Place 4 rooms from $163

    Wartling, East Sussex

    Located in the heart of 1066 country this B&B provides guests with a traditional Sussex stay. Set amidst three acres of manicured grounds, attention to detail continue within. Huge, plushly covered beds centre antique adorned rooms. Breakfast is fresh and locally sourced and dinner by arrangement.

    Sights nearby  -  The historic sight of Hastings Castle, where the infamous battle was fought, is just a short drive away.
    Local markets  -  Open every Saturday, Hasting's Farmer's Market is popular amongst tourists and locals alike.
    Great walks  -  Beckley Walk Beckley walk takes flaneurs through the heart of 1066 country.
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide
    Check prices
  • The Grand Hotel, Brighton 201 rooms from $168

    Brighton (East Sussex)

    A glorious Victorian hotel with sea views, traditionally elegant bedrooms and deluxe suites over 7 floors. Brighton's original "grand dame" offers an exceptional culinary experience with locally sourced ingredients and luxury spa. A perfect venue for weddings, conferences or a short seaside break.

    Close to nightlife
    Spa  -  Wide range of ESPA treatments for men and women.
    Great walks  -  Stroll the promenade, pier and beach
    Sights nearby  -  The Royal Pavillion
    Check prices
  • The George in Rye 34 rooms from $176

    Rye, East Sussex

    'Rye’s most luxurious hotel,’ they claim, and we think that is fair: newly renovated historic inn with plenty of special touches. Great seafood, sumptuous rooms with chic styling.

    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Frommers, Good Hotel Guide, Kiwi Collection, Sawdays
    Check prices
  • The Gallivant 18 rooms from $176

    Rye, East Sussex

    1960s motel reborn as stylish New England beach hotel with good cafe and bistro dining, on Camber Beach. Driftwood style, retro detailing and a magnificent sandy beach.

    Views  -  Fantastic views over Camber Sands
    Cooking classes  -  Overnight packages available
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    On the beach  -  In front of the hotel.
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays, Mr & Mrs Smith
    Check prices
  • Stone House 8 rooms from $180

    Heathfield, East Sussex

    Antique filled country house B&B owned by the same family since 1495, just outside the village of Rushlake Green. Excellent dinners offered, and pheasant shooting available.

    Garden  -  1000 acre estate
    Cooking classes  -  Overseen by Master Chef Jane Dunn
    Restrictions on children  -  No children under 9
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide
    Check prices
  • The Mermaid Inn 31 rooms from $195

    Rye, East Sussex

    Historic inn in the centre of Rye which dates back to the 13th Century. Rooms ooze period charm with carved four poster beds, sloping beamed ceilings and gorgeous original features including a vast fireplace in the bar. Delicious 2 AA Rosette dining. A perfect weekend getaway.

    Historic  -  The cellars date from 1156 and the building was rebuilt in 1420. It's a genuine piece of Tudor architecture
    Full of character
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Check prices
  • The Grand Hotel, East Sussex 152 rooms from $259

    Eastbourne, East Sussex

    Eastbourne's 'White Palace' - a luxurious English seaside hotel. A host of facilities - spa, indoor and outdoor pools, award-winning restaurant, children's playroom.

    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Kids Club  -  Fully staffed.
    5* Luxury  -  Very high service standards.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  Johansens, Small Luxury Hotels
    Check prices
  • Ashdown Park Hotel 106 rooms from $259

    East Grinstead, East Sussex

    Country house hotel with excellent facilities for the whole family in Ashdown Forest. Acres of parkland, spa facilities, golf course, tennis courts. Award-winning restaurant with forest views.

    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor
    Spa
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Recommended by  -  Johansens, Small Luxury Hotels
    Check prices