The eyes of the world were on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they tied the knot at Windsor Castle and began their new life as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Everything the light touches on this region in the southeast of England is now under their domain (even if they don’t have any legit power over it) — and with some classic seaside towns in the mix, that’s more light than most places in the UK. So, if watching the nuptials from afar just didn’t cut it for your royal addiction, put down your tissues and crazy hat, and head to Sussex to experience their new dukedom first hand.
1. Five Hundred Acre Wood
If this sounds familiar, chances are you are one of the millions who were introduced to the wonders of Winnie the Pooh at a young age. Ashdown Forest and its Five Hundred Acre Wood in East Sussex were the original inspiration for A.A Milne’s masterpiece of storytelling and remains one of the best uncommercialized ways of re-living the book’s adventures. Grab a pamphlet of Pooh Walks and follow the dotted line to visit Eeyore’s Sad and Gloomy Place, Roo’s Sandy Pit, and the North Pole (or, at least, Pooh’s version!).
2. Seven Sisters Cliffs
These seven cliffs in East Sussex get their striking white appearance from their chalky insides, but it’s erosion that keeps them visible to the public. While similar cliffs nearby have become covered in grassy overgrowth, these particular ones continue have their sides reclaimed by the battering of rough seas. Plan to stay for sunset to watch the sun paint the cliffs pink.
3. Fish and chips at The Regency
There’s are few things quite as British as fish and chips. Head to The Regency, a famous Brighton establishment, to taste an authentic recipe at one of the oldest restaurants in town. People-watch on the outside patio where long ago the building’s original owner, Harriet Mellon, the richest woman in Europe for her time, would sit back and enjoy the fresh caught seafood of local fishermen.
4. SUP around Brighton Pier
Since the 1930s, Brighton Pier has offered arcade and amusement park enjoyment, which, these days, can become a bit overwhelmingly touristy — over eleven million people visit Brighton every year. At night, the pier offers a spectacular sight, lit up by 67,000 (energy-saving) light bulbs. If you aren’t up for some stomach-dropping rides and crushing crowds, head to the water to get a new perspective on the seaside town’s famous pier while stand-up paddleboarding. If you’re around in July, take part in Paddle Around the Pier, self-proclaimed the world’s biggest beach festival.
5. Treetop ropes course
Head to Crawley for some high-swaying adventure among the treetops that will definitely push you out of your comfort zone. Challenge your balance over 35 feet up in the air on sky-high “stepping stones” (think dangling wooden planks) and before ziplining almost 500 feet across the forest floor. If you’re traveling with tots, there’s an easier version for those under 10 years of age.
6. Visit Cissbury Ring
Go for a pastoral stroll through the countryside at Cissbury Ring. The area has been settled since the Neolithic period (aka, a long time) and features an Iron Age fortress that is over 2,300 years old. To keep the grasslands short and well maintained, the National Trust hires semi-wild ponies to graze the land, and they can often be seen munching as a herd or sunbathing on the grassy slopes.
7. Houseboats of Shoreham
A collection of almost 60 houseboats sit on the shore of tiny Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex. Unprohibited by housing restrictions, many of these boats have become liveable art exhibitions, made from reclaimed parts of cars, homes, and surplus materials. If you’re feeling adventurous, spend the night in one — or else bring your camera and just enjoy the funky view.