Free days out in Sussex

Days out

Posted by Kate W on 1st March 2021

Free days out in Sussex

We’ve put together a selection of free places to visit and family days out in Sussex below so you can plan a wonderful holiday without spending a single penny.

There’s no need to spend lots of money to have an amazing break, anyone planning a budget holiday in Sussex will find a wealth of impressive places to visit – including off-the-beaten-path gems that many rarely encounter. Enjoy free days out to popular tourist hot spots and secret, lesser-known places in the picturesque Sussex countryside  and along the remarkable coastline.

If you’re ready to begin planning your next getaway, take a look through our holiday cottages in Sussex and get inspired.

Sussex cottages

Read on to discover a fantastic choice of free days out in Sussex. Whether you're travelling as a family, a couple, or with a group of friends, you'll be spoilt for choice in this beautiful county. 

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Free days out in West Sussex

Enjoy water sports and climbing frames at Southwater Country Park

Enjoy water sports and climbing frames at Southwater Country Park

Breath in fresh country air at this beautiful park in Horsham, perfect for a round of frisbee and a picnic during your West Sussex break. Flat, level, easy-going paths make Southwater Country Park an accessible place to visit, while the Dinosaur Island Play Area is a delight for young families who can scramble up the bubbling volcano. Best of all, you can canoe or kayak on the fantastic lake, while back on dry land you can also rent bikes or try the orienteering course.


Feel tiny beneath the ten-storey tall Ouse Valley Viaduct

Feel tiny beneath the ten-storey tall Ouse Valley Viaduct

This iconic local landmark is an Insta-worthy destination and an astonishing piece of history to take in on your rambles through the West Sussex countryside. An elegant, 19th-century railroad bridge that appears to go on forever, the Ouse Valley Viaduct is a remarkable ten storeys tall with 37 arches while the valley beneath was carved by the River Ouse. Take sturdy walking boots as the landscape below can be swampy, but it’s worth it to get close to this impressive manmade structure.


Step into the ghostly, ancient grove of Kingley Vale

Step into the ghostly, ancient grove of Kingley Vale

This twisty, twirly neck of the woods is Kingley Vale, a grove of ancient yew trees that are among the oldest in Britain. It’s a magical place right out of a storybook with gnarled tree trunks and legends of ghostly happenings in this woodland. In the warmer months, keep an eye out for green woodpeckers and the many varieties of butterfly that make their home in this forest and chalk grassland habitat.


Fish for mackerel off Worthing Pier

Fish for mackerel off Worthing Pier

For a traditional day at the seaside, Worthing Pier is a wonderful, free attraction in Sussex that reaches out to sea from the town’s sand and shingle beach. Enjoy games at Neptune's Entertainment Centre or pop in for tea at the Art Deco Southern Pavilion. You can fish off the pier which has fantastic views of the coastline’s chalk cliffs, hire deck chairs and unwind or simply take a stroll along this free West Sussex attraction.


Stroll among the hellebore or wisteria of Highdown Gardens

Stroll among the hellebore or wisteria of Highdown Gardens

While in town, another wonderful choice is Worthing’s idyllic Highdown Gardens. This chalk garden set in Downland countryside is a free place to visit in Sussex that overlooks the sea and is home to The National Plant Collection of the Plant Introductions of Sir Fredrick Stern – a unique and beautiful array of flora to take in.


Admire impressive artwork at the English Martyrs Catholic Church

Admire impressive artwork at the English Martyrs Catholic Church

A unique free place to visit in Sussex, the English Martyrs Catholic Church is an ancient, enchanting building with a twist: inside, they’ve reproduced the famous Sistine Chapel ceiling. Look up and work your way through the nine famous scenes from the Book of Genesis in this 2/3 scale of the original.


Relax on the sandy shores of West Wittering Beach

Relax on the sandy shores of West Wittering Beach

If you’re looking for free family days out in Sussex, nothing beats a trip to the seaside! And we reckon West Wittering Beach is one of the best. Head here for beach huts, sand dunes, a café, and a wind and kitesurfing club. This Sussex beach is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest attracting many waders and wildfowl during the migratory season.

For a free day by the coast with family and friends, get to know our favourite seaside spots in our guide to beaches in Sussex


Enjoy a classic day at the seaside at Bognor Regis Beach

Enjoy a classic day at the seaside at Bognor Regis Beach

Another coastal gem, this is the place for free kids days out in Sussex as Bognor Regis Beach is full of family-friendly activities including the Bognor Regis Promenade Train and a huge sandpit perfect for youngsters when the tide is in. Pack a picnic or grab a bite to eat at one of the seafront cafes.

Dive into water sports on a seaside adventure, feel tiny beneath a ten-storey-tall manmade structure, and admire an impressive replica of the Sistine Chapel ceiling right here in the UK during your break to West Sussex. Take a look through our West Sussex cottages today. 

West Sussex cottages


Free days out in East Sussex

Investigate a dangerous past at the Shipwreck Museum

Investigate a dangerous past at the Shipwreck Museum

The Shipwreck Museum is a free museum in Sussex, in the popular coastal town of Hastings, that delves into the stories of shipwrecks from across the centuries, all along the English Channel – from Goodwin Sands in Kent to Pevensey Bay in East Sussex. It’s an accessible, wheelchair-friendly place to visit with multi-sensory exhibits bringing the artefacts to life with sound, touch and smell.


Then find out about the local maritime trade at the Fishermen’s Museum

Then find out about the local maritime trade at the Fishermen’s Museum

Sitting right beside the Shipwreck Museum you’ll find another Hastings gem: the Fishermen’s Museum. This free museum in Sussex details the lives of local mariners and you can visit the deck of the last Hastings’ sailing lugger Enterprise built in 1912. Photographs, pictures, model boats, interesting objects and an audio-visual tour all bring the local fishing history to life.


Soak up views from Hastings Country Park

Soak up views from Hastings Country Park

Hastings is full of fantastic free days out, and the impressive Hastings Country Park is quite possibly the best! For outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers, this park is made up of gill woodland, cliff-top grassland, mixed heather, and lowland meadow alongside sustainably-managed farmland with natural beauty to take in along the walking trails. You could add a ride up on the funicular cliff railway for a small fee, and enjoy a visit backed by magnificent coastal views.


Lose yourself in the solitude of Ashdown Forest

Lose yourself in the solitude of Ashdown Forest

The Ashdown Forest is known for being the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood and a delightful free day out in West Sussex. Besides its storybook heritage, this habitat stretches for 6,500 acres and includes rare heathland to explore, perfect for seeking peace and solitude. Follow walking trails, taking in the idyllic Sussex countryside in this quiet and immense landscape.


Go fossil hunting at Cuckmere Haven

Go fossil hunting at Cuckmere Haven

All along the base of the Seven Sisters, a series of magnificent chalk cliffs facing the sea, you can find a variety of ancient fossils including echinoids, sponges, bivalves, and other benthic fauna. Fossil hunting is a great free activity in East Sussex while the impressive surroundings at Cuckmere Haven are reason enough to visit for a coastal walk, just stay clear of the crumbling cliffs as you search.


Spot the ‘sunken forest’ at Pett Level 

Another natural beauty spot, head out to Pett Level near Hastings and search for remnants of the ancient sunken forest that can be found on the sandy beach. You can spot spongy tree roots and even saplings standing in the sand that are thought to be more than 6,000 years old. Pett Level’s sandy beach is also fantastic for rock pooling – a wonderful free place to visit in Sussex that the whole family will enjoy.


Look out for wildlife at Winchelsea Beach

A day on the beach is the ultimate free day out while on holiday and another beautiful beach to visit in East Sussex is Winchelsea Beach, on the edge of the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. From the top of the sea wall, you can see family-friendly Camber Sands and the remote Dungeness headland to the south-east – two more opportunities for fantastic free days out. Winchelsea Beach is quiet, yet known for water sports including kayaking, jet-skiing and windsurfing, while the ancient town of Winchelsea is 1.5 miles inland.

Get to know all about a dangerous maritime past, soak up iconic views of gleaming white chalk cliffs, or discover a ‘sunken forest’ during your escape to East Sussex. Browse through our holiday cottages in East Sussex. 

East Sussex cottages


Blackberry Cottage - Icklesham

Sussex boasts a host of fantastic free activities and days out, great for entertaining the kids, a trip with friends or adventures, just you and your partner. There’s a wide range of thing to do for free in Sussex so take a look through our collection of holiday cottages in Sussex and begin planning your next getaway.

Sussex cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.