5 reasons to tour West Sussex in a Campervan
West Sussex is campervan heaven. Why?
It’s a dream to drive through. Forest-lined leafy roads, rolling green farmlands, Sussex Downlands, market towns, peaceful harbours, unspoilt beaches, hidden country pubs, and the odd castle or two. In short, Campervan heaven. Here are 5 reasons why you should definitely tour West Sussex in a Campervan:
#1 Follow the trail of the A272
One of the most beautiful routes in England. It’s made for campervan travel. There’s so much to see enroute, and plenty of reasons to park up and explore.
Pick up the road in West Sussex at Haywards Heath and meander around the rolling South Downs. Catch views of Jack and Jill windmills high on the Downs and stop off at the Jack & Jill pub for lunch.
Drive through the Weald of West Sussex, through picturesque Sussex villages, and spend time strolling around medieval Billingshurst. On in to the heart of the beautiful Arun valley.
Stay a while at the market towns of Petworth, Midhurst, and Petersfield. Pick up some goodies from the Hungry Guest deli in Petworth, fresh bread, Goodwood Estate cheese, and delicious homemade Roasted Red Pepper dip. Then savour a picnic at Woolbeding Park (near Midhurst).
Follow the River Rother in to Hampshire, enjoy wide verges and woodlands at Hinton Ampner, descend into Winchester and explore city walls and medieval streets. The A272 ends at picturesque market town Stockbridge.
This is 85 miles of quintessential England. Do it in a weekend. Make a week of it. Or linger longer.
#2 Get to know Petworth
Petworth is one of my all time favourite market towns. As soon as I arrive and pass through the historic (sometimes cobbled) streets lined with a mix of Georgian, Edwardian and even Elizabethan (some slightly rickety in appearance) houses, I want to get out and see what’s new.
Park up your campervan (easy town centre car park that never seems to get full) and start exploring. There are lots of tiny side streets with overflowing and colourful window boxes, elegant facades, and sophisticated shop front windows that cleverly blend with residences next door.
Petworth is home to around 30 or so of the very best antique shops in the country. It takes at least a day or two to explore all of them, and there are definitely affordable bargains to be found.
And then there’s Petworth House and Gardens. A huge 12th century estate that’s been extended through the years, with a notable art collection (JMW Turner spent a lot of time working here) and Capability Brown gardens.
#3 Get lost at the Witterings
What are the Witterings? Miles and miles of unspoilt sandy beaches. This is a beach safe Blue Flag beach, ideal for family beach days, seaside picnics, and bucket and spade kind of days.
West Wittering beach is popular for wind and kite surfers with shallow lagoons at low tide that make children squeal with delight. The whole area is internationally recognised for its wildlife, birds and unique beauty. Great for autumn and wintry walks too.
Looking for a campervan friendly site nearby? Sumners Ponds Fishery and Campsite is set amongst beautiful woodland and peaceful meadows with direct access to countryside walks and cycle routes. Check in with your camper here and you may not want to check out.
#4 Head up to Devils Dyke
The great thing about Devils Dyke beauty spot (local folklore explains the valley as the work of the devil) is that you and your campervan have choices.
Stay snug and take in the amazing views with an indoor camper picnic. Or take a slow drive and pass through some of Sussex’s prettiest hidden villages that nestle amongst the Downs. Or park up at the Dyke all day (for free) and venture out for a long hike along the popular South Downs Way trail.
Why is the trail so popular? Well, the South Downs is now a National Park. And the South Downs Way (all 100 miles of it) is an easy to follow designated bridleway full of wildlife, landscapes and tranquility. From Devil’s Dyke you can walk as much or as little of the Trail as you like, consider a history and mystery walk. There are pub stop-offs along the way, and cycle routes too.
Best of all, on a clear day you’ll see dual paragliders bravely launch themselves from the edge of the Dyke and elegantly fly with the natural lift of the wind. Watch their mass of coloured wings floating effortlessly in the sky.
#5 Get back to nature at campervan friendly sites
Kitts Cottage Campsite on the East/West Sussex border at Scaynes Hill will get you right back to nature in seconds. Sandwiched between ancient woods and sheep-grazing fields the pitch gives uninterrupted views of spectacular Sussex countryside. Camp fires are positively encouraged here and logs and kindling are supplied on arrival. Explore woody glades, sunburned fields and pretty hamlets, Or cycle the local Cuckoo Trail of 11 miles of disused railway track.
Get beer on tap and stay in a lovely paddock behind the Prince of Wales pub at Woodgate (near Chichester). Very campervan friendly, this site is close to the Southdowns National Park, Goodwood motor circuit and racecourse, and the Witterings beaches. Stay here for your complete West Sussex visit, do all of the above ‘4 reasons to visit’, and come back to some homemade pub grub every evening.
The Graffham Camping & Caravanning Club site near Petworth is a peaceful 20 acre wooded site in the heart of the South Downs. The site takes non club members. The pitches are surrounded by trees, and carpets of bluebells in the spring. Nature comes to you here with rabbits, squirrels, foxes and badges regularly spotted. Enjoy delicious food made with fresh local ingredients at the nearby White Horse pub.
Do you have you own reasons for touring West Sussex in a campervan? We’d love to know.