Beside the Seaside
Possibly the most famous beach in East Sussex, often the busiest on a hot summers day. The shallow gradient of this sandy beach leads to a huge tidal range which sees the water recede up to half a mile at low tide. During warm weather the traffic jams leading to the car parks here can stretch for miles. The areas around the car parks and cafes can get very busy but the beach itself is so vast, there's always a quiet spot available for those who don't mind a walk. For those who need to be close to the amenities, there are two cafes, shops and toilets available.
A few miles west of Camber is the quiet, unspoiled shingle beach at Winchelsea. In 2010 and 2011, Winchelsea beach was awarded the highest grading for water quality by the Marine Conservation Society and has regularly received a clean beach award. The beach can appear rather uninteresting from the road but it does offer the chance to enjoy an unspoilt beach in relative solitude. You wont find amusement arcades and shops selling buckets and spades, but there are a handful of country pubs in the area for refreshments. Shingle only at high tide, low tide reveals extensive sand flats, ideal for walking and shrimping. Just west of Winchelsea Beach is Pett Level, a similar shingle beach where the remains of a 5,000 year old forest are revealed at low tide.
Continuing west from Pett and Winchelsea, Rock-a-Nore beach can be found nestled at the foot of Hastings' impressive sandstone cliffs. Set apart from the main beach at Hastings, Rock-a-nore beach offers a small area of shingle and lovely, clear, blue-green waters. Low tide exposes a rocky reef full of small pools where seagulls and children alike can pester unfortunate crabs. Never feels crowded but always buzzing with activity as kayaks and small boats regularly launch from here. Also popular with fishermen, on warm July days, huge shoals of mackerel are sometimes seen close to shore. Toilets, parking and food are all available close by.
At high tide a huge bank of shingle, but low tide reveals large areas of sand that make for a wonderful stroll with the waves lapping at your bare feet. A traditional British seaside resort with funfair rides, crazy golf, bingo halls and amusement arcades all within easy reach of the beach. Not the ideal place to come for peace and quiet on a hot August bank holiday afternoon, but on a warm September evening it can be calm, tranquil and beautiful. Hastings beach has a lifeguard on duty between mid July and mid September. Very similar but somewhat quieter, the adjacent St Leonards beach features a large expanse of rock pools for exploration at low tide. The promenade above St Leonards beach makes an excellent place to watch members of the Hastings & St Leonards Sailing club put a windy day to good use. Further west towards Glyne gap is a popular spot for Kite surfers and windsurfers whose sails bring colour to the sea on stormy days.
In stark contrast to the arcades and amusements of Hastings, Bexhill offers a much more genteel take on the British Seafront theme. With a large promenade tucked well away from busy traffic, Bexhill seafront offers a wonderful place to take in the sea air, whatever the time of year. As well as the world renowned De La Warr Pavillion, there are several traditional cafe's and ice cream kiosks at the edge of the beach. Similar to much of the local area, Bexhill offers a mainly shingle beach with areas of sand exposed at low tide. With major redevelopments and improvements being made to the promenade and seafront during 2011, if you've not been to Bexhill lately it's a great time for another visit.
Possibly one of the Sussex coasts best kept secrets, Cooden Beach always seems to be a haven of peace and tranquility even on the busiest of summer days. A gently sloping shingle beach with ample sand exposed at low tide this is a wonderful place to enjoy the sea for both adults and children alike. With the beach backing onto a quiet suburban street rather than a bustling promenade, Cooden is more about getting away from it all than sticks of rock and ice cream. There's always the wonderful beach terrace of the Cooden Beach Hotel nearby to offer refreshments if the sun gets too hot. Just a short walk from Cooden railway station and with ample, free parking locally it's easily accessible too.
With its bandstand, pier, shingle beach and promenade featuring the stunning floral carpet gardens, Eastbourne is the quintessential English seaside resort. With a bustling but genteel atmosphere, Eastbourne seafront is perfect for a stroll all year round. Take in the row of historic seafront hotels, explore the 1,000ft Victorian pier and settle into a deck chair with an Ice cream afterwards. The beach is shingle with sand exposed at low tide and the water was graded as being of the highest quality by the Marine Conservation Society in both 2011 and 2010. Boat trips around the harbour and towards Beachy Head are on offer locally for the adventurous.
Cuckmere haven lies at the point where the south downs meet the sea. Flanked by the dramatic chalk cliffs of Beachy Head on one side and Seaford cliffs on the other, this is one of the most spectacular beaches in Sussex. Accessible only after a 20-30 minute walk from the nearest car park, with no shops or facilites on-site, Cuckmere is a quiet and secluded beach. The approach from Exceat involves a delightful, level stroll alongside the Cuckmere river offering a chance to spot various waterfowl. An unmissable treat for anyone who loves the spectacular English coast.
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