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Day Trips From Brighton by Train

Hop on a train from Brighton to the surrounding areas, with stunning scenery, fabulous beaches and bustling towns to explore

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There is plenty to do in Brighton (see our Visit Brighton by Train page). But if you fancy venturing a bit further afield, see our pick of destinations that you can get to by train from Brighton for a short day trip. All of them are found within East or West Sussex.

From quiet coastal walks to scenic countryside, historic buildings, culture, restaurants and shopping, you’re bound to find something to enjoy.

You can plan your train journey here, and don’t forget if you have a Railcard (external link, opens in a new tab)you can get 1/3 off your rail fares.

Day trips from Brighton in 1 hour or under

Lewes

Lewes, a short train ride inland from Brighton, is a small, hilly town packed with history and art. Stroll up to the 1,000-year-old Lewes castle(external link, opens in a new tab), which enjoys commanding views over the Downs, or visit Anne of Cleves House(external link, opens in a new tab), the brilliantly well-preserved timber-framed medieval house which was presented to Anne at the end of her short marriage to Henry VIII, but in which she never lived.

For art, check out Charleston in Lewes(external link, opens in a new tab), a large, airy exhibition space associated with the Bloomsbury Group of writers, many of whom lived and worked at the nearby Charleston in Firle(external link, opens in a new tab).

Nearest station: Lewes

Seaford

This small town is a great starting point for a gentle walk or a serious hike along the coast towards Eastbourne. Check out the Martello Tower(external link, opens in a new tab), one of 103 fortresses built to protect the coastline from invasion during the Napoleonic Wars, and then head east onto the coastal path.

The trek to Cuckmere Haven takes around an hour and isn’t too demanding while Eastbourne is a more serious hike that takes around 5-and-a-half hours to complete. Views over the English Channel are stunning and there are pubs and cafes en route.

Nearest station: Seaford

Worthing

A few miles west of Brighton, Worthing has plenty of restaurants and cafes as well as its own beach and promenade. Local attractions include the Grade II listed art deco Worthing Pier(external link, opens in a new tab), the popular Pavilion Theatre(external link, opens in a new tab) and the Connaught Cinema(external link, opens in a new tab), one of the oldest cinemas in the UK.

You can explore the area by foot or hire a bike and cycle along the coast towards Littlehampton to the west or Shoreham-on-Sea to the east.

Nearest station: Worthing

Hastings

Most famous for the Norman Conquest of 1066, Hastings was for a long time overshadowed by its noisier neighbours Brighton and Eastbourne, but it’s slowly rewriting history as a cultural hub. With National Rail’s Days Out Guide you can get 2FOR1 entry to the fantastic Hastings Contemporary gallery(external link, opens in a new tab), which sits right on the beach. Or visit the Electric Palace(external link, opens in a new tab), an independent community cinema in the heart of the Old Town.

That’s not to say history has been forgotten; check out the Smugglers Adventure(external link, opens in a new tab), which leads you through the underground corridors once used by smugglers and, of course, Hastings Pier(external link, opens in a new tab), which won the Stirling Prize for architecture in 2017 after extensive renovation.

Nearest station: Hastings

Eastbourne

Eastbourne has plenty of things to see and do, from the Victorian pier(external link, opens in a new tab) and the Eastbourne bandstand(external link, opens in a new tab), which claims to be the busiest on the planet, to the thriving shops and cafes. The stunning Towner Eastbourne(external link, opens in a new tab), with its brightly coloured geometric exterior painted by Lothar Gotz, has contemporary art installations, a cinema and a restaurant while Eastbourne Miniature Railway(external link, opens in a new tab) boasts an adventure park with miniature locomotives, a maze, crazy golf and an adventure playground.

In June each year there’s world-class tennis at the Rothesay International Eastbourne(external link, opens in a new tab), which has previously hosted Novak Djokavic and Serena Williams, and in August there’s a free 2-mile flying display line along the seafront as part of the annual Eastbourne International Airshow(external link, opens in a new tab).

Nearest station: Eastbourne

Rye

Rye is a picture-postcard town bathed in history and close to nature. Check out the Rye Heritage Centre(external link, opens in a new tab), with its famous scale model of the town, and learn how the streets of this historic port town were once trodden by smugglers and French invaders, then climb the Ypres Tower(external link, opens in a new tab) at Rye Castle or the church tower at St Mary’s(external link, opens in a new tab), which offers amazing views over the town.

A 40-minute walk from the town centre will take you to Rye Harbour and the stunning Rye Nature Reserve(external link, opens in a new tab), one of the most important in England and home to over 4,000 species of plants and animals, 300 of which are endangered.

Nearest station: Rye

Chichester

A beautiful Roman cathedral city, Chichester has a vibrant centre with pedestrianised shopping streets, the highly-respected Festival Theatre(external link, opens in a new tab) and the acclaimed Pallant House Gallery(external link, opens in a new tab). There is evidence of Roman settlement all over the city, including an amphitheatre which is now grassed over and part of the city centre park and the remains of a Roman bath house which have been turned into the Novium Museum(external link, opens in a new tab).

A visit to Chichester Cathedral(external link, opens in a new tab) is essential, with its detached medieval bell tower dating back to around 1400, Roman mosaics, a tapestry by the British artist John Piper and a stained-glass window by the Russian-born painter Marc Chagall.

Nearest station: Chichester

Day trips from Brighton in 1 to 2 hours

Arundel

This small market town packs a big punch. As well as having a dip in the heated lido(external link, opens in a new tab), you can wander leisurely around the antique shops or visit the 11th-century Arundel Castle(external link, opens in a new tab), England’s second largest castle, and the imposing French gothic-style Catholic cathedral(external link, opens in a new tab).

Learn about nature at the Arundel Wetland Centre(external link, opens in a new tab), which has activities for children including boat safaris and big bug weekends.

Nearest station: Arundel

Portsmouth

Portsmouth was the setting off point for many of the troops who sailed the Channel for D-Day, and their story is told in the Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery(external link, opens in a new tab). The gallery also has an impressive collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle(external link, opens in a new tab) paraphernalia as the writer set up his doctor’s surgery in the city and started writing about Sherlock Holmes to top-up his income.

Visit Portsmouth Historic Dockyard(external link, opens in a new tab) to discover the city’s naval heritage or ascend the Spinnaker Tower(external link, opens in a new tab) for incredible views across the harbour. Those brave enough might consider abseiling the side of the tower to raise money for charity.

Nearest stations: Portsmouth Harbour, Portsmouth & Southsea

Find out more about Sussex

Go to the Discover Sussex website

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Charleston Farmhouse image credit: © Emma Croman/Visit Lewes

Worthing Pier image credit: © Sonja Fox

Towner Eastbourne image credit: © James Ratchford/Visit Eastbourne

Chichester Cathedral image credit: © Daniel Smith

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