If you’re a follower of my Instagram feed you’ll know how much I love getting my boys outside and especially to the beach. I believe in Vitamin Sea, blowing away the cobwebs and the grounding nature of walking in the sand. Plus my pesky dog, if I’m honest - my boys too, can live their best feral lives at the beach with limited judgement!
But beaches for me, are for life not just for Summer! And I believe that in West Sussex we have some of the best beaches around. So if you’re looking to visit West Sussex and want some tips on which beach to head to, or if you’re local and need some new inspiration for some of the best spots, this blog is for you.
So here are my top 5….
The widely acclaimed one: West Wittering
So this is hugely popular beach in Summer. I had a photo session there on the May Bank Holiday and it took me over 3 hours to do the 15 mile drive home… but for me it will always be worth it. And it is firmly my favourite in Winter when there’s only a handful of walkers on the weekend and even less in the week.
We always drive to the ‘dog beach’ end, which is basically the far end of the car park. In winter when the tide is low the beaches are huge and if the wind is too strong, you can escape and explore into the dunes which my boys love to do. In Winter the cafe is open on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday - 9am to 4pm.
A locals favourite: Pagham
Pagham gets on my list personally because it’s round the corner from my children’s school. I love nothing more than picking them up early and heading there for fish and chips in the summer - in the winter I pop for a bracing dog walk after I’ve dropped them off in the morning.
It’s a long shingle beach with sand in spots at low tide, it’s very quiet through the Winter and I’ve often found myself having the whole beach to myself on a cold and sunny morning. Bliss! Parking is free and there’s a great greasy spoon just off the beach. Also try spotting for seals in Chichester harbour from the beach. I’ve spotted one very close to shore shadowing a fishing boat. Made my week!
A quick dip: Climping
One that is incredibly close to my home is Climping. A lovely quiet spot. It’s a shingle beach with not much there in terms of facilities, but if it’s a bracing walk on a shingle beach you’re after, this is a great spot. You can easily walk to Littlehampton and beyond to other cafes but it is quite far for little legs. My boys love it for the giant rocks that they climb and the little rock pools at low tide.
The one with my favourite cafe for breakfast: Ferring
My favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning by far is head out to breakfast at the beach. It probably harks back to when we lived in Sydney. And my most favourite cafe to do this at is The Blue Bird Cade at Ferring. It’s breakfast and lunches are great. It’s bright and airy, friendly staff and they are very dog friendly. It’s a must see on my list.
Once you’ve had breakfast then you can take the walk in front of the beach huts and on to Goring. It’s paved so perfect for little ones who love to scoot and a proper walk for the dogs.
The one with my favourite cafe for dinner: Bracklesham Bay
Billy’s at Bracklesham Bay is worth a visit in itself, the fact that it’s beautifully located on the beach is a bonus. It does do breakfast but it also does dinner on the weekends which we’ve been to with the boys - the restaurant is light and airy and accepts dogs. The beach itself is shingle and you can walk along the beach towards East Wittering.