Although Chichester is often overlooked when it comes to holidays and little outings, this village in West-Sussex has some great attractions and activities to offer. From wine tasting in vineyards to meeting our Roman ancestors and even taking Alpacas for a walk. There is so much to do in Chichester we thought it would be a good idea to list all the best attractions in Chichester. So here are the 10 best things to do in Chichester.
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Fishbourne Roman Palace
This enticing village can be found in the village of Fishbourne. It is the largest residential Roman building found in Britain, and is said to date all the way back to 75 AD, an unusually early date, and about 30 years after the Roman conquest of Britain. This magnificent palace surfaced accidentally, and was systematically excavated in the year 1960. The museum was built by the Sussex Archaeological Society and the gardens were replanted using authentic plants from the Roman period. You can marvel at these recreated Roman gardens, some of the earliest gardens found in Britain, and roam around them. You will also find the largest collection of mosaics found in situ in the UK. Children can engage in educational activities and group visits can be arranged. It is a great place to spend a day or leisurely evening, viewing and enjoying antiques and perfectly landscaped gardens.
Things to do in Chichester: Tinwood Estate Vineyard
The Tinwood Estate hosts vineyards at the foot of the South Downs National Park. being one of the finest sparkling wine producers in England, it makes for a great location to experience a vineyard tour. Their tours include visiting the vineyard, learning about wine making, and indulging in a full wine tasting experience while overlooking the vineyard. You can also opt to choose a tour with some added “Nibbles & Cheese” which include canapes carefully selected to pair with the wine.
Apart from touring the vineyards, Tinwood Estate offers special events such as Afternoon Teas, and Harvest Experience day, which includes picking and tasting grapes accompanied by lunch.
The Tinwood Estate also offers unique, luxury lodges to pair your vinery tour with a cosy getaway. You can choose from the 3 serene lodges, all overlooking the stunning vineyards and offering mesmerizing views of the sunset. The Lodges are made to offer the ultimate comfort, and they all include a 2 person Jacuzzi, Barrel Sauna, extra large king size bed with the finest Egyptian cotton linens, Nespresso coffee machines, flatscreen TVs, and of course, a fridge fully stocked with some fine wine. The cherry on the cake? Dogs are welcome so you won’t have to leave any family members behind.
West Dean Gardens
West Dean Gardens sit quietly at the foot of the South Downs, and claims its place as one of the greatest restored gardens open to the public today. Walking around the garden will give you a glimpse into a wide range of historic elements, from ancient trees to restored secret walled gardens. Some of the featured exhibits are the operative Victorian Glasshouses, an impressive 300 foot pergola, host to varieties of magnolia, clematis, rose and honeysuckle, a spring garden with flint bridges and the out-of-this-world fibreglass trees that offer year-round greenery to visitors. If you’re a horticulture enthusiast, or want to become one, you can even book a short course on practical gardening skills or garden design, or visit West Dean’s Head Gardener, Tom Brown’s videos in the series on how and what to grow. The gardens are a breathtaking sight, with numerous spots to linger in and a magical aura in the air. You can even have a culinary experience at the Gardens Restaurant and indulge in a seasonal menu.
What to do in Chichester: Kingley Vale
This trail consists of century old trees, some of which are the oldest living things in Britain. Kingley Vale is a reserve home to one of the finest yew forests in western Europe and is also one of the most significant archaeological sites in southern England, housing more than 14 ancient monuments. Apart from strolling around these magnificent trees, you should watch out for green woodpeckers on the hunt for ants, red kites and buzzards. Some of the trees you will find, bend in ways you wouldn’t expect, shaped by experiences in their lifetime. You will find that the hike and sometimes steep incline is well worth the views at the end of the road. You will be able to see views over the southern coast all the way towards the Isle of Wight. You can also pack a picnic and enjoy a day out in the sun, amongst these 2000 year old trees. The exploration will take you through interesting spots such as the “Devil’s Hump” and the “Bridal Path”. Treat yourself to a magical walk in the forest.
The Chichester Cathedral was initially known as the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity and was founded as a cathedral all the way back in 1075. It is a fine example of Norman and the Gothic style architecture, and has been described as “the most typical English Cathedral”. The two main features that are unique to the Chichester Cathedral are a free-standing medieval bell tower and double aisles. Amongst the important artifacts found here are the two medieval sculptures, modern and ancient tapestries, and stained glass works. Chichester being the only medieval English cathedral visible from the sea, the spire that rises over its copper roof also acts as a landmark for sailors. The glorious interiors are a sight to behold, with unusually colourful paintings and its intricate detailing. You will also find that the Cathedral offers venues for hire for special occasions, ensuring a unique and rich celebration. The cooling and harmonious environment is a good way to spend a hot day in Chichester.
Chichester Attractions: Weald and Downland Living Museum
This museum is unique in its kind. An open air museum that spans over 40 acres, home to over 50 historic buildings and gardens, some of these are dating from 950AD all the way to the 19th century. What you can find here is a complete immersion in history, where you will not just see it, but live it first hand. Roam around the streets as they were, visit shops, eat foods, even partake in craft demonstrations, showcasing the past coming to life. You can experience blacksmithing, milling, spinning, Tudor cooking and more. When you feel like you need a break, head to the walking trails, with some of the most exceptional landscapes of England, where famous poets, writers and artists have been inspired throughout the ages. Not only will you be able to succumb to the beauty around, but also be lulled into calmness through picturesque walks and the stunningly unique architecture found around. There will be sculptures to be explored and unique trails to be discovered within these lands.
This country house is known for being the seat of the Duke of Richmond, and sits on an estate covering about 12,000 acres. It is now a Grade I listed building. The house is famous for being the site of the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed. The estate also comprises two golf courses and a cricket pitch along with a hotel and a 4000 acre organic farm. This luxurious English country house is the prime example of opulence of the time, with stately apartments, magnificent ballrooms and noble common spaces. It is also home to one of the most important art collections in the country. The Goodwood House is not a mere house, it is an entire property which served as a home, from the estate forests to the gardens. It offers an array of ways to experience the house, including afternoon teas, in house restaurant, meeting and event spaces as well as special halls for ceremonial celebrations.
What to do in Chichester: Dunreyth Alpacas
If you are ever in a bad mood, think of an Alpaca. If you’re in Chichester, definitely take the time to experience a personalized walk with the Alpacas, where you can stroll around the West Sussex woods on an hour long tour, with your own Alpaca friend. This centre, run by husband and wife, also has a small shop with their own homemade knitwear and other items for sale. They also take these loving, friendly animals to care homes and hospices as therapy. They also offer team building events to bigger companies.
Pallant House Gallery
The Pallant House Gallery undoubtedly houses one of the best collections of 20th century British art in the world, including works from the likes of Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, John Piper, Ceri Richards and Graham Sutherland. The art collection continues growing through donations as it grows in popularity. The Pallant House is in fact a Grade I listed Queen Anne townhouse which was built in 1712, so it also holds great historic value. The new addition to the building has also won architectural awards for being the perfect balance between old and new. The Pallant House offers a range of exhibits and special events, each a story of its own offering a unique experience.
Amazing things to do in Chichester: The Novium Museum
The main aim of this museum is to tell the intriguing story of the history of Chichester District, with over 500,000 artefacts on display. It is built over the remains of the Roman bath, making it the main exhibit to occupy most of the ground floor. You will find the Archeology collection, Art and Sculpture collection and the Social history collection. There is also a research department, and the museum welcomes students who wish to partake in short term work placements where they’ll be involved in handling various departments of the museum. You will also find interactive activities and well curated temporary exhibitions. The Novium Museum houses a Morse Code Machine dating back to the 1940s, Mourning Quill Pens, silver denarii found in the Petworth area dating back to 509 BC and even a death warrant of King Charles I.
Lieze Neven is a globetrotting travel writer and expat currently based in Nepal. With a passion for exploration, she has lived in Dubai, the UK, and Belgium, alongside her international teacher husband. Her parents live in France and she tries to visit Paris at least once a year. Together, they travel the world looking for the best hotels, experiences and food locations have to offer!