Wrap up warm & take the binoculars
Pulborough Brooks RSPB reserve is a shimmering wetland beauty, and at this time of year huge numbers of wintering birds make an appearance: wigeons, shovellers, Bewick’s swans and mallards are much in evidence and you might spot peregrines, hen harriers and barn owls hunting from the skies.
Black-tailed godwits and wigeon at Pulborough Brooks © Anne Harwood
Tuck in at Rye
Rye’s week-long Scallop Festival is a major fixture on the Sussex culinary calendar, when this gorgeous medieval town’s profusion of restaurants offer all sorts of scallop-themed dishes, and there are tasting events, live music and cooking demonstrations.
Just one of the many ways that scallops are served in Rye © Oliver Campion
Follow Pooh’s footsteps to the North Pole & Heffalump Trap
Wander in the wilds of Ashdown Forest and get happily lost on the heathy heights, where the Winnie-the-Pooh stories were set, and have a game of Poohsticks at the instantly recognisable Poohsticks Bridge.
Head over to Chichester to see who’s being exhibited at the Pallant House Gallery, or seek out the Ravilious paintings at Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery.
Browsing through Pallant House Gallery © Pallant House Gallery
Garden glory in late spring
You’re spoilt for choice, with some world-class gardens. For starters, though we know we’ve left some brilliant ones out: Nymans, Sheffield Park, Wakehurst Place, High Beeches, Great Dixter, Borde Hill, West Dean and Woolbeding Gardens.
Meet the county set
Ardingly’s showground hosts the three-day South of England Show: heavy horses, livestock displays, equestrian events, hound events and large dollops of local colour.
Take in one of Sussex’s great outdoor museums
There’s plenty happening at the Amberley Museum and Weald, where craftspeople demonstrate all manner of bygone industrial activities. Also visit the Weald and Downland Museum, with its re-erected historic buildings from all over the Southeast and where you can sign up to courses on a wide range of rural matters.
One man went to mow, went to mow a meadow © Weald & Downland Open Air Museum
Cycle to the beach
Beat the crowds and take the cycle paths to Sussex’s best sandy beaches: from Chichester southwards to West Wittering and from Rye to Camber Sands.
Perfect sands can be enjoyed at West Wittering © West Sussex Weekends
Rockpools & cliffs
Browse the rockpools at Cuckmere Haven and head up the Seven Sisters for the finest cliff walk in the Southeast. Stop for a drink at the Tiger in East Dean and walk back through Friston Forest.
No need to go to New England when you’ve got this
Autumn colours at Sheffield Park are quite something as the maples, tupelo trees, birches, eucryphias and swamp cypresses combine to make a spectacular show, enhanced by the reflections in the lakes. Lots of visitors, and the car park fills up; but you can come by steam train on the Bluebell Railway from East Grinstead or by bus from Brighton, Lewes, Haywards Heath or Burgess Hill.
Bonfire Night, Sussex-style
Lewes’s ear-shattering 5 November celebrations feature huge torch-lit parades in fancy dress, marching bands, a burning tar barrel race and huge effigies of Guy Fawkes, politicians and others who are ceremonially blown up at various firework displays all around town. And it’s not just in Lewes: throughout autumn (from September onwards) various towns in East Sussex have their own similar celebrations.
A man photographs the bonfire in Lewes © Mitotico, Shutterstock
Take a pre-Christmas trip to Brighton’s Royal Pavilion: Indian fantasy outside, Chinoiserie to the nth degree inside. You’ll hardly believe your eyes. Then hire skates and try out the seasonal ice rink in front of the Pavilion.