Looking to explore more of England? In this post, I will share our itinerary for a day trip in Sussex (East Sussex and West Sussex), visiting Rye, Battle and Hastings. This day trip from London to Sussex is a great idea to spend a weekend in a beautiful town, Rye and on the beach in Hastings, and learn a bit of history in Battle, where the famous battle of Hastings took place! For us, this was a road trip around Sussex; however, you can visit these places by train as well!
If you’re new to this blog, hi, I’m Liza. I love exploring the UK one weekend at a time. On Tripsget, I write about combing a full-time job in London with travelling and focus a lot on weekend trips in Europe. As Europe is still pretty much closed, together with my partner, we decided to explore more of the UK, especially some places where we wanted to go for a long time but didn’t have a chance. If you’re interested in my other posts about travelling in the UK, head here!
Here’s what you’ll see in this post:
How to get to Sussex (Rye and Hastings) from London by train and car
If you’re wondering how to get to Rye and Hastings from London, it’s straightforward! A train brings you to Rye in 1 hour 15 minutes with a short interchange in Ashford. From Rye, you can take a train to Hastings, and it only takes 18 minutes! There is also a direct train from Hastings to London. Visiting Battle might be a bit problematic, but you can hop on a train to Battle from Hastings if you want. You can check the train prices and availability here.
As I mentioned right at the start of the post, this day trip to Sussex from London was, in fact, a short road trip for us. As we bought a car a few months ago, we decided to head there by car. If you want to rent a car, I recommend using Rentalcars.com. That’s where we always used to rent before we bought our own car.
Sussex Day Trip from London: Rye, Battle and Hastings
Visiting Rye – the most beautiful town in Sussex
Our first destination in Sussex was Rye – a stunning medieval town. It took us about 2 hours to get there from London, and it was a pleasant ride. If you live close to a train station, it might be faster to get there by train!
Rye is a bustling and touristic place. We expected it to be tiny, almost like a village, but it’s not. There are plenty of things to do in Rye, and some people even stay overnight. As we only had about 3 hours in Rye, we just walked around the town centre, explored the oldest pubs of Rye, the Mermaid Inn and the Old Bell Inn (two of the pubs that were connected to smugglers & had secret underground passages that they were using ); and took many photos on Mermaid Street – the prettiest street in Rye! We also explored the only surviving medieval gate in Rye and had an early lunch in one of Rye’s most famous tea rooms – the Cobbles tea room.
As we only sadly had a few hours to spend in Rye, we had to get going. After having lunch, we decided to walk around for about 45 minutes, discovering a beautiful historical gate, a few fantastic interior shops and a few more restaurant and then drove to Battle. I loved Rye, and in my opinion, it’s the most beautiful town in Sussex!
There is another stunning place very close to Rye – it’s called Camber Sands, and it’s one of the prettiest beaches in South England. If you arrive in Rye quite early and notice that you have time left, make sure to visit Camber Sands as well!
Our next stop was Battle – a famous town located circa 20 minutes driving away from Rye. Battle is home to the famous Battle Abbey. Its full name is 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield and I guess, from the name, you can guess which renowned event happened there. Long story short, the Norman King William (The Conqueror) defeated King Harold and took over England. During the Conquest, he committed a large massacre and was ordered to build this Abbey by the Pope as part of his atonement.
The Battle Abbey is an English Heritage site, and you need to buy tickets to visit it! You can either buy them on-site or online here.
Finally, the last stop of our day trip to East & West Sussex was Hastings. Hastings is a coastal city located relatively close to the more renowned Brighton. Hastings used to have a rough reputation a few years ago; however, it has changed a bit in recent years. The main attraction of Hastings is its recently rebuilt pier that now hosts a lot of small colourful shop stalls and a large open-air bar with a spot for a DJ! I would say even the bar alone is worth a trip to Hastings on a sunny day.
As pretty much any coastal town in England, Hasting has a large variety of fish & chips stores. Make sure to pick the one with the longest queue (locals know which chippy is the best) and get a portion of your favourite fish & chips. However, you need to keep an eye on your food, as the malicious seagulls can steal your lunch (or dinner) at any moment!
I recommend walking all the way to Hastings Castle – you will be able to see a lovely panorama of the entire city! Also, if you’re looking for exciting things to do in Hastings, Hastings contemporary museum is a place to go!
Summary of our day trip to Sussex: the itinerary
To summarise, I really enjoyed our day trip to Sussex and was very keen to share with you our itinerary for visiting Rye, Battle and Hastings! If you can only see one place, I recommend Rye; however, you can definitely have a similar itinerary if you have a car. If you need to rent a car, I recommend using Rentalcars.com!
I also recommend watching a sunset in Hastings if you were lucky to visit the city on a sunny day! Sunsets in Hastings are stunning, and I recommend staying there to see it if you have an opportunity!