A few miles east of Newhaven is the friendly seaside resort of Seaford.

The town is surrounded by countryside and is near picturesque Sussex villages such as Alfriston, Firle and Glynde and the dramatic cliffs at Seaford Head, Seven Sisters and Beachy Head.

More tranquil than the large resorts along the coast, it has an award-winning four-mile beach and promenade, museum, art gallery and cafes, pubs and restaurants.

From the cliffs at Seaford Head, there are magnificent views across Seaford Bay to Newhaven and to the Seven Sisters cliffs, the Cuckmere Valley and Cuckmere Haven. To the north are rolling Downs and Seaford Head Nature Reserve, which lies in a wider Site of Special Scientific Interest, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Heritage Coast.

Most houses in the town date back to the Thirties and Forties, although there are newer properties being added all the time and a selection of flats dating back to the Sixties .

Seaford has had a turbulent past, having survived French invasion, the loss of its harbour and the erosion of its shoreline.

It was originally settled in the Stone Age, and later by the Romans who were pleased to find a natural harbour at the foot of the huge chalk cliffs at Seaford Head where the River Ouse flowed into the sea. They turned Seaford into a major port. The town thrived and was a centre of commerce for the Normans who exported wool and imported wine.

As a Cinque Port, Seaford enjoyed certain privileges, such as the right to be represented by two MPs at Westminster. But the next 200 years saw Seaford decline in the face of disease, floods and constant attacks by the French.

In 1579, a huge storm sealed the harbour with shingle and redirected the River Ouse to create a “new haven” four miles up the coast.

As a Cinque Port, one of Seaford’s most cherished rights was its entitlement to claim goods washed ashore from shipwrecks. When the port was closed, this ancient privilege led to many ships falling victim to the wreckers who lured them on to the beach to loot their cargos. As the town’s prosperity further dwindled, Seaford became synonymous with smuggling.

Seaford was known as a Rotten Borough until 1832 and the passing of the Reform Bill. Prior to that its influence extended to Westminster where votes were rigged to return two MPs despite the town having lost its special status. Two former representatives, William Pitt and George Canning, went on to become Prime Ministers.

The town maintains its links with Westminster, as the former chancellor of the exchequer Denis Healey lives nearby.

The emergence of the railway in the 1860s enabled Seaford to capitalise on the Victorian fashion for sea bathing and, over the next 100 years, it became an established seaside resort.

For more history of the town, visit the museum in the Martello Tower on the Esplanade. The tower was built by Pitt’s government, during the Napoleonic Wars.

It was the last of more than 70 such structures along the Kent and Sussex coasts to repel a likely French invasion.