AS THE Lonely Planet travel guide releases its first shortlist of the top 500 unmissable sights and experiences across the British Isles, The Argus takes a look at some of the top destinations in Sussex. 

From 34 shortlisted locations we’ve whittled them down to eight places and events which are guaranteed to be a sight worth seeing.

1. Lewes Bonfire Night 

The Argus:

Nowhere else in the UK celebrates Bonfire Night quite like Lewes, the self-proclaimed bonfire capital of the world.

Ranking 31st in Lonely Planet’s top 500, the festivities in Lewes on November 5 are the result of seven separate societies competing in different parts of the town.

All have their own processions, campfires
and fireworks, all competing to put on the biggest spectacle.

The scale of the festival is such that the town is packed with revellers.

Turnouts in recent years have approached 80,000 – in a place with a population of 17,000.

As well as the fireworks, Lewes is famous for its bonfire processions, which were once so riotous they were banned by Oliver Cromwell before subsequently being reintroduced by King Charles II.

Every year giant effigies are paraded down the streets before being set alight.

Last year saw the burning of effigies of then-Prime Minister Theresa May and Boris Johnson.  

2. Beachy Head and The Seven Sisters Cliffs

The Argus:

Following closely behind at 35, the cliffs at Beachy Head are routinely lauded for their outstanding natural beauty.

In many contemporary films they have found fame as a stand-in for the white cliffs of Dover, which are protected from natural erosion and have consequently begun to green over with moss.

Beneath the Seven Sisters winds the South Downs Way, offering stunning views from below.

At 531ft, Beachy Head holds the esteemed title of being the highest sea cliff in Britain and dwarves the famous Beachy Head lighthouse below it.

Both Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters are just a short drive from Newhaven and Eastbourne, which makes them ideal for a family visit if the weather is fair.

Cliff-goers are advised to take care in strong winds, as the drop from above is sheer and dangerous.

3. Royal Pavilion

The Argus:

One of Brighton’s most iconic landmarks, the Royal Pavilion
is a fantastic example of the city’s broad and eccentric cultural heritage, coming in at 62 on the Lonely Planet list.

Constructed in stages by King George IV, the Pavilion was the work of architect John Nash, who redesigned and greatly extended the building
between 1815 and 1822.

The intention of the exterior was to recreate the grandeur of Indian architecture.

Lit up at night it’s a fantastic sight, and during the day visitors can tour the interior, which is lavishly decorated in the oriental style favoured by King George.

The furniture includes original pieces lent by the Crown and recreations of original furnishings, including a hand-woven carpet in the Regency parlour.

Audio guides are available
at the entrance to enhance the experience.

4. Arundel Castle

The Argus:

With commanding views across the South Downs and the River Arun, Arundel Castle is one of the most imposing attractions in West Sussex.

Featuring original characteristics from an earlier structure built in 1067 by William the Conqueror to secure his hold on the South Coast, many of its original features have survived to the present day, including its keep, medieval gatehouse and barbican.

The main castle was built at the end of the 11th century by then-Earl of Arundel, Roger de Montgomery.

After being damaged in the English Civil War, the building was restored in the 18th and 19th century, with restoration works completed in 1900.

The castle hosts regular events, theatrical productions and historic reenactments celebrating its history as a Norman castle, which adds to its sense of permanence in the landscape.

It undoubtedly deserves its place on the Lonely Planet guide, and is definitely worth a visit any time of year. 

The Argus:

5. Bloomsbury Group at Charleston

In the the heart of the South Downs National Park, Charleston House offers an insight into the lives of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, who were members of the Bloomsbury Group in the first half of the 20th century.

The Bloomsbury Group was a collective of English writers, intellectuals and artists closely associated with the University of Cambridge and King’s College London.

Members included Virginia Woolf and John Maynard Keynes. Bought by Bell and Grant in 1916, the house became a country retreat for the members of the group over the following half century.

The rooms on show exhibit the decorative art of the Bloomsbury artists, while the walled garden contained vegetable plots and hen runs that were essential to the household during the First World War.

Open from Wednesday to Sunday,
Charleston House and gardens invite visitors into the rich tapestry of the group of celebrated intellectuals.

The house also hosts regular exhibitions. 

6. Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown

The Argus:

The inspiration for A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh and his eponymous fictional forest, the real-life Hundred Acre Wood is actually the Five Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest.

Milne’s country home at Cotchford Farm was just north of the beech wood, which his son Christopher Robin would explore as a child.

Ashdown Forest is now something of a national treasure, and is one of the largest free public access spaces in the South East.

It makes for an ideal family day out, and excited children can compete on Poohsticks Bridge to see who can race their sticks the fastest.

A walking trail winds past many of Christopher Robin’s favourite places to play; avid readers will recognise spots from Milne’s novels, which are at the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Both beautiful and free to visit, the Hundred Acre Wood rightfully deserves its place on the Lonely Planet guide.  

7. Camber Sands Beach 

The Argus:

Camber Sands is one of the few sandy beaches in the county and is a glittering jewel to visit.

For the adventurous the coastline holds a wealth of possibilities for activities, including swimming, kitesurfing and rib tours from nearby Rye Harbour.

Those looking for something a little more sedentary are by no means under-represented either – the dunes at Camber Sands were used for extensive D-Day exercises in the Second World War due to their topographical similarity to the Normandy beaches, and beachcombers
still routinely find old materials from the Second World War. 

The rich flora and fauna in the area around Camber Sands makes it a top location for bird watching, as well as watching for the area’s resident seals. 

There’s something on offer for almost everyone, and visitors can rent coastal cottages for a weekend break with a difference. 

8. Battle Abbey, 1066

The Argus:

Buily near the site of William the Conqueror’s historic
battle with King Harold’s forces in 1066, Battle Abbey is a shining example of the nation’s rich and storied heritage.

Although today Battle’s only claim to notoriety is producing oft-maligned synth-rockers Keane, it still warrants a visit and a place in the
Lonely Planet top 500 guide.

Founded by King William in 1071, the abbey was established as a memorial for those who lost their lives in the battle and as atonement for the Norman conquest.

The grounds of the abbey estate cover much of the former battlefield;
the high altar of the abbey church was, under William’s direction, placed to mark where Harold had been killed as a symbol of piety.

Visitors can explore the abbey grounds and absorb the history of the Grade I listed site, which offers a range of attractions for visitors of all ages.

Recent additions include a new wood-carved sculpture trail, while the abbey is open to visitors throughout the year. 

Throughout other periods of the abbey’s history it served as an all-girl boarding school while Canadian troops were stationed there in the Second World War.  

All that is left of the original church today is an outline of the former foundations, but parts of the abbey’s buildings are still standing.