As the weather finally brightens up, our thoughts turn to beach days.

Here in East Sussex, we are blessed to have some amazing beaches, but with such an array to choose from, it seems impossible to decide where to head.

Thankfully users of "the beach guide" have ranked the top beaches.

Let us know what you make of the list in the comments below.

6. Pevensey Bay

This rural, shingle beach about five miles north-east of Eastbourne is known to be the place where William the Conqueror landed in 1066 before the Battle of Hastings.

During the 12th century, the former harbour was a busy commercial port, although today the coast has receded so the village of Pevensey is now about one mile away from the beach.

The Argus: Pevensey Bay beachPevensey Bay beach

The beach is quieter than most of the beaches along this stretch of the coast and unusually for this area, there are no cliffs.

This is a good beach to come to for views over the channel and around the gentle curve of the coastline.

North-east of the beach is a flat, marshy area known as the Pevensey Levels. 

This is home to the rare fen raft spider and a wide range of interesting flora and fauna.

In 2016 the remains of a 50 foot whale washed up on the Pevensey Bay Beach in almost exactly the same spot where a similar large whale washed up in 1865. 

5. Bexhill Beach

The traditional south coast seaside resort of Bexhill is a good spot for a family day at the beach.

The beach is mainly shingle held in place by a series of wooden groynes.

At low tide a good expanse of fairly hard sand is exposed though.

The Argus: Bexhill beachBexhill beach

Swimming is generally safe at Bexhill and there are now RNLI lifeguards on duty during the summer with flagged areas for bathing.

Bexhill’s seaside pedigree is clear with a good long section of promenade not to mention some very nice beach huts.

4. Cuckmere Haven Beach

This quiet pebble beach is dominated by the white chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters just to the east.

It sits at the mouth of the meandering Cuckmere river.

One of the best known views of the beach is looking out over the coastguard cottages towards the Seven Sisters.

The Argus: Cuckmere Haven Cuckmere Haven

This row of four cottages was built shortly after the foundation of the National Coastguard Service in 1822.

However, they are currently under threat from erosion with the cliffs over 30 metres closer than they originally were.

Cuckmere Haven is a popular spot for anglers with the river mouth providing rich pickings. The area is also abundant with wildlife.

The beach (and backdrop of the cliffs) has been used as a location in numerous films including Harry Potter and Robin Hood.

3. Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach is a pebbly beach with certified Blue Flag waters a 4-mile promenade that buzzes with life in all seasons.

Unsurprisingly, it can get very crowded on Bank Holidays, but that’s all part of the appeal.

The Argus: Brighton beach on a warm dayBrighton beach on a warm day

The waters can be chilly but are popular for swimming and watersports such as windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and wakeboarding.

They all look good from the comforts of a deckchair! Kids can have fun in the free paddling pool. Sand is imported each summer to accommodate the volleyball court.

There’s a Victorian pier nearby and a traditional fairground along with cafes, restaurants, fish and chips and beach clubs.

Next to the pier is the Sea Life Centre which is probably the oldest aquarium in the world, dating back to 1872.

Brighton Beach is within walking distance of the town and shops. 

The eastern end of Brighton Beach is an official naturist beach. When it opened in 1980, it was the first in the UK.

In December, the beachfront hosts the Winter Solstice celebrations followed by the annual New Year Swim. Brrrr!

There’s lots of homemade paper lanterns and lantern making workshops if you want to make your own rather than buying one for a local shop.

2. Birling Gap Beach

The beach at Birling Gap is set at the base of the imposing, sheer chalk cliffs known as the Seven Sisters.

Despite being set between the well known seaside resorts of Eastbourne and Brighton this is one of the longest stretches of undeveloped coastline on England’s south coast.

Birling Gap beach is a mix of mostly pebbles which give way to the occasional patch of sand. As the tide goes out rocky platforms are revealed which provide an array of rock pools to explore.

The Argus: Rock pools at Birling Gap - GoogleMapsRock pools at Birling Gap - GoogleMaps

Access to the beach is via a sturdy tower staircase from cliff level. At the top you will find the weatherboarded National Trust cafe along with a car park and row of cottages which is slowly disappearing into the sea as the cliffs erode.

The white chalk cliffs here are white for a reason, and that is the rate at which they are eroding; up to a metre a year in places.

As well as meaning the cottages are falling into the sea the unstable cliffs also present a significant danger to anyone standing too close.
Birling Gap’s cliffs are also of some geological interest and are a fine example of sedimentary layers. The beach is also a good place for fossil hunting.

Certain areas of Birling Gap beach are used by nudists.

1. Camber Sands Beach

Camber Sands is a little unusual for a Sussex beach and the reason is in the name. Yes, sands! Unlike most beaches along the Sussex coast which are lined with pebbles and shingle held in place by a series of groynes, Camber Sands is covered in fine, golden sand. Not only that but Camber is home to the only sand dunes in East Sussex.

The best section of beach is the western end near where the River Rother empties into the sea.

Here it is wall to wall sand whilst further along the beach becomes more shingley. It’s a big beach too, stretching nearly 5 miles east of the village.

As the tide drops out it becomes even bigger with swathes of wet sand revealed - just the sort for making sandcastles!

Camber Sands is a popular windsurfing / kite-surfing spot which might suggest it is worth packing a windbreak. The beach is also regarded as one of the best places for beachcombing in the UK.

Despite its fantastic natural assets Camber Sands remains largely unspoilt. For the larger part of the year there is a good chance of finding some solitude here. Even in the height of summer the crowds are bearable even though it is within 2 hours of London.

  • What is your favourite beach? Let us know in the comments.