Things to do
Local produce and crafts
Even if you’ve lived here for years, the variety of local produce, flavours and crafts that originate within The Living Coast can be astonishing. There are countless ways you can experience the result of the combination of chalk, coast and creativity.
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1. Enjoy a wine- or beer-tasting tour
Sample a sparkling white, an earthy red or a carefully crafted real ale just metres from where it was made and learn exactly what the process involves.
With a long and yeasty beer-brewing heritage using the chalk-filtered waters of the South Downs, The Living Coast region is now earning an international reputation for award-winning wines too. Vineyards stripe sunny chalk slopes and valleys (known within The Living Coast as ‘bottoms’) and you can raise a pint in taprooms in well-known and unexpected rural and urban locations across the biosphere. Many vineyards and local breweries have eateries and a programme of tours and events too. Pop in for a quick visit or make a day of it and book a multi-stop tasting tour.
2. Indulge in a foodie adventure
Enjoying a wealth of local produce from both the sea and the land, The Living Coast is a treasury of delightful local flavours. From gourmet meals to street food to foraged feasts there is so much to taste, learn and discover.
Visit local producers, learn how to cook seasonally or how to give local ingredients a flair of different cultural flavours. Enjoy a day of foraging and feasting in the forest or join a tour to taste your way through the independent foodie gems in side-streets or down country lanes. Part of the joy is that the experiences change with the seasons, so you can always come back for more.
Did you know, Brighton & Hove is a Gold City for Sustainable Food?
‘Food is the missing ingredient for tackling the climate and ecological emergency…’
3. Discover local artists and makers
The Living Coast has a rich craft heritage and a thriving community of artists and makers; independent galleries and shops are scattered across the biosphere. Take a trip to the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft dedicated to a group of world-renowned artists and craftspeople who built a creative community here in the early 20th century.
Wander through Brighton’s North Laine and winding Lanes, along the Arches on the lower promenade of the Brighton seafront, or through the side streets of Lewes to discover quirky and traditional crafts and works of art made locally.
4. Take to a festival art trail
It’s not just shops where you can find local art and crafts. Each May and December, Brighton & Hove creatives open their homes during the Artists Open Houses. With hundreds of homes opening their doors across the city and beyond, you can spend days ooh-ing and aah-ing through local living rooms, gardens and studios. Pick up a map in any local art or craft gallery and plan your route.
You can also head into the countryside in September, when Lewes offers a similar experience with its annual Artwave Festival. For two weeks, studios and venues across Lewes, Newhaven and the surrounding villages open their doors to visitors.
5. Taste your way through the markets
The best place to sample local delights is at a market. It’s hard to find fresher food than at one of the local farmers’ markets. There’s a regular farmers’ market in Lewes twice a month and a Lewes Friday Food Market. Over in Shoreham-by-Sea, there’s a monthly Shoreham Artisan’s Market and a monthly Shoreham farmers’ market. In Brighton, there’s the permanent Open Market, and the Florence Road Market for tasty Saturday morning treats.
6. Learn to do or make something new
Learn how to cook seasonally, how to grow organically or how to combine flavours in new and surprising ways. The Brighton & Hove Food Partnership offer hands-on courses and workshops in their community kitchen and outdoors at Stanmer Park.
Or if you prefer craft to food, learn a modern or traditional skill. There are opportunities to enjoy practical courses in anything from basket weaving, wood carving and natural dying to painting, bookbinding and printing.
7. While away a few hours in a Sussex pub or tearoom
There’s no better place to taste local than in a traditional Sussex pub or tearoom. If you enjoy tradition, you can’t get much older than The Cricketers pub in Brighton’s Lanes which dates back to 1547, Hangleton Manor, the 16th century home of the High Sheriff of Sussex or The Dorset in Lewes which is over 300 years old.
For a delectable cream tea, you can find quirky and quaint tearooms in both rural and urban locations across The Living Coast.