What To Do In and Around Rottingdean
Renowned for its iconic Grade II listed black smock windmill, Rottingdean is a beautiful seaside village ranked by Rightmove as one of the UK’s top 5 coastal property hot spots of 2021.
Formerly a hotbed for smugglers and home to Rudyard Kipling, Rottingdean has much to offer – from its village green, local nature reserve and 13th-century church to its charming seafront and delightful mix of shops and eateries.
Here, we run you through some of our favourite things to see and do in and around the area.
Food and Drink
Rottingdean has a number of popular, family-friendly restaurants, such as Bistro Gourmand “Chez Franck”, Li’s Sizzling House, and Sea of Spice.
Fine dining is easily accessible just down the coast in Brighton, where you will find a host of Michelin-plated restaurants, including:
etch. – a 12-table British tasting menu-only restaurant run by Steven Edwards, winner of Masterchef: The Professionals in 2013;
Isaac At – a modern British restaurant serving Sussex on a plate;
The Little Fish Market, where chef-patron Duncan Ray, previously of PennyHill Park and The Fat Duck, cooks a 6-course set menu; and
If you are looking for a ‘proper pub’ fit for the 21st century, look no further than The Queen Vic. There you will find a friendly welcome and a wide selection of pies and other dishes.
Sitting right by the village green and pond, The Plough Inn is a cosy traditional pub with beautiful oak beams and wood panelling. Head Chef Joe Cunliffe offers a modern take on pub food while the Sunday roasts always draw a crowd.
A private members club until 2020, The Rottingdean Lounge Bar has the largest pub garden in the village. In addition to its main menu, the pub has a special menu of sourdough artisan pizzas and BBQ on Friday evenings and Saturdays throughout the summer.
Enjoying spectacular sea views, the White Horse Hotel serves a hearty selection of pub classics, from sizzling steaks and succulent burgers to lighter bites.
Golfers in Rottingdean are spoilt for choice:
The Dyke Golf Club is a venerable 18-hole course created by legendary designer James Braid;
Also designed by James Braid was the course at East Brighton Golf Club – a 128-year-old club steeped in tradition;
The stunning downland course at Lewes Golf Club enjoys some of the best views in Sussex; and
Seaford Head Golf Course not only offers breathtaking coastal views but an incredible 18th hole with one of the largest drops from tee to pin in the South.
Cyclists are equally well-catered for, with glorious rides through the South Downs National Park and along the coast.
Longhill Sports Centre offers a wealth of facilities, from cricket nets, football pitches and badminton courts to a fitness suite, dance studio, physiotherapy and beauty rooms.
Founded in 1758, Rottingdean Cricket Club is one of the oldest in the country. Rottingdean cricket pitch was previously located on Beacon Hill and it was there that the biggest hit in cricketing history was made when a batsman scored a legendary 67 runs off a single delivery.
The ball was hit down one slope of the Downs but the fielder who retrieved it threw it so wildly that it disappeared down the other side. It then took nearly the whole team throwing in relays to return the ball to the wicket keeper!
Framed by chalk cliffs, it is not hard to see why Rottingdean Beach was voted one of the best by the Telegraph. Swimmers are watched over by a lifeguard during the school summer holidays and your children will love exploring the beach’s fabulous rock pools at low tide.
Home to over 100 exotic animals, award-winning Drusillas Park is widely regarded as the best small zoo in the country. Animals are only half the fun, however, as there is an abundance of kids rides and play areas for children of different ages.
Saved by local residents, Saltdean Lido is one of the finest remaining examples of a modernist lido and the only Grade II listed lido in the UK. It has been described as “the Seventh Wonder of the English Seaside” by English Heritage.
Walks and places of interest
Once part of The Elms, where Rudyard Kipling wrote Stalky & Co, Kim and some of his Just So Stories, the Kipling Gardens are considered a fine example of horticultural excellence. Highlights include the walled Rose Garden, the Herb Garden and the Wild Garden.
Once the sight of a warning beacon, Ditchling Beacon is the highest point in East Sussex and offers commanding 360° panoramic views. Visible for miles around, the Beacon would be maintained ready to light in times of imminent invasion. The site also houses the remnants of an Iron Age hillfort.
Monk’s House is a tranquil weatherboarded cottage in the heart of rural Sussex. It is also where novelist Virginia Woolf and her husband, writer and social reformer Leonard Woolf, lived from 1919 until 1969. The lovely cottage garden has a mix of flowers, vegetables, orchards, lawns and ponds.
With rolling hills, glorious heathland, river valleys, ancient woodland and the iconic white cliffs of the Heritage Coast, the South Downs National Park has it all.
A legendary beauty spot on the South Downs is Devil’s Dyke. The Dyke offers stunning panoramas, England’s most colourful habitat and a record-breaking valley – the longest, deepest and widest ‘dry valley’ in the UK. According to folklore, the Devil dug the chasm to drown the parishioners of the Weald.
Finally, tucked away near the Devil’s Dyke is Saddlescombe Farm and New Timber Hill – one of the best chalk downland sites in the country and a hidden gem on the South Downs Way.