Where to live in Sussex
As part of our location guides, we’re looking at the best places to live in Sussex. What might be the best place for a retired couple looking for a quiet seaside town might not be ideal for a young professional seeking a good commute.
Are you moving to Sussex or within the county itself and want to know where to live?
- Towns in Sussex
- Commuter spots in Sussex
- Country villages in Sussex
- Coastal spots in Sussex
- The top 25 best places overall to live
The best towns in Sussex
This list focuses on the best towns in Sussex based on their convenience, culture, amenities, and affordability. We’ve also factored in green spaces, transport, education, and overall safety into our choices.
Here are the top five towns:
- Eastbourne – this coastal tourist town is packed with things to do, including a wide range of traditional pubs and diverse restaurants (especially on the seafront). It also has a great selection of chain and independent shops.
Though not as upmarket as Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne is considerably more affordable. In fact, first-time buyers have a good chance of avoiding Stamp Duty. Land Registry data indicates the average price paid for a terraced house is around £257K and for a semi-detached property is approximately £288K.
Due to its affordability and the number of good schools, a town nicknamed by some as “God’s waiting room”, is now starting to attract young families.
- Lewes – an attractive, historic market town with plenty of green spaces and a mixture of medieval, Georgian and Victorian architecture.
High scoring not because of its looks, Lewes ranks high on this list as it’s quiet and safe while also providing residents a good choice of schools and things to do, including quaint independent shops, tea rooms, pubs and restaurants. However, it’s not cheap and property prices are comparable to Brighton.
- Burgess Hill – the highest scoring town with a sub-60-minute commute into London. The town has lots of green spaces and schools as well as chain shops and restaurants.
- Chichester – it might be cheating to have a cathedral city in this list, but the population of the place itself (not the district) is closer to that of a town. This historic city has plenty of local amenities, including schools, shops and green spaces. Plus, it’s conveniently sandwiched between the picturesque natural beauty of both the Chichester Harbour and the South Downs.
- Worthing – this desirable coastal town has good schools and plenty of culture and arts, including galleries, a museum and live music.
Rounding up the rest of the top ten:
- East Grinstead – a commute in under an hour to London and plenty of local amenities in the town itself.
- Southwick – an attractive small town stepped in history right on Brighton’s doorstep.
- Crawley – one of the quicker commutes from Sussex into the capital.
- Hastings – affordable coastal living with lots to do, including the restaurants, shops and pubs of the charming old town.
- Bexhill-on-Sea – plenty of peace and quiet in this seaside town, though still has the necessary local amenities.
All of these places overall have a lot of benefits, but if you’re looking for something more specific, read on.
Please be aware, your results are only an estimate and should not be considered as a mortgage quote.
Best commuter spots in Sussex
Want the best place to live in Sussex with a station that’s only an hour’s commute in to London? Here are the top five towns (these are NOT the best commutes, but based on our seven key criteria stated above):
- Burgess Hill – the highest-rated town isn’t the most well-connected town in the top five. Trains are direct into London Victoria and London Bridge. However there are also services taking a little longer into London Blackfriars and London St Pancras International.
- East Grinstead – it has practical and leisure amenities, though some of train services can be packed to the rafters.
The train station has regular direct trains into London Victoria and London Bridge that take around an hour. The service starts at the town’s station, which is a good thing for residents since the East Grinstead to LondonBridge route is one of the most overcrowded services in the country.
- Crawley – in terms of the commute alone, this town maybe the best in terms of the number of trains and stations. During the week Crawley Station has half-hourly services both to London Victoria (taking around 40 minutes) and London Bridge (clocking in about an hour). Three Bridges Station is also in Crawley and offers a service that takes 40 minutes to get to Victoria as well as a longer service to London St Pancras International.
- Horsham – this town’s station is the stop before Crawley when heading towards London and has regular, direct trains to London Victoria and London Bridge. The limited-stop services take around an hour, though the stopping service is up to 30 minutes longer.
- Haywards Heath – though the priciest place on average in the top five, it’s one of the better-connected towns in Sussex. Residents can take direct services into London Victoria and London Bridge taking around 45-50 minutes, while there is also a slower service to London St Pancras International.
The best villages in Sussex
Here are our picks of the best villages in Sussex, based on the criteria above. Of course, this list is entirely subjective; everyone will find something about a village that makes it the best to them and as such, we won’t be calling this a definitive list by any stretch! If you disagree with the list, let us know in the comments below and tell us why.
- Forest Row
These villages listed in the top five score highly not because they are pretty (though some are) but because they are as practical as villages can be. For a village, the winner Forest Row has most things residents would want. Next to Ashdown Forest, it has plenty of green space and the peace and quiet many villagers seek, despite the A22 running through it.
Plus, Forest Row has a lot of practical amenities for a place its size, including a doctors’ surgery, independent shops and various restaurants and pubs. It is lacking a train station, but the station in East Grinstead is only a ten-minute drive.
Best seaside spots in Sussex
If you’re looking for coastal living, Sussex has plenty of choices. Here’s a list of what we feel the best places to live by the sea in Sussex are, based again on the criteria we listed above (convenience, culture, affordability, etc.).
- Brighton and Hove
Brighton is the highest rated place in Sussex and combined with Hove is a city, while next door Southwick is a suburb of the city. Also in the top five, Eastbourne and Worthing offer a good selection of schools and things to do.
Hastings also has plenty of shops and restaurants, though doesn’t score as well for schools. On paper, Bexhill looks better for families, as it scores well for safety and schools. Seaford is worth considering if you’re looking for peace and quiet.
The top 25 overall best places to live in Sussex
Many people reading this will likely disagree on the best place to live in Sussex. Ultimately, it’s a subjective choice and one often based on personal connections to an area or often whether a place is picturesque and quaint.
However, if you’re looking to move somewhere you’re not familiar with, using data can be incredibly helpful. Homebuyers can also use it to create a shortlist of places to see in person.
Here’s a list of our overall best places to live in Sussex (again, based on our criteria stated at the top):
- Brighton and Hove
- Burgess Hill
- East Grinstead
- Forest Row
- Haywards Heath
- Wadhurst / Ticehurst
- East Preston
Are you a first-time buyer? Take a look at our Help to Buy guide.
How can OneDome help?
Thinking of moving to any of the above? OneDome can help you find your dream home in Sussex with our intelligent property search. With it, you can be much more specific in your property search than traditional property portals. For example, you might search:
“3 bedroom house in Sussex close to train station and near good schools”
Our property search highlights the important details (close to train station, near good schools), producing a bespoke selection of properties within the Sussex area. We help with much more than just finding a dream home in Sussex though. With OneDome, you can also connect with estate agents, get a mortgage, and complete your conveyancing, all online and in one place. For more information on how OneDome helps home buyers and sellers, get in touch with us on 020 3868 6262 or check out our explainer video here.
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