The sand dunes at West Wittering Beach

Exploring West Wittering Beach and its Natural Beauty

Introduction to West Wittering Beach

Overview of West Wittering Beach

West Wittering Beach, located in the picturesque village of West Wittering near Chichester, is one of the most stunning and popular beaches on the South Coast of England. This beautiful sandy beach stretches for miles, offering visitors a perfect blend of natural beauty, recreational activities, and amenities. The beach's unique location at the mouth of Chichester Harbour, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), adds to its allure, making it a must-visit destination for beach lovers, families, and water sports enthusiasts.


The expansive sandy shores of West Wittering Beach provide ample space for visitors to enjoy various activities, such as sunbathing, swimming, walking, and beach games. The soft, golden sand is perfect for building sandcastles or simply relaxing under the sun. The crystal-clear waters of the beach are not only inviting for a refreshing swim but also consistently meet the highest European standards for water quality, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all.


One of the most distinctive features of West Wittering Beach is its impressive network of sand dunes, which are home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. These dunes are protected as part of the East Head Nature Reserve, managed by the National Trust. Visitors can explore the dunes through designated paths and boardwalks, immersing themselves in the unique coastal habitat and observing the various plants and wildlife that thrive here. The nature reserve is also a paradise for birdwatchers, with numerous species of seabirds and waders frequently spotted in the area.


The beach's strategic location at the entrance to Chichester Harbour makes it an ideal spot for water sports enthusiasts. The harbour is renowned for its excellent conditions for sailing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing, with several clubs and schools in the area offering lessons and equipment hire. The gentle waves and consistent winds create the perfect environment for both beginners and experienced water sports enthusiasts to enjoy their favourite activities. For those who prefer a more leisurely approach, a boat trip around the harbour provides a fantastic opportunity to take in the stunning views of the coastline and the nearby villages.


West Wittering Beach is easily accessible by car, with a large car park conveniently located just a short walk from the beach. The car park postcode is PO20 8AJ, and it is well-signposted from the main road. During peak season, it is advisable to arrive early to secure a parking spot, as the car park can fill up quickly. Alternatively, visitors can reach the beach by public transport, with regular bus services operating from Chichester and the surrounding areas.


The beach is well-equipped with essential amenities, ensuring a comfortable visit for all. Toilet facilities, showers, and a beach cafe are available for visitors' convenience. The West Wittering Beach Cafe offers a variety of refreshments, light meals, and ice creams, with both indoor and outdoor seating areas. The cafe is open daily during the summer months and on weekends throughout the rest of the year.

Historical and Cultural Significance

West Wittering Beach boasts a rich history and cultural heritage that adds to its allure as a coastal destination. The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, with evidence of human activity dating back thousands of years. The discovery of Roman and Saxon artifacts in the vicinity suggests that the area served as an important settlement and trading post in ancient times.


During the medieval period, the village of West Wittering was primarily an agricultural community, with fishing and salt production also playing significant roles in the local economy. The nearby Chichester Harbour was a crucial port for trade, with ships carrying goods to and from the continent. The harbour's strategic importance continued into the modern era, with the area playing a vital role in the defence of the English coast.


One of the most significant historical events associated with West Wittering Beach is its role in the preparation for the D-Day landings during World War II. The beach served as a training ground for the Allied forces, with thousands of soldiers, tanks, and landing craft practicing for the invasion of Normandy. The area's topography, with its wide sandy beaches and rolling dunes, closely resembled the coastline of northern France, making it an ideal location for rehearsing the amphibious landings.


Remnants of this wartime history can still be seen along the coastline today, with several pillboxes and other defensive structures scattered throughout the area. These concrete bunkers, built to protect against a potential German invasion, now serve as reminders of the beach's crucial role in one of the most significant military operations in history.


In more recent times, West Wittering Beach has become a popular destination for artists, writers, and photographers, drawn to its stunning natural beauty and unique coastal landscape. The celebrated English painter, Stanley Spencer, frequently visited the area in the 1930s and created several notable works inspired by the beach and its surroundings. The beach has also featured in numerous films and television shows, showcasing its picturesque setting to audiences around the world.


The cultural significance of West Wittering Beach extends beyond its historical and artistic associations. The beach and its surrounding areas are also important for their ecological value, with the East Head Nature Reserve serving as a vital habitat for numerous plant and animal species. The reserve is home to several rare and endangered species, including the little tern and the ringed plover, which rely on the undisturbed sandy beaches for nesting.


The local community plays an active role in preserving and promoting the beach's cultural heritage. The West Wittering Estate, which owns and manages much of the land around the beach, works in partnership with local organisations and conservation groups to protect the area's natural beauty and historical significance. Regular beach cleans, educational events, and guided walks are organised to encourage visitors to appreciate and respect the unique coastal environment.


In recent years, West Wittering Beach has also become a popular venue for cultural events and festivals, attracting visitors from across the region. The annual Beach Fest, held in August, celebrates the beach's vibrant surf culture with live music, food stalls, and water sports demonstrations. Other events, such as open-air theatre performances and art exhibitions, further showcase the beach's role as a cultural hub for the local community.


The rich historical and cultural tapestry of West Wittering Beach adds depth and character to this already stunning coastal destination. From its ancient origins and wartime significance to its artistic inspiration and ecological importance, the beach offers visitors a multifaceted experience that goes beyond its natural beauty. By understanding and appreciating this cultural heritage, visitors can forge a deeper connection with the beach and its surroundings, ensuring that its significance is preserved for generations to come.

West Wittering Beach

Parking and Accessibility at West Wittering Beach

Car Park Facilities and Charges

West Wittering Beach is a popular destination that attracts numerous visitors, particularly during the peak summer months. To accommodate the high volume of beachgoers, the beach offers a large car park with ample space for vehicles. The West Wittering Beach car park is conveniently located just a short walk from the beach itself, making it easy for visitors to access the sandy shores and amenities.


The car park postcode is PO20 8AJ, and it is well-signposted from the main road, ensuring that visitors can easily find their way to the beach. Upon arrival, visitors will find a spacious, well-maintained car park with clearly marked parking bays. The car park is divided into several sections, catering to different types of vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, and coaches.


One of the most important aspects to consider when planning a visit to West Wittering Beach is the parking charges. The beach car park operates on a pay-and-display system, with ticket machines located throughout the car park. The parking charges vary depending on the time of year and the duration of your stay.


As of 2023, the parking charges for West Wittering Beach car park are as follows:


  • Peak season (April to September): £8.50 per day or £4.50 for up to 2 hours
  • Off-peak season (October to March): £4.50 per day or £2.50 for up to 2 hours


It is important to note that these charges are subject to change, so visitors are advised to check the official West Wittering Estate website for the most up-to-date information on parking fees.


Payment for parking can be made using cash or credit/debit cards at the ticket machines. The machines do not give change, so visitors should ensure they have the correct amount of cash or a suitable payment card. Once you have purchased your ticket, you must display it clearly on your vehicle's dashboard to avoid receiving a parking fine.


For frequent visitors to West Wittering Beach, the West Wittering Estate offers an annual parking permit. This permit allows unlimited parking at the beach car park throughout the year, providing a cost-effective option for those who plan to visit the beach regularly. As of 2023, the annual parking permit costs £125, and it can be purchased online or at the beach office.


During peak season, particularly on weekends and bank holidays, the West Wittering Beach car park can fill up quickly. To ensure a hassle-free experience, visitors are advised to arrive early in the day to secure a parking spot. In the event that the main car park reaches capacity, there is an overflow car park available nearby. However, this overflow car park is a grassy area and may not be suitable for low-clearance vehicles or during wet weather conditions.


The car park is open from dawn until dusk, allowing visitors to enjoy the beach throughout the day. Overnight parking is not permitted, and vehicles left in the car park after closing time may be subject to fines or towing.

Accessibility and Facilities for Visitors with Disabilities

West Wittering Beach is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible environment for all visitors, including those with disabilities or mobility issues. The beach and its facilities have been adapted to ensure that everyone can enjoy the stunning coastal setting and amenities, regardless of their abilities.


One of the key features of West Wittering Beach's accessibility is the presence of designated disabled parking spaces in the main car park. These spaces are located close to the beach entrance and are clearly marked with the appropriate signage. Visitors who wish to use these spaces must display a valid Blue Badge in their vehicle.


To reach the beach from the car park, visitors can use a ramp that leads onto a firm, level path running along the back of the beach. This path is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, allowing easy access to the beach for those with mobility requirements. The path is well-maintained and provides a stable surface, ensuring a safe and comfortable journey to the sandy shores.


It is important to note that while the path provides access to the beach, it does not extend onto the sand itself. The soft, uneven nature of the sand may present a challenge for wheelchair users or those with limited mobility. However, the beach offers a variety of other amenities and facilities that cater to the needs of visitors with disabilities.


The West Wittering Beach Cafe, located just a short distance from the car park, is fully accessible for wheelchair users. The cafe entrance features a ramp, and the interior layout provides ample space for manoeuvring wheelchairs or mobility aids. The cafe staff are also trained to assist visitors with disabilities, ensuring a welcoming and accommodating experience for all.


The beach's public toilet facilities, located near the cafe and in the car park, include accessible toilets for visitors with disabilities. These toilets are spacious, equipped with grab rails, and designed to accommodate wheelchairs. The sinks and hand dryers are positioned at a suitable height for wheelchair users, and there is an emergency alarm system in place for added safety.


For visitors who require assistance while at the beach, the West Wittering Estate has partnered with local organisations to provide support and equipment. The Chichester-based charity, Reaching the Unreached, offers beach wheelchairs for hire, allowing visitors with mobility issues to enjoy the sand and sea. These specially designed wheelchairs feature large, wide wheels that can navigate the soft sand, providing a more comfortable and enjoyable beach experience.


In addition to the beach wheelchairs, the West Wittering Estate has also invested in a mobile hoist to assist visitors with disabilities in accessing the beach. The hoist is available upon request and is operated by trained staff members, ensuring a safe and dignified transfer from wheelchair to beach.


The lifeguards on duty at West Wittering Beach are also trained to assist visitors with disabilities. They are equipped with communication aids and are knowledgeable about the beach's accessibility features, enabling them to provide appropriate support and guidance to visitors with various needs.


To further improve accessibility, the West Wittering Estate regularly reviews its facilities and services, seeking feedback from visitors with disabilities and consulting with local disability organisations. This ongoing commitment to inclusivity ensures that West Wittering Beach remains a welcoming and enjoyable destination for all.

Beach Facilities and Amenities

West Wittering Beach Cafe

One of the most popular amenities at West Wittering Beach is the Beach Cafe. Located just a short walk from the car park, the West Wittering Beach Cafe offers a wide range of refreshments, light meals, and snacks, catering to the needs of beachgoers throughout the day.


The cafe boasts a diverse menu that includes traditional beach favourites such as ice creams, sandwiches, and fish and chips, ensuring that there is something to suit every taste. For those looking for healthier options, the cafe also offers a selection of salads and fresh fruit, providing a refreshing and nutritious alternative.


In addition to its food offerings, the West Wittering Beach Cafe serves a variety of hot and cold beverages, including tea, coffee, and soft drinks. Whether you're in need of a morning coffee to start your day or a refreshing afternoon tea, the cafe has you covered.


The cafe's seating options cater to the preferences of all visitors, with both indoor and outdoor areas available. The indoor seating provides a cozy and comfortable space to enjoy your refreshments, particularly during cooler days or inclement weather. The outdoor seating, on the other hand, offers stunning views of the beach and the Solent, allowing you to soak up the sun and enjoy the sea breeze while savouring your meal or snack.


The Beach Cafe is committed to using locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible, supporting the local economy and ensuring the freshness and quality of its offerings. The cafe also caters to various dietary requirements, with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options available upon request.


Throughout the year, the West Wittering Beach Cafe hosts various events and themed days, adding to the vibrant atmosphere of the beach. From live music performances to seasonal menu specials, there is always something exciting happening at the cafe.


The cafe is open daily during the summer months (April to September), ensuring that visitors can enjoy its offerings throughout the peak season. During the winter months (October to March), the cafe operates on a reduced schedule, opening on weekends and during school holidays.


In addition to its regular offerings, the West Wittering Beach Cafe is also available for private hire, making it an ideal venue for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. The cafe's unique beachfront location and delicious catering options make it a popular choice for events and celebrations.


The cafe is committed to minimising its environmental impact and promoting sustainability. It uses eco-friendly packaging, recycles waste, and encourages customers to use reusable cups and containers. By supporting the cafe, visitors not only enjoy delicious food and drinks but also contribute to the beach's conservation efforts.

Toilet Facilities and Beach Huts

West Wittering Beach is well-equipped with essential amenities to ensure a comfortable and convenient visit for all beachgoers. Among these amenities are the toilet facilities and beach huts, which cater to the needs of visitors throughout their stay.


The main toilet block at West Wittering Beach is located near the beach entrance, just a short walk from the car park. The toilet facilities are well-maintained, regularly cleaned, and offer ample space for both men and women. The block includes multiple cubicles, sinks, and hand dryers, ensuring that visitors can freshen up and maintain their hygiene while at the beach.


In addition to the main toilet block, there are several other toilet facilities located along the beach, providing convenient access for visitors who may be further away from the main entrance. These facilities are also well-maintained and regularly serviced to ensure a pleasant experience for all users.


For visitors with disabilities or limited mobility, West Wittering Beach offers accessible toilet facilities. These toilets are spacious, equipped with grab rails, and designed to accommodate wheelchairs. They are located in the main toilet block and at strategic points along the beach, ensuring that all visitors have access to suitable facilities.


In addition to the toilet facilities, West Wittering Beach also offers beach hut hire for visitors who desire a more private and convenient base for their day at the beach. The beach huts are located along the promenade, just a short distance from the main beach entrance.


The huts are brightly coloured and well-maintained, adding a charming and vibrant touch to the beachfront. Each hut is equipped with basic amenities such as seating, storage space, and a small countertop, providing a comfortable and practical space for visitors to store their belongings, change, or simply relax.


Beach hut hire is available on a daily or weekly basis, with prices varying depending on the season and demand. Visitors are advised to book well in advance, particularly during peak season, as the huts are highly sought-after and can sell out quickly.


The beach huts are an ideal option for families with young children, as they provide a safe and convenient space for changing, feeding, and storing essentials such as pushchairs and toys. They are also popular among groups of friends or couples who wish to have a private space to retreat to during their day at the beach.


In addition to the practical benefits, hiring a beach hut at West Wittering adds a touch of nostalgia and charm to the beach experience. Many visitors enjoy the traditional and quintessentially British feel of the huts, which have been a staple of British seaside culture for generations.


The beach huts at West Wittering are managed by the West Wittering Estate, which is responsible for their maintenance and upkeep. The Estate ensures that the huts are regularly painted, repaired, and cleaned, guaranteeing a high standard of quality for all users.

Beach huts at West Wittering Beach

Beach Activities and Water Sports

Swimming and Sunbathing

West Wittering Beach is a paradise for those who enjoy swimming and sunbathing, thanks to its expansive stretch of soft, golden sand and crystal-clear waters. The beach's natural beauty and excellent facilities make it a top destination for visitors looking to relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy a refreshing dip in the sea.


The long, sandy shoreline of West Wittering Beach provides ample space for sunbathers to spread out and enjoy the warm rays of the sun. The soft, fine sand is perfect for lying on, and many visitors choose to bring their own beach towels, blankets, or sun loungers to create a comfortable base for the day.


The beach's gentle slope and shallow waters near the shore make it an ideal spot for families with young children to enjoy the sea safely. The water temperature at West Wittering Beach is generally pleasant during the summer months, with average temperatures ranging from 17°C to 20°C, making it inviting for swimmers of all ages.


For those who prefer a more active beach experience, West Wittering offers excellent conditions for swimming. The beach is known for its clean and clear waters, which consistently meet the highest European standards for water quality. This means that swimmers can enjoy the sea with confidence, knowing that the water is safe and free from pollution.


The beach is lifeguarded during the summer months (May to September), providing an added layer of safety for swimmers. The lifeguards are highly trained and experienced, and they monitor the beach and water conditions throughout the day to ensure the well-being of all beachgoers.


In addition to the main swimming area, West Wittering Beach also features a designated area for water sports, which is separate from the main swimming zone. This allows swimmers to enjoy the water without interference from surfboards, kayaks, or other water sport equipment.


For those who prefer a more secluded swimming experience, the beach's long stretch of shoreline offers plenty of opportunities to find a quiet spot away from the crowds. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the beach and discover hidden coves or quieter areas where they can enjoy a peaceful swim or a private sunbathing session.


The beach's facilities, such as the nearby beach cafe and toilet facilities, make it easy for swimmers and sunbathers to spend a full day at the beach without having to leave the area. The cafe offers a range of refreshments and light meals, perfect for refuelling after a swim or for enjoying a lazy lunch in the sun.


Visitors are encouraged to follow beach safety guidelines and to be aware of the tide times and weather conditions when swimming or sunbathing at West Wittering Beach. The beach's noticeboards and lifeguards provide up-to-date information on water conditions, tide times, and any potential hazards, ensuring that visitors can enjoy the beach safely and responsibly.

Water Sports: Surfing, Windsurfing, and Kitesurfing

West Wittering Beach is a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts, particularly those interested in surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. The beach's location at the entrance to Chichester Harbour and its exposure to the English Channel create excellent conditions for these exhilarating activities.


Surfing is a beloved pastime at West Wittering Beach, with the beach's consistent waves and clean waters attracting surfers of all skill levels. The best conditions for surfing typically occur during the autumn and winter months, when the swells are larger and more frequent. However, the beach can offer good waves throughout the year, depending on the weather conditions.


Beginners can take advantage of the beach's gentle breaks and shallow waters to learn the basics of surfing, while more experienced surfers can enjoy the challenge of riding larger waves further out to sea. The beach has a designated area for water sports, which helps to minimise conflicts between surfers and swimmers.


For those who are new to surfing or looking to improve their skills, there are several surf schools and instructors available in the area. These schools offer lessons and courses for all levels, from complete beginners to advanced surfers, and provide all the necessary equipment, including surfboards and wetsuits.


Windsurfing is another popular water sport at West Wittering Beach, thanks to the area's consistent winds and wide, open waters. The beach's location at the mouth of Chichester Harbour creates ideal conditions for windsurfing, with steady winds blowing across the water throughout the year.


The beach has a dedicated launch area for windsurfers, which is separate from the main swimming and surfing zones. This allows windsurfers to safely enter and exit the water without interfering with other beach users.


Windsurfing equipment, including boards and sails, can be rented from local shops and schools in the area. These establishments also offer lessons and courses for beginners and improvers, teaching the fundamentals of windsurfing and helping participants to build their confidence on the water.


Kitesurfing has gained popularity at West Wittering Beach in recent years, with the beach's wide-open spaces and consistent winds making it an ideal location for this thrilling sport. Kitesurfers harness the power of the wind using large, controllable kites to propel themselves across the water on a small board.


The beach has a designated kitesurfing area, which is located downwind from the main beach to ensure the safety of other beach users. Kitesurfers must adhere to strict safety guidelines and follow the instructions of the beach's lifeguards and marshals.


As with surfing and windsurfing, there are several kitesurfing schools and instructors available in the area, offering lessons and courses for all levels. These schools provide all the necessary equipment and teach participants the skills and techniques required to safely enjoy this exciting sport.


Visitors interested in trying any of these water sports should be aware of the potential risks and take appropriate precautions. It is essential to check the weather conditions and tide times before entering the water and to follow the advice of lifeguards and instructors at all times.

A kitesurfer at West Wittering Beach

Dog-Friendly Policies and Recommendations

Seasonal Dog Restrictions

West Wittering Beach is a popular destination for dog owners, offering a beautiful and expansive stretch of coastline for canine companions to explore and enjoy. However, to ensure the comfort and safety of all beachgoers, the beach has specific dog-friendly policies and recommendations that visitors should be aware of.


During the summer months, from May 1st to September 30th, dogs are not allowed on the main section of West Wittering Beach between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm. This seasonal dog restriction is in place to accommodate the increased number of visitors during the peak season and to minimise potential conflicts between dogs and other beach users.


It is important to note that the summer dog ban only applies to the main section of the beach, which extends from the beach huts to the water's edge. However, dogs are still welcome on the beach before 10:00 am and after 6:00 pm during this period, allowing early morning and evening walks with your furry friends.


Moreover, the seasonal dog restrictions do not apply to the entire beach. Dogs are permitted year-round on the other sections of the beach, including the East Head nature reserve and the area west of the beach huts. These areas provide ample space for dogs to run, play, and explore, even during the summer months.


During the off-season, from October 1st to April 30th, dogs are allowed on all sections of West Wittering Beach at any time. This period is particularly popular among dog owners, as the beach is generally quieter and offers more space for dogs to roam freely.


It is crucial for dog owners to be aware of and adhere to these seasonal dog restrictions to avoid any potential fines or conflicts with other beachgoers. The beach management team takes these regulations seriously, and failure to comply may result in being asked to leave the beach or facing penalties.


When visiting West Wittering Beach with your dog, it is essential to observe the general dog-friendly etiquette. This includes always keeping your dog under close control, either on a lead or through verbal commands, and promptly cleaning up after your pet. The beach provides dog waste bins at regular intervals along the shore, making it convenient for owners to dispose of any waste responsibly.


Furthermore, dog owners should be mindful of their dog's behaviour and interactions with other beach users and dogs. If your dog is known to be aggressive or poorly behaved around others, it is advisable to keep them on a lead or consider visiting the beach during quieter periods to minimise potential incidents.


In addition to the main beach, there are several other dog-friendly areas nearby, such as the East Head nature reserve and the surrounding countryside. These areas offer a variety of walking trails and open spaces for dogs to explore, providing a great alternative to the beach during the summer months.

Dog-Friendly Amenities and Services

West Wittering Beach not only welcomes dogs on its shores but also provides a range of amenities and services to cater to the needs of canine companions and their owners. These dog-friendly facilities ensure that both dogs and their humans can enjoy a comfortable and enjoyable visit to the beach.


One of the essential amenities for dog owners is the provision of dog waste bins. West Wittering Beach has numerous dog waste bins located at regular intervals along the shore, making it easy and convenient for owners to clean up after their pets. These bins are clearly marked and are emptied regularly by the beach management team to maintain a clean and hygienic environment for all visitors.


In addition to waste bins, the beach also offers several water points specifically for dogs. These water stations provide fresh, clean water for dogs to drink and cool off, especially during the warmer months. The water points are located near the main beach entrance and at various spots along the shore, ensuring that dogs can stay hydrated throughout their visit.


For owners who forget to bring their own dog waste bags, the beach management team provides complimentary bags at the main beach entrance. This thoughtful gesture encourages all dog owners to clean up after their pets and helps maintain the cleanliness of the beach for everyone's enjoyment.


The West Wittering Beach Cafe, a popular spot for beachgoers to grab refreshments and snacks, also caters to dog owners. The cafe has a designated dog-friendly seating area outside, where owners can enjoy their refreshments alongside their canine companions. The cafe staff is known for their friendly attitude towards dogs and often provide water bowls and treats for furry visitors.


In case of any emergencies or health concerns, there are several veterinary clinics and pet shops located in the nearby towns of East Wittering and Chichester. These facilities offer a range of services, from routine check-ups to emergency care, ensuring that dogs can receive prompt medical attention if needed.


For owners who wish to extend their visit to West Wittering Beach and explore the surrounding areas, there are numerous dog-friendly accommodations available. Many of the local holiday cottages, bed and breakfasts, and campsites welcome dogs, providing a comfortable and convenient base for canine-inclusive holidays.


The beach management team at West Wittering Beach is committed to creating a dog-friendly environment while ensuring the safety and comfort of all visitors. They regularly monitor the beach to ensure that dog owners are following the rules and regulations, such as keeping dogs under control and cleaning up after them. The team also provides information and advice to dog owners, promoting responsible pet ownership and beach etiquette.


Throughout the year, the beach hosts several dog-friendly events, such as charity dog walks and pet-themed festivals. These events provide an opportunity for dog owners to socialise, support local animal charities, and celebrate the special bond between humans and their canine companions.

Accommodations Near West Wittering Beach

Holiday Cottages and Vacation Rentals

For those looking to extend their visit to West Wittering Beach and explore the surrounding area, there is a wide range of accommodation options available, particularly holiday cottages and vacation rentals. These self-catering properties offer a comfortable and convenient base for families, groups of friends, or couples seeking a coastal getaway.


The village of West Wittering and the nearby towns of East Wittering and Bracklesham Bay offer a variety of holiday cottages to suit different tastes and budgets. These properties range from cosy, traditional thatched cottages to modern, stylish apartments and spacious family homes.


Many of the holiday cottages are located within walking distance of West Wittering Beach, allowing guests to easily access the sandy shores and enjoy the beach's amenities. Some properties offer stunning sea views, providing a picturesque backdrop for a relaxing holiday.


One of the main advantages of staying in a holiday cottage is the flexibility and privacy it offers. Guests have the freedom to come and go as they please, prepare their own meals in the fully-equipped kitchens, and enjoy the comfort of a home-away-from-home experience. Many cottages also provide additional amenities, such as private gardens, barbecue areas, or parking spaces, enhancing the overall convenience and enjoyment of the stay.


Holiday cottages are particularly popular among families with children, as they offer ample space, separate bedrooms, and often include child-friendly features such as high chairs, travel cots, and stair gates. Some properties even provide games rooms, play equipment, or swimming pools, keeping children entertained throughout their stay.


For larger groups or extended families, there are several spacious vacation rentals available, accommodating up to 10 or more guests. These properties often feature multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas, ensuring that everyone has their own space and privacy while still being able to spend quality time together.


When choosing a holiday cottage or vacation rental, it is essential to consider factors such as location, size, amenities, and budget. Many properties are listed on popular holiday rental websites, such as Airbnb, Vrbo, or Sykes Cottages, allowing guests to browse a wide range of options, read reviews from previous guests, and book their stay online.


It is advisable to book holiday cottages and vacation rentals well in advance, especially during peak season or popular holiday periods, as the best properties tend to fill up quickly. Some cottages may require a minimum stay, typically ranging from three to seven nights, depending on the season and the property's policies.


In addition to the convenience and comfort they offer, staying in a holiday cottage or vacation rental also allows guests to immerse themselves in the local community and experience the charm of the surrounding villages and towns. Many properties provide information packs with recommendations for local attractions, restaurants, and activities, helping guests make the most of their stay.

Bed and Breakfasts and Guest Houses

For visitors who prefer a more intimate and personalised accommodation experience, the area around West Wittering Beach offers a selection of charming bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) and guest houses. These smaller, often family-run establishments provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere, along with comfortable rooms and delicious breakfasts.


B&Bs and guest houses near West Wittering Beach are typically located in the village of West Wittering itself or in the neighbouring towns of East Wittering and Bracklesham Bay. Many of these properties are housed in attractive, traditional buildings, such as converted barns, Victorian terraces, or thatched cottages, adding to the charm and character of the stay.


One of the main benefits of staying in a B&B or guest house is the personal touch provided by the hosts. These accommodations are usually run by local owners who are passionate about the area and are happy to share their knowledge and recommendations with guests. From suggesting the best local restaurants and pubs to providing insider tips on nearby attractions and activities, hosts go above and beyond to ensure that guests have a memorable and enjoyable stay.


B&Bs and guest houses offer a range of room types, from cozy single rooms to spacious double or family rooms, catering to various group sizes and budgets. Rooms are typically well-appointed, with comfortable beds, quality linens, and en-suite bathrooms. Many properties also offer additional amenities, such as tea and coffee-making facilities, flat-screen TVs, or complimentary toiletries, enhancing the overall comfort of the stay.


One of the highlights of staying in a B&B or guest house is the hearty breakfast served each morning. Most properties offer a choice of breakfast options, ranging from traditional full English breakfasts to lighter continental spreads, often featuring locally-sourced ingredients and homemade specialties. Breakfast is usually served in a communal dining room, providing an opportunity for guests to socialise and exchange travel experiences.


Many B&Bs and guest houses near West Wittering Beach are located within easy walking distance of the beach, allowing guests to easily access the sandy shores and enjoy the beach's amenities. Some properties even offer beach towels, chairs, or picnic blankets for guests to use during their stay, adding to the convenience and enjoyment of the beach experience.


In addition to their proximity to the beach, B&Bs and guest houses are often conveniently located near local shops, restaurants, and pubs, making it easy for guests to explore the surrounding area and experience the local community. Some properties may also offer parking facilities, which can be a valuable amenity, especially during peak season when parking near the beach can be limited.


When choosing a B&B or guest house, it is important to consider factors such as location, room size and amenities, breakfast options, and guest reviews. Many properties are listed on popular travel websites, such as or TripAdvisor, allowing potential guests to compare options, read reviews from previous guests, and book their stay online.


It is advisable to book B&Bs and guest houses well in advance, particularly during peak season or popular holiday periods, as these smaller properties tend to have limited availability. Some establishments may require a minimum stay, typically ranging from one to three nights, depending on the season and the property's policies.

West Wittering Beach on a busy day, with beach huts in the background

Coastal Wildlife and Nature Reserves

East Head Nature Reserve

One of the most significant natural attractions near West Wittering Beach is the East Head Nature Reserve. This dynamic sand and shingle spit, located at the entrance to Chichester Harbour, is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is managed by the National Trust. The reserve is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers.


The sand dunes at East Head are a particularly important habitat, supporting a wide range of rare and specialised plant species. These include the striking sea holly, the delicate sea bindweed, and the vibrant yellow-horned poppy. The dunes also provide a vital nesting habitat for several species of ground-nesting birds, such as the rare little tern and the charismatic ringed plover.


To protect these sensitive habitats and the wildlife they support, the National Trust has implemented a range of conservation measures. These include designated walkways and boardwalks to minimise erosion and disturbance, as well as temporary fencing and signage to protect nesting areas during the breeding season. Visitors are encouraged to stay on the marked paths and to keep dogs under close control to avoid disturbing the wildlife.


In addition to the dunes, East Head is also home to a significant area of saltmarsh. This unique habitat, formed by the regular inundation of seawater during high tides, supports a diverse community of specialised plants and animals. The saltmarsh is particularly important for wading birds, such as the elegant avocet and the distinctive black-tailed godwit, which feed on the abundant invertebrates found in the mud and sand.


The tidal flats and mudflats surrounding East Head are another crucial habitat for wildlife. These vast expanses of mud and sand, exposed at low tide, provide a vital feeding ground for thousands of migratory birds. During the winter months, the flats are home to large flocks of dunlin, knot, and grey plover, which travel from as far away as the Arctic to feed on the rich supply of molluscs and crustaceans.


For those interested in learning more about the wildlife and ecology of East Head, the National Trust offers regular guided walks and talks throughout the year. These informative events provide a fascinating insight into the complex web of life that exists within this unique coastal environment, and offer the chance to spot some of the reserve's more elusive residents, such as the rare water vole or the majestic peregrine falcon.


The National Trust also works closely with local schools and community groups to promote environmental education and conservation. Through a range of interactive activities and workshops, children and adults alike can learn about the importance of protecting our coastal habitats and the incredible diversity of life they support.


To access East Head Nature Reserve, visitors can follow the signposted footpath from the West Wittering Beach car park. The walk takes approximately 20 minutes and offers stunning views across Chichester Harbour and the Solent. Visitors are reminded to check the tide times before setting out, as parts of the reserve may be inaccessible during high tide.

Chichester Harbour AONB

Another natural gem located near West Wittering Beach is the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). This stunning coastal landscape, which covers an area of over 74 square kilometres, is a haven for wildlife and a paradise for nature lovers.


The harbour is a complex network of tidal channels, mudflats, saltmarshes, and wetlands, which support an incredible diversity of plant and animal life. The area is particularly important for birds, with over 55,000 waterfowl and waders overwintering here each year. These include large flocks of Brent geese, wigeon, and teal, which feed on the rich supply of eelgrass and other vegetation in the harbour.


The mudflats and saltmarshes of Chichester Harbour are also home to a wide range of invertebrates, such as the rare lagoon sand shrimp and the colourful peacock worm. These tiny creatures play a vital role in the harbour's ecosystem, providing food for the many birds and fish that depend on the area for survival.


In addition to its wealth of wildlife, Chichester Harbour is also a significant site for human history and culture. The harbour has been a centre of maritime activity for centuries, with evidence of Iron Age and Roman settlements along its shores. Today, the harbour remains an important hub for sailing and water sports, with several yacht clubs and marinas scattered throughout the area.


The Chichester Harbour Conservancy, which manages the AONB, works to balance the needs of wildlife and human activities within the harbour. The Conservancy provides a range of services and facilities for visitors, including moorings, slipways, and a network of footpaths and cycle routes. These allow visitors to explore the harbour's stunning scenery and wildlife at their own pace, whether on foot, by bike, or by boat.


One of the best ways to experience the natural wonders of Chichester Harbour is to take a guided tour with one of the local wildlife experts. These knowledgeable guides offer a range of tours and walks, tailored to different interests and abilities. From birdwatching and wildflower walks to seal-spotting and bat detecting, there is something for everyone to enjoy.


For those who prefer a more independent exploration of the harbour, there are several self-guided trails and routes to follow. The Chichester Harbour Circular Walk, for example, is a 10-mile route that takes in some of the most scenic and wildlife-rich parts of the AONB. The walk passes through a variety of habitats, from sandy beaches and shingle spits to ancient woodlands and wildflower meadows, offering the chance to spot a wide range of plants and animals along the way.


Another popular trail is the Salterns Way, a 12-mile cycle route that runs from the centre of Chichester to West Wittering Beach. The route follows a disused railway line and offers stunning views across the harbour and the surrounding countryside. The trail is suitable for cyclists of all abilities and is a great way to explore the area's natural and cultural heritage.


The Chichester Harbour AONB is a vital resource for both wildlife and people, and its protection and conservation are of paramount importance. By visiting the area and supporting the work of the Chichester Harbour Conservancy, we can help to ensure that this incredible landscape remains a thriving and sustainable ecosystem for generations to come. Whether you are a keen birdwatcher, a seasoned sailor, or simply a lover of the great outdoors, Chichester Harbour has something to offer everyone, and is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the natural wonders of the West Sussex coast.

Grass growing in the sand dunes of West Wittering Beach

Nearby Attractions and Day Trips

Chichester Cathedral and City Centre

For those looking to combine their visit to West Wittering Beach with some cultural exploration, the nearby city of Chichester offers a wealth of historic and architectural treasures. Chief among these is the magnificent Chichester Cathedral, which has stood at the heart of the city for over 900 years.


The cathedral is a stunning example of Norman and Gothic architecture, with its soaring spire and intricate stone carvings. Visitors can explore the cathedral's rich history and artwork through a variety of guided tours and interactive exhibits. These include the chance to climb the tower for panoramic views across the city and surrounding countryside, and to marvel at the cathedral's unique double cloisters and exquisite stained glass windows.


One of the cathedral's most notable features is its modern art collection, which includes works by some of the most significant artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The collection is displayed throughout the cathedral and its precincts, offering a fascinating juxtaposition of ancient and modern, sacred and secular.


Beyond the cathedral, Chichester's city centre is a vibrant and welcoming destination, with a mix of independent shops, cafes, and restaurants. The city's historic market cross, which dates back to the 15th century, is a popular meeting point and a symbol of Chichester's rich trading heritage. The nearby Pallant House Gallery is another must-visit attraction, with its impressive collection of modern British art and its elegant Queen Anne townhouse setting.


For those interested in exploring Chichester's Roman heritage, the Novium Museum is a fascinating destination. The museum is built on the site of a Roman bathhouse and offers a range of interactive exhibits and artifacts that bring the city's ancient past to life. Visitors can also take a stroll along the city walls, which follow the line of the original Roman fortifications and offer stunning views across the city and its surroundings.


Chichester is also home to a thriving arts and culture scene, with several theatres, music venues, and festivals throughout the year. The Chichester Festival Theatre is one of the most prestigious regional theatres in the country, with a reputation for producing innovative and high-quality productions. The theatre also hosts a range of other events and workshops, from comedy and music to dance and family shows.


For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Chichester is surrounded by stunning countryside and coastal landscapes. The nearby South Downs National Park offers a range of outdoor activities, from walking and cycling to horse riding and paragliding. The Goodwood Estate, just a few miles north of the city, is another popular destination, with its world-famous motor racing circuit, stunning stately home, and beautiful gardens and parkland.


Chichester is easily accessible from West Wittering Beach, with regular bus and train services connecting the two destinations. The city also has ample parking facilities for those traveling by car, including several centrally located car parks and park-and-ride services.

Arundel Castle and Town

Another fascinating day trip destination near West Wittering Beach is the historic town of Arundel, located just a 30-minute drive away. The town is dominated by the imposing Arundel Castle, which has been the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk for over 850 years and is one of the most impressive and best-preserved castles in England.


The castle's history dates back to the 11th century, and it has played a significant role in many of the key events of English history, from the Norman Conquest to the English Civil War. Today, the castle is open to the public and offers a range of tours and exhibits that showcase its rich history and stunning architecture.


Visitors can explore the castle's grand staterooms, which are filled with priceless works of art and furniture, and marvel at the stunning views from the castle's towers and battlements. The castle also boasts extensive gardens and grounds, including a unique collection of tropical and exotic plants in the glasshouses.


One of the castle's most notable features is its beautiful Fitzalan Chapel, which is the burial place of the Dukes of Norfolk and is renowned for its intricate stone carvings and stained glass windows. The chapel is still used for regular services and is a popular venue for weddings and other special events.


Beyond the castle, the town of Arundel itself is a charming and picturesque destination, with a mix of historic buildings, independent shops, and cozy pubs and cafes. The town's high street is lined with Georgian and Victorian terraces, and is home to a range of specialist shops selling everything from antiques and crafts to locally-produced food and drink.


One of the town's most interesting attractions is the Arundel Museum, which tells the story of the town's history and its relationship with the castle and the River Arun. The museum is housed in a beautiful Victorian building and features a range of interactive exhibits and artifacts that bring the town's past to life.


For those interested in exploring Arundel's religious heritage, the town is also home to two stunning churches. The Parish Church of St Nicholas is a fine example of Gothic architecture, with its soaring spire and intricate stone carvings. The Arundel Cathedral, which was built in the 19th century, is a stunning example of French Gothic style, with its ornate West Front and beautiful rose window.


Arundel is also a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside and coastal landscapes. The nearby South Downs National Park offers a range of outdoor activities, from walking and cycling to horse riding and wildlife watching. The WWT Arundel Wetland Centre is another popular destination, with its wide range of bird species and beautiful wetland habitats.


Arundel is easily accessible from West Wittering Beach, with regular bus and train services connecting the two destinations. The town also has ample parking facilities for those traveling by car, including several centrally located car parks and on-street parking.

The sun setting over West Wittering Beach

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