Just 90 minutes from London “town” on the train (from Victoria) – you can be transported to a different world – filled with clean air, birds singing, large fields, old fashioned hedgerows, the chalky South Downs and the seaside! The City of Chichester and its surroundings are a superb place to visit for a weekend – especially in the quieter months away from school holidays!
If you arrive by train catch a cab from the station to Chichester Self Catering in Sidlesham where Gayle will welcome you to one of the two properties on the site. (If you have driven here there is plenty of parking for cars, boats and trailers!) In addition to giving you some local insider information about the area the comprehensive House Handbook – and of course the blog posts on the website – will give you plenty of ideas of what to do for the next 2 days.
Will it be
- going out for walks
- fine dining
- watching wildlife
- watching a play at one of the theatres
- going to a Roman Palace
- taking a boat trip around Chichester Harbour
- relaxing with a good book
- wallowing in the hot tub
- sweating in the sauna
- or something else?
Perhaps many of these options! But this post is about more cultural activities.
The Cultural Weekend
So you want to be educated and entertained and learn a bit more about this historical area?
- In which case, after a relaxing home cooked meal in the local pub on Friday evening (The Anchor, Sidlesham), you are up fairly early for a short walk towards Pagham Harbour to “get some air” and enjoy the wildlife before..
- It’s Saturday so put on some smarter clothes and catch a bus or drive to Chichester. If you go by bus it will take you in to the outskirts of the City. Hop off by the Eastgate Square and walk via various art galleries with original and reprinted work. It is close to some lovely Italian restaurants! Walk along East Street with its shops and coffee shops. It’s OK – it is hard to get lost – the main streets are on a cross!
- There are more art galleries in East Street. One of the most interesting, tucked away can be found half way down on your right (or looking North) next to a building society is a small alleyway which leads to The Oxmarket, which is a very old building. Here are exhibitions by local artists all year round in various mediums. All the art is for sale. Trace your steps back to East Street.
- Continue a bit further along East Street, to almost opposite Lloyds Bank – and you will find North Pallant. A short distance down here on the left is The Pallant House Gallery. A world renowned modern art gallery in a Palladian style house with a new modern wing. It also has a lovely cafe for a refreshing lunch.
- Fully revived, continue South and take the next turning to the right – a narrow winding lane which leads out to South Street. Turn left once more and cross the road. You will come to a magnificent stone archway which leads into the Bishops Walk and towards the Bishops gardens. A short distance on you then have a choice.
- Amble on to the Gardens – which are amazing, spacious and unexpected and then retrace your steps, having admired the best view of the Cathedral spire and the flint-knapped walls of the Cathedral-owned buildings.
- Turn North into the Lane which runs towards the cathedral itself and the Cloisters. Admire the gardens along the path!
- Proceed left at the top and walk around to the front entrance of the Cathedral. Please make a donation as this 900+ year old building takes a lot of upkeep! Take a leisurely tour of this magnificent building with its many side chapels, hanging tapestry artwork and wood carving. You can also have a guided tour of the cathedral – ask as you go in for times.
- As you exit you may like to return to the Cloisters Refectory for a bite to eat or visit the gift shop. If not, upon exiting the main cathedral entrance – turn away from the sun (North) past Prebendal School and go directly opposite, cross West Street into Tower Street.
- Here on the right is The Novium. This is Chichester’s free Museum and well worth a visit. Here in the basement is the old Roman bathhouse for the City! The next 3 floors (fully wheelchair accessible) are fantastic artifacts from the City and the local District telling is varied history or places and people. There are constantly changing exhibitions from the archives. It is also good for children of all ages, with special exhibitions for them which are interactive during the school holidays.
- Turn back towards West Street. This is an opportunity to look up and admire the many architectural styles that can be found on the City. Stone carving, bowed and little windows, ornate doorways, door furniture and more are all a glance away – you might even see the cathedral’s resident peregrine falcons in the early Summer too above your head! having explored West Street turn back to
- The Old Cross. A beautiful stone structure which was the City’s meeting place and first market place. It is still a good place to meet up if someone gets lost! It was built between 1477 to 1503 on the instructions of Edward Story – the Bishop of Chichester. An earlier wooden cross had been erected on the same site by Bishop Rede (1369-1385). The stone cross was repaired during the reign of Charles II, and at the expense of the Duke of Richmond, in 1746 and stands to this day.
- Turn into North Street. On the right hand side you will find the Old Butter Market – now containing jewellers and Patisserie Valerie and Bill’s. A bit further up is the Chichester Assembley Rooms and Council House.
- Almost opposite is Crane Street – marked by some very fine stainless steel cranes! Just North of the Assembley Rooms is The Old Cross public house with its tudor-style frontage.
- Further up is Northgate roundabout – not an especially lovely edifice but by going under the road (via the underpass) if you walk through the large car park you will reach The Chichester Festival Theatre and the Minerva Theatre. If you were wise you could book a matinee performance on a Saturday. There is a wide range in the programmes. www.cft.org.uk
- Oaklands Park continues up the hill from the theatre but if that is too far..
- Retrace your steps a little and follow the outer ring road to your left. (You are now outside the old City Walls). Cross the road and follow the Walls south. By doing so you will reach the New Park Centre Cinema. It is quaint, has a superb repertoire of very unusual films (and runs a Film Festival each year too) although the seating is not entirely comfortable for a really long film! It isn’t expensive though. chichestercinema.org/
- As you turn out from the cinema turn right (south) and you are back at Eastgate. Walk along the Hornet and stop off for a bite to eat at the Nag’s Head – the roasts are famous and the pub is very old! Then catch a bus (the No 51) back home!
If you like this as an option I suggest that you book theatre tickets or cinema tickets in advance. It can all be done online.
Any questions – drop me an email to email@example.com
On Sunday I suggest a leisurely rise! Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee from the supplies in the house. Get on some clothes and walk out of the driveway and keep following the road round by the school into Highleigh. Get the freshest of eggs from The Old Gardens (read more here) and return for boiled eggs and toast or eggy bread for breakfast!
How about a trip to the sea next? Walk to the Selsey Road and catch the bus South to Selsey Town. If you go to East Beach you can walk along the shore for some good sea air. Look out for Bognor in the distance if you look to your left – the odd spikey structure is Butlin’s! Not far from East Beach Parade where the bus will drop you (and the large playground / skate park) are the fisherman’s huts for the best locally caught crabs and other fresh fish. They will make up a crab or prawn salad for you or have lunch at The Lifeboat pub instead.
If you continue along the seafront you will come to the new Lifeboat Station and (at low tide as it can be difficult otherwise!) to Hillfield Road. As you walk North from here you will pass through the main shopping area of Selsey. Stop off at one of the small supermarkets or the local shops to get your evening dinner or have tea at the tea shops. The fish and chip shop is popular of course and will fill you up. Then back on the bus to Sidlesham and home. The stop is called Keynor Lane.
© Chichester Self Catering Gayle Palmer 2016 All Rights Protected.
No part of this may be reproduced or copied without the express permission of Gayle Palmer. You may reproduce it as long as no part is altered and Copyright is respected with the website being clearly evident. Thank you.
Tags: architecture, art, beach, Bishops Gardens, car travel, Cathedral, Chichester, couples, culture, lifeboat station, New Park Cinema, Oaklands Park, Pallant House Gallery, romantic, sea, Selsey, sporting, Sussex, The Cross, The Hornet, The Novium, The Old gardens, train, weekend break, West Sussex