You don’t have to go far to leave the fleshpots of Brighton & Hove behind.
Rottingdean village is less than five miles away, a gorgeous walk along the under cliff path, short drive or bus journey, but it might as well be a different world.
An ancient village once home to Rota’s people
The village sits in an ancient deep, dry valley and the name, Rottingdean, is Old English for 'valley of the people associated with Rota’, an unknown man immortalised by the village that took his name. It’s a sign of just how long there has been a settlement there, facing the brisk sea summer and winter for millennia.
A short walk along the seafront or a bus ride away
Home to just 2,500 people or so, it’s a beautiful little place only spoiled by the amount of traffic that streams up the high street at busy times. There isn’t much car parking so walking is ideal, especially if you take the flat route along the Under Cliff Path. Alternatively the 2 and 2a buses take you there via Woodingdean, an interesting route.
Famous residents and fabulous pubs
Once home to the pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones and his talented author nephew Rudyard Kipling, whose gardens are a lovely place to visit, the high street is worth exploring for its fascinating architecture alone. And there are some super pubs serving very good food.
The Black Horse – 65 High Street
The Plough Inn – Vicarage LANE
The Queen Victoria – 54 High Street
The Coach House – 24 High Street
The White Horse Hotel – High Street (right on the seafront)
Loads of great places to eat out
For a tiny place, Rottingdean also has a thriving restaurant scene.
For a certain je ne sais quoi, the French brasserie Bistro Gourmand on Nevill Road, just off the High Street, is a superb place run by real French people with a laid back vibe to match and completely gorgeous food.
There’s a Chinese restaurant, Li’s Sizzling House, on Nevill Road, and Ros Thai at the seafront end of the High Street. You’ll find Smugglers Fish and Chips near the seafront end of the High Street and there are a couple of really good tea-and-cake cafes too, also on the High Street.
Plenty of interesting shops
Also unusual for such a tiny village, there’s a great charity shop or two, an excellent hardware store, a very good florists, a couple of classy antique shops, an antique emporium, a Co-Op, banks, sweetie shops and newsagents. Plus a posh frock shop, Hunter Interiors, a beauty parlour, hairdressers, barbers, a butcher, an art shop and beautiful hand-made arts and crafts from Fiona Stewart Designer Silver.
Walk up the steep hill, up Nevill Road, and you'll see the windmill with splendid views across the Downs and coast.
The beach at Rottingdean is great, almost always quieter than the city centre beaches and an excellent stopping-off point along the under cliff path on its way east. And there are public loos in the village and on the seafront itself.