A small port town in East Sussex where the sea meets the Downs…
Linking the coast with the beautiful South Downs, Newhaven is a working port with an individual charm and history often overlooked by visitors. It is a small industrial town, with residents who are proud of its nautical and industrial heritage. Originating as the small fishing village of Meeching in Saxon times, it became known as New Haven due to the changing course of the River Ouse in the late 1500s. Once crossed by a small ferry, Newhaven has provided a bridge across the Ouse to the East of Sussex since 1784. It has been a continuous base for fishing fleets and families for hundreds of years; a home to the RNLI Lifeboat Station since 1803; a regular sea route to France since 1851 and now hosts two busy marinas.
Cloaked in mystery and protected by its impressive ramparts, Newhaven Fort has been keeping secrets safely hidden for almost 150 years. Venture inside this extraordinary Victorian Structure to discover its fascinating and surprising past and help to celebrate and forge its exciting future.
Journey deep into the vast network of tunnels, venture on to the ramparts and gun emplacements to soak up the stunning views, and unlock the secret stories of the people who lived and worked at Newhaven Fort. Explore hundreds of genuine military artefacts housed in the casemates lining the Parade Ground and reveal their hidden history. Don’t miss the realistic air-raid recreation in the Blitz Bomb Shelter and the fascinating Home Front exhibition.
There’s also an ever-changing programme of living history events and activities for children. Visit the website for all the latest details.
Newhaven Fort, Fort Road, Newhaven, East Sussex, BN9 9DS
During the First World War, Newhaven became one of the major supply ports to the Western Front. The number of soldiers at the Fort increased to over 4,000, the Boys’ School (now the Hillcrest Centre) was converted into a Military Hospital and a Seaplane Station was built on the beach between the East Pier and Tide Mills. The Poppy Trail is a series of eight site-specific interpretation panels which tell stories about how the war affected Newhaven and the people who lived and worked here.
If you are looking for some stunning scenery, the view from the top of the ramparts at Castle Hill is incredible with views to the Ouse Estuary, the Downs, Seaford Head and out to sea. Just next door you’ll find Castle Hill Nature Reserve which is a haven for a variety of flora and fauna that thrive in this chalk downland.
A nod to more innocent times, this attraction has bags of charm and is a great hit with the younger kids. The museum route takes you through exotic plant houses and on to The Sussex History Trail which meanders through delightful gardens. There’s also a miniature railway and the Triassic Treetops Adventure Playground. Your admission fee also covers entrance into the Newhaven Local and Maritime Museum.
Fancy a swim, or need your daily fix at the gym? Wave Leisure have centres in Lewes, Peacehaven, Newhaven and Seaford. They also run a series of summer clubs and activities across the summer.