Bognor Regis boasts the highest recorded number of hours of sunshine than anywhere else in Britain. It has been a seaside fishing settlement (and occasionally also a base for smuggling operations) since Anglo-Saxon times. It became a fashionable resort in the reign of George III and has been frequented by royalty on numerous occasions.
Visitors to the Royal Norfolk Hotel have included the Emperor Napoleon III of France and various members of Queen Victoria's family. The resort gained the title Bognor Regis after George V stayed here to convalesce after an illness in 1929. The resort is quite flat and has an excellent promenade walk.
There is a pier and a delightful park, Hotham Park, which boasts a narrow guage railway, putting green, crazy golf, tennis court and boating lake. On the beach between Bognor Regis and Aldwick lies the wreck of a floating pontoon - part of the Mulberry Harbour which was destined to be towed across to Normandy on D-Day June 6, 1944, but did not make it to Normandy and was washed up on the beach shortly after D-Day. It is clearly visible at low tide throughout the year. Bognor is a relatively small town but has some good shops and a theatre.
The excursion possibilities are legion with numerous stately homes and several important towns and cities, as well as some smaller seaside towns, within easy reach. The beach is predominantly pebbly but the water is clean and the quality of the light often remarkable. Inland the scenery is quintessentially English with the splendour of the South Downs, England's newest National Park, very close at hand.
The town centre shops are a short walk from the hotel as is the pier and Alexandra Theatre.
Beach and Gardens
Bognor's long pebbly beach and clear waters provide safe and attractive bathing. Hotham Park recalls the developer of the resort, Sir Richard Hotham. It offers a narrow guage railway, putting green, crazy golf, tennis court and boating lake.
Activities and Attractions
Arun District Tourist Information
Tel: 01243 823140
Tel: 01798 343929
A huge seventeenth century house set in a 'Capability' Brown parkland landscape and housing the National Trust's finest collection of pictures.
Arundel Castle & Gardens
Tel: 01903 882173
A spectacular castle reflecting the power of the Howard family, Dukes of Norfolk, who have lived here for more than 500 years. The castle provided the setting for the the 2009 film production 'The Young Victoria'.
Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre
Tel: 01798 831370
A charming mixture of historic vehicles, industrial heritage and traditional crafts on a 36 acre site near Arundel.
Tel: 01243 782595
A spectacular gothic cathedral which has stood in the centre of Chichester for more than 900 years. The cathedral houses numerous important pieces of art, including the 'Chichester Reliefs', two 12th century carved stone panels depicting the raising of Lazarus, as well as portraits of past English monarchs.
Tel: 01243 755055
Home to the Dukes of Richmond for over 300 years, Goodwood has the only circuit in the world dedicated to historic motor racing. It is also famous for its horse racing meeting "Glorious Goodwood"
Ann of Cleves House, Lewes
Tel: 01273 474610
This 15th century house formed part of the divorce settlement between Henry VIII and his fourth wife.
Tel: 01273 486290
Begun soon after 1066 but not completed until 300 years later, the visitor interpretation and access were dramatically improved in late 2008.
Tel: 01656 788911
Like the castle, building was begun by William de Warenne in the late 11th century and it was at one time one of the richest monasteries in England.
Bentley Motor Museum & Wildfowl Trust
Tel: 01825 840573
Set in a beautiful Sussex country estate, there is a range of historic vehicles on show in the Motor Museum. Visitors can also see a variety of wildfowl in the surrounding Nature Reserve.
Tel: 01273 813813
Normally running from late May until late August, the Glyendebourne festival is one of the world's great opera seasons.
Bognor Regis Seaside Festival
This festival, which is partly held in the grounds of the Royal Norfolk Hotel, features a host of entertainment for all ages, including vintage and classic car displays, exhibitions and open-top bus rides.
Taking place in late July, this is not only a great horse racing festival but also a highlight of the London social season.
Held in September, the festival attracts motor racing fans from around the world. The 'Festival of Speed' held in July is also a huge attraction for motor racing and historic vehicle fans.
International Bognor Birdman takes place in July and features a weird and wonderful array of human flying machines!
Hotham Park Country Fair is held over a weekend in August. Events include live music, craft stalls, horse-drawn carriage rides and beer/refreshments tent.
Diamond Jubilee Celebration takes place in Hotham park over the extended Bank Holiday weekend in June. The celebrations include big screen coverage of the Queen's naval pageant along the Thames, which involves over a thousand boats, craft stalls and exhibits and a hog roast and beer tent.
Held for ten days at the end of August with music, arts, drama and street entertainment.
A lively two day weekend rock music and arts free festival held in the grounds of the Royal Norfolk Hotel. Dates vary from year to year so check out the details on the dedicated website.
For further details on events in the area see:
Places of Interest
Littlehampton is a coastal gem of a town which boasts two award-winning beaches separated by the River Arun, a busy harbour and marina and stunning architecture. The 'Look & Sea' visitor centre offers exhibitions and information about the town's maritime history and there is an 80ft viewing tower which provides panoramic 360° views.
Brighton is a 'city by the sea' with a wealth of attractions, including the magnificent Royal Pavilion, famous beach and pier and a superb range of shops, including the famous 'Lanes', a maze of twisting cobbled streets and intriguing alleyways which harbours an extraordinary mix of antique and jewellery shops nestling alongside contemporary and designer boutiques.
Arundel is a market town rich in history, which straddles the River Arun. Its castle dominates the surrounding countryside but it is far from being the only attraction in this fascinating area.
Chichester is an ancient and intriguing city which boasts a magnificent Norman cathedral, Roman Villas and Tudor Market Cross amongst its many historic attractions. The city lies just minutes away from the classic South Downs countryside, ideal for walking or cycling or exploring picturesque villages such as Medhurst and Petworth.
Worthing is situated between Bognor and Brighton and is famous for its bowling greens but also has many other worthwhile attractions, including museums, historical churches and attractive covered shopping centres.
Isle of Wight Day trips to the island can be made quite easily from Bognor utilising either the car ferries from Portsmouth or Southampton or the hovercraft from Southsea to Ryde. With over half the island being designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a host of attractions there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Portsmouth is fast becoming one of Britain's favourite waterfront destinations and boasts an irresistable mix of history and heritage. Portsmouth's maritime connections are portrayed at the town's Historic Dockyard, which includes Nelson's 'Victory' and the remains of the 'Mary Rose' amongst many other fascinating exhibits. The town is also an excellent retail centre, with a host of high street brands trading alongside independent shops and specialist retailers.
Sheffield Park and Gardens is a magnificent informal garden which was laid out by 'Capability' Brown in the 18th century and further developments were added in the 20th century. The original four lakes form the centrepiece and there are beautiful displays of seasonal flowers, rare trees and shrubs.