With UK staycations cemented as this summer’s hottest accessory, we caught up with jewellery designer Theodora Warre to get her insider tips on how to spend an idyllic weekend in West Sussex.

In between crafting the kind of jewels loved by the social set – Kate Moss, Adwoa Aboah and Jean Campbell are fans – the British-born, London-based jewellery designer Theodora Ware can often be found seeking out precious gems in the artisans stalls of Jaipur. She studied gemmology at The Gem Palace in the Pink City, so it comes as small surprise that you’ll sense the city’s bohemian energy forged into her silver and gold designs.

Yet, like the rest of us whose travel plans were put on pause during the pandemic, Theodora spent most of the lockdown enjoying what was right on her doorstep. Having grown up in West Sussex, she hot-footed it south to enjoy the wild coastlines and day hikes on offer.

As staycations become summer’s holiday of choice, we’re asking Theodora to share her insider recommendations on the best places to visit in West Sussex. Expect beaches known only to locals, rustic countryside inns, locavore farm shops and hidden botanical gardens. There’s more to this stretch of coast than the rolling South Downs and a Mr Whippy on West Wittering beach – although, we’re fans of those too.

Castle crash pads, deserted beaches and eclectic art: an insider’s guide to West Sussex

How often do you visit West Sussex?

A lot this year; I spent lockdown there. The great thing about West Sussex is that it’s less than two hours’ drive from central London and 50 minutes on a fast train, so you can do the round trip in a day.

Where should we wake up?

Amberley Castle.

What about somewhere we should go for breakfast?

The Hungry Guest deli in Petworth makes one of the best hot chocolates I’ve ever had. It has an on-site bakery with delicious fresh croissants. Get them to go and enjoy in the gardens of Petworth House and Park.

And for a long, leisurely lunch?

The Horse Guards Inn Tillington has a lovely garden; the perfect place to settle in for the afternoon – just make sure to book as it’s always busy.

We’re looking for somewhere romantic to go for dinner. Any suggestions?

I think there’s nothing more romantic than a good, old-fashioned, early evening picnic in the countryside, and there’s no shortage of spots on the South Downs.

What about drinks?

The Three Horseshoes in Elsted is one of my favourite pubs in England. Unlike so many country pubs, it has retained all its charm and not turned gastro. Think Schweppes in a can, not Fever-Tree in a bottle!

What are some of your favourite shops?

Cowdray Farm Shop in Midhurst has everything you could ever want from a farm shop and nearly everything is locally sourced in West Sussex.

Any galleries we should visit?

Pallant House Gallery in Chichester has an incredible 20th-century British art collection and it often hosts great exhibitions. Well worth a visit.

For a culture hit, we should head to…

West Dean Gardens.

Where’s your favourite place for a Sunday stroll?

The South Downs has so many beautiful public paths and walks, you’ll not struggle there.

We fancy hitting a beach. Where should we pitch up?

West Wittering, no doubt about it. It’s a beautiful, sandy, typically English beach – make sure you head to Billy’s on the Beach for fish and chips. I love to go in winter when it’s deserted.

What does a perfect weekend in West Sussex look like…

I consider West Sussex home, so for me a perfect weekend there is unwinding from city life with long walks and early nights.

Tell us a secret spot that only locals know about.

Climping Beach; it’s where all the locals go when the sun is out and West Wittering is crowded.

Finally, what should we pack in our SUITCASE?

With this beautiful weather, you’ll need very little, but I never travel anywhere without my St Christopher Pendant Necklace – the patron saint of travellers

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