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The 10 Top Things to Do in Chichester

chichester cathedral

Chichester is the county town of West Sussex, a city steeped in history and contemporary culture. We live an hour away from the city and although we mainly pass through it on the dreaded A27, or head to Flip Out with the kids, I always love the opportunity to head into the city itself to wander the streets and take in the medieval architecture and bustling shopping centre.

I have compiled a list of the top things to do in Chichester to help you plan your day out.

The 10 Top Things to Do in Chichester

alleyways in Chichester

As with any town or city, the best way to visit is to stroll around and take in the sights. The most prominent building is Chichester Cathedral, so let’s start there!

Chichester Cathedral

chichester cathedral

Established in 1075, this awe-inspiring Cathedral is renowned for its spire, which is visible from miles around. The cathedral houses a fascinating mix of architecture from the Norman and Gothic eras and features unique artworks, including a window by Marc Chagall.

inside chichester cathedral

Situated in the city centre, Chichester Cathedral is free to enter, although donations are welcome. It is a breathtaking example of the wonder of English Cathedrals, and is like a tardis inside. Here you will find the Chapel of St George, and St Clement, Roman mosaics and the Shrine of St Richard.

the cloisters at chichester cathedral

If you want a bite to eat, Cloisters kitchen and garden serves food from local and ethically sourced ingredients. The grounds and cloisters, which lead to Bishop’s Palace Gardens from St Richard’s Walk, are the perfect place to reflect, stop and enjoy a picnic.

Address: Chichester Cathedral, Chichester, PO19 1PX (although it’s pretty easy to find!)

Bishop’s Palace Gardens

bishop's palace gardens in chichester

Located behind the Cathedral, Bishop’s Palace Gardens are a hidden gem in the city. These beautifully manicured gardens offer a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle.

palm trees in bishop's palace gardens

With vibrant flower beds, a pond, and several secluded paths, it’s an ideal place for a leisurely stroll or a quiet picnic.

Address: Bishop’s Palace Garden, 4 Canon Lane, Chichester, PO19 1PX

Chichester’s Independent Shops

Chichester high street with the cathedral in the background

Chichester’s compact city centre is home to a variety of shops from high-street favourites to independent boutiques. North Street and East Street are the main shopping thoroughfares, where you can find everything from designer clothes to unique gifts.

Some notable shops include;

  • Winter’s Moon – a shop selling gifts and homewares
  • Design Vintage – a lifestyle store & café
  • Bunch – a beautiful flower shop
  • Montzeuma – Sussex chocolate
chichester cross in the middle of town

Don’t miss the Cross, a historic market cross that marks the intersection of the four principal streets in the town and is a focal point for shoppers.

Discover the Novium Museum

the novium museum in chichester

Built over the remains of a Roman bathhouse, the Novium Museum offers a deep dive into the rich history of Chichester and the surrounding areas. The museum’s collections include Roman artefacts, local fossils, and displays that tell the story of the city from ancient times to the present.

Entry is free, making it a must-visit for history buffs.

Address: The Novium Museum, Tower Street, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1QH

Watch a Performance at Chichester Festival Theatre

Recognized as one of the UK’s flagship theatres, Chichester Festival Theatre is famous for its high-quality productions. The theatre has a distinctive hexagonal shape that offers an intimate viewing experience.

Whether you’re interested in drama, musicals, or family-friendly performances, there’s always something exciting on the bill.

Address: Chichester Festival Theatre, Oaklands Way, Chichester PO19 6AP

Walk the Walls of Chichester

Stairs leading up to Chichester city walls
Stairs leading up to Chichester city walls

Chichester is one of the few cities in the UK where you can still walk along the ancient city walls. These Roman walls have been preserved and adapted through the centuries, offering a unique perspective of the city.

The 1.5-mile loop gives you a scenic view of the town and its landmarks, with unbeatable views of the Cathedral. We always head to the walls after visiting Bishop’s Palace Gardens.

Chichester Canal

Chichester canals

The Chichester Canal is a historic waterway in West Sussex, England, offering picturesque scenes and a peaceful retreat close to the heart of Chichester. Originally part of a larger network designed in the early 19th century for transporting goods between London and Portsmouth, the canal is now primarily used for leisure activities.

It features a series of locks, with the canal path providing a serene route for walkers and cyclists, and the waterway itself is popular for boat trips and kayaking.

Address: Canal Wharf, Basin Rd, Chichester PO19 8DT

Visit Fishbourne Roman Palace

fishbourne roman palace
Image: Sussex Past

Just a short drive from Chichester, Fishbourne Roman Palace is one of the largest Roman residence remains in Europe. Discovered in 1960, the site features an impressive collection of mosaics, some of which are remarkably well-preserved.

The museum provides insights into what life might have been like in Roman Britain, and the gardens are reconstructed to mimic those of the Roman period.

Address: Roman Way, Chichester PO19 3QR

Attend the Chichester Farmers’ Market

Vegetables Stall

Held on the first and third Friday of every month, the Chichester Farmers’ Market is a great place to interact with local farmers and artisans. The market offers a variety of fresh produce, homemade treats, and artisan crafts.

It’s a perfect opportunity to taste the region’s best offerings and take home a piece of Chichester.

Address: East Street, Chichester

Chichester Harbour and Bosham

chichester harbour at Bosham

Chichester Harbour: Chichester Harbour is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the south coast of England. It is a vast coastal estuary and one of the few remaining undeveloped coastal areas in Southern England. The harbour is a popular location for boating, birdwatching, and walking, with extensive wetlands and tidal mudflats that are home to a rich variety of wildlife.

Holy Trinity church in Bosham

Bosham: Bosham is a charming coastal village within Chichester Harbour, known for its historical significance and picturesque setting. It features prominently in the Bayeux Tapestry and is one of the oldest Christian sites in Sussex.

The village is characterized by its beautiful Norman church, quaint streets lined with artisan shops, and waterfront homes. Bosham’s tidal quay draws visitors for its stunning views, especially at sunset, and provides an ideal spot for sailing and other water activities.

Address: Bosham West Sussex PO18 8QF

chichester cathedral through an alleyway

You can easily spend a day in Chichester itself, or make a whole weekend out of it and explore the beautiful coastal and South Downs countryside. Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins, enjoying a show, or simply soaking in the scenery, Chichester offers a delightful blend of activities that cater to all interests.

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