Peacehaven Area Guide
Set above the chalk cliffs of the South Downs in the Lewes district of East Sussex, the town and civil parish of Peacehaven lies 9.7 km east of Brighton city centre. This small coastal town of approximately 13,000 people is located on fairly flat coastal land, elevated to around 40/50m above sea level. The site coincides with the point where the Greenwich meridian crosses the south coast of England and is marked by an 11ft high obelisk. In an area of outstanding natural beauty and with the advantage of having both the stunning countryside and the sea close at hand, this town is a perfect place for families and professionals alike. Peacehaven can easily be accessed by bus, bike or car from Brighton, the local bus routes to the city being efficient and reliable.
Established in 1916 by entrepreneur Charles Neville, who purchased the land and developed the site along with Rottingdean and Saltdean, the idea was to sell plots of land cheaply for people to self-build. The idyllic setting of this "garden city by the sea" was originally developed for retiring World War 1 veterans; a sanctuary of sea air, stunning scenery and simple lifestyle thought to aid good health and recovery from the effects of the war. The land was also cheap and, as a result, working-class families from the city started to purchase plots and gradually build makeshift homes for weekends and holidays. The town today, which is a mainly residential area, continues to remain a respite from hectic city life and attracts nature lovers and ramblers from all around Sussex and beyond.
From its cliff top vantage point the town has stunning views of Friars bay and the English Channel. The pebble beach below the cliffs can be accessed by stairs, concrete driveway and sea walk. The cliffs and foreshore between Peacehaven and Newhaven represent a period of history dating back between 78-83 million years ago thus earning its reputation as "the perfect place for long beach walks" and for some of the most spectacular fossils in the UK.
For most part the town still retains its original grid layout and has grown to be larger in area than its county town of Lewes. Although an independent town it has a considerable "Brighton feel". Many of the local residents actually consider themselves from Brighton due to ease of city access for work, shopping and other leisure facilities.
Property continues to be cheaper in Peacehaven than Brighton and attracts both families and professionals who enjoy the tranquil and picturesque location, with the added bonus of the activity and excitement of Brighton close by. Accommodation tends to be more expansive with low rise bungalows and apartment blocks, some situated on the cliffs with outstanding coastal views, together with detached and semi-detached family homes enjoying good sized gardens and extensive interiors. There is also a leaning towards new-build eco and modernist homes, which are attracting more affluence to the area. On the outskirts of the town it is not impossible to acquire some exciting equestrian properties and properties with substantial land attached.
There are four churches in the town and some good local secondary and primary schools along with several play groups and pre-schools. Famous Roedean School and Brighton College are a short drive away.
The town, however, enjoys a good number of its own popular amenities. There is a multi-purpose leisure centre with an excellent range of facilities and the Meridian Shopping Centre, housing a library a supermarket and various essential services; several doctors' surgeries, a dentist and police station serve the local community.
The town also offers a selection of popular family-friendly pubs and restaurants including some with stunning coastal views, perfect for al fresco dining. There is a small high street near the Meridian Monument along which essential banks, supermarkets, a few independent shops and a post office have made their homes. Sports facilities are varied and interesting with a non-league football club in residence, a bowls club, martial arts club and some great dance schools. A number of lush green spaces are peppered along the A259 and the cliffs, the ‘Dell’ being one of them, regularly hosting community events such as car boot sales, firework displays, fairgrounds and even an annual carnival. Local parks and children’s playgrounds are also abundant. Walks, cycle rides, water-based activities and fishing are other perfect outdoor pursuits ideally suited to the area.
Communication links to the city of Brighton and Hove by bus or car are excellent, with the A259 coast road providing links west to Brighton and east to Seaford, Eastbourne and beyond. The surrounding areas are also well catered for, with bus, rail and other links in abundance. Gatwick Airport is a mere 42 minutes’ drive away, with journeys to Heathrow taking approximately an hour and a half. A short drive to Brighton’s mainline station and an hour on the train to London’s Victoria Station makes Peacehaven perfect for those who want the joy of peaceful coastal living but work in the city.
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