The English Riviera: How Sussex is competing with Southern France as a hotbed of great art and wine
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The rolling chalk hills of the South Downs are punctuated by hectares of vines, many producing award-winning tipples with help from the flint and chalk make-up of the Sussex countryside.
In June last year, Sussex wines were given a special protection, similar to wines produced in Champagne and Prosecco.
Still, sparkling and origin wines are now only allowed to be called ‘Sussex’ if they are grown in the region and meet a strict set of criteria.
According The Observer, the historic county is now being marketed to fans of southern France.
But it’s not just the fantastic wine that is drawing the attention of holidaymakers. East and West Sussex is home to hundreds of cultural landmarks.
Chichester Festival Theatre is one bastion of the arts, where many plays debut before beginning a tour or a residency in the West End, then a short stroll through the cathedral city can see you end up at Pallant House Gallery with its immense collection of 20th century art.
The Glyndebourne is a world-class opera house in Lewes which delivers globally celebrated performance to 150,000 people across a its summer Festival and autumn season.
Nicola Jones, chief executive of Newlands House Gallery in Petworth, was quoted in The Observer: "We are 20 miles from the coast and in this beautiful county we have got this extraordinary concentration of attractions: a combination of landscape and wine and art and heritage. We just need to give visitors the chance to linger.”
A new organisation has also been set up to help market some of what Sussex does best. Sussex Modern focuses on the art, landscape and wine of the county that aims at bringing in tourists from across the world. It describes itself: “Sussex Modern is the wine tourism development agency for Sussex. Telling a story of Sussex that is about more than sleepy villages, coastal retirement towns and historic ruins, we celebrate and promote Sussex as now home to a vibrant, youthful culture for audiences with metropolitan tastes for world-class art and high-quality wine – all within breathtaking landscapes.”