Blue Plaque walks are a great way to discover Sussex towns and villages. The artisan-made ceramic plaques commemorate places where famous people lived or worked, so you can search for the Blue Plaque showing where a favourite author or artist lived, or discover the musical or historical connections of the town where you're staying. It's a charming way to get under the skin of an area (aka have a good nose around) and while walking is a delightful way to do it you can also take to the Blue Plaque trail by car, bus or bicycle.
Sussex has always been a magnet for creative people. Brighton's the obvious (and rewarding) place to start, and I'm not counting the plaques for kings and queens - they were always popping down to their favourite Sussex coastal resorts. Even so, I was pretty amazed at how many Blue Plaques there are in Sussex.
Bognor Regis has an eclectic mix, including Tony Hancock, William Blake and Dante Gabriel Rossetti; Horsham has Percy Shelley and Hammond Innes; and lovely Midhurst boasts a plaque to HG Wells. Malcolm Campbell raced his speedboat on Tilgate Lake in Crawley; Alfred Russel Wallace wrote in rural Hurstpierpoint; and Harold Pinter has a plaque on a beautiful building in Worthing - as does Haile Selassie. Now that seemed like a curveball.
One thing's abundantly clear, however: by far the greater proportion of Blue Plaques seem to represent men. Where are the women? For sure, Ifield has a plaque commemorating a meeting held by Elizabeth Fry, Haywards Heath is justifiably proud of Anna Sewell, and Clare Sheridan is celebrated in Hastings. There are others of course, but they are a clear minority.
Still, it's a balance that may one day be redressed. Meanwhile, when you're on holiday in Sussex
a Blue Plaque stroll is a great way to discover hidden parts and make connections with your favourite writers and artists, or discover new ones. From scenic villages to market towns and seaside resorts, Sussex is clearly a creative hub.