Bognor Regis

A popular choice with holiday-makers looking for the sun and sea in England, Bognor Regis is known for its sandy beaches and warm climate - it has won numerous awards for its unpolluted sea, clean beaches and claims to be the sunniest resort in Britain.

The brainchild of the London hatter, Sir Richard Hotham MP in 1787, Bognor (which was nearly called Hothampton) was built to rival other fashionable coastal towns such as Brighton and Bath. Originally a small fishing village from the medieval times (small inshore boats can still be seen pulled up on the beach), Bognor was one of the earliest seaside resorts to spring up along the coast. It was here that Hotham wanted to attract the rich, famous and royalty.

Princess Charlotte, the daughter of Prince Regent, came for a holiday but her father's
love of Brighton would not wane. Later in 1928, King George V spent four months convalescing here after a serious illness while Queen Mary went off to hunt for antiques or buy books for him to read. In 1929 George V bestowed the title 'Regis' to the town and it had been called 'dear little Bognor' by Queen Victoria. The young Prince of Wales and the three-year-old Princess Elizabeth came to visit, and Jane Austen's 'Sanditon' was set here, but it was already too late and Sir Hotham's dream never really materialised.

Sir Richard Hotham's house, which was built in 1792, is one of the best Georgian houses in Sussex; the town also features its own pier. Bognor Regis is host to the annual 'Birdman Rally' and 'Clowns Convention', and also makes a perfect base from where to explore West Sussex, with Chichester, Littlehampton and Arundel close by.