Driving from London, you take the A3 south and peel off on to the A287 around Hindhead. The A27 connects Chichester with the rest of the south coast to the east and west. A car's not necessary but will allow you more independence.
You're only a short skip from Gatwick (www.gatwickairport.com) in these parts, with Southampton Airport (www.southamptonairport.com) to the west, too.
It takes around an hour and three quarters by rail from London Victoria to Chichester or Bognor (www.nationalrail.co.uk).
Country code for the UK: +44. Chichester: 01243.
Fishbourne Roman Palace is the backdrop for parts of A Body in the Bathhouse, a novel by Lindsey Davis. The Racing Post might not be a bad idea before a day at the races.
Do go / Don't Go
All year round is great, as with much of the temperate south coast, but we particularly love May, when the country lanes are like green tunnels, and the seaside hordes have yet to descend. When there's a big event on at Goodwood, the country lanes get gridlocked.
Chichester's Central Cars has an office near the station (0800 789432; +44 (0)1243 780780). Arundel Cars are on +44 (0)1903 883366 (www.arundelcars.co.uk). Avowedly friendly and honest, the Ugly Car Co (0800 091 1912; www.uglycars.biz) operates throughout much of West Sussex.
10 or 15 per cent is standard, but many restaurants now add a discretionary 12.5 per cent, so be careful not to tip twice.
Dig out your buckets and spades for long and sandy West Wittering beach (www.westwitteringbeach.co.uk). To get a proper look at the South Downs, you'll want walking boots, waterproofs, a compass and OS Explorer maps 120 and/or 121. And don't forget a picnic hamper and golf umbrella if you're attending an event at Goodwood.
There are well‑preserved Roman mosaics at the Roman villa at Bignor (ww.bignorromanvilla.co.uk); and the famous palace at Fishbourne, west of Chichester (www.sussexpast.co.uk). The Cass Sculpture Foundation at Goodwood (www.sculpture.org.uk) is a 26‑acre park studded with monumental artworks - all for sale - by the likes of Antony Gormley and Cathy de Monchaux. In Chichester, Pallant House Gallery (www.pallant.org.uk) has a superb collection of modern art. The Chichester Festival Theatre in Oaklands Park (www.cft.org.uk) is a paragon of a 21st‑century arts centre, with excellent productions.
… The headland of Selsey Bill was immortalised by Madness in their 1982 seven‑inch opus 'Driving In My Car'.
Big cheese fans might want to visit Horsham Cheese Shop (+44 (0)1403 254272; www.horshamcheeseshop.co.uk), where there are nearly 400 cheeses on offer, many of them British.
Park up at Bignor Hill carpark, off the A29 north of Arundel, and take a wander - you can see for miles in all directions. Signs will show you the location
There are open‑to‑all lunchtime piano and organ recitals at Chichester Cathedral (www.chichestercathedral.org.uk) on Tuesdays. There is a collection, mind!
June Goodwood Festival of Speed is vrooming brilliant for motorsports fans: this full-throttle celebration of horsepower features the famous Hillclimb, when vintage vehicles and the latest Formula One cars perform - at speed (www.goodwood.co.uk/fos). Get more details from our European events guide Smith 52, or for the full low-down, buy the book. June-July The Chichester Festivities (www.chifest.org.uk) see classical and jazz artists of the calibre of Sir Willard White and Cleo Laine come to town, plus speakers from the worlds of comedy and politics. July Glorious Goodwood is among the highlights of the English flatracing calendar, and a glamorous social fixture (www.goodwood.co.uk). August Arundel Festival (www.arundelfestival.co.uk) puts pop first; the 2007 line‑up featured Lemar and Level 42; a spot of opera and some fireworks come into it, too. Goodwood Revival is the perfect follow‑on to the Festival of Speed, a celebration of the golden age of motorsports, with elegant vintage attire encouraged (www.goodwood.co.uk).