Chichester and its surrounding area are steeped in history and full of beauty. Architecturally, the city of Chichester has much to offer from elegant Georgian houses to the more humble cosy Victorian and Edwardian cottages.

The building now housing Present Surprise was one of a terrace of 15th century cottages. Around 1825 the backs were converted into shops, so the buildings turned round to face South Street. Some have been modernised in the 20th Century but the shop front of Present Surprise looks much the same today as it did then.


From Roman Foundations to Medieval to Modern, Chichester has a fascinating past and has grown steadily over the centuries. The population is now around 26,000. Too much wonderful history to write here so look at www.localhistories.org/chichester for a brief history with links to sites offering greater detail.


  • The highly acclaimed Pallant Gallery housing 20th Century art in a Queen Anne town house. www.pallant.org.uk.
  • The well-known Festival Theatre which opened in 1962 with Laurence Olivier as its first director. www.cft.org.uk.
  • Award-winning sculpture at the Cass Sculpture Foundation at Goodwood – monumental sculptures in an idyllic setting. www.sculpture.org.uk.
  • Eclectic Chichester Festivities held every summer. www.chifest.org.uk.
  • Wide choice of concerts at the Cathedral and Festival Theatre, see websites below.


  • The attractive Chichester Ship Canal starting near the city centre for easy walking or cycling.
  • Scenic Chichester Harbour with its mass of boats in the marina.
  • The beautiful South Downs offering wonderful 360 degree views from beauty spots and pathways.
  • Pretty villages around, with good pubs and restaurants.
  • See www.visitsussex.org for more information and links.


  • Magnificent Chichester Cathedral, the mother church for East and West Sussex which has stood at the centre of Chichester for nearly 1000 years. It holds wonderful early objects as well as exciting modern art and holds concerts and events throughout the year. www.chichestercathedral.org.uk for times of services and other details.
  • Fascinating Fishbourne Roman Palace, discovered in 1960 and showing spectacular Roman mosaics. www.sussexpast.co.uk/fishbourne.
  • Lovely West Dean Gardens featuring, amongst other things, a walled kitchen garden and 49 acre arboretum with views over the striking flint house. www.westdean.org.uk.
  • Famous Goodwood House — a grand Regency house open to the public during the summer season. Owned and lived in by the Earl and Countess of March with their young children. Its racecourse and motor racing circuit are equally well known, with events throughout the year. www.goodwood.co.uk.

Shopping and Places to Eat

Many independent, all interesting. Opposite Present Surprise in South Street you will find a good choice of restaurants and even a French café!

And so much more …

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