This is a walk around the shoreline of Chichester's tidal harbour, finishing in Chichester itself - there are no hills at all. On a clear day you can enjoy marvellous views for miles – inland to Chichester Cathedral and south across the harbour. Birdwatchers should bring binoculars. This walk has a very different feel depending upon the tides. At low tides, there are mudflats and birds. At high tide, its like walking around a lake.
The lunchtime stop is the popular old village of Bosham (pronounced 'Bozzum'), which appears deceptively close quite early on, except that there is a long detour around the water to get to it.
In the afternoon, the walk goes via Fishbourne (there is a Roman palace nearby) and approaches Chichester Cathedral through the lovely Bishop's Palace Gardens. The suggested tea place is the cathedral cafe. Then its a short walk through the pedestrianised centre of the old town, past pubs and cafes to the station.
The Parish Church of St Mary, Chidham, which dates from the twelfth century, was built on the site of a wooden Saxon church. The Saxon font once had a locked cover (obligatory in the thirteenth century), to prevent witches from stealing the holy water. In 1847, the vicar destroyed a sixteenth-century tomb within the church because no descendant was willing to pay for its repair. Note the home-made puppets along the frieze to the north wall of the nave, depicting individuals and events of historic interest over the centuries.
Bosham is traditionally the site of a villa belonging to the Roman Emperor Vespasian, and was an important port in the medieval period. Holy Trinity Church, Bosham, is the oldest site of Christianity in Sussex. According to tradition, King Canute's daughter was buried in the church, which also appears in the Bayeux tapestry, where King Harold is shown entering Bosham Church prior to sailing to Normandy in 1064. There are cross marks on the inner porch where crusaders, returning from the holy land, ritualistically blunted their swords.
Fishbourne Roman Palace and Gardens in Salthill Road, Fishbourne (tel 01243 785 859) is the largest Roman building to have been found in Britain – the remains include mosaic floors and underfloor heating systems. In summer it is open daily till 5pm; in winter on Saturdays and Sundays only till 4pm; and there is a cafeteria. Admission (2020) is £10.00. There are buses from here into Chichester.
Chichester Cathedral (tel 01243 782 595), dedicated in 1108, contains many ancient and modern wonders: a stained-glass window designed by Chagall; a painting by Graham Sutherland; a tomb with the Earl of Arundel hand in hand with his wife (the tomb inspired a poem by Philip Larkin 'What will survive them is love'); a shrine of St Richard, Bishop of Chichester; a twelfth-century carving of the raising of Lazarus; and a Roman mosaic from the second century (Chichester was previously the Roman town of Noviomagus). The cathedral has friendly and welcoming helpers and there is no entrance fee (although donations of £5 per person are "suggested". It is open daily until 7pm in summer, till 5pm in winter; evensong is at 5.30pm Monday to Saturday, 3.30pm Sunday.
Five minutes south-east of the cathedral is Pallant House Gallery, 9 North Pallant (tel 01243 774 557), a Queen Anne townhouse which is open to visitors Tuesday to Sunday, and Bank Holiday Mondays; last entry 4.45pm. Admission (2020) is £12.50 (£6.50 for all on Tuesdays, and Arts Fund Members £6.50 any day). Chichester is also famous for its Festival Theatre (tel 01243 781 315), for those wanting to see a show after the walk; there is normally a late-night train back to London afterwards.
If you start an hour later, The Old House at Home (tel 01243 572 477) in Cot Lane, Chidham, is a gastro pub/restaurant offering excellent food at reasonable prices. It is essential to book on Sundays.
The suggested lunch place is the Anchor Bleu (tel 01243 573 956) in Bosham, serving food daily from midday to 2pm or 2.30pm, and with snacks available all afternoon. The pub is in a superb location and is busy all year.
Two alternative places in the village, both open all day every day, are the Bosham Walk Arts & Crafts Centre café (tel 01243 572 475) and the Cumberland Gallery coffee shop (tel 01243 572 960).
The suggested tea place, if you get there in time, is Cloisters Café (tel 01243 813590) in the grounds of the Cathedral serves teas, coffees, home-made cakes and more substantial meals until 5pm (4pm on Sunday).
There are several other tea places in the town centre, though most close at 5.30pm. A reliable late option is Starbucks at 13 North Street, which is open until 7pm Monday to Friday, 7.30pm on Saturday and 6.30pm on Sunday.