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Living in Chichester: The Local Area Guide

Chichester is a cathedral city and the county town of West Sussex, in the south-east of England. It is a designated Conservation Area due to its breathtaking architecture and historical beauty. The city is dotted with Grade I and II listed buildings throughout, and is surrounded by rolling countryside. Placed astride the River Lavant, Chichester is most famous for its cathedral, which was first established in the 11th century, containing vast quantities of original and untouched architecture.

The city's history dates back to before the Roman occupation, but it was after their invasion that it became a major settlement and stronghold. Roman walls guarded the city for many centuries and it was both an important military outpost and cultural hub in Anglo-Saxon, Norman and Medieval times.

Chichester's attraction is not entirely historical, however. Today it has a great reputation for music, art and drama. Every year the music and arts-focused Festival of Chichester draws large crowds and impressive talents. As well as this, the city is home to one of the county's most celebrated production and touring theatres - the Chichester Festival Theatre.

Chichester's significance belies its small size, and it has produced some highly influential figures over the years. Two men who played big parts in the English Civil War (albeit on opposite sides), William Juxon and William Crawley, came from the town. Additionally, the first British European Space Agency astronaut Timothy Peake was born in Chichester and attended the local High School for Boys.


Chichester is small for a city with a population of just under 27,000 people. Its residents are also a little older on average than much of the rest of the country. The mean age is 44.5, significantly higher than the national mean of 39.3. This is also reflected in the median age of 46.

It is also, on average, wealthier than much of the rest of England. When classified by social grade, which is measured by the occupation of the main household earner. Nearly 29% of households belong to grade AB under this measure, far above the English average of 23%. Only 18.6% are placed in the lowest grade, DE, 7% less than the national average.

Chichester's rates of home ownership are also higher than average. Nearly 70% of households are owner-occupied of which the majority, at 40.5%, are owned outright. That compares to 30.6% for England as a whole, with an overall ownership rate of 63%. Only around 13% of households are privately rented, far below average in England, and 2.2% are council houses.

This wealth is likely related to the low rates of unemployment. Less than 2% of people claim Jobseeker's Allowance and only 8.9% in total accept benefits of any kind.

Chichester also has very high self-reported states of health. In the 2011 census 83% of people stated that their health was 'very good' or 'good'.


The lifestyle, community and culture of Chichester make it an attractive location, yet the quality of education is another bonus. There are six primary schools throughout the town, as well as two nurseries and two special-needs schools.

These feed into four secondary schools. Chichester High School for Boys is the most significant, and has performed very well under Ofsted inspections in recent years. It is twinned with Chichester High School for Girls. Also within the town are Bishop Luffa School and Chichester Free School. Furthermore, there are three independent prep schools in Chichester to choose from; Westbourne House School, The Prebendal School, and Oakwood Preparatory School.

At the age of 16, many pupils then go on to Chichester High School Sixth Form, which is the largest sixth form college in the county, providing a range of vocational and academic courses.


Chichester has excellent and varied transport links. By car, it sits near the A27 coastal road which connects Southampton with Eastbourne and provides links to the closest motorway artery roads.

By train, the railway station sits on the West Coastway Line and offers direct links into London via Gatwick, as well as to Brighton, Portsmouth, and Southampton.

Chichester also has good bus services that run within and outside the city.

Amenities and Shopping

Chichester is a hugely popular tourist town and as such, has a strong retail economy.

Throughout the town are some good chain brands such as John Lewis, Accessorize, H. Samuel and Laura Ashley. In Addition, there is a fantastic selection of smaller, independent shops which offer local wares, antiques, books and vintage items.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.