Seaside, sunshine and beachfront hotels. Many people mistakenly think this is all Eastbourne has to offer.
What they don’t know is that some of the best walks in the country are near Eastbourne.
It is the perfect gateway to the South Downs: a spectacular region renowned for its brilliant walks in the Eastbourne area.
Read on to find out more about the South Downs, as well as the best places for walks near Eastbourne.
What are the South Downs ?
The South Downs are an iconic range of chalk hills that stretch for 260 square miles across the south-eastern coast of England, all the way from the Itchen Valley to the Eastbourne Downland Estate.
This beautiful region is a national treasure and, as such, is protected. The South Downs National Park covers the coastal chalk hills near Eastbourne, as well as parts of other surrounding regions, and makes for fantastic walking.
In fact, it’s possible to walk the entire length of the National Park if you have the stamina for it. The South Downs Way starts near Winchester and stretches to the western edge of Eastbourne, covering 100 miles.
However, there are two incredible locations in the South Downs that are unmissable and make for particularly good walking.
Situated where the South Downs meet the sea, the Seven Sisters are a series of breathtaking ridges in the chalk cliffs. The area is home to avian and marine wildlife, fascinating historical features and brilliant walks.
You have a few options for starting points for the Seven Sisters walk, including Eastbourne. However, for the best (though longest) trip, we recommend starting from Seaford. That’s because this route gives the best view.
Walk along the coast until you reach Birling Gap. At this point, the Seven Sisters walk is technically over. However, you’ve come all this way, so why not continue to Beachy Head to connect the Seven Sisters walk with Eastbourne and go all the way down to the seafront?
Beachy Head is on the tip of the stretch of coast between Eastbourne and Newhaven. Walk along the beach or climb to the top of the cliffs. With the highest point at 530 feet, it gives gorgeous views of the southern British coast and the English Channel.
You can start your walk to Beachy Head from the Eastbourne seafront. There are a few routes you can take. The general choice is between better views of the coast or more direct routes to the Beachy Head lighthouse.
We recommend taking the coastal route on your way there. When you get to Birling Gap, a small hamlet with a great view of the Seven Sisters, it’s time to head back to Eastbourne. Since the Beachy Head walk is roughly a 10-mile round trip, the return leg is when the direct route comes in handy.
When you’re soaking in the gorgeous views, be extra careful not to go near the cliff’s edge. There’s significant coastal erosion in this area, meaning the ground at the edge could crumble. The problem points are signposted, with especially dangerous sections even fenced off. Even so, the best policy is to stay well back from the edge.
How to start your walking holiday
Now that you know everything you need for your walking holiday to Eastbourne and the South Downs, it’s time to decide how to get there.
Since you’ll be able to get to all the amazing walks from Eastbourne, there’s no need to go through the stress of driving. Book train tickets to Eastbourne instead and start your walking holiday hassle-free.