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    Why we love the South Downs

    The South Downs will take your breath away – in more ways than one. Yes, its views are magnificent, especially from the Seven Sisters’ sea cliffs and the rolling hills of Cissbury Ring, but there are also epic trails to hike, rivers to kayak, castles to conquer and wild woods to explore. 

    Founded in 2010, this is Britain’s newest national park, a 600 square-mile confection of countryside, heathland, beaches and woodland. And while its biodiversity is impressive, the area is also home to thriving towns and vibrant history, from the cathedral city of Winchester to the 2,000-year-old Roman villa at Bignor. 

    This is a land rich in adventure, intrigue, myths and marvels – so what are you waiting for? Here’s how to plan your trip.

    Things to do in the South Downs

    Be dazzled by the miles of brilliant white chalk cliffs iconic to Sussex Heritage Coast and spot unique wildlife.

    Find out more about Seven Sisters Country Park
    A hand posing a stack of stones on the coast with the Seven Sisters in the background.
    Seven Sisters Country Park

    The mysterious man who stares out form the South Downs is the biggest portrayal of a human in Europe, yet where did he come from?

    Find out more about the Wilmington Giant
    A person looking out at the Wilmington Giant, a historic chalk drawing on a hillside in East Sussex
    Wilmington Giant

    Explore the highest point in the South Downs National Park for a true sense of escape.

    Find out more about the National Trust Black Down
    National Trust Black Down
    National Trust Black Down

    A history spanning 16 centuries, this iconic fortress exhibits tales from its Roman history to its role in the Second World War.

    Visit Pevensey Castle
    Pevensey Castle
    Pevensey Castle

    Meander the ancient trackways and spy dazzling chalklands along the South Downs Way National Trail.

    Discover more about the South Downs Way
    Two men on mountain bikes cycling at Devil's Dyke. Sunrise
    South Downs Way

    Be dazzled by the miles of brilliant white chalk cliffs iconic to Sussex Heritage Coast and spot unique wildlife.

    Find out more about Seven Sisters Country Park
    A hand posing a stack of stones on the coast with the Seven Sisters in the background.
    Seven Sisters Country Park

    The mysterious man who stares out form the South Downs is the biggest portrayal of a human in Europe, yet where did he come from?

    Find out more about the Wilmington Giant
    A person looking out at the Wilmington Giant, a historic chalk drawing on a hillside in East Sussex
    Wilmington Giant

    Explore the highest point in the South Downs National Park for a true sense of escape.

    Find out more about the National Trust Black Down
    National Trust Black Down
    National Trust Black Down

    A history spanning 16 centuries, this iconic fortress exhibits tales from its Roman history to its role in the Second World War.

    Visit Pevensey Castle
    Pevensey Castle
    Pevensey Castle

    Meander the ancient trackways and spy dazzling chalklands along the South Downs Way National Trail.

    Discover more about the South Downs Way
    Two men on mountain bikes cycling at Devil's Dyke. Sunrise
    South Downs Way

    Places to stay in the South Downs

    Quirky getaways

    Take your pick from cosy shepherd’s huts, a sea-view lighthouse, and even a converted double-decker bus: the South Downs is full of unique retreats. 

    Rural B&Bs

    Tucked away in those lush valleys and charming villages, you’ll find homely B&Bs for a traditional bed-and-breakfast combo.

    Vineyard hotels

    Going wine tasting? Many South Downs vineyards offer boutique accommodation, too – so you can make a day (and night) of it. 

    Explore nearby

    An unmissable destination for travellers, London is a melting pot of history, culture and green spaces.

    Picadilly Circus underground station

    A quirky seaside city filled with diverse cuisine, vintage shopping and adrenaline fuelled adventure.

    Female yoga class taking place on the viewing platform of British Airways i360 Viewing Tower, Brighton, East Sussex, England

    From ice-cream parlours to sea food festivals, the ‘Garden of England’ is meant for discovery.

    Man and woman walking between vines at a vineyard

    Step into nature with tufty-haired ponies, wild countryside and a labyrinth of bike trails.

    Girl, in a white skirt, walking beside a Highland cow

    Getting to the South Downs

    The closest airport is London Gatwick: a 50-minute drive from Midhurst, or 90-minute train journey from Liss. Gatwick is one of Britain’s major international hubs, reached by direct flights from more than 150 cities worldwide. Alternatively, trains from London Victoria and London Waterloo take 60–90 minutes. Regular ‘Breeze’ buses run between Brighton and parts of the park, too.

    Getting around

    With a Discovery Ticket, you’ll enjoy unlimited bus travel all over the South Downs and the rest of the region – putting outdoor adventures and top attractions within easy reach. Meanwhile, picturesque hiking routes can be reached directly from the train stations in Amberley, Liss and Southease. 

    By bike

    Hire some wheels and hit the trail: there are 1,200km of traffic-free bridleways, plus 15 bike-rental sites

    By bus

    In summer, catch the Rambler Bus for easy access to the South Downs Way – ideal for day hikes and sightseeing.

    By steam train

    The Watercress Line steam train chugs through glorious Hampshire countryside, with historic charm aplenty.

    Want to know more?

    To find the best days out and things to do, visit the South Downs National Park’s official website.