South Downs Way, England

The South Downs Way stretches for 160km (100 miles) along the rolling chalk hills of the South Downs, one of the most important chalk landscapes in England. The route starts in the historic city of Winchester and finishes at the Victorian seaside town of Eastbourne on the English Channel coast, beside the white cliffs of Beachy Head. 

The entire route lies within the South Downs National Park, England’s newest national park, and the area is renowned for the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the downland environment. 

The trail mostly follows the northern crest of the chalk escarpment and gives a great taste of this beautiful landscape, with spectacular views, wildflower meadows, beautiful old woodlands and charming villages. There is also lots of history to explore – from the Stone- and Iron-age, through Roman and Saxon times, to the age of the Normans and beyond.

Highlights of the route, other than rolling hills and the walking itself, include Winchester, with its 2000 years of history and spectacular cathedral, the Iron Age hill forts at Old Winchester Hill and Chanctonbury Ring, the quintessential English villages of Amberley and Alfriston, the Devil’s Dyke dry valley, the wide ranging views from the many viewpoints along the top of Downs and, of course, the glorious chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head.

Why go walking on South Downs Way?

  • Enjoy hiking through some of the most beautiful countryside England has to offer. The South Downs Way is the only national trail in the UK to be entirely situated within a national park.
  • This well-marked route is considered to be one of the easiest National Trails to walk but still offers wide ranging views with a great sense of space from high above the landscape. It feels almost like flying even though it seldom rises above 250m.
  • Located just one hour by train from London the South Downs Way nevertheless feels wonderfully remote and leaves traffic and the stress of everyday life far behind while actually staying close to civilisation.
  • Walk through flower covered meadows, pass traditional thatched English cottages with colourful gardens and finish your hike at the picturesque and iconic chalk cliffs of Beachy Head with views over the English Channel.
  • Explore the historic city of Winchester with its spectacular cathedral. Discover Roman, Saxon and Norman history and its link to the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

South Downs Way Self-Guided Walking Packages;

  • Options for 5-8 Days Walking
  • Top-Choice Accommodation
  • Detailed Itinerary and Map
  • Baggage Transfer
  • Breakfasts
  • Insider Tips
  • 24/7 Support

To enquire about this walk please submit an enquiry using our Hiking Trails UK and Europe Enquiry Form

Hiking Trails Pty Ltd acts as an agent for this walk which is operated by Hillwalk Tours of; 27 Galway Technology Centre, Mervue Business Park, Wellpark Road, Galway, H91 WV02, IRELAND. Package inclusions and pricing will be provided with quote. The walk operator, Hillwalk Tours terms and conditions will apply to bookings for this walk. Images on this page are sourced from Hillwalk Tours.