Walking in Sussex

Walking South Downs


Have you discovered Alfriston, a beautiful downland village nestling in a fold in the Sussex Downs? It’s a wonderful base for walking in Sussex. And it’s a charming place to stay with its narrow streets, quaint historical buildings and fascinating shops. For hotel accommodation we recommend 14th-century Dean’s Place Country Hotel. It is idyllically situated in the heart of the village and is one of the ‘Best Loved’ hotels of the world. It’s also recommended by Johansens and was awarded an AA rosette for cuisine.  Another favourite is Wingrove House, a small 19th century hotel in the heart of the village, renowned for its fabulous food.

We have walked in many different parts of the world but whenever we walk in the countryside surrounding Alfriston we invariably conclude that nothing can beat it. The walking is superb. Tackle the ‘Seven Sisters’ along one of Britain’s most beautiful stretches of heritage coast. Or opt for a gentler walk around the beautiful Cuckmere Valley. The South Downs Way will take you in one direction to Jevington with its lovely old Saxon church and our favourite pub, the Eight Bells. In the opposite direction you can walk to Firle Beacon or to Charleston Farmhouse, the country home of the Bloomsbury Group. Nearby Rose Cottage at Alciston is another old English inn well worth a visit. The possibilities for walking in Sussex are too numerous to list as there are routes in all directions.

There are endless things to do and places to visit within easy reach of Alfriston. In the village itself is the 14th century Clergy House, the first ever property to be bought by the National Trust for the sum of £10. There is Tudor Firle Place, home of the Gage family for 500 years: a good choice if you enjoy looking at works of art. We always enjoy visiting Seaford Head Country Park at nearby Exceat. From here you can walk along the River Cuckmere to the sea at Cuckmere Haven at the foot of the cliffs, the only unspoilt estuary in south-east England. And you simply must have a morning coffee or cream tea in the old farmhouse. And on the topic of cream tea, nearby Wilmington Tea Gardens is famous throughout Sussex. I will say no more except that you will have no difficulty in finding some of the best routes in the UK to walk it off!

Alfriston can be easily reached by rail from London Victoria to Polegate or Berwick. Then it is a short bus or taxi journey to Alfriston. During summer weekends there is the Cuckmere Ramblers Bus which will take you to some of the villages. The bus also meets the London train at Berwick Station. This links to the very handy coastal bus service which allows you to walk in either direction from Exceat, towards Eastbourne or towards Brighton.

For self-guided holidays walking in Sussex, please see our webpage.