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South Downs Way

Bookatrekking.com Trips - 11 days

    Regular days with
  • 15 - 20 km per day
  • 250 - 500m ascent per day
  • T2 Trails / no difficulty markings
Overview
Route
What's included
Accommodation
Packing list
FAQ
Safety
COVID-19
How to Book

Overview

> Walk the full South Downs Way to the east coast
> Enjoy breathtaking views of valleys and meadows
> Accommodation before, during and after the trek included

The South Downs Way is a trail that runs through the South Downs National Park. It is England’s newest National park and was only established in 2009. It runs through as many as 5 National Nature Reserves and many more interesting attractions, the most important being the iconic English chalk hills. 
 
Why book with us?

You can do the South Downs Way fully independent and self-guided. However, stringing an itinerary including all the accommodation together can be a complicated undertaking. Bookatrekking.com has warm contacts with the hotels on the South Downs Way and we can take the load of having to book the accommodation yourself off your shoulders. Let us help you to make your South Downs Way memories stress-free and enjoy free hiking advice from our trekking experts while you're at it. 
 

Route

What's the plan? 

Day 1, Arrival in Winchester

Today you will have to make your way to Winchester. Here, you will spend the night preparing for your South Downs Way adventure.
 
Day 2, Stage 1: Winchester to Exton

The South Downs Way starts with a short hike through the beautiful city of Winchester. After a few kilometers you will exit the city and the rolling hills of the countryside will surely catch your eye. Enjoy the panoramic views of the Meon Valley while you make your way to Exton. 
 
Distance: 20 km
Walking time: 5-7 hours
 
Day 3, Stage 2: Exton to Buriton

The second day will be a fairly easy day of hiking as the height difference is not very significant. You will pass by several hills such as Salt Hill and Butser Hill. When standing on Butser hill, you will be standing on the highest point of the South Downs Way, which is only 270 meters. From this point, your view will reach as far as the Isle of Wight.  
 
Distance: 21 km
Walking time: 7-8 hours
 
Day 4, Stage 3: Buriton to Cocking

Today you will walk along the ridge through an area with more tree coverage, in Monkton Estate. Once you reach Harting Down, the trees will make way for tiny villages. You will pass old English houses such as Uppark House and Telegraph House, along the route. 
 
Distance: 18 km
Walking time: 5-7 hours
 
Day 5, Stage 4: Cocking to Amberley
 
Today you will walk the chalk road that leads you through Graffham Downs nature reserve. Follow it up downhill until you reach the old Roman Road which crosses Stane Street. Follow this road until you reach Bignor Hill, where you will see breathtaking views of the Amberley Wild Brooks wetlands and River Arun, below. End your day in the town of Amberley. 
 
Distance: 19 km
Walking time: 5-7 hours
 
Day 6, Stage 5: Amberley to Steyning/Upper Beeding

Start your fifth stage with an easy walk through the glowing hills, before you reach a steep descent, down to Chanctonbury Tree Circle. This circle of beech trees is said to be a “magical” circle. Move on to Lancing College, where you will have the chance to see the amazing Abbey, situated at the hillside. Move on to Steyning, or walk a little bit further to Upper Beeding and visit the Norman castle at the banks of the River Adur. 
 
Distance: 17 of 23 km
Walking time: 5-8 hours
 
Day 7, Stage 6: Steyning/Bramber to Pyecombe

Walk towards Fulking Hill, where you will have a 360 view of the Devil's Dyke. This dry Valley is a popular tourist attraction because it is the deepest and widest dry valley in England. Walk on until you reach Pyecombe and get a rest in your B&B.
 
Distance: 19 or 14 kilometers 
Walking time: 4-7 hours
 
Day 8, Stage 7: Pyecombe to Kingston-near-Lewes

A little outside of Peycombe, you will find the famous windmills Jack and Jill. Keep walking and enjoy the stunning views of the Downs, while making your way to Kingston-near-Lewes. In this adorable village, you will be able to buy some books in the old English book shops. Buy as many as you want, as we will transfer them to your next accommodation. 
 
Distance: 19 km
Walking time: 6-7 hours
 
Day 9, Stage 8: Kingston-near-Lewes to Alfriston

Climb uphill and follow the easy path along the ridge. You will have a stunning view of the area all around you. The path will take you past the town of Ridgeton, where Virginia Woolf used to live in an old Monk’s house. Cross the river Ouse and end in the old smugglers' towns of Alfriston where you will find the oldest two Inns of England. 
 
Distance: 19 km
Walking time: 5-7 hours
 
Day 10, Stage 9: Alfriston to Eastbourne

This last day of the South Downs Way walk might be the most beautiful of all. Start with a riverside walk towards the Friston Forest. Soon enough, you’ll reach the Cuckmere river. Finally, you will reach the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs. Walk on to the lighthouse of Beachy Head, where you will have a magnificent view of these eight white cliffs. Walk on to the seaside resort of Eastbourne, and you have reached the final destination of the South Downs Way. 
 
Distance: 17 km
Walking time: 5-7 hours
 
Day 11, Departure day
 
After breakfast, our services and your South Downs Way adventure will be over. Have a safe trip back home!

What's included

Included:

 Booking the hotels
We will take care of arranging accommodation for you. We will also provide you with a detailed itinerary for every stage and instructions on how to get to the trailhead. 

√ Accommodation
We will arrange your accommodation on the South Downs Way in hotels. The accommodation will be in shared rooms when possible, although most hotels on the route offer only private rooms.

Accommodation in Winchester and Eastbourne
We will arrange the accommodation before and after your The South Downs Way. Before the trek, you will spend the night in Winchester, and at the end of the trek, you will spend one last night at a hotel in Eastbourne. 

√ Breakfast
Breakfast is, if possible, included in this trek and it will be provided every morning at the hotel before you continue with your South Downs Way adventure.

√ Baggage Transfer
This trek includes the transfer of your luggage throughout the entire trek. Your bags will be picked up every morning from the hotel lobby and will be driven to your next stop. Baggage transfers allow you to travel lighter during the day and enjoy the walk in a more relaxed manner.

Excluded:

× Airfare and Visa
You have to make your way to Winchester. The total amount is exclusive of flights to Great Britain. 

× Transfers
Once in Great Britain, you will have to make your way to the trailhead in Winchester. We will provide the instructions and assist you with how to get there and back to the starting point after the trek, but the bus/train tickets are not included. 

× Travel Insurance
Your international travel insurance is your own responsibility. Discuss your itinerary with the insurance company before your trek.

× Lunch and Dinner
Breakfast is, if possible, included in the price of the trek. You can get lunch and dinner at the shops, hotels, and restaurants along the way.

× Personal expenses
Personal expenses such as souvenirs, drinks, and other similar expenses are for your own account.

Accommodation

Accommodation

During the trek, we will arrange your accommodation in cosy hotels along the way. Along the South Downs Way route are lots of options for accommodation. You can stay in a typical English B&B or in a hotel. You’ll be spoiled with an English breakfast that will keep you full for a long time. Arranging the stages and booking the accommodation should not be taken lightly, since the hotels get fully booked months in advance. Here are the hotels we usually work with on the South Downs Way:

Day 1, Winchester
We will book your first night, before starting the South Downs Way, in Winchester, where you will be able to relax and prepare for your adventure.

Day 2, Exton: George & Falcon
This accommodation offers a big garden where you can relax and enjoy nature at one of the picnic tables. The accommodation offers free on-site parking. 



Day 3, Buriton: The Nest Hotel & Restaurant
The Nest Hotel & Restaurant is a private family-owned boutique hotel that offers luxurious accommodation and a perfect base to explore stunning surroundings.



Day 4, Cocking: Moonlight Cottage Guest House & Cafe 
Moonlight Cottage is a charming flint and brick character property built in 1815. Recently renovated to a high standard, with a modern country feel. Enjoy our courtyard and beautiful gardens.



Day 5, Amberley: Black Horse
This old English B&B' offers a delicious breakfast in the morning, so you can start your hike well-fed. Free parking is offered down the street. 



Day 6, Steyning/Bramber: The Castle Inn Hotel
Castle Inn is truly an eye-catcher with beautiful flowers growing on the outside of the building. This place can't be missed! Enjoy a cold ale or glass of wine in the restaurant and rest in your comfortable room. 



Day 7, Pyecombe: Tallai House B&B
You will be warmly welcomed by the sweet family that runs this place. You can enjoy the pool in the garden, in summer.  


Day 8, Kingston-near-Lewes: The Dorset
The Dorset offers comfortable rooms and an extensive breakfast buffet. You'll find the Lewes Castle & Barbican House Museum only 1 km from this accommodation. 



Day 9, Alfrington: Deans Place Hotel
This hotel is a true pleasure to stay at, and a great ending to your walking holiday. The hotel offers a pool and a massive garden. You can enjoy a gastronomic dinner on-site or sip tea while enjoying a real British afternoon tea. The staff of the hotel will take good care of you!



Day 10, Eastbourne
We will book your last night, after completing your South Downs Way adventure, at a hotel in Eastbourne, where you will be able to relax and rest after your journey.

Packing list

Packing list 
 
When packing for your hiking trip in Great Britain, the weather can be the biggest challenge. The UK is known for its rainy weather, but when you’re lucky, you might find yourself walking in the sun. Be sure to prepare for all weather conditions and try to base your clothing on the "three-layer" principle. This consists of a base layer, which will absorb the moisture from your skin; a middle layer, which should provide some warmth; and a waterproof outer layer to protect you from the rain and the wind.
 
- Trousers and a light jacket; waterproof, lightweight, and quick-drying
- Shirts for base layer
- Warm jacket or pullover for middle layer
- Hat to provide shade
- Sunglasses and sunscreen lotion
- Trekking boots, worn in
- Good quality socks
- Extra footwear for the night
- Map
- Waste bags
- Whistle to summon assistance in case of accidents
- Water bottle containing enough water to take you to your next stop
- Emergency food and snacks (high energy snacks such as chocolate, dried fruit, energy bars etc.)
- Hiking poles
- First aid kit and blister bandaids
- English Pounds
- Passport 
- Travel power adapter
 

FAQ

FAQ

Where is the South Downs Way?
The South Downs Way is a linear walk that starts in Winchester, in the South of England, and runs towards the east, where it ends in the seaside resort of Eastbourne. It is completely surrounded by the South Downs National Park and is known as one of England’s easiest long-distance hikes. 
 
It is a varied trail that crosses through lovely villages as well as through typical English valleys, where the smell of wildflowers will welcome you. Enjoy your lunch in a cosy English pub, as you are in the middle of nature, but never far away from shops and restaurants. 

Best Season
The hiking season for the South Downs Way walk is from May until September. However, the summer holiday starts mid-July and during this month you may find the trail to be much more crowded. Also, attractions along the way are visited much more in this period. Book your South Downs Way accommodation well in advance, as they might be full during the summer months. 

The South Downs Way: Start and End Point
The South Downs Way start is in Winchester. This city used to be the Capital of England and many tourists still come to see the longest medieval cathedral in the world. The trail ends in the seaside resort of Eastbourne. This town is often referred to as the “sunniest town in England”. Due to it being so close to France, it enjoys a slightly more tropical climate than the rest of England. 

How to get to Winchester
From London Gatwick Airport, it is merely one hour to Winchester by train. If you arrive at Southampton airport, it is only 15 minutes by train to get to Winchester. Winchester is also very accessible by train from other cities in Great Britain. 

Difficulty and training
The South Downs Way is considered an easy hike, which means that as long as you have a healthy body and do exercise regularly, you should be fine. If you, however, feel unsure about the trek and being able to complete it, it is always advisable to prepare yourself a few weeks in advance walking a few hours a day and, to avoid blisters, wearing the same boots that you will wear during your trek.

If you are looking for more information, you can have a look at our article where you will find plenty of information about The South Downs Way!

Safety

Safety

The South Downs Way is a very accessible route that can easily be walked by hikers of all levels. The South Down walk runs mostly along a ridge, but you will also walk on rocky paths. Since most of the South Downs Way goes along a ridge, it is necessary to descend when you want to visit a village. However, the aggregated ascent is only about 4200 meters, and the hills are almost never more than 200 meters. This makes it a fairly easy hike. There are no steep climbs, so ascending and descending will not be too hard. 
 

COVID-19

COVID-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has had its grip on us, and the accommodations in the UK have had to take several preventive measures over the past two years. In the meantime, most of the measurements are not taken into consideration anymore, yet it is definitely still a factor to take into account. Some restrictions that are worth mentioning:

- Don't go on your hiking trip if you have symptoms.
- Not all the accommodations are allowed to operate at full capacity yet, so make sure you book your stay in advance.
- Keep your distance and hygiene.
- Use disinfectants and hand sanitizers.

Stay informed about the current rules per country. Make sure you know before you leave which measures you need to take during your stay. The best thing to do is to check the websites of the government.

How to Book

How to Book?

On Bookatrekking.com you can find and compare the adventures of your dreams. Is this trekking your match? In that case, you can proceed with your booking. At Bookatrekking.com you make a deposit of 30% of the total amount. In the case of this trek, we will check the availability at the respective accommodations for you. There are two possible outcomes:

 There is availability 
We go ahead and make all necessary arrangements for your trip. Once confirmed, we will send you a confirmation and your personal hiking guide. The remaining 70% must be paid at least two (2) weeks before the start of the trekking.

X There is no availability 
If there is no availability, we will look for other starting dates or another trekking in agreement with you. Are there no other options for you? Then your deposit of 30% will be refunded.

Cancellation Policy
If all the accommodations of this trekking are booked and confirmed, you will lose your deposit of 30% at all times. If you cancel within 14 days of your start date, you will lose your full booking amount.

Is it not quite clear yet or do you have questions? Please contact us via support@bookatrekking.com. We are happy to help you.

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