Magnificent landscapes, rolling hills, and beautiful villages are some of the amazing features of the South Downs. With these great features sandwiched between the south coast and London, the 624 square miles of South Downs National Park holds several fun points for people who love nature and beautiful landscapes.
If you want to visit the South Downs National Park, the following are fun-filled things you should do. It is based on the popularity of the places among those who have visited the South Downs National Park one or more times.
Walk the South Downs Way
The South Downs Way is a 100-mile footpath that stretches from the ancient city of Winchester to Eastbourne white cliffs (west to east). You may decide to walk the whole length especially if you are not a day-tripper. For day-trippers, there are several suitable shorter sections that can be accessed easily, either by bus or train. For walkers attempting the entire route, the way is replete with great pubs and accommodations, ensuring the experience is wonderful every step of the way.
There are several amazing views along this way e.g. rolling hills and Devil’s Dyke.
Visit the Seven Sisters Country Park
Visiting the Seven Sisters cliffs at Eastbourne is another great thing to do in the South Downs National Park. Describing the great scenes here is not the easiest thing to do but we’ll put as much as we can put into words. Viewing the cliffs and the Belle Tout lighthouse from Seaford Head is a really beautiful sight. To access it, take the Glynde to Seaford walk which is very popular. Exceat, once used as a naval base by King Alfred the Great according to popular opinion, is a great ancient village in the seven sisters country park. Other amazing sights here are wryneck, bluethroat, and Hoopoe. There are great rock-pools to explore especially at low tide.
Explore Kingsley Vale
Close to Chichester is the Kingsley Vale reserve which is home to one of the finest yew forests in western Europe. Some of the oldest trees (and living things at large) in the UK are here. These trees, that are as old as a thousand year, have features that would give you an ancient world experience. Green woodpecker, bee orchids, and many other interesting animals use this forest as a haven.
Run or walk the Serpent Trail
Every year, an ultra-marathon event is held on this route, highlighting the pleasantness of the trail for a walk or run. It is a perfect venue for athletes to get up to speed. As typical of the South Downs National Park, there are beautiful landscapes on this path such as the beautiful West Sussex heathland. Sussex Wealden Greensand Heaths Project is one of the highlights on the Serpent Trail. If you are visiting the South Downs National Park and you fancy walking or running, then the serpent trail is a great consideration.
Visit Gilbert White’s House
Gilbert White is an icon of natural history with his work on ‘The Natural History of Selbourne’ hugely celebrated in the late 1700s and was used as a seminal text on wildlife and nature in southern England. In his house, there are amazing drawings and detailed descriptions that are too good to neglect for visitors, especially fans of natural history. Another highlight in Selbourne is the stump of the Selbourne yew tree which oversaw the village churchyard for 1,400 years until a great storm in 1990 fell on it. Don’t miss this while visiting White’s house in Selbourne.
Visit Breaky Bottom Vineyard, Lewes
The Champagne region in France is known for producing one of the best wines in the world. Sussex Downs has a chalky soil with similar composition as the Champagne region’s. Therefore, South Downs is home to some of the best wines in Britain. Breaky Bottom planted just outside Lewes is a vineyard producing great white wines. Though it does not have a visitor center, people are welcomed for tasting. An appointment is necessary if you are planning to visit this vineyard for tasting whilst in the South Downs National Park.
Visit Ramster Garden
Ramster Garden is an award-winning site with magnificent displays of unusual trees, flowering shrubs, camellia, azaleas, etc. If you want to see autumn colors, this is a perfect site. A massive 25 acres of peaceful woodland, amazing hillsides, and lake views, as well as great autumn shades. It opens a few times a year; it’s worth visiting anytime you visit the South Downs National Park.
Other places you should visit in the South Downs National Park are Black Down (the highest point in this national park), Butser Ancient Farm (featuring reconstructions of ancient buildings), Trundle (very popular landmark), Petersfield Heath, Arundal Castle (offers magnificent views across the South Downs because it is set on a hill), etc.
The South Downs National Park is an amazing terrace of nature. It is a perfect place for day-trippers as well as people on vacation to visit. There are amazing things to do, as well as great options for pubs and accommodation. All the places highlighted above are favorites of diverse kinds of visitors – with a wide range of backgrounds.