As long as I remember myself, I always had a passion for hiking or just walking around, looking at the beautiful landscapes. Since I moved to London, I desperately started looking for great day hikes near London. After hiking all the way from Seaford to Eastbourne via Seven Sisters, I can assure you that it’s the best day hike near London!
This post's overview:
Preparation for the hike from Seaford to Eastbourne
If you never hiked before and didn’t know how long can you hike for, don’t worry. I was scared that I won’t be able to walk all the distance from Seaford to Eastbourne and would be stuck in the middle of nowhere. No, that wasn’t the case. First of all, there is a bus that covers all the road from Seaford to Eastbourne and from Eastbourne to Seaford so that you can quit any time! You will have to walk to the main road though, but that wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes for sure.
Secondly, I’ve read somewhere that this hike has the difficulty 10 out of 10. Well, if that’s 10 out of 10, then the hike I did in Germany (Almbach Gorge in Bavaria) would be 1000 out of 10. Don’t be scared at all; this hike is probably 3-4 out of 10. You will need to climb the cliffs, but they aren’t very tall, and hiking one takes about 3-5 minutes depending on your condition. I don’t remember how many cliffs there are (I would day approximately 10-11), but some of them are easy (you won’t even notice you’re hiking a hill).
How to get to the South Downs hike from London:
It’s the easiest to get to Seaford from London via trains. You can buy a train in advance using Trainline (I use Trainline most because of the user-friendly interface) and often get a lower price. The journey takes about 1.5 hours and costs approximately £29 return if you don’t have any railcards.
It’s always cheaper to travel with a railcard. For example, Pepe and I have a Two Together railcard, and it saves us a lot of money.
What to take with you to the Seven Sisters hike
The hike takes about 6-8 hours to complete depending on your physical condition and the length of the breaks you make. If you’re starting the walk in the morning, then you’ll probably be around the entrance to the Seven Sisters around the lunchtime (and get grab lunch in a pub there). You won’t need GPS or a map, all that you need to do is just literally walk straight to Eastbourne.
I was hiking with Pepe, and we started our hike around 1 pm (due to the late arrival of the train to Seaford and plenty of other factors. So we had to buy our snacks and food in advance. In order not to produce excess waste, try to prepare sandwiches at home and bring along a big water bottle (e.g. this one keeps your water cold for 24h).
Regarding gear, I would recommend comfortable shoes such as these and a windbreaker jacket or a hoodie (in case it gets cold and windy). If you like hiking with a hiking stick, it’s okay, but you don’t need it for the South Downs hike. If you’re hiking in summer, don’t forget to take a good sunscreen spray or cream with you, as the sun is pretty strong there.
Where to stay in South Downs
If you’re planning to make your hike longer and hike another part of South Downs, it will make sense to stay there overnight, mainly if you’re based further than London. I would recommend checking out these great affordable hotels: Flint Barns, the Wellington, Ye Olde Smugglers Inne.
What to expect to see during the hike from Seaford to Eastbourne
If you’re hiking the full hike from Seaford to Eastbourne, be prepared for breathtaking views! The landscapes are indeed some of the most beautiful and scenic in England. If you’re not planning to hike the full route, try at least to hike the Seven Sisters, as it’s really impressive!
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