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THE SEVEN SISTERS COASTAL DAY-ESCAPE FROM LONDON YOU NEED TO DO

September 15, 2017

In 1944 Lord Balfour Burleigh said, “London is a splendid place to live in for those who can get out of it.” If you look just an hour or two further afield from London, you’ll find an abundance of activities that’ll make you love London even more. What a dream to get to live in London and also have easy access to all these activities and places!

A COASTAL COUNTRY DAY-ESCAPE YOU NEED TO DO

The Seven Sisters is one such place. It is the name given to the magnificent series of white chalk cliffs that line the coast of the Sussex South Downs, directly south of London. With grass as pristine as the green of a golf course, and endless sea views, this is a walk that must be on your to-do list (your REAL to-do list, not just your ‘it’s a nice idea’ to-do list). 

THE SEVEN SISTERS COASTAL DAY-ESCAPE FROM LONDON YOU NEED TO

Trains run 2-4 times per hour (depending on the weekday) from London (Victoria) to Lewes where you will have to change to get to Seaford. I suggest purchasing a return ticket from London to Lewes, a single from Lewes to Seaford, and a single from Eastbourne back to Lewes (to complete your round trip).

A COASTAL COUNTRY DAY-ESCAPE YOU NEED TO DO

THE SEVEN SISTERS

The walk begins from Seaford, a small seaside town with a long esplanade and pebbly beach. After walking the length of the esplanade, past colourful beach huts and a popular ice-cream shack, you’ll steadily begin to climb the grassy mounds that make up the cliffs or ‘sisters’ as they’re called. The next 22km are a steady rise and fall of soft green grass, rural views rolling out toward the left, and an endless blue ocean stretching to the right. There is no way of getting lost as you simply need to follow your nose and the well trodden path before you. The occasional section is cordoned off for safety, but for the most part the cliffs are left bare and beautiful – be careful not to get too close to the edge!

THE SEVEN SISTERS COASTAL DAY-ESCAPE FROM LONDON YOU NEED TO

Just over a quarter of the way a river slices through the cliffs to meet the sea – to cross it you’ll have to divert inland to cross the bridge (alternatively at low tide you may be able to wade across!). It’s just a little detour up the river to The Cuckmere Inn where you can rehydrate if need be! Birling Gap marks the halfway point where a cafe and gift shop cater to walkers and bus-takers alike. Due to car/bus access at this point, things do get a little busier from here on in. Couples with picnics dot the hills after Birling Gap, as do selfie-stick-clad tourbus takers. I suggest moving past this point as swiftly as possible. 

A COASTAL COUNTRY DAY-ESCAPE YOU NEED TO DO

Not wanting to get caught up with too many sightseers we briefly braved the crowds to purchase an ice-cream tub from the shop and trekked on, stopping someway away to bask in the sunshine and devour our ice creams. Perhaps we were delusional from walking but these ice-creams really were some of the best we’d ever tasted! Locally made and delicious ‘Caroline’s Dairy’ ice creams from West Sussex. I’m talking honey and ginger, lemon meringue, toffee and honeycomb. A serious highlight. 

A COASTAL COUNTRY DAY-ESCAPE YOU NEED TO DO

Walk on, soak up the sunshine and revel in the views. If you’re like me, you’ll find it hard to believe you are only an hour or so from the bustle of London. Occasionally we stopped to pick blackberries, whenever an abundant bush presented itself, otherwise we walked, feeling lucky to have a sunny, summery day and a light breeze at our backs. Sail boats bobbed on the horizon with a summery soundtrack of squawking seagulls, the song of cicadas and distant laughter of fellow walkers. 

A COASTAL COUNTRY DAY-ESCAPE YOU NEED TO DO

One big climb and you’ll reach Beachy Head and the Belle Toute Lighthouse. Built in 1832, this lighthouse once served as a navigational aid, however today it serves as a bed and breakfast and popular film location. You’ll reach the Beachy Head Lighthouse next, a red and white striped tower out at sea. If this isn’t the picture perfect lighthouse you remember from children’s books, then I’m not sure what is! 

A COASTAL COUNTRY DAY-ESCAPE YOU NEED TO DO

From here the walk steeply winds down into Eastbourne. After a long day of walking, this last section through Eastbourne feels like it takes forever. Now find a cute pub, rest your weary legs, sip a refreshing pint and bask in that warm glowing feeling of ‘I’m utterly exhausted but deeply content with my day’. 

THE SEVEN SISTERS COASTAL DAY-ESCAPE FROM LONDON YOU NEED TO

NOTES

  • Pack plenty of snacks and water. Nothing is worse than having to keep hunger at bay while conquering cliff.
  • Pack enough clothes for the time of year/weather forecast.
  • From what I’ve read and heard the walk is better done from west to east (Seaford-Eastbourne) as the hills are gentler and views more impressive from this angle. However if it were a windy day, I would consider walking downwind – whichever way that is- for a nicer experience.

Have you ever visited the Seven Sisters? Please share your experience with our readers in the comments below. Read Next > 5 Hidden Gems to See in London

By We Are Travel Girls Contributor Pippa Marffy of WanderPip.com
Connect with Pippa on Facebook | Instagram   

ESCAPE FROM LONDON YOU NEED TO DO

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6 Comments

  • Reply Tessa September 15, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    I absolutely agree! This is truly a wonderful hike and the views are stunning. I went myself this spring. Took the Coaster 12 bus from Brighton (sometimes easier to make connections) to Eastbourne. During summer the Coaster 13X goes all the way out to Beachy Head, but for the rest of the year the Coaster 12 or 12x is the one to take. Just after going through the town of Seaford , I got off at the Chyngton Way bus stop and walked down this lovely road and up to the South Hill Barn car park. From here you can see the channel and it’s a lovely walk downhill where you’ll see the Seven Sisters cliffs and the coastguard cottages in front of you. Highly recommend, it’s worth it in any weather but on a gorgeous sunny day, it’s breathtaking. Thanks for posting!

  • Reply Zhanna September 16, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Amazing place! I have never seen such a steep cliff before. This place should find its way on everybody’s bucket list.

  • Reply Natalia September 19, 2017 at 4:56 am

    I lived in London for three years and never even knew this existed! Definitely on my list when I return!

    • Reply We Are Travel Girls September 21, 2017 at 2:43 am

      Amazing! So pleased that we helped you to find a new destination in this great article from Pippa! Thanks for reading and commenting. Becky – Founder, We Are Travel Girls

  • Reply Tilly Horseman September 30, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Your photos are amazing! I’m a long way from the south coast as I’m based in the north west of England but it’s on my list for sometime soon. I’d love to do this walk! Your photos have brought it back to the forefront of my mind!

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