South Downs Short Break

Alfriston to Eastbourne via the Long Man, and back over the Seven Sisters Code: SDS3

This is a 2 day circular walk from Alfriston, passing the famous Long Man of Wilmington, Britain’s largest chalk figure. After spending the night in Eastbourne, you walk along the top of the spectacular Seven Sisters before heading inland, via the Cuckmere River, back to Alfriston.

Miles Km
Day 1 Travel to Alfriston for your first nights accommodation
Day 2 Alfriston - Eastbourne (via Long Man) 8 13
Day 3 Eastbourne to Alfriston (via Seven Sisters) 11 18
Day 4 Depart from Alfriston after breakfast

Alfriston to Eastbourne

via the Long Man The trail leaves Alfriston and crosses the Cuckmere River before winding its way up onto Windover Hill. From here you can make a short detour to view the Long Man of Wilmington. After crossing open downland, the track then passes through woodland, and arrives at Jevington, which was once the haunt of smugglers. After a final ascent over Willington Hill, the trail heads down towards the outskirts of Eastbourne, passing alongside a golf course as it leads into the town.

Eastbourne to Alfriston via the Seven Sisters & Beachy Head

Leaving Eastbourne at the eastern end of the Eastbourne promenade, the path rises steeply up onto the downs, giving fantastic views south across the Channel and east as far as Hastings and Dungeness. The spectacular chalk cliffs at Beachy Head now come into view and as you continue to walk west you get a tremendous vista of the Seven Sisters. Descending briefly to Birling Gap, the trail then passes over the top of the Seven Sisters, before reaching Haven Brow, where there are stunning views of the Cuckmere Estuary. Descending off the downs and heading inland, you pass through the Seven Sisters Country Park before heading uphill through Friston Forest. The trail then descends to Litlington and follows the Cuckmere River back into Alfriston.

Easy to Moderate

This is another relatively easy National Trail which is clearly way-marked along the length of the path. A good route for a first long-distance walk.

Terrain: Varied - but these are gentle downs and heathlands, not mountains! The path spends most of its time on the south downs, undulating over farmland and through woodlands.

What’s it like underfoot? Pretty good. Well maintained paths, tracks, and green lanes throughout, although sections can get a bit muddy in wet weather.

How much up & down? Once up on the Downs, the trail is rolling rather than hilly. It does drop down to the valley floor to visit villages and cross river valleys, followed by climbs of up to 700 ft (200m).  There are some short steeper sections, but they don’t go on forever. The highest point is 886 ft (270m).

Signposting: Generally good.

Navigation: Pretty straightforward. Well defined paths, and good signposting.


All Holidays
Accommodation Overnight Bed and Breakfast accommodation in selected hotels, farmhouses, village inns, guest houses and family B&Bs.Full English or Continental breakfast.
Guidebook A detailed guidebook with route information, maps, photos and background information.
Information of Services Along the Route A comprehensive Service Info sheet, including services such as cash points, banks, post offices, village shops, inns, cafes and taxis.
Maps A waterproof map from Harvey Maps covering the whole route.
Personal Itinerary A personal itinerary setting out each overnight stop, including large scale maps of each accommodation, to ensure you find it easily.
Emergency Telephone Support If you get in to difficulties during your holiday, we are always available to help, even out of office hours.
12.5% discount at Cotswold Outdoors We will issue you with a 12.5% Discount Card valid at all Cotswold Outdoor stores, and online, for the whole year on confirmation of your booking.
Luggage Transport We will transfer your luggage between each overnight stop – if you leave your luggage at the accommodation when you set off in the morning, it will be moved on to your next B&B. You only need to carry a small day sack with the clothes and provisions you require during the day’s walk.
Packed Lunches
Provided for each day’s walking and recommended on this holiday as there will not always be a handy shop or cafe on the route.
Off Road Parking If you are travelling by car we can usually arrange off road parking for the duration of your trip. (There may be a small charge for this).
Arrangement of return transport We can also arrange your transfer back to your car, (or advise you when public transport is a better option)!
What’s not Included
Evening Meals Your evening meal isn’t included in the package, but we include full details and recommendations for each evening meal in your itinerary. You will normally be within walking distance of a pub and/or restaurant, or where there is good food available at the accommodation, we’ll book that for you. Allow about £20.00 per night.
Transport to the Start & Away from the Finish Have a look at the “Travel Info” tab above for suggestions. If you’re still struggling, get in touch and we’ll help you sort it out.
Travel Insurance Even if you are based in the UK travel insurance is worth having.

Good accommodation and friendly hosts are an essential part of any holiday. We understand this and go out of our way to find the best. We put a great deal of effort into hand picking our accommodation and matching it to individual customer requirements. As well as visiting the accommodation ourselves, we ask all our customers to complete a short evaluation on each night’s accommodation, which then gives us an insight into the day-to-day operation and lets us spot any potential issues before they become a problem.

We use a variety of accommodation. Over the course of your trip you might stay in a village inn, a bed and breakfast in a converted barn, a Victorian guest house, or on a working farm. In selecting the accommodation we look for helpful, friendly hosts with good quality, characterful accommodation close to the trail. Occasionally we may use a chain hotel.

We always try to arrange en suite accommodation, i.e. rooms with their own bathrooms for each night of your stay. However, in some of the more remote locations accommodation is limited and occasionally we may have to book rooms with shared bathrooms for one or two nights of your holiday, (especially if the booking is made at short notice), but we will always let you know if this is likely to be the case.

We are happy to book single rooms on our holidays but cannot normally book more than two for any one group. Single room bookings include a supplement.

Here are some examples of the accommodation we use on the South Downs Way:

Giffard House, Winchester
An elegant, beautifully restored Victorian house with luxurious rooms and plenty of character. Located in a quiet part of Winchester, only a short walk from the city centre, you are assured of a warm welcome and a comfortable stay.



Corhampton Lane Farm, Exton
This traditional farmhouse near the village of Exton has large, beautifully decorated rooms and is full of character and charm. Suzanne is a delightful host and you are assured of a friendly welcome and a delicious breakfast from her lovely farmhouse kitchen.

General travel information for the South Downs Way will be included in your holiday pack, including train and bus timetables where available. Detailed instructions on getting to your first night’s accommodation by car, or on foot from the nearest train or bus station, will also be included in the holiday pack on individual accommodation maps. To view train times please visit trainline where you can also purchase tickets in advance. For information on bus timetables please visit traveline.

To and from the trail at Alfriston
By Air:
The nearest and most convenient International Airport to Alfriston is London Gatwick. There is a railway station at London Gatwick with frequent trains to Berwick (Sussex) station changing at Polegate or to Seaford station changing at Lewes (both journey times approx. 1 hour).

By Public Transport: The nearest Railway Stations to Alfriston are Berwick (Sussex) and Seaford. Berwick (Sussex) Railway Station is located on the East Coastway Line with frequent trains to and from London Victoria station changing at either Brighton or Polegate (journey time approx. 1 and a half hour)


This Victorian seaside town boasts the title of the sunniest place in Britain, thanks to its sheltered position. If the weather is warm, there are some great beaches to laze on, giving those feet a well-earned rest and even perhaps dipping them in the sea. There’s also the elegant seafront and famous pier to stroll along, as well as the Redoubt Fortress and Military Museum to explore.
There are regular concerts at the Eastbourne Bandstand, and a wide variety of galleries and studios to explore, as well as 5 theatres. There’s a huge range of restaurants and cafes to choose from, offering you a change if you’ve had one too many pub meals. And if you’re in need of some retail therapy after your walk there’s a wide selection of shops to choose from, from high street names to quaint Victorian shopping streets and exclusive boutiques.

Prices CAD ($)
Accommodation, map & guidebook only $696
with Luggage Transport $753
with Packed Lunches $733
with Luggage & Lunches $788

Other Options

Extra Nights (per night) $152
Single Supplement (per night) $106
Solo Luggage Supplement (per day) $28