South Downs Way

The South Downs Way starts at the ancient and historic city of Winchester and follows the northern crest of the chalk escarpment of the South Downs, all the way to the sea. Stretching for 100 miles through England’s newest National Park, to the seaside town of Eastbourne, this walking holiday offers a fabulous taste of this lovely rural area, with spectacular views, expansive fields, beautiful woodlands, picturesque villages and huge amounts of history.

The South Downs Way is well marked and easy to follow. It is used by horses and cyclists, so is very accessible, with almost no stiles. It links many ancient and historic tracks, used by travellers and traders since the Stone Age. It is one of the easiest National Trails, with few steep sections, apart from when the route drops down into river valleys, and for the descent to overnight stays in the pretty towns, villages and farms along the way.

Although seldom exceeding 250m (820ft), this walking holiday gives a great feeling of space, and a sense of being ‘on top of the world’. Passing iron age hill forts, the spectacular chalk formations of The Devil’s Dyke and the Seven Sisters and rolling countryside with fields of grazing sheep, corn and wild flowers, the South Downs Way offers a magnificent sense of solitude, centuries of history and a cross section of one of the most beautiful parts of southern England.

Our Holidays

We have a choice of 4 holidays on the South Downs Way. You can walk the whole route in anything from 6 to 9 days walking. If you don’t have time to do the whole route, we have separate holidays covering the eastern and western sections. Finally, there’s our South Downs Short Break, a round walk over Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters, between Eastbourne and Alfriston.

Please bear in mind that the distances each day are trail distances only. They do not take into account walking to your accommodation. On some days the accommodation might be on or close to the trail but on other days you may need to walk one or two miles to get to your overnight stop.

Our colleague Sue has walked the South Downs Way. Read Sue’s article: Barley Fields, Beacons and Butterflies.

South Downs Way

Winchester to Eastbourne 104 miles/167 km

We offer 4 itineraries covering the whole route. The 6 day holiday has 4 long days and should only be attempted if you are fit and used to walking long distances day after day. The 9 day trip is done at a more leisurely pace. Most people spend 7 or 8 days walking the whole South Downs Way. Please bear in mind that the 7 day option includes one longer day of 22 miles.

Code Length Average per day Price range
SD7 6 days walking (7 nights) 17 miles/27 km $1542 - $1818 Full Info Book
SD8 7 days walking (8 nights) 15 miles/24 km $1718 - $2040 Full Info Book
SD9 8 days walking (9 nights) 13 miles/21 km $1931 - $2298 Full Info Book
SD10 9 days walking (10 nights) 12 miles/19 km $2141 - $2554 Full Info Book

South Downs Way Western Section: Winchester to Amberley

Winchester to Amberley 51 miles/82 km

The section between Winchester and Amberley has many wooded areas, offering shade from the sun and a variety of views. It is steeped in history from start to finish.

Code Length Average per day Price range
SDW4 3 days walking (4 nights) 17 miles/27 km $924 - $1062 Full Info Book
SDW5 4 days walking (5 nights) 13 miles/21 km $1108 - $1292 Full Info Book

South Downs Way Eastern Section: Amberley to Eastbourne

Amberley to Eastbourne 53 miles/85 km

The eastern section has wide panoramic views. It finishes with a spectacular cliff walk over the Seven Sisters, where the South Downs meet the sea.

Code Length Average per day Price range
SDE5 4 days walking (5 nights) 13 miles/21 km $1108 - $1292 Full Info Book
SDE6 5 days walking (6 nights) 11 miles/18 km $1308 - $1537 Full Info Book

Seven Sisters and the Long Man: South Downs Short Break

Alfriston to Alfriston 19 miles/31 km

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.

Code Length Average per day Price range
SDS3 2 days walking (3 nights) 10 miles/16 km $696 - $788 Full Info Book

Client Feedback

The whole experience worked like clockwork from the first contact onwards, we felt as if we were speaking to friends with wonderful knowledge. Mickledore’s research made the holiday easy to enjoy. Thank you.

South Downs Way, July 2021
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