South Downs Way

South Downs Way

A walk along the chalk downs of Hampshire and Sussex, from Winchester to Eastbourne.

3 to 11 nights
22-102 miles
Moderate to Demanding / Strenuous

From £425 per person

Find your holiday

About the trail

Walk the length of the chalk downs of Hampshire and Sussex on the South Downs Way, which dips into beautiful river valleys to visit Norman and Saxon churches, deserted medieval villages, and historic thatched villages bursting with flowers.

This spectacular National Trail boasts a wealth of old beacon viewpoints overlooking patchwork fields and woodland. Those inland vistas are matched only by the breath-taking views from chalk clifftop trails out over the English Channel at the adventure’s end. The South Downs Way is a stunning walking holiday through iconic English terrain.

We offer multiple holiday options along this trail. If you wish to experience the entire trail, simply select the first option from the list below.

Choose your route

  • South Downs Way
  • South Downs Way - East Section
  • South Downs Way - West Section
  • South Downs Way Short Break - East Section
  • South Downs Way Short Break - Central Section
  • This route includes dog friendly tour options South Downs Way Short Break - Circular

Dog friendly tours available

Dogs are welcome on select routes along this trail. Look for the pawprint icon when choosing your holiday.

About this route

5 to 6 nights
54 miles
Moderate to Moderate / Demanding
2nd January to 24th December

From £695 per person

South Downs Way - East Section

The East section of the South Downs Way begins in Amberley and continues along the chalk escarpment of the South Downs until it reaches the white chalk cliffs of Eastbourne.

The trail crosses open fields and agricultural land as the chalk cliffs fall away to reveal far reaching views of the English Channel.

Available tours

Code Tour Duration Difficulty Price per person
SDWE1 From Amberley to Eastbourne 5 nights, 4 days walking Moderate / Demanding £695
SDWE2 From Amberley to Eastbourne 6 nights, 5 days walking Moderate £830

Short breaks

Code Tour Duration Difficulty Price per person
SDWSBE From Kingston-near-Lewes(T) to Eastbourne 3 nights, 2 days walking Moderate £425

South Downs Way - East Section 5 nights, 4 days walking

£NNN per person
  • Itinerary
  • What's included?
  • Extra nights?
  • Tour facts
  • Route profile
  • Travel info
  • Weather
  • Holiday Highlights

Important information

This tour is available to book all year, however out of season from October to March, there may be a small supplement for luggage moves, which will be moved by taxi rather than the usual luggage courier.


Travel to Amberley where your first night's accommodation will be booked

Day 1

Amberley to Upper Beeding. 13 miles (20.5km) / 1467 ft (447 m) ascent

Day 2

Upper Beeding to Kingston-near-Lewes(T). 17.5 miles (28km) / 2549 ft (777 m) ascent

Day 3

Kingston-near-Lewes(T) to Alfriston. 11.5 miles (18.5km) / 1073 ft (327 m) ascent

Day 4

Alfriston to Eastbourne. 12 miles (19.5km) / 1742 ft (531 m) ascent


Depart from Eastbourne after breakfast

Your Itinerary

This itinerary lists our preferred overnight stops for this tour. Sometimes there may be a shortage of available accommodation in a preferred location, in which case we will transfer you from the trail to your accommodation and back again at no extra charge. Overnight stops marked with a (T) will always require transfers as standard.

Overnight stops marked with an (L) have very limited accommodation, and therefore more often than not will also require a transfer, particularly on bank holidays and weekends. We will use non-transfer accommodation wherever possible.

The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to travel more than a mile from the trail to your accommodation in most cases; should your accommodation be further than this, transfers will be provided as standard if practical. A very limited number of stops will require you to travel on foot up to two miles off the trail, however these instances will be clearly communicated to you if applicable.

Further transfers may also be required due to some accommodations having a two-night minimum booking policy, especially at weekends.

Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Dog-friendly tours are subject to a Daily Dog Charge, which will be listed below if applicable. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Traveller or Single Supplements apply respectively:

A note about transfers
Solo Traveller Supplement
£70.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£55.00 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night
© Contours Walking Holidays South Downs Way - East Section map
Amberley to Eastbourne
54 miles (87 km)
2nd January to 24th December

Holiday highlights

Admiring the spectacular views from the white chalk cliffs and over the English Channel.

Exploring the idyllic village of Alfriston, nestled in the beautiful Cuckmere Valley.

Arriving in Eastbourne to a memorable finale of high cliffs and dramatic coastline.

What's included?

  • 5 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail, or a short distance away via taxi provided at our expense.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.

Extra Nights & Rest Days

For somewhere a little quieter, the pretty village of Amberley is a good choice. The village is comprised of beautiful thatched cottages and is surrounded by the superb countryside of the Arun Valley. There is a museum and a castle that can be viewed from the outside, while just a few miles away lies the marvellous Arundel Castle, where you may wish to spend the day.

The charming village of Kingston-near-Lewes is a good place to spend a rest day. With a pub and 13th century church, there is plenty of opportunity to relax, while the county town of Lewes is less than two miles away and is packed with things to see and do including a castle, ruined priory, the house of Anne of Cleves and a variety of antique shops.

If you would like to spend some more time exploring at the end of your walk, consider Eastbourne for an extra night. With spectacular views from Beachy Head and a host of historic locations such as Redoubt Fortress as well as shops, parks, gardens, restaurants, museums and galleries, there is plenty to serve as reward after completing your walk.

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night

Tour Facts

Total distance: 54 miles (86.5 km)
Duration: 5 nights, 4 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 11.5 miles (18.5 km)
Maximum daily distance: 17.5 miles (28 km)
Code: SDWE1 Grade: Moderate / Demanding
Season: 2nd January - 24th December
Start of holiday: Amberley
End of holiday: Eastbourne

Route Profile

South Downs Way - East Section Route Profile

Travel Information

Useful information and travel links that will assist you in your plans to travel to the start of the holiday and back from the end of it are sent to you with your full tour pack. A summary is given below:

By Air

The most convenient major cities and international airports are Southampton, Bournemouth, London Gatwick and London Heathrow.

By Rail

There is a rail station at the start of the trail (Amberley) and also at the end of the trail (Eastbourne).

By Bus

various buses run to Amberley and from Eastbourne.

From London

Trains run from London Victoria station to Amberley.

Return to Start

The easiest way to return to the start of the trail, is to take the train from Eastbourne to Amberley, although a taxi would be quicker.

Weather Information

To find out more about the weather forecast for your chosen holiday's general location, please see the following websites:

  • MetCheck - This website allows you to look up detailed weather information for specific locations as far as six months in advance.
  • Met Office - This website shows regional area forecasts a few days in advance, with a general UK forecast description of up to 30 days in advance.
  • Mountain Forecast - This website shows what the forecast is like up on specific hills and fells, and offers forecasts a few days in advance.

Customer reviews from the South Downs Way - East Section

“All stages of planning and accommodations arrangements went flawlessly thanks to your great organisation.”
Ms Reynolds, USA
“Easy walking in pleasant countryside.”
Mr Syme, UK
“Reliable luggage transfer and comfortable B&Bs with generous and helpful hosts. Strenuous enough without being painful (speaking as one in my 70's). Breakfasts delicious! Such a wonderful way to experience the countryside (and towns as well). Train and bus options close enough in case weather is really nasty. Thank you all again for organising accommodation, luggage, dates, places and interesting notes on the landscape and area, and for helping me achieve at least one item on my Bucket List!”
Ms Deutscher, Australia
“Overall, a wonderful holiday with nice accommodations, clear instructions, and helpful staff.”
Ms Schwartz, USA
“My first experience of this sort of holiday – I was very impressed with how efficiently everything worked.”
Mr Thexton, UK
“I thought the accommodations and the food served was wonderful.”
Mr King, USA
“Loved it, terribly sunny all the day! Absolutely fabulous.”
Mrs Pfaff, UK
“Couldn’t have gone better.”
Mr Ogden, UK
“Overall, the holiday was great and we would travel again with Contours.”
Mr Nierenberg, USA
Find your holiday