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

3 nights
24 miles
Moderate
2nd January to 24th December

From £425 per person

South Downs Way Short Break - East Section

Arguably one of the most dramatic sections of the entire trail, our Eastern Section Short Break travels through quiet valleys and across breezy open spaces, surrounded by big views.

The trail straddles the ridge of the escarpment to the village of Alfriston, famed for its ancient buildings, and winds through Friston Forest. Dramatic coastal views crown the route at Birling Gap, Seven Sisters Cliffs, and Beachy Head.

Available tours

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

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 Short Break East 3 nights, 2 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.

Start

Travel to Kingston-near-Lewes(T) where your first night's accommodation will be booked

Day 1

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

Day 2

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

Finish

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
Standard
Interactive
© Contours Walking Holidays South Downs Way Short Break - East Section map
Kingston-near-Lewes to Eastbourne
24 miles (38 km)
2nd January to 24th December

Holiday highlights

Exploring the many hamlets and villages along the route, including Iford, Southease, Firle and Westdean.

Watching daring paragliders flying from Bostal Hill during the summer.

Celebrating the completion of the trail in the lively seaside town of Eastbourne, with plenty of fantastic scenery to enjoy.

What's included?

  • 3 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

If you would like to extend your holiday by taking an extra night, there are a number of locations for you to consider.

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: 24 miles (38 km)
Duration: 3 nights, 2 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 11.5 miles (18.5 km)
Maximum daily distance: 12 miles (19.5 km)
Code: SDWSBE Grade: Moderate
Season: 2nd January - 24th December
Start of holiday: Kingston-near-Lewes(T)
End of holiday: Eastbourne

Route Profile

South Downs Way Short Break East 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 London Gatwick, Southampton and Bournemouth.

By Rail

The nearest rail station to the start of the trail (Kingston-near-Lewes) is at Lewes (about 2 miles away). There is a rail station at the end of the trail (Eastbourne).

By Bus

There is a bus service from Lewes to Kingston-near-Lewes. Journey times vary somewhat depending on when you are travelling, so a taxi may be a batter option at certain times. Various bus services run from Eastbourne.

From London

Trains run from London Victoria station to Lewes. From there, a bus/taxi will be required to Kingston-near-Lewes.

Return to Start

The easiest way to return to the start of the trail, is to take ta taxi, as public transport options are rather lengthy.

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.