South Downs Way - West Section

South Downs Way - West Section

A self-guided walking holiday from Winchester to Amberley along the chalk downs escarpment.

4 to 6 nights
48 miles
Moderate to Moderate / Demanding

From £495 per person

Discover the available tours

About this route

Less than an hour from London, the west section of the South Downs Way is a wholly inland walk along the chalk ridge of the South Downs escarpment.

From the historic city of Winchester, home to one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, the trail passes through a landscape brimming with Bronze Age and Celtic history, with stops in idyllic English villages.

© Contours Walking Holidays South Downs Way - West Section map
Winchester to Amberley
48 miles (76 km)
1st April to 30th September

Holiday highlights

Setting off on a walking holiday well within reach of London.

Exploring sites steeped in history, such as Old Winchester Hill with its Iron Age hill fort.

Admiring the beautiful thatched cottages in Amberley.

Available tours

CodeTourDurationDifficultyPrice per person
SDWW1 From Winchester to Amberley 4 nights, 3 days walking Moderate / Demanding£495
SDWW2 From Winchester to Amberley 5 nights, 4 days walking Moderate£615
SDWW3 From Winchester to Amberley 6 nights, 5 days walking Moderate£735

South Downs Way - West Section 4 nights, 3 days walking

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

Travel to Winchester where your first night's accommodation has been booked

Day 1

Winchester to Exton(L). 12 miles (19.5km) / 1129 ft (344 m) ascent

Day 2

Exton(L) to South Harting(L). 16 miles (25.5km) / 2021 ft (616 m) ascent

Day 3

South Harting(L) to Amberley. 19.5 miles (31km) / 2201 ft (671 m) ascent


Depart from Amberley 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; should your accommodation be further than this, transfers will be provided as standard.

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
£60.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£45.00 per person / per night

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

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night
Extra night (South Harting(L))
£90.00 per person / per night

What's included?

  • 4 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.
An extra night in Winchester could be an excellent start to your holiday. A walk up St Giles Hill offers spectacular views over the city, while a visit to Winchester Cathedral, one of Europe's largest cathedrals, offers an insight to a whole range of treasures, including Jane Austen's tomb and the Winchester Bible. For fans of Arthurian legend, the Great Hall of Winchester Castle features the round table, while a stroll through the city reveals Georgian buildings, Saxon streets and the gothic architecture of the Victorian Guildhall.

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.

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

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night
Extra night (South Harting(L))
£90.00 per person / per night

Tour Facts

Total distance: 47.5 miles (76 km)
Duration: 4 nights, 3 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 12 miles (19.5 km)
Maximum daily distance: 19.5 miles (31 km)
Code: SDWW1 Grade: Moderate / Demanding
Season: 1st April - 30th September
Start of holiday: Winchester
End of holiday: Amberley

Route Profile

South Downs Way - West 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 (Winchester) and also at the end of the trail (Amberley).

By Bus - Various bus services run to Winchester and from Amberley.

From London - Trains run from London Waterloo station to Winchester.

Return To The Start - The easiest way to return to the start of the trail, is to take the train from Amberley to Winchester.

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.

Routes on this trail

South Downs Way
7 to 11 nights
102 miles
From £845 per person
A walking holiday from Winchester to Eastbourne along the chalk downs of Hampshire and Sussex.Find Out More
South Downs Way - East Section
5 to 6 nights
54 miles
From £615 per person
A walking holiday from Amberley to Eastbourne along the chalk South Downs escarpment to the coastal clifftops.Find Out More
South Downs Way Short Break - East Section
3 nights
24 miles
From £375 per person
A taster break along the most southerly stretch of the trail from Kingston-near-Lewes to Eastbourne.Find Out More
South Downs Way Short Break - Circular
3 nights
22 miles
Dog friendly
From £375 per person
A circular walking holiday from Alfriston via the Seven Sisters Cliffs, Beachy Head, and Eastbourne.Find Out More
South Downs Way Short Break - Central Section
3 nights
23 miles
From £375 per person
A short walking holiday from Buriton to Amberley on a central snippet of the South Downs Way.Find Out More

Customer reviews from the South Downs Way - West Section

“The walk was excellent. The weather was kind to us. I would recommend the walking route.”
Mrs Whailin, UK
“Overall we enjoyed our holiday. All sections of the South Downs Way have a lot to offer in terms of scenery, places of interest etc. so we cannot name a favourite part.”
Mrs Brown, UK
“It was great, good time and good weather made it worthwhile.”
Mr Wheelock, UK
“My wife and I returned from our South Downs Way walk earlier this week. This is the second holiday we have had with you and, like the first, it was first class. Wish we had started with you a few years ago when we were a bit (lot) younger and could have tackled some of the more strenuous ones. The scenery on the South Downs was not as dramatic or spectacular as North Cornwall but it was very pleasant walking. The accommodation ranging from good to very good and the hosts were always welcoming and helpful.”
Mr Cowell, UK
“Fabulous holiday despite the weather - many thanks.”
Dr Langdon, UK
“Contours really delivered a great service.”
Mr Mahon, UK
“Overall it is a good walking holiday. The walking is path is everywhere very well indicated, and the paths are well maintained. The accommodations are also of good level.”
Ms Creusot, Netherlands
“This was our 5th Contours holiday and was of the excellent standard we have come to expect from Contours.”
Mr McDonough, UK