Family walk: Beachy Head, South Downs

A rolling clifftop walk that follows the South Downs Way from the seaside town of Eastbourne, past Beachy Head lighthouse to the sand and shingle beach at Birling Gap.

The South Downs Way is a popular long-distance path that stretches for 100 miles between Winchester and Eastbourne, but there are few more spectacular sections than the few short miles between Beachy Head and Birling Gap beach.

The ocean views, iconic red and white lighthouse, noisy birdlife and gentle gradients make this a lovely walk for explorers of all ages – but be warned that the cliff edges aren’t fenced off so keep well away from the edges at all times.

The beach at Birling Gap

The South Downs Way runs straight off the promenade from the western end of Eastbourne, climbing gently to Wealdway then rolling across the cliffs before dipping down to a section of wooden steps that lead to the stunning stretch of beach at Birling Gap.

There’s plenty for kids to see and do along the way, with ice cream vans and cafes providing plenty of refreshment stops, capped off by the National trust cafe at Birling Gap.

Once you reach the beach you can swim or paddle in the sea, then simply turn around and complete the return journey to Eastbourne. But if you don’t fancy stretching your legs again, jump on a bus or take the short taxi ride back to town.

On the South Downs Way, overlooking the famous Beachy Head lighthouse


Pushchair access:
 a lot of this route is on grass, and you won’t enjoy carrying a pram up and down the steps at Birling Gap or across the shingle beach. So although it’s certainly possible with a rugged pushchair, it might be a long and tiring trip!

Download the route: click here to download this route for free in the ViewRanger app, then follow it on your phone, smartwatch or tablet using the app’s active GPS features.

 

 

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