9 to 12 nights
100 mls (km)
Southern England
Easy to Moderate
Jan to Dec

Walking the South Downs Way

  • Spotting breath-taking nature such as wild orchards, butterflies and poppies en route
  • Wonderful views across the Weald to the north and to the Isle of Wight in the Solent Estuary
  • Discovering archaeological monuments including 'The Devil’s Jump' from atop the Weald
  • Visiting St Andrew’s Church in Alfriston – known as ‘Cathedral of the Downs’
  • Exploring river valleys, thatched cottages and charming villages such as Lullington – home to the ‘smallest church in England’
  • Fantastic views from the flower covered hills of Ditchling Beacon
  • Arundul Castle, the impressive medieval fortress towering over the river Arun

Walking the UK's Newest National Park

Walk the South Downs way for a walk that begins in the historic cathedral city of Winchester and finishes on the dazzling cliffs of Beachy Head above the English Channel and seaside resort of Eastbourne.

Walks in the South Downs feature some of the most distinctive clifftop scenery to be found on easy walking holidays in England, and your walk comes to a close in what some consider to be the most striking section of a spectacular coastal route over the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head - only accessible by foot.

The South Downs Way features taps for drinking water en-route, you can download the leaflet for water refill locations here.

Celtic Trails has 20 years’ experience providing tailored, quality itineraries for walkers who appreciate good service, comfort and organisation.

Call us today on 01291 689774 for more information on walking the South Downs Way.

South Downs Way walk map
Our South Downs Way walking route takes you from Winchester to the coast at Eastbourne

Path Walkthrough

Along open top fields and chalky cliffs, The South Downs Way cuts a path through Britain's newest National Park from the cathedral city of Winchester to the sea at Eastbourne. Being one of Britain's newest National Trails, the route is extremely well-marked (with the possible exception of Winchester) unambiguous and easy to follow.

The route itself is quite manageable, but not entirely flat. Valleys carved out from the passing rivers of Adur, Arun, Cuckmere and Ouse create a series of steep inclines, notwithstanding one of the routes most distinctive sections to Eastbourne over the Seven Sisters hills. Although The South Downs Way mainly consists of forest tracks and country lanes, as the route progresses walkers can expect wide open field tops, and climbs up along ridges (giving expansive views over the landscape) before descending into the valleys and wooded sections of the National Park.

Our South Downs Way Itineraries

  • Winchester to Eastbourne
    Distance: 100 miles (160.5km)
    9 Nights, 8 Days
    from £895 pp
    SDW1 ~ Winchester to Eastbourne ~ 9 / 8 classic
    Day 1:Arrive Winchester
    Day 2:Winchester to Exton12 miles/19.2km
    Day 3:Exton to Buriton exit*12.5 miles/20km
    Day 4:Buriton exit to Cocking exit*10.5 miles/16.8km
    Day 5:Cocking exit to Amberley exit**11.5 miles/18.4km
    Day 6:Amberley exit to Upper Beeding exit*12.5 miles/20km
    Day 7:Upper Beeding exit to Housedean15 miles/24km
    Day 8:Housedean to Alfriston14 miles/22.8km
    Day 9:Alfriston to Eastbourne pier12 miles/19.2km
    Day 10:Depart Eastbourne

    What's Included:
    8 walking days
    9 breakfasts
    10 Nights, 9 Days
    from £980 pp
    SDW2 ~ Winchester to Eastbourne ~ 10 / 9 classic
    Day 1:Arrive Winchester
    Day 2:Winchester to Exton12 miles/19.2km
    Day 3:Exton to Buriton exit*12.5 miles/20km
    Day 4:Buriton exit to Cocking exit*10.5 miles/16.8km
    Day 5:Cocking exit to Amberley exit**11.5 miles/18.4km
    Day 6:Amberley exit to Upper Beeding exit*12.5 miles/20km
    Day 7:Upper Beeding exit to Clayton exit*8.25 miles/13.2km
    Day 8:Clayton exit to Kingston near Lewes exit*9.5 miles/15.2km
    Day 9:Kingston near Lewes exit to Alfriston12 miles/19.2km
    Day 10:Alfriston to Eastbourne pier12 miles/19.2km
    Day 11:Depart Eastbourne

    What's Included:
    9 walking days
    10 nights accommodation
    10 breakfasts
    12 Nights, 11 Days
    from £1145 pp
    SDW3 ~ Winchester to Eastbourne ~ 12 / 11 classic
    Day 1:Arrive Winchester
    Day 2:Winchester to Exton12 miles/19.2km
    Day 3:Exton to East Meon exit**5 miles/8km
    Day 4:East Meon village to Buriton exit*7.5 miles/12km
    Day 5:Buriton exit to Cocking exit*10.5 miles/16.8km
    Day 6:Cocking exit to Bignor exit**7.5 miles/12km
    Day 7:Bignor exit to Storrington exit**7.5 miles/12km
    Day 8:Storrington exit to Upper Beeding exit*9 miles/14.4km
    Day 9:Upper Beeding exit to Clayton exit8.25 miles/13.2km
    Day 10:Clayton exit to Kingston near Lewes exit*9.5 miles/15.2km
    Day 11:Kingston near Lewes exit to Alfriston12 miles/19.2km
    Day 12:Alfriston to Eastbourne pier12 miles/19.2km
    Day 13:Depart Eastbourne

    What's Included:
    11 walking days
    12 nights accommodation
    12 breakfasts

    Please note if you chose to walk from Eastbourne to Winchester there is an additional charge of £5 pp per day.

    • Good standard accommodation at a mixture of Guesthouses, Farmhouses, local Inns and B&B’s with en-suite or private facilities wherever possible
    • Breakfast
    • Luggage transfers (one bag per walker, max 20 kg per bag)
    • Personal transfers between the accommodation and path where necessary
    • Route planning
    • Walk pack including Trail Guide, OS mapping, itinerary, accommodation directions and holiday planning

    You choose which day you would like your holiday to start on. We will book your holiday in accordance with your requirements.

    Our South Downs Way holidays are available to walk January to December.

    As with most areas on the south coast, the South Downs National Park experiences an above average number of sunshine hours per day, and due to its (overall) gentle nature, the path could be tackled at any point of the year.

    The climate, although fairer than the rest of the UK, is still subject to the unpredictable nature of British weather and bringing waterproofs is always a good idea. Bear in mind also that in hot weather there are long, flat stretches without any shade - so please prepare accordingly.

    Car parking can be arranged for your first nights stay in Winchester at a rate of £5 per night (you do not pay for the night you are staying there).

    Railway stations are located in Winchester, Amberley and Eastbournewww.nationalrail.co.uk

    Leaflets on public transport along the South Downs Way can be found on the National Trail website here > http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/south-downs-way/leaflets.

    Looking for different mileages or different number of nights? Please contact us to discuss how our itineraries can be adjusted to meet your specific needs. Call one of our helpful team on +44 (0)1291 689774 or e-mail us to learn more.

    South Downs Way Client Reviews

    4.8/5 based on 24 reviews
    The South Down's Way is fantastic. Great views, lovely villages.
    - September 2019
    Celtic Trails were organised and efficient - I would recommend them to a friend. All the accommodation was good and comfortable.
    - August 2019
    Celtic Trails's communication is better than other companies - prompt, polite, do not miss out on addressing any points. They chose lovely accommodations and the Walk Pack is very thoughtful.
    - July 2019
    Thanks, Penny - really well-organised and greatly enjoyed. Will be booking with you again next year. Second time we have used Celtic Trails - excellent service in all respects. Beautiful walk, beautiful scenery and fortunately beautiful weather throughout.
    - June 2019
    Celtic Trails are better thank other companies we've walked with - their communication is better and they act on your requests. They are efficient. This holiday left us feeling relaxed and refreshed.
    - June 2019
    100 miles in 8 days up and down the downs - what a fabulous way to holiday. Spending time in the fresh air, enjoying our beautiful countryside - what's not to like :-)
    - June 2019
    Very helpful. Walking is a very healthy way of life. Minimalist luggage. Wonderful walking routine.
    - June 2019
    We enjoyed meeting many interesting people from all over the world on this walk and enjoyed seeing the beautiful scenery. We would recommend Celtic Trails to a friend - everything was taken care of.
    - May 2019
    Penny was wonderful - so helpful. I had a foot injury and she gave me the confidence to go on the walk, but showing me where I could call a taxi, if needed. In the end, I didn't need one. Yeah!
    - December 2018
    What we most enjoyed about this walk was the changing terrain and scenery, good views and interesting historical churches, etc.
    - September 2018
    Celtic Trails were more efficient and flexible than other companies in the UK.
    - June 2018
    Luggage transfers were carried out without fault. I have walked with carious holiday companies and Celtic Trails was the best. The walk pack was VERY clear. The accommodations were all very good or excellent.
    - June 2018
    I have used Celtic Trails twice before and would use them again.
    - June 2018
    Thank you for making our walk a great experience.
    - June 2018
    "Thank-you, good organisation by Celtic Trails. Overall a great few days with almost every overnight stay well above the average of our other experiences in the UK. Taxi and luggage transfers worked flawlessly. Overall a very big THANK-YOU to all at C.T and Hosts & Drivers."
    - June 2018
    Thank you - good organisation by Celtic Trails. Overall, a great few days with almost every overnight stay well above the average of our other experiences in the UK. Taxi and baggage services worked flawlessly and they altered pick up times to suit us. Overall, a very nigh THANK YOU to all at Celtic Trails.
    - June 2018
    Heard about Celtic Trails via word of mouth and they were excellent.
    - June 2018
    "This was the best way to see a new place and learn about culture. Thank you for your supporting information - maps, descriptions, details of route."
    - May 2018
    "Penny was so helpful. I had a foot injury & she gave me the confidence to go on the walk by showing me where I could call a taxi if needed. In the end, I didn't need one. Yeah!"
    - May 2018
    We most enjoyed the good walking - this was a new area to us. Also, the varied B&Bs.
    - April 2018
    "We enjoyed it. Also we agreed that walk is organised very well with the luggage transfer and nice B&B's."
    - May 2017
    "Compared to other companies, Celtic Trails' service is excellent. What we concluded from our trip is that when you walk into a village at lunch time, or at the end of the day you see the village as those created it many years ago would of seen it, and you have a feeling of accomplishment that you have walked a certain number of miles to arrive there. It's so much more rewarding and you feel good from the exercise."
    - April 2017
    "Celtic Trails organisation was immaculate & the baggage transfers seamless. Our hosts were all great and there was a lovely variety in the places we stayed. We are looking forward to completing the Thames Path next year."
    - June 2016
    "Beautiful views, and clarity of directions from Celtic Trails. [what attracted us] was the scenery, being away from the noise."
    - June 2016
    Leave your own review of your South Downs Way Walking Holiday with us - add review.
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    We will check your details and come back to you within two working days with a personalised estimate based on your requirements. We will then formally request a deposit of £100 per person (£100 per person for a single centre break) and book all your arrangements - find out about our full booking process here.

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    If you are still unsure on any of your requirements, please do enquire with us first and one of our friendly team will be happy to help you with any queries you have.

    Enquire About South Downs Way
    +44 (0)1291 689 774
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    Sample Accommodations

    Please note: exact accommodation booked will depend on availability.