Walking the South Downs Way

Walking the South Downs Way is an ideal choice for a first time walking holiday in England. A blend of relatively easy walking, beautiful landscapes and delightful scenery along the Downs of Sussex and Hampshire.

Highlights
  • 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
  • 9 to 12 nights
  • 100 mls (view km)
  • Winchester, Southern England
  • Easy to Moderate
  • Jan to Dec
  • £815

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.

the-South-Downs-Way, walks in south downs

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.

Path Walkthrough

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

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.

Walk Gallery

Our South Downs Way Walking Itineraries

Prices are per person, based on two people sharing, single person supplements apply.

Winchester to Eastbourne

Length: 100 miles/160km | Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

DurationCodeStart Price 
9 nights, 8 daysSDW1£815(pp)View Itinerary
10 nights, 9 daysSDW2£890 (pp)View Itinerary
12 nights, 11 daysSDW3£1,045(pp)View Itinerary

Winchester to Eastbourne

Nine nights, Eight days
Price: £815 (pp)
Holiday Code: SDW1
DayLocationsDistance
Day 10:Depart Eastbourne
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

Itinerary Information: Nine nights accommodation with eight walking days. Arrive in Winchester on day one, walk from day two and depart from Eastbourne on morning of day ten. * Due to the topographical nature of this walk it will be necessary for you to walk no more than 1 mile off the South Downs Way path down to your accommodation and then back up the following morning. ** The distance off the South Downs to the accommodation will be no more than 1.5 miles.

Departure Dates: This itinerary can be walked any time between Jan to Dec. You simply choose which day you would like your holiday to start on.

Rest Days: Should you wish, rest days can be taken at stops along the route, view details.

What's Included: view full details.

Back to all itineraries

Winchester to Eastbourne

Ten nights, Nine days
Price: £890 (pp)
Holiday Code: SDW2
DayLocationsDistance
Day 11:Depart Eastbourne
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

Itinerary Information: Ten nights accommodation with nine walking days. Arrive in Winchester on day one, walk from day two and depart from Eastbourne on morning of day eleven. * Due to the topographical nature of this walk it will be necessary for you to walk no more than 1 mile off the South Downs Way path down to your accommodation and then back up the following morning. ** The distance off the South Downs to the accommodation will be no more than 1.5 miles.

Departure Dates: This itinerary can be walked any time between Jan to Dec. You simply choose which day you would like your holiday to start on.

Rest Days: Should you wish, rest days can be taken at stops along the route, view details.

What's Included: view full details.

Back to all itineraries

Winchester to Eastbourne

Twelve nights, Eleven days
Price: £1045 (pp)
Holiday Code: SDW3
DayLocationsDistance
Day 13:Depart Eastbourne
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

Itinerary Information: Twelve nights accommodation with eleven walking days. Arrive in Winchester on day one, walk from day two and depart from Eastbourne on morning of day thirteen. * Due to the topographical nature of this walk it will be necessary for you to walk no more than 1 mile off the South Downs Way path down to your accommodation and then back up the following morning. ** The distance off the South Downs to the accommodation will be no more than 1.5 miles.

Departure Dates: This itinerary can be walked any time between Jan to Dec. You simply choose which day you would like your holiday to start on.

Rest Days: Should you wish, rest days can be taken at stops along the route, view details.

What's Included: view full details.

Back to all itineraries

  • What's Included?

    We include:

    • 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
  • Pricing Info.

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

    Bank Holidays & Short notice bookings may incur extra charges.

    Rest Days

    From £50.00 pp per night (recommended rest day stop is Amberley).

    Single supplements 

    Solo person bookings: £35.00 per night (or £45.00 per night if walking Eastbourne to Winchester)

    Where singles are walking as part of a larger group and are willing to share a Walk Pack: single room occupancy supplements will apply.

    Postage Overseas: £5.00 (Europe), £10.00 (Rest of the World) per walk pack

    Holiday arrival/departure dates

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

  • Getting There

    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 Eastbourne. www.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.

  • Best Time to Travel

    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.

    Average Rainfall on South Downs Way                                                          Average Sunshine on South Downs Way                                                Average Temperatures  

Client Reviews of Our South Downs Way Walking Holidays

Our past clients rated this walk 4.9 out of 5, read a selection of 7 reviews below.

"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."

4.8 out of 5

June 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!"

5 out of 5

May 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."

5 out of 5

May 2018

"We enjoyed it. Also we agreed that walk is organised very well with the luggage transfer and nice B&B's."

4.7 out of 5

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."

5 out of 5

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."

5 out of 5

June 2016

"Beautiful views, and clarity of directions from Celtic Trails. [what attracted us] was the scenery, being away from the noise."

5 out of 5

June 2016

Leave your own review of your South Downs Way Walking Holiday with us here

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