Accommodation in the South Downs

East Sussex

Something for everyone in the South Downs

Home to England’s newest national park, choosing accommodation in the South Downs is a great option for a holiday or short break. With a wealth of attractions from beautiful historic towns like Winchester, with its magnificent cathedral, to the tranquillity of the Downs, there’s a space for everyone to find their perfect base.

Wonderful wildlife

Biodiversity is a key feature of the South Downs and the blend of lowland heath, crystal clear chalk streams and the chalk reefs of the Sussex Heritage Coast mean the area is rich in wildlife. You’ll see elegant red kites and soaring buzzards as you wander the countryside, as well as butterflies like the chalk hill blue and more familiar brimstone. You may catch the trill of the nightingale or the tap tap tap of the green woodpecker, or perhaps spy one of 11 different species of orchid. The Downs are home to furry friends too, and you’re likely to see evidence of badgers and stoats or be lucky enough to get a glimpse of roe or fallow deer.

The South Downs national park is one of only 13 international dark skies resorts and spending an evening stargazing at Butser Hill near Petersfield is truly magical. If you choose camping or glamping accommodation in the South Downs, you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning skies from the comfort of your own backyard – or even a luxurious hot tub.

History and heritage

Whether you’re into iron age hill forts like the one at Cissbury or Trundle, or magnificent castles like Arundel, which dates back to 1067, the area is packed with sites for history buffs to discover. You’ll find archaeological sites like the 22 barrows near Petersfield, dating from 2000BC or echoes of medieval magnificence at Lewes Priory. If you like your history more compact, take a trip to Weald and Downland Open Air Museum where you’ll explore 50 perfectly preserved historic buildings as you uncover 950 years of heritage.

Our market towns are a place of living history too and choosing accommodation in the South Downs means you can experience the day to day life of this special area. Enjoy a pint in Hambledon, and learn about the cradle of cricket, or visit one of the local markets to soak up the atmosphere and grab some tasty goodies to enjoy on a picnic or at your holiday cottage or campsite.

Hidden gems

If you’re able to stay for more than a few nights, you’ll have the chance to uncover some of the South Downs’ hidden gems. You can follow in Tennyson’s footsteps on the Temple of the Winds walk at Blackdown Hill or there are the magnificent twisted trees of Kingley Vale, reputed to be a site of Druid worship and shortlisted for Tree of the Year in 2019. Film buffs will recognise the stunning chalk cliffs at Seven Sisters country park, the backdrop to films like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Atonement.

Where to stay

There’s something for everyone in this unique area. If you fancy a vibrant weekend break in buzzy Brighton, delving into the magic of The Lanes and marvelling at the pavilion, you’ll find everything from stylish boutique hotels to arty B&Bs. If your tastes run towards a traditional seaside break, then head to Eastbourne or Worthing to enjoy the sounds and sights of the sea, and some great local crab, while a stay in one of our historic market towns gives you chance to understand the beating heart of the Downs.

Accommodation in the South Downs is perfect if you’re looking to get away from it all too. You’ll find a host of camping and caravanning sites dotted along the coast and inland, as well as blissful yurts and shepherds huts that offer the perfect balance of seclusion and home comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about staying in the South Downs

Popular places to stay in South Downs include hotels near Glyndebourne Opera House, Arundel Castle and Amberley Castle

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