While many national parks in the UK require the use of a car, the South Downs is great for people who wish to get around via bus, cycling, or simply by walking from one of its many pretty market towns.
For visitors staying in Brighton, famously scenic spots like the Devil’s Dyke are just a short trip by walking or public transport. The South Downs Way also provides jaw-dropping coastal views across the park, stretching for 100 miles from Eastbourne to Winchester. Several train stations are located in the park, making car-free access a breeze. Don’t worry about getting lost – the paths are well-maintained and clearly signposted, suitable for walkers, cyclists and even horse riders. Many routes can also be broken into small and manageable sections, leaving time to enjoy some of the charming pubs along the way, such as the Bull at Ditchling.
From the historic town of Chichester (a tourist destination itself), visitors can venture into the western half of the South Downs. Why not take a bus to the Weald and Downland Living Museum and discover how rural life has changed throughout the centuries in the South East? Art admirers will also not want to miss the 17th century Petworth House, now owned by the National Trust, which is particularly famous for its classical paintings and sculptures, including many exquisite works by JMW Turner.
Any beach lovers out there? Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters Country Park are a wonderful day trip from Seaford or Newhaven, especially for long bicycle rides. Famous throughout the world, the vast chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters stand at the eastern end of the park which covers over 280 hectares, encompassing lush grassy fields as well as the unspoiled Cuckmere river valley. Outdoor activities are plentiful here, with walking trails, canoeing, and excellent birdwatching among the possibilities. The park also provides campgrounds and barn accommodation for those wanting to stay a little longer…
Finally, within easy reach of Farnham, Alice Holt Forest offers an exciting day out in the woods, while thrill seekers can explore the adventurous treetop rope courses at the nearby Go Ape centre.