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South Downs Way - 8 Days & 7 Nights

8 Days & 7 Nights 4.5 Read 35 reviews
  • Winchester with its attractive Cathedral
  • The Viewpoints of Beacon and Butser Hills
  • Wild Flowers and butterflies that dominate the trail
  • Devils Dyke - a stunning beauty spot carved by glaciers into a deep valley
  • Magnificent chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head
For experienced walkers that enjoy a challenge, this itinerary allows you to complete the whole South Downs Way in 6 walking days. The trail stretches 100 miles from the historic city of Winchester to the coastal chalk hills on the South Coast. Walk amongst vibrant yellow fields of corn, along picturesque chalk paths, and admire thatched cottages with colourful gardens. Rolling hills dominate the West section of the walk as you pass through traditional villages with friendly country Inns. Mixed woodland walking, and views as far as the Isle of Wight can be seen from Butser Hill. As you head down to the coast the scenery changes with grasslands full of wild flowers until you reach the iconic Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. Offering peaceful, easy-going walking by day and traditional cosy pubs by night, this National Trail is a fantastic countryside escape.

What To Expect

The rolling hills of the South Downs make this walk the ideal escape from city life. Daily distances are sometimes long but only a couple of moderately steep sections are encountered. If you enjoy fantastic views, woodland walking and traditional village Inns then this is the walk for you.

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.

Activity:

Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night

This trip is suitable for:

First Timers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • National Parks & Trails

Grade & Terrain

Itineraries on this walk are graded Moderate as the path is on good surfaces with gentle and gradual gradients, other than a few moderately steep sections. The highest point on the trail is only 245 metres– reached at Butser Hill and again at Ditchling Beacon.

Navigation

The South Downs Way is very well waymarked and easy to follow. Navigation is straightforward as you can use the Macs Adventure Smartphone App which has maps, GPS tracks and daily route information. Simply download the GPS tracks for offline use and follow the route on your phone with the assurance that navigation on this tour will be made simple and you cannot get lost.

You will find more information on downloading the app in your Macs Adventure Account.

Accommodation Information

One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation. We specifically choose the Inns, Guesthouses and B&B’s to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. We always try and book your accommodation as close as possible to the trail. Occasionally walkers may need to venture a mile or so off the trail as the availability of quality accommodation can become scarce.

Single Rooms

If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.

Meals

A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Most of your accommodations will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs or restaurants.

Additional Nights

If you wish to add additional nights along the trail or at the beginning and end of your itinerary please contact us. You may choose to add an additional night at any of the overnight locations, all are great places to spend more time exploring. 

Included
  • Bed and breakfast accommodation in ensuite rooms wherever possible
  • Door to door baggage transfer.
  • Access to maps, GPX tracks and daily route information with the Macs Adventure smartphone navigation app
  • All your trip documents provided digitally through your online Macs “My Account”
  • Emergency telephone support from our office in the event of a problem
Excluded
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
  • Entrance fees (where applicable)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Transport should you need to skip a stage
Extras
  • Additional nights

When To Go

This walking holiday can be enjoyed from March to October.  Summer can be hot in the South Coast and very busy especially over the school holidays. We would advise walking in the Spring to see the wild flowers that coast the fields you walk through. Please note if your itinerary has a night in Buriton, you are not able to start on a Friday as there is no-where available to have dinner on a Sunday in Buriton. 

This tour is not available for departure dates between the 21st August and 31st August. 

Getting to the Start

By Air—The closest regional airport to Winchester is Southampton. ‘Flybe’ serve most regional UK airports as well as Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and other European airports. Further afield is London Gatwick with most international connections.

By Rail/Bus—Winchester is situated on the South West trains network and is 1hr from London Waterloo station. Buses run regularly from all over the country to Winchester. From London Victoria Coach station there are 5 daily services with ‘National Express’ coaches.

By Car—We don't recommend travel by car due to the environmental impact but if you do need to drive you can park in the long stay car park in Winchester. This needs to be prebooked in advance through the Winchester parking Office—01962 848346.

Getting from the End

By Air—The closest airport to Eastbourne is London Gatwick with most regional UK and international connections. Travel time by car is 1h 30 mins

By Rail/Bus—Eastbourne is approx 1hr 30 by train from central London. Trains depart London Victoria and are very frequent throughout the day.

By Car—Most on street parking in Eastbourne is pay and display and you cant leave your car overnight. There is a car park at Beachy Head which you can buy an annual parking ticket but spaces are limited. Please contact the Parking Info Office on 08456 801129 A good source of reference for travel details is the Travelline website

Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.

General Information

The distances and ascent/ descents are approximations of the recommended routes.

Walking Direction

Our standard itineraries describe the walk in an West to East direction. Prevailing winds at your back and a finish at the white cliffs near Eastbourne generally dictate that this is the best direction. If however you wish to walk East to West we can arrange this for you.

Equipment

Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Winchester and overnight Day 2 Winchester to East Meon 18.5 miles / 30 km Day 3 East Meon to Cocking 20.5 miles / 33 km Day 4 Cocking to Washington 19 miles / 30.5 km Day 5 Washington to Pyecombe 14 miles / 23 km Day 6 Pyecombe to Alfriston 23 miles / 37 km Day 7 Alfriston to Eastbourne 12.5 miles / 20 km Day 8 Onward travel

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