We noticed that you are based in the United States - click here to visit our USA website. US 

South Downs Way - 9 Days & 8 Nights

9 Days & 8 Nights 4.4 Read 57 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 7 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 Type:

Classic Routes | If you’re the active, outdoorsy type, who’s interested in taking on the great routes of the world or looking for a challenge, then our Classic Routes are for you. We’re talking the West Highland Way, Tour Du Mont Blanc and the Passau to Vienna Danube Cycle Path, to name but a few!


Inn to Inn Walking | Walk from place-to-place changing accommodations each night. Generally staying in B&B’s, inns, and guesthouses.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Long-Distance Trails

Grade & Terrain

This itinerary is graded moderate as the path is on good surfaces with gentle and gradual gradients, other than a few moderately steep sections. Day 3, 4 & 6 are quite long but managable for experienced walkers due to the good terrain. If you are looking for a slightly easier  pace, or this is your first walking holiday, we recommend our 10 Day & 9 Night itinerary.


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

We choose the country hotels, inns, guesthouses and B&B’s to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, and traditional hospitality. 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. Please note in some cases in the South Downs Way you may at times be staying in old traditional buildings that might have slightly smaller room sizes than others.

Single Rooms

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


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. 

  • 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
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
  • Entrance fees (where applicable)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Transport should you need to skip a stage
  • Additional nights

When To Go

This walking holiday can be enjoyed from April to September.  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. 

NOTE: This tour is not available for start dates between the 20th and 31st August. It is also closed off between the 30th May and 4th June due to Queen's Jubilee celebrations in South Harting.

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.


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.

How fit do I need to be?
How far in advance do I need to book?
What personal equipment do I need?
When is the best time of year?
How do the baggage transfers work?
Am I able to take my dog?
What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
Why can't I start the South Downs Short Break on a Monday?


Day 1 Arrive in Winchester and overnight Day 2 Winchester to Exton/Warnford 12.4 miles / 19.8 km Day 3 Exton to South Harting 17 miles / 27 km Day 4 South Harting to Amberley 21 miles / 34 km Day 5 Amberley to Upper Beeding/Steyning 11 miles / 17.5 km Day 6 Upper Beeding to Lewes Area 18 miles / 29 km Day 7 Lewes to Alfriston 11 miles / 18 km Day 8 Alfriston to Eastbourne 12.5 miles / 20 km Day 9 Onward travel

Blog Articles

The Macs Adventure Way

  • Tried & Tested Adventures Tried & Tested Adventures
  • Freedom Freedom
  • Book With Confidence Book With Confidence
  • Expertise Expertise
  • Positive Impact Positive Impact
Built with our knowledge and expertise, to suit you.
  • Knowledgeable and helpful friendly specialist adventure planners
  • Wide variety of trips to suit all interests and experience levels
  • Start on any date that suits you
  • Choose your ideal trip length and difficulty
  • Range of accommodation options
  • Choice of trip styles
Authentic adventure travel experiences on your own terms.
  • Choose your own travel companions
  • Walk, cycle and explore at your own pace
  • Make your own decisions
  • Choose your own path
  • Indulge your passions
Feel secure in making the right choice for your precious adventure time.
  • 18,000+ unbiased trip & service reviews
  • Feefo Platinum Award 2023
  • As featured in the Guardian, National Geographic Traveller, and more
  • Founder owned & operated since 2003
  • Passionate team members based in the US, the UK & Europe
  • 100% Financial Protection
You can be confident that every detail of your holiday has been expertly planned.
  • Meticulously planned adventures
  • Quality, hand-picked accommodation
  • Seamless and reliable arrangements
  • Comprehensive trip information & insider tips
  • Detailed maps, route notes and mobile GPS app
  • Helpful 24/7 support should you need it
Travel the right way, and make a positive impact.
  • Travel responsibly
  • Explore off the beaten track
  • Support locally owned businesses
  • Engage with local communities
  • Minimise your impact
  • Maximise the benefit of your travel
  • Challenge yourself & grow
£ - GBP - Pound
Country/Region name: