Beachy Head is the largest of a spectacularly scenic series of sea cliffs just west of the coastal town of Eastbourne in East Sussex. Topped with the lush, undulating grasslands of the South Downs National Park, the sheer chalk walls rise up to 162m at their highest point, and continue rising and falling for several miles along the coast westward to form the Seven Sisters.
The landscapes and seascapes combine to produce phenomenal views, a fact not lost on the ever-growing number of day-trippers from London, which has good train connections to Eastbourne. Here's how to plan your day trip to Beachy Head and what to do once you're there.
Getting to Beachy Head
If coming from the capital on public transport, your best option is to hop on a direct train from London Victoria to Eastbourne (departing every half hour), which takes around 90 minutes, and from Eastbourne station you can catch the 13X bus (departing every hour), which will have you at the top of the cliff in about 20 minutes. If you don’t mind paying a bit more, you can get a taxi (or Uber) for about £10, or if you’re feeling energetic, you can walk – it’s about three miles, and will take about an hour each way.
If driving, there are several car parks in the area – try Beachy Head Main Car Park first, and if that’s full, you’ll find two more if you continue west on Beachy Head Road.
When to visit and what to wear
The scenery is every bit as beautiful throughout the year, though different seasons offer different advantages. In late spring, summer and early autumn, you’re likelier to have better weather, though you’ll be enjoying it with hundreds of others, particularly at weekends. In winter, the weather is more volatile, but you might just find you have the whole place to yourself, so if you’re lucky and get a clear day, it will provide a magical experience. Rain or shine, this is an exposed spot with no natural shelter, so bring sun cream and/or warm clothing, depending on the elements.
What to do and staying safe
Once you’ve had your fill of views across the English Channel from the dizzying heights of Beachy Head, it’s worth walking west, towards Belle Tout Lighthouse, and back again – it’s about a two-mile round trip (though due to some steep parts, might feel like longer). The return walk offers a different perspective on the main draw, but the whole area is so scenic you really can’t go wrong with those Instagram shots. If it happens to be a summer’s day, you’d struggle to find a better spot in England to picnic.
At time of writing, there are no safety barriers or fences between the footpath and the cliffs, so keep a close eye on children and pets. And be aware that due to constant erosion, the extreme edges are often overhangs, nowhere near as sturdy as they might appear from the path.
Facilities and refreshments
Part of the appeal of Beachy Head and the surrounding scenery is that there isn’t much going on in the way of manmade structures, save a couple of lighthouses. The main offering is the Beachy Head pub, a lone building amid the greenery, which serves decent snacks, lunches and meals. You can find public toilets just north of the pub.