Planning a visit to the epic Seven Sisters Cliffs in the South Downs? Here is a guide to visiting Seven Sisters Cliffs on a day trip from London.
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From how to get there, the best viewpoints and what to do. All the information you’ll ever need on visiting the South Downs and Seven Sisters Cliffs from London.
The Seven Sisters Cliffs are a natural marvel on the shores of the English Channel. A calm oasis with much to explore, the Seven Sisters is a great day trip from London.
This serene space is particularly perfect for those looking to escape the bustle of city life and experience rural England.
I’d been wanting to visit the Seven Sisters Cliffs for a few months. So once the weather warmed up and good visibility was reported in the South Downs, I eagerly booked a tour to the South Downs and Seven Sisters.
After my recent visit to the South Downs and Seven Sisters, I wanted to give anyone looking to visit these stunning cliffs a rundown of what to expect.
Spoiler alert if you are planning a day trip from London and love nature, epic views, and rolling hillsides then the Seven Sisters Cliffs need to be on your list. No Joke.
Note: If you’re looking for more on London or planning a trip to the Big Smoke then read my London travel tips.
Best Day Tour from London to Seven Sisters Cliffs
If you’re making the journey from London to the Seven Sisters, a tour is always a great option. That way, you don’t have to deal with the stress of planning, and you learn about the attractions while you experience them. Also, you might just get to see some secret spots.
Day Trip to Brighton and Seven Sisters | Best Seven Sisters Cliffs Day Tours from London
If you’d prefer to relax and take in the incredible cliffs without planning or mapping, join this guided day trip of the Seven Sisters. I took this tour when I visited, and my guide Lawrence was terrific.
He lives in Brighton, and aside from educating the group on stones that make up the chalk cliffs, we also learn about what actions the Seven Sisters Country Park are taking to re-introduce livestock back into the valleys and help increasing the UK’s bee population.
He also knows all the small villages in the area with the best pubs, which came in handy.
On this tour, you’ll also learn about the history of the area while exploring the best of the national park and stopping at the most striking viewpoints.
We stopped at additional sights such as the mysterious and ancient, Longman of Wilmington, a huge Neolithic carving on the side of the Downs.
These are sights and things you would miss out on seeing if you visited on your own.
You’ll be picked up in Brighton after a train trip from London (you’ll be initially picked up at London Bridge Station), and enjoy a comfortable trip in a luxury minivan, with live commentary as you drive through the English countryside.
I think this tour is a great way to visit the Seven Sisters for non-walkers. It is particularly ideal for groups of friends that have a few days in London but would like to explore more than just the city. Or a solo traveller who doesn’t know the area and is afraid that they might get lost walking the Seven Sisters by themselves.
Trust me when I say one wrong trail could lead you totally somewhere else!
My favourite thing about this Seven Sisters tour is that you can do it with a group, which often allows you to appreciate your surroundings and experience even more.
And it stops at all the best spots in Seven Sisters! You’ll learn a lot and enjoy a full day of idyllic views and fun.
If you don’t have a full day to spend in the countryside, you can forgo the 10-hour trip and join a shorter one.
You’ll stop at most of the same viewpoints in Seven Sisters Cliffs – there’ll simply be a little less time to spend at some of them.
What Are The Seven Sisters Cliffs?
The Seven Sisters are a range of chalk cliffs rising out of the English Channel.
They form part of the South Downs in East Sussex, between the towns of Seaford and Eastbourne in southern England. They are within the South Downs National Park.
The Seven Sisters were created when ancient rivers cut valleys into the chalk, creating seven peaks. Startlingly, the white chalk cliff faces contrast with the rolling green hills that they lead into.
The white colour of the stone is due to the abundance of chalk that makes up much of the cliff face.
The features were created in prehistoric times when the land was submerged and seawater pushed the softer chalk to the surface and as the waters lowered, exposed the cliffs you can now see. Don’t you love a day trip with a side of geology? No, only me then? OK.
Their unusual appearance has made them famous. You’ll see the mysterious-looking structures in various films, including Harry Potter and Atonement.
The cliffs form part of the more magnificent chalk South Downs, which is sadly, slowly being eroded by the ocean. In fact, the cliffs themselves drop a few inches every year.
Chalk by the ocean is such an unusual phenomenon. This is one of the only places in the world you can find it. And this is why the Seven Sisters Cliffs are a magical place to visit.
Why Are Seven Sisters Cliffs Called That?
Are you wondering why it is called Seven Sisters cliffs? I know I was. The chalk cliffs are made up of seven distinct hilltops that sit side by side. So it’s not hard to picture them as giant sisters of different ages, relaxing by the sea.
The actual origins of the name are unknown. Although, one story says that seven sisters had their houses nestled between each hill, long ago.
Another account states that sailors once believed they looked like a group of seven nuns (called sisters), and the white chalk cliff faces are their wimples.
Other legend states that they are named after the original seven sisters, the Pleiades, the mythical daughters of the Titan Atlas.
There is, in fact, an 8th hill located in the Seven Sisters range, which is caused by erosion. But like most ugly sisters it has not been recognised.
Personally, I prefer the third story. Like who doesn’t want to be named after the daughters of a Greek God. Now you sort of know why Seven Sisters is called Seven Sisters.
The Names of All The Seven Sisters Cliffs
From West to East, the names of the seven sisters are:
- Haven Brow
- Short Brow
- Rough Brow
- Brass Point
- Flat Hill
- Bailey’s Hill
- Went Hill Brow
‘Brow’ is an old term for a hill. So, I think we can agree that the old Brits were not as creative in naming the individual sisters as they were in the naming of the whole cliff face.
How to Get to Seven Sisters From London
If you’re travelling from London to Seven Sisters Cliffs, there are a few options available. You can rent a car and make the trip on a scenic 2-hour drive from London. But thanks to England’s excellent public transport systems and fantastic day trips deals, you don’t have to.
Most people’s favourite way to get to the Seven Sisters Park is by train and then bus. If you do choose to go the public transport route, take the train from London to Brighton, an hour away.
From there you can take a bus, departing every 10-minutes, which will take you right to Seven Sisters Country Park. While you can take the number 12 bus, or 12a, I recommend 12x. It’s just faster!
From the bus stop it’s a 1 1/2 km walk through Seaford and the charming rural landscape before you reach the cliffs. Walking through this picturesque town is part of the experience, and you’re sure to enjoy the quaint houses and little streets.
I did the day trip wI did the day trip with Beyond Brighton and took the train from London Bridge to Brighton. Then a tour bus by a local guide the South Downs and Seven Sister Cliffs.
WARNING – The cliffs are being naturally eroded and there has been reports of cliff falls. This serves as a reminder that chalk cliffs are naturally unstable and visitors should stay well away from the edge and the base of any cliffs. Also, it’s extremely windy there, so if you are too close to the cliff edge you might also lose your footing and fall. Don’t risk your life getting too close to the edge of the cliff for a photo for likes, that’s just a dumb-ass way to die.
These are the various ways to how to go to Seven Sisters Cliffs from London.
Seven Sisters Cliffs Car Parking
There are two pay and display car parks close to the Seven Sisters Country Park Visitor Centre – the Forest Car Park and the Riverside Car Park. Closing times are displayed at the entrances.
To park at the Seven Sisters Country Park will cost:
- Car: £3.00 for up to 2 hours and £4.00 for the day
- Coach, minibus, and motorhome: £6.00 up to two hours and £12.00 for a full day
- Motorbikes: Free
Read my guide of the Seven Sisters Cliffs car park for more details on the different types of vehicles that can park there and if you can book your parking for Seven Sisters in advance
6 Best Viewpoints in Seven Sisters Cliffs Area
While not as famous as the Cliffs of Dover, the Seven Sisters are undoubtedly the most beautiful chalk cliffs in England.
There are plenty of places to enjoy the views from – but these viewpoints are the best. Pack a picnic to enjoy at one of these spots and take plenty of photos.
Beachy Head is certainly the most popular stop on the Seven Sisters walk. Beachy Head is England’s highest chalk cliff measuring 530 ft.
Immediately east of the Seven Sisters, this dramatic headland has beautiful views over the ocean and the Sisters.
It has a darker side, as a well-known suicide spot. But this is still one beautiful place to be.
If you approach the Seven Sisters from Eastbourne, you’ll come here first. Otherwise, it’ll be your last stop before you leave the cliffs behind.
Seaford Head Viewpoint
This is one of the classic views of the Seven Sisters. Coastguard cottages sit on the hillside, and the chalk cliffs glow in the background. You can even spend the night here, at Cuckmere Inn.
This was my favourite view as you get to see all seven cliffs beside each other. Something that you can’t see if you are looking down from Beachy Head.
Also, there were mainly locals walking around Birling Gap as not many visitors make it that far down to this Seven Sisters beach.
Birling Gap is the lovely pebble beach below the cliffs. Stroll along the beach and look up at the towering white cliff face.
An enclosed beach with a dramatic backdrop, it’s the perfect place to take a dip and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
You’ll also find a nudist beach here, where you can go skinny dipping with the locals, if that’s your kind of thing.
Hike Devils Dyke
Turn from the cliffs to the green pastures of eery Devils Dyke. This deep valley is iconic. After all the white of the cliffs, it’s a lovely change and well worth a short walk.
Footpaths take you through wooded valleys and green hills. The longest and widest valley in the country, it’s classic pastoral England at its best!
If you’re visiting England this is an excellent opportunity to see this side of the modern country. And if you’re from here, it feels like stepping back into the past. The ‘Devils Dyke’ is the largest dry valley in the UK.
While visiting Devils Dyke, I saw lots of locals walking their dogs there and running through the valley indicating that it’s a local favourite.
South Downs Way
This long footpath has several great viewpoints of the Seven Sisters. Stroll along and enjoy the green pastures, with the cliffs in the distance.
This area is particularly beautiful in spring when much of the pastures are in bloom, and the perfect views are matched by the delightful aromas.
Belle Tout Lighthouse
A famous British landmark, this is the best shot you can get of the Seven Sisters England cliffs – with the lighthouse standing before them.
It’s been used in a number of films and has been watching over the cliffs and the ocean beyond since 1834.
Bel Tout means ‘everything beautiful’, and that’s certainly what you see from here.
The whole 14-metre lighthouse was moved to avoid coastal erosion in 1999. These days, you can even stay in the lighthouse, now a unique bed and breakfast. The lighthouse is right on Beachy Head.
So, be sure to include it when you stop at this viewpoint and get a photo or two with the famous lighthouse in the background.
If you like this you’ll also like my day trip to the white cliffs of Dover from London guide.
What to Do in Seven Sisters UK
Rather than commercialising the area to make money from the attraction, the landscape here is left untouched, peaceful, and beautiful. And there’s more to do here than just take in the stunning views, though that’s enough to satisfy most who come here.
You can explore the area as it has been for hundreds of years and take in the natural beauty of England’s coastline.
Hike South Downs Way
One of England’s 16 National Trails, South Downs Way is a gorgeous long-distance trek. You can stroll along the cliff paths and further inland, on the series of trails which lie entirely in the National Park.
People have been using these trails for thousands of years now and they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
There’s so much to see here, with a striking landscape and the local wildlife to spot and enjoy on the route.
You don’t need to hike the whole thing since it’s very long and you’ll loop the same rough area a good deal of times. But an hour or two spent on the trails is terrific. You’ll be at one with nature.
South Downs Way takes you through the charming countryside between the white Seven Sisters chalk cliffs and the historic city of Winchester.
You can find gorgeous little villages here, and classic British pubs, along with the wildlife and the stunning views.
Before visiting Seven Sisters, I didn’t know that you could do paddle boarding there. The Seven Sisters Country Park is a brilliant place to take to the river on a stand-up paddleboard.
The water is calm for much of the year, and the views from the water are so beautiful.
The area also has some lovely lakes and the River Cuckmere, where first-timers and children will find it easier to stand up and paddle.
Both options lie within the National Park, and both are a fantastic way to spend an hour or two of your day trip. You can also rent kayaks if you’d prefer to take in the sights in a more stationary, seated position.
For both kayaking and paddleboarding, you can choose to rent for an hour or two, or take a quick course and guided tour. It all depends on what you’re looking for out of the experience!
Relax on the Beach
On a sunny day, the Seven Sisters beach that lies below and to the side of the cliffs is the perfect place to relax and get a little sun.
Of course, you’ll want to spend most of your beachy day trip here exploring. But a little time putting your feet up never hurts! Especially not with this view.
I am not going to lie after reaching the cliffs and seeing views like this (even with their crazy breeze), all I wanted to do was just sit down, relax and look out onto the sea.
Do the Seven Sisters Cliffs walk
This coastal trail can be approached in a variety of ways. If you’re just visiting for the view, stroll along one or two of the sisters.
Enjoy the unique atmosphere of the dramatic cliffs, take photos and breathe in the fresh sea air.
If you’re looking for the full experience, hike the coastal trail, which is about 13 miles long.
Perhaps even better than the South Downs Way route, the Seven Sisters Walk keeps you close to the iconic cliffs.
The full route, from Seaford to Eastbourne, takes between 6 and 7 hours. You’ll spend most of the day on it, enjoying spectacular views of the dramatic landscape for the whole hike.
You can also tackle the trail from the other side, starting in Eastbourne. But heading east along the path is considered the more scenic and beautiful way to approach the cliffs.
While you will be walking along the cliffs, be sure to keep a five-meter distance between you and the precipice. Chalk is brittle, and it’s been known to break off. So, you’ll want to keep a safe distance, while still sticking close to the coast.
I did think about doing the walk alone. But after doing my research, while keeping in mind that I get lost easily even with a GPS and can’t read a map to save my life, I decided to take the smart route.
I chose to do a guided tour of Seven Sisters Cliffs and I really don’t regret it. Best decision ever! So if you are not the best with directions or doing it alone and want to stay safe, I highly recommend going with a guide to Seven Sisters.
Is the Seven Sisters UK Walk Worth It?
This is a very worthwhile walk. The views are gorgeous, while the trail is relatively easy and not too strenuous.
The weather is often mild, and you’ll pass cows and sheep peacefully at pasture. So, if you’re looking to experience idyllic, rural England, cottages, villages and all, this is the best way to do it.
Of course, the walk is not for everyone. It does take half the day (if you choose to do the full walk), and there is a decent amount of uphill walking. There is also minimal shade, so hot days can be difficult.
Still, I can’t imagine ever regretting this walk.
I have written a more detailed guide of the Seven Sisters Cliffs Walk, if you are more interested in doing the Seven Sisters hike.
Best Time to Visit Seven Sisters Cliffs
I think spring\summer is the best time to visit the chalk cliffs. But I’ve written a detailed guide on what to expect for every season when visiting Seven Sisters including Seven Sisters weather.
What to Expect From The Seven Sisters Cliffs
If you’ve never been to Seven Sisters, expect gorgeous views, unique backdrops and salty ocean air.
Expect rolling fields and lovely pathways that crisscross the countryside. Expect to be so relaxed you won’t want to leave! I didn’t. The place is absolutely gorgeous.
You won’t find restaurants or toilets along the cliffs, so expect that too. The best thing to do is to pack a lunchtime picnic and some snacks and enjoy it at your favourite viewpoint.
There is one toilet near the Belle Tout Lightroom, but that’s about it. Or you can just go in nature.
Visit Seven Sisters Cliffs From London Conclusion
A tour of the Seven Sisters Cliffs is the perfect peaceful break from the vibrant city of London. The white chalk cliffs make for some stunning photographs, and the peaceful atmosphere is incredible.
While it does take some time to get here, the whole trip is lovely and I will definitely be visiting Seven Sisters Cliffs again.
There are few places in the world where you can see white chalk cliffs towering above the water, gorgeous ocean views, and rolling green pastures all in one place.
That’s what makes a day trip to the Seven Sisters Cliffs so unique. I hope these tips help you plan your trip to Seven Sisters.
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