Best time to visit The South Downs National Park

temperature & rainfall

Here, every season has a different flavour. Birds fill woods and gardens with song in spring, while a relay of snowdrops, daffodils, and bluebells brighten verges and woodlands. In Mar-Apr, when the fields are dotted with lambs and calves, the trees begin to bud. During the summer, bees and butterflies flit over classic flowers such as orchids, scabious, gorse and heather. Autumn is a glorious time to crunch through woods, while winter often brings bright, crisp days and, occasionally, proper snow.

When not to visit the South Downs National Park

What to avoid, & when

  • The National Park’s most popular beauty spots, attractions, cafés and pubs can feel very busy on bank vacation weekends and during the Easter and summer school vacations, especially when the sun’s out. If crowds aren’t your scene, head for one of the quieter areas. There are plenty of lesser-known treasures buried across the Downs – it doesn’t take long to find them – and solace away from the masses, even on the busiest of weekends.
  • During the winter months, some museums and heritage attractions close or limit their opening hours.

What happens when in the South Downs National Park

Our recommendations

Sandra Barnes-Keywood of Old Chapel Forge is one of our suppliers. She shares her favourite time of year: “Winter is a great time to visit. The trees look so regal, silhouetted on the skyline!”

June Zaft of our supplier Country Walks says: “The South Downs are beautiful throughout the year but walking on the hills in midsummer can be hot and tiring due to the lack of trees and shade. We prefer spring and early summer, when wild downland flowers abound.”

Alex Evans of our supplier Wriggly Tin also loves early summer:
“In June, everything is fresh, green and new and the weather tends to be better than some other national parks I could mention!”

South Downs festivals & events

Our cultural pick from the South Downs calendar

Did you know about...?

In spring and summer, a flurry of bunting, gazebos and buskers signals the festival season is in full swing. The biggest is the Brighton Festival in May, a wide-ranging arts event which spills into the Downs. Others worth catching include Winchester and Petworth in July and Arundel in August. Alfriston hosts several quirky events including an old-fashioned August Bank Vacation fayre on the village green and a torchlit Dickensian parade a month before Christmas. Early November brings traditional Bonfire celebrations all over Sussex, with Lewes leading the charge.
Photo credits: [Walkers near the Old Man of Wilmington : Mischa Haller] [winter tree: Dominic Alves] [Bunting in Droxford : Mischa Haller]
Written by Emma Gregg
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