Best time to visit The South Downs National Park

The Downs and the Weald enjoy some of the driest weather in Britain, with sunny summer days and cool coastal breezes.
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.

South Downs National Park Weather Chart

 
MIN °C
MAX °C
RAIN (mm)
JAN
2
7
100
FEB
1
7
64
MAR
3
9
73
APR
4
12
60
MAY
7
16
59
JUN
10
19
64
JUL
12
21
54
AUG
12
21
66
SEP
10
18
81
OCT
8
15
100
NOV
4
10
106
DEC
2
8
101

When to avoid the South Downs National Park

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.

Our top South Downs Vacation

South Downs Way walking holiday, England

South Downs Way walking vacation, England

Walk The South Downs Way in Southern England.

From £980 to £1420 11 days ex flights
Tailor made:
This vacation can be booked from the 1st March to 31st October each year.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about South Downs or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

What happens when in the South Downs National Park

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

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.
Written by Emma Gregg
Photo credits: [Page banner: GlennD] [Intro: © Daniel Greenwood/SDNPA] [Winter: © Sam Knight] [Festivals & Events: Andrew Dunn]
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