South Downs travel advice

Tips from our friends in the South Downs

Tips for discovering local
heritage and art

June Zaft of Country Walks says:Charleston Farmhouse with its vibrant garden is a place of wonder and inspiration, transformed by Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell as a refuge for the artists and writers of the Bloomsbury Group who helped shape 20th century taste. At Berwick Church, nearby, they used friends and local people as models for their colourful murals and frescoes which controversially depict the life of Christ against the background of war-torn Britain.”

Trip planning tips

June Zaft of Country Walks, our supplier, says:
“We find the Visitor Centre at Exceat a useful resource when planning our walking trips, and the various scenic and tourist bus routes run by Brighton & Hove, Stagecoach, Compass Travel and the other local operators are useful for walkers, families and elderly or disabled people who want to explore.”

Tips for days out

Alex Evans of Wriggly Tin, our supplier, says: “The village of Selborne makes a good day out, with a visit to Gilbert White’s house, which has a good tea room, and a walk along the Lythes, rounded off with a drink or meal at The Selborne Arms or The Queens. The garden at West Dean College is one of my favourites – they also run a great chilli fiesta weekend in summer. When it snows, take a sledge to Butser Hill for a hair-raising ride!”

Tips for exploring off the beaten track

June Zaft of Country Walks recommends visiting Seaford, a gateway to the park: “It’s a quiet, traditional seaside resort that’s still unspoilt.”
Gilly Webber of Hut Therapy, our supplier, says: “Ditch the car and pull on your walking boots. But instead of just going to the really well known places like Beachy Head, try quieter places like Saddlescombe Farm north of Brighton. You’ll find homemade cakes, fresh produce and a warm welcome at the Hiker’s Rest tea-room.”

Alex Evans of Wriggly Tin says:
“The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton is excellent for all ages, but so is Butser Ancient Farm, which isn’t as well known.”

Health & safety in the South Downs

Travel safely in the South Downs National Park


  • Emergency care is provided at the following hospitals: Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester; Southampton General Hospital; St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester; Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton; and Eastbourne District General Hospital.
  • There are minor injuries units in Alton, Haslemere and Lewes.


The South Downs National Park is generally a trouble-free place to spend a vacation. Cleanliness and water quality along the Sussex Heritage Coast is good, although the only nearby beaches to be awarded a Blue Flag or Seaside Award in 2014 are at West Wittering, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton. It’s wise to take extra care after prolonged, severe rain, when flooding can occur, and after heavy snow – the topography of the dunes allows deep drifts to form.

South Downs tips from our travelers

Recommendations from those who have been there

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful South Downs National Park travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
Our hosts were very kind and went well beyond the call of duty for running a B&B. They are passionate about sustainable tourism, but even if you don’t give a hoot about this kind of thing you can still have a lovely time here. – Arjen Bouwmeester

Go and visit Arundel, although if you want to go into the castle check the opening times. Take a trip to Bosham and Amering. The food at the Lamb Inn, Pagham was very nice – a limited menu but freshly cooked.Carol Hunt

Bring an Ordnance Survey map, walking shoes, a camera, clothes for the British weather and a healthy appetite – you are going to need it for the lovely pub lunches. Other than that, leave your watch and your worries behind.David Green

One of the best weekend escapes I have had. I felt so relaxed. I just wished we could have stayed longer!Nadia Saadi
Photo credits: [Charleston: Mischa Haller] [West Dean: Leonora Enking] [Walker at Saddlescombe Farm: Mischa Haller] [Arundel Castle : Jez Nicholson] [Walkers: Neil]
Written by Emma Gregg
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