Walking in the South Downs

Organised walking vacations

There are a number of ways to take an extended walking vacation in the South Downs National Park, run by walking vacation experts who know the Downs upside down and inside out. Our Sussex partners offer a range of guided walks in the South Downs, as well as creating bespoke walking breaks for you, working around the areas of the park that you most want to see. And like all good walking break providers who want to keep the park free of cars, many will collect and drop you at the nearest train or bus station on these extended breaks.

Some add extras to their walking trips, such as foraging, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, and love to take walkers who might know the popular tourist trails into some of the lesser-known spots of the South Downs. They also provide picnics full of local produce.

Self guided walking vacations help organise accommodation, maps and luggage transfers as you walk your way freely from one place to the next.

Independent walking

The South Downs stretch from the stunning, historic cathedral city of Winchester in Hampshire to the Victorian seaside town of Eastbourne in East Sussex. The Downs, meaning hilly terrain, are like the artery of the region, pumping wild, natural energy across this dynamic region of traditional market towns, and allowing it to breathe. Within minutes of stepping off the train at Winchester you can step onto the South Downs Way and breathe in its goodness. The South Downs Way is a 160km National Trail, open to walkers, cyclists and horse riders. It cuts through chalk escarpment, which has made it historically accessible, and why it has always been favoured for traditional means of transport, and still is.

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 £1300 to £1940 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.
You can start the South Downs Way the green way, by taking the train or bus to the start of the trail in Winchester, or use this handy South Downs National Park discovery map to see all other options.

The South Downs Way sweeps west to east (better to walk it this direction to cope with prevailing winds), and is intercut by various train lines along the way, allowing you to take on a section of the trail and still start and finish your expedition by train. Stations such as Petersfield, Amberley, Hassocks and Lewes are all served by rail.
There are also many other walking routes available, such as the 8km circular walk from Plumpton, taking in woodland, marshes and streams of the area, all accessible by train to and from Plumpton. Or an 11.5km walk around the South Downs villages of Steyning, Chanctonbury and Washington, all accessible on the 2A bus from Brighton.

If woodland walking is more your thing, then it is the West Weald area of the South Downs that will appeal, with a series of walks through ancient woodland, intercut with traditional old pasture land, and archaeological surprises tucked away like ancient holy wells, ruins, bridges and forges.
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: GlennD] [Organised walking vacations: © SDNPA/A.Purkiss] [Independent walking vacations 1: © Anne Katrin Purkiss] [Independent walking vacations 2: © Chris Mole]