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Great Britain: Chalk Cliffs – The Treasure of the Southeast Coastline

Published: 18.12.2017
Seven Sisters chalk cliffs are undoubtedly among Britain's greatest natural treasures. They are beloved by tourists and film makers who made it the dream place of the main protagonists in the movie Atonement (starring Keira Knightley).

You can find these cliffs near the quiant town of Eastbourne with its recently renovated wharf. Palms lining the promenade make the place feel fresh and exotic. When you are accompanied by your children, go to Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway Adventure Park situated in the town center.

wharf in Eastbourne    Eastbourne coastline

You may get to Seven Sister chalk cliffs by the bus No 12 connecting Eastbourne and Brighton. In case you stay in Brighton you may use NetworkSaver ticket and you wouldn't need to buy any more. There are a couple of options how you can make your trip and these are dependent on the weather and fitness. Mostly people get off at Seven Sister Park Centre stop where the visitors' center is situated. There you may get a glimpse of individual trails on the map and choose which one suits you the best. Right opposite to the visitors' center there is the closest entrance to the Seven Sister nature reservation. From here there runs a pathway along the meander of the River Cucmere and real British countryside. What would be a more or less 20-minute walk ends on the beach with a vista over the amazing chalk cliffs. If you chose this way, you will have the option to walk on the cliffs which consist of seven hills 14 to 79 meters above the sea level. The trail ends up at a restaurant. This trail is rather more strenous but the vistas are amazing and worth every drop of sweat. 

River Cucmere   countryside

chalk cliffs

Alternative route is when you get off at East Dean stop and follow the road to the shoreline. This trail is the only option which may get you to the shoreline by car.  Going across meadows with sheep pasturing upon them may make the journey more pleasant. Once you reach the shoreline you also reach the end of the first trail going across all the seven hills. From here you may climb to two lighthouses and end the hike by climbing Beachy Head, the highest peak of the cliffs at 156 meters. The first ligthhouse is visible right from the shoreline. Yet the true gem is behind the horizon – striped lighthouse like in old movies.

East Dean    Beachy Head lighthouse

If you don't feel like climbing all seven hills but you still want to enjoy beautiful vistas from the top, get off at The Cucmere Inn and walk along the other River Cucmere bank. There you may encounter freely pasturing sheep and cows. It is here too, where it takes about a 30 minute walk to climb up to the hilltop to enjoy the vista over all Seven Sisters.

pasturing sheep

If you plan a trip to these chalk cliffs see a weather forecast first. On sunny days take your children with you. On rainy and windy days can any of the trails be painfully long. Don't worry for even on bad weather days you will love the trip. The chalk cliffs of southeast England is a place everyone should visit at least once in life.

GPS: 50°44'52.9"N 0°11'24.8"E


Text and photos: Karolína Lhotáková

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