An image of a cyclist on the South Downs Way with walkers in the background
The South Downs National Park in Sussex has it all. From rolling green hills, magnificent heathland, shimmering rivers and ancient woodland to flourishing villages, historic market towns and the iconic white cliffs of the Heritage Coast.

Whatever your interest, you’re guaranteed to fall in love with the South Downs National Park.

Where is South Downs National Park?

The South Down National Park stretches from Winchester in the West to Eastbourne in the East through the counties of Hampshire, East Sussex and predominantly West Sussex. The South Downs cover over 1,600 square kilometres.

The South Downs visitor centre is based in the historic market town of Midhurst, the gateway to the National Park, and is where you can pick up a South Downs map, South Downs Way map, other walking and cycling routes, and inspiration for your thrilling visit ahead.

Leisure, lunch, the list goes on…

You could easily be mistaken for thinking that a trip to the South Downs National Park is just about walking and cycling.

While the South Downs does offer some of the very best walking and cycling routes in the UK, including the famous South Downs Way (the only National Trail to lie entirely within a National Park!) there are so many other things to do here too.

From art galleries, theatres, antiques, wildlife tours, Roman ruins, and museums, to gardens and garden centres, light railways, stately homes, planetariums, artisan food, vineyards and breweries, the list goes on.

If you’re looking for something more active, why not try horse-riding, polo lessons, paddle boarding, hunting, rounds of golf, fishing, festivals or undertaking the South Downs Marathon? The choices are endless.

Camping and glamping

If camping or glamping in the South Downs takes your fancy, you’ll probably be interested to know that the South Downs have been granted International Dark Sky Reserve status, making it one of the best places in the country to view the night sky!

Today, the park is one of only 16 such Reserves in the world.

South Downs Way

Of course, we couldn’t not talk about the South Downs Way – the jewel of our National Park.

The 160km South Downs Way is one of 15 National Trails in England and Wales and was the first bridleway National Trail in England.

The route stretches from the ancient cathedral city of Winchester, through to the white chalky cliffs of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head at Eastbourne. Surrounded in some of the most spectacular scenery in the country and with most if it being off-road, this is a walking and cycling route not to be beaten.

There are entry points all along this National Trail. Simply pick up a map from the South Downs Centre or upload a GPS guide to your bike’s sat nav, download a walking map or details of connecting bus services to your phone, and before you know it you can be out exploring the very best the British countryside has to offer.

Whatever you choose to do on your visit to the South Downs National Park, you’re sure to be astounded.

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Things to do in the South Downs

A photograph of a cyclist on a country lane

Experience the stunning scenery and varied terrain by cycling in the The South Downs National Park

sheep in fields along the South Downs Way

Explore picturesque villages and towns, undulating English countryside and outstanding views as you walk the South Downs Way

An image of a cyclist on the South Downs Way with walkers in the background

Enjoy breath-taking views, picturesque towns and villages, and a huge variety of landscapes and wildlife by cycling the South Downs Way.

E-bike hire delivered to your location for exploring Chichester, the South Downs, Chichester Harbour and more

An image of a sculpture - part of the heathlands sculpture trail in South Downs National Park

The new Heathland Sculpture Trail in South Downs National Park is the perfect opportunity to get into the great outdoors and appreciate the changing of the seasons. Seven intricate sculptures are located across different heathland sites within the park, with…

A view of countryside taken at Cocking Hill in West Sussex

Enjoy a beautiful circular walk in the landscapes around Lavington Common and Duncton Mill that inspired Ivon Hitchens. Modern British landscape painter Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979) lived and worked at Lavington Common from 1940 until his death in 1979. Painting in…

South Downs Planetarium

Space and night sky enthusiasts of all ages will be enthralled by a show at South Downs Planetarium. Experience an expert guided tour of the stars, planets, galaxies or beyond as you’re immersed in the full-dome theatre images. We present…

sheep in fields along the South Downs Way

The 160km South Downs Way runs right across the Chichester District, offering great walking and cycling opportunities.

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Events in the South Downs

Old Masters, Modern Masters: Drawings from the Hussey Bequest January 11th April 10th -

An exhibition celebrating the 40th anniversary of Pallant House Gallery, Chichester – modern British Art from 1900 to today

Chichester District Famers' Market Chichester District Farmers’ Market March 4th 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

Discover artisan shopping and local speciality food and drink at the Chichester Farmers Market in Chichester City Centre, West Sussex

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Places to Stay in the South Downs

Dining area at Cowdry Cottages

Nestled behind Benbow Pond are four luxury holiday cottages with an extensive range of outdoor pursuits and leisure activities on the doorstep, along with a myriad of footpaths. Perfect for couples and families, the Cottages lend themselves to a long…

Double room at Rubens Barn

Ruben’s Barn was built in the 17th century and converted by it’s current owners Rob & Rachel Hill. Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty with jaw dropping views that will captivate and delight, this beautifully converted barn offers…

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South Downs Eateries

An image of Fitzcanes cafe, Midhurst

An independent café in Midhurst

E.Street Bar & Grill

In the heart of West Sussex, Petworth is surrounded by farms producing everything from free range, grass-fed livestock to tomatoes, honey and grapes. At E. Street Bar & Grill, our kitchen transforms these outstanding ingredients into simple, unpretentious yet exceptional…

For an authentic West Sussex experience, there is no better spot to stay than the historic Angel Inn, voted one of the Best English Country Hotels. With seven comfortable, beautifully renovated rooms, plenty of character, and excellent food, The Angel…

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South Downs National Park Gallery