Stay in the South Downs
The South Downs National Park, established in 2010, the newest of the UK’s National Parks. Spanning 1,627 square kilometres it stretches across the counties of Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex, and is home of the legendary South Downs Way national trail – the only trail to lie entirely in a National Park.
Steeped in history from neolithic to Roman and onward, the landscapes which make up the South Downs are rich in stories and legends and its rolling hills and ancient woodlands are known to have inspired countless artist for generations and continue to do so. There are a variety of habitats being cared for here including the extremely rare lowland heath, which has been described as rarer than rainforest, and chalk grassland, a precious landscape of which has dramatically decreased since the World War II.
In 2016 the Park was granted International Dark Sky Reserve status, making it one of 19 across the world and a must-visit for star gazers and night-sky enthusiasts. Each February the South Downs National Park Dark Skies Festival celebrates these wonderful starry skies with guided events.
It’s no wonder that the park is a draw for fans of walking, cycling, nature and wildlife and those looking for a true escape to glorious countryside. There’s a wealth of accommodation to choose from, whether you’re looking for a rural retreat to truly get away from it all, traditional, characterful pubs and inns, personable B&Bs, or a home from home at a self-catering property. You can even base yourself close to the South Downs Way if you’re taking on the challenge of completing the epic 100 mile routes.
While you’re here, be sure to treat your tastebuds to some authentic Sussex food and drink. Read our picks of the ‘Taste of Sussex’ for ideas on culinary experiences to enjoy and locations to visit to find your foodie heaven.