7 Sisters Cliff Walk: Seaford to Eastbourne via East Dean
The 7 Sisters hike from Seaford to Eastbourne is a hiker’s dream if you are after epic views of the English Channel and the famous chalk cliffs.
The 22.5 km (14 miles) Seven Sisters hike is easy technically, though moderate due to the distance and the rolling ascents and descents over the Cliffs. The hike is approximately 7 hours to complete, so to mix things up, we decided to hike over two days, staying in the gorgeous English town of East Dean.
The Seven Sisters are located in the South Downs National Park in Exceat. However, the best place to start the 7 Sisters coastal trail is in Seaford.
From London Victoria, Seaford is only a 90-minute train journey via Lewes. On arrival to Seaford, there is a short walk down to the beach where you will turn left (East), past the beach huts towards the cliffs that lay waiting in wait. Important to note that Seaford is the last point to pick up some snacks or water (excluding a couple of pubs)until you reach the Birling gap, 4 hours away.
At the beginning of the hike, you will walk past a very hilly golf course to your left. The hike continues to Hope Gap, where apparently there is an opportunity to descend to the beach (during low tide).
The trail takes you to Cuckmere Haven where you will walk past some stunning cottages looking out to sea before you walk down to the beach.
At the Cuckmere beach, the Cuckmere River joins the sea and effectively divides the beach into two sections. If you are like me, it was a little frustrating there wasn’t a bridge down at the beach to cross but walk along the river towards the Cuckmere Inn quickly made up for this. Although we did not go to the Cuckmere Inn, there did seem to be a beautiful beer garden with some fantastic views.
Cross the bridge and immediately turn right, almost turning back on yourself back down towards the beach, heading towards the next section of cliffs.
Between Cuckmere Haven and Birling Gap, you will encounter a series of 40–50 m ascents and descents as you make your way across the cliffs. Nothing too strenuous however it will definitely get your heart rate up!
At the Birling Gap, turn inland towards East Dean. The path on the left-hand side of the road is constant all the way to the village.
Where to stay?
The Tiger Inn is a beautiful old pub in the gorgeous village of East Dean. The Inn has a hearty English Breakfast included in the room rate and has good quality food and drink available looking over the village green.
Leaving the stunning village of East Dean, head back down towards the Birling Gap and continue east towards Belle Tout Lighthouse. Even late in the morning, the lighthouse was covered in sea mist (very spooky)! The next section of the Seven Sisters brings you to the candy-cane-like lighthouse at Beachy Head.
Beachy Head has a pub to grab food & drink and an RAF memorial to the pilots from WW2 with stunning views out to sea. The next part of the trail is really up to you as there are various routes towards Eastbourne. We decided to stick close to the cliff edge and found a beautiful trail down to Cow Gap.
Cow Gap is a small rocky beach that was deserted when we hiked down. A perfect way to chill for 20 or so minutes.
The hike from East Dean to Eastbourne took us 3 hours at a slow pace with lots of stops.
What to do in Eastbourne?
We had a few hours before our train back to London and were very lucky to enjoy some beautiful weather on the beach before treating ourselves to afternoon tea at https://www.grandeastbourne.com/
The Seven Sisters hike is a true English gem.
WorldHikingVlog highly recommends!