If you’re working Monday to Friday in a place like London, I always feel that weekends are best when you have a day spent outside the city. That’s why I love day trips coupled with a bit of hiking and exploring.
In fact, this was a common thing-to-do when I was living in Hong Kong. It was easy because beautiful hikes are so accessible from the city centre. The best part is when the hikes lead you to breathtaking scenery and a restaurant at the finishing point. Then you can spend the rest of your afternoon eating and drinking a cold beer!
Read about my Hong Kong hiking trips here:
- Lantau Trail Sec. 12: Hike to Beachside Restaurant Mavericks
- Ham Tin: Easy Scenic Walk to Secluded Beaches in Sai Kung
So I was excited to learn that we could do a day trip hiking and exploring beautiful scenery from London, with a day trip to Seven Sisters Country Park/Chalk Cliffs.
Getting to Seven Sisters Country Park from London
We took a train at approximately 8:45am from Victoria to Seaford, with one change at Lewes. The train ride took about 1 hour 40 minutes. It is quite a long journey, but once you reach the train station, you’re close to the coast where the hiking route starts.
Be sure to check the train schedule (try the Trainline website) ahead of time (or even buy your tickets in advance), because some friends later told me that they were only able to find trains with multiple stops, and the duration was over 2 hours.
Start of the Seven Sisters Hike
We had no idea where to start the walk when we got out of the train station. But don’t worry – we just intuitively walked towards the direction of the coast. There are probably a number of equally quick routes to get there (it took less than 5 minutes), so don’t stress about the starting point, it will be obvious once you reach the coast.
The best part about this hike/walk is that the most beautiful part is actually at the start. This means that you can actually do minimal walking or shortened routes, and still admire the beauty of this place.
Before our trip, we read the advice on the Saturday Walkers Club website, which lists out a couple of shorter options.
But given that I like the idea of binging on beer and food as a reward, we went for the hike.
[Update (23 July 2020)]: I loved Jeevan’s video on Youtube here – check it out to get a glimpse of the beauty you could expect on a hike in Seven Sisters.
13.5km Hike from Seaford to Beachy Head
The longest hike goes from Seaford to Eastbourne and is approximately 22km long. For us, we walked for 13.5km for 3.5 hours to reach Beachy Head, where there was a pub. This itinerary was perfect. It was a satisfyingly long walk. There are many mild uphills and downhills, so it’s neither too strenuous nor a complete breeze.
One warning though: you will reach a stream at Cuckmere Haven, and many of the websites (and Google maps) will point you to walk around it, which is an extra 1 hour’s walk. That may have to be the case when you’re there.
When we arrived at Cuckmere Haven, the tide was decently low. We took off our shoes and walked across the stream barefoot. It was about 20-25 steps in absolutely freezing water, and barely bearable though.
Beachy Head Pub – Cozy Rustic Vibes
A 13.5km walk with constant uphills and downhills across the “Seven Sisters” was a decent workout for us, so we were so happy to finally reach Beachy Head Pub. By the time we got there, it was almost 3pm – perfect for a well-deserved late lunch!
If you want to eat earlier on though, there is another pub called The Cuckmere Inn at Exceat.
Beachy Head Pub was extremely vibrant, cozy and warm inside. There was a good selection of beers, a long list of typical pub dishes and an even longer list of desserts (or ‘puddings’!). We ordered the meat pie and beef roast – don’t expect anything fancy or extraordinary, but it was a perfectly satisfying meal to call it a day outside of London.
Getting back to London: Hop-on Bus to Eastbourne
To head back to London, we took the “hop on hop off” tourist bus to Eastbourne train station. There is a bus stop right outside the pub. We then took a train from Eastbourne directly to Victoria, London.
Check out the route we walked in the map below. But do note that we walked across the water at Cuckmere Haven, and didn’t do the ‘detour’ route.
If you have any questions about this itinerary, please feel free to leave a comment below!