4th June, 2014
If you're even thinking about visiting the South Downs in East Sussex, then we would strongly recommend heading for The Seven Sisters, a famous stretch of prominent undulations of the chalk cliffs that tower above the English Channel, between the towns of Seaford and Eastbourne. This stretch of coast is (rightly) very well known - it is absolutely stunning.
A little bit further along, between Eastbourne and Birling Gap, you will come across Beachy Head. The cliff at Beachy Head is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, rising to 530 feet (162 metres) at its highest point above sea level. The chalk of the cliffs was formed over a period of 30 million years when a warm sub tropical sea covered the area, between 95 to 65 million years ago.
Beachy Head is an area of outstanding natural beauty and is considered to be one of the most beautiful locations in the entire UK. Due to the dangerous rocks off the headland campaigns for a lighthouse date back to 1691 when petitions were raised due to sailors losing their lives. Eventually it was agreed that a lighthouse could be built on the peak known as Belle Tout, from where the lighthouse was to take its name.
Belle Tout B&B - a must-visit for walkers
Housed in a former lighthouse, the Belle Tout B&B is our insider tip for anyone visiting this area. Built in 1832 and decommissioned in 1902, the lighthouse is now a tea-shop and B&B, part-destroyed during the second world war and lovingly rebuilt in the 50s. It is owned by the BBC, who often use it as a filming location, for such programmes of The Life and Loves of a She Devil. Dramatically, the lighthouse was recently moved due to erosion of the cliff upon which it stands. It has now been beautifully restored and renovated. You can read more about the history of Belle Tout in more detail on the B&B website.
With 360 degree views of the English Channel, beautiful landscape, countryside and the enigmatic Seven Sisters, Belle Tout is a remarkable place to stay. It's a really charming English experience... they even have themed rooms such as 'The Captains Cabin', 'Old England' and 'Keepers Loft'.
During the day time, we advise you pull on your walking boots and set out on a hike. There are fantastic walking routes in every direction. The Carter Company offers tailor-made walking holidays in this area. Both guided walks along the South Downs and self-guided walks in this Seven Sisters area are available. You can also download free maps of walking routes from the official Beachy Head website.
Beachy Head is also home to a wonderfully quintessential English pub - The Tiger Inn. Here you can expect fine food, great ales and a warm welcome in this very idyllic country pub. There are also rooms you can stay in here if you don't like heights!