Sussex Charm | Exploring The South Downs With YHA

Visiting the UK is not all about seeing London. There is more to the UK than just London, like the beautiful coastal towns around the UK. Of course living in a city that never sleeps, like the bustling capital of London, one is always in short supply of peace and quiet. In addition to both my partner and I working in the IT industry with a constant jiggle for work-life balance, I always try to make our weekends as relaxed as imaginably possible. This means being creative in seeking out relaxation weekend getaways both in the country and outside.

My current favourite lately are getaways in and around the English countryside. The fact that we don’t have to go through security gates, hold miniaturised bottles of beauty products or be patted downed because an underwire bra triggered the alarm is always a plus, if we can avoid this.

When I mentioned to my partner that I was challenged to spend £100 for a weekend for both of us, he wasn’t really surprised as he as seen some of the travel deals I rustle up at crazy prices, even at short notice(check out my trip to Copenhagen where we travelled to for under £100). 

We were going to be driving to one of the UK’s most beautiful coastal regions; South Downs. Remote, ravishingly beautiful landscapes of farm lands with rolling hills in the background, a national park that stretches over 100 miles and stunning beaches to boot. It was a no brainer. Of course he said yes!

One can come here for a day, but you really need to spend the night to really tune in and stifle out a hectic city life. We chose to stay at the YHA South Downs for its ease of access to the hiking trails, the views of farmlands and proximity to the famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs that I have been dying to see for a while now. Not to mention, if you are coming by train, the train station is a few meters from the YHA. It was officially opened by the Queen in October 2013, it’s a great base for cheap family breaks close to traditional Sussex towns such as Lewes or Newhaven, which also has ferry connections with continental Europe. The culture of Brighton is also not far away and the great outdoors of the South Downs National Park is right on your doorstep. Accommodation is by way of dorms, camping or cute little wooden camping pods. I used to be against hostels but they have stepped up their game in recent years that you will actually have an amazing stay without burning a hole in your pocket.

Our explorations of the trails took as to the Coastguard’s cottages just before sunset. Wonderfully remote, peaceful and quiet. We had a good portion of the coastline to ourselves, bar a few dog walkers now and then. The sound of the small waves crushing as the sunset was lowering for the day, we couldn’t help but find a bench and just take it all in for a moment. With many options for entertainment we thought of heading to Anchor Inn to rent a boat and roll around the River Ouse for an hour at a cost of £6 per adult for one hour or picnic in Glyndebourne but all of that was dashed as we settled into a picnic on the beach at Birling Gap with our very own unplanned, but free entertainment. We had two red arrows from the yearly Eastbourne air show doing their routine right in front of us. Free entertainment also meant we were within budget of our £100 spend, of which £65 went on a private room at YHA. This left us with £35, of which £14.86 went on the evening’s take-away and eaten on the beach with sunset views. The following day we decided to head to Eastbourne and see the rest of the Airbourne show, having had a private preview. We spent another £12.50 on seafood and ice creams on the beach as the planes took to formations in the skies. Our hearty full English on the farm converted YHA was surprisingly (but welcome)on the house! Had we paid the £10 for the breakfast we would have been over by £2.86 which is not bad if I my bargain-hunting self, can say so.
 Red Arrows performing stunts at Birling Gap during our picnic on the beach.             
Here you will find beautiful and tranquil beaches and if you are lucky you may even have a mile or two to yourself. There is so much to explore at Newhaven Fort, including the vast, echoing tunnels built into the chalk cliffs. Breathtaking panoramic views of the South Downs and Sussex Coast. 
Each year Eastbourne hosts the worlds biggest free seafront air show. We were lucky to have struck luck as our trip to East Sussexs fell on the week of the show. So it was just a matter of grabbing a spot on the beach for the show. The RAF Red Arrows and international deplay teams do their best to entertain. I have never seen so many beautiful airplanes in one swoop! The kind of staff that is truly inspiring and clear evidence that the mind sure is a beautiful thing when we can create these beautiful and lasting machinery considering how old some of these planes are  today.

3 Tips for Exploring South Downs and Surrounding Area:

● Lovers of hiking, cycling and walking:  There are some beautiful trails with even more beautiful views so allow yourself time to stop and breath the beauty in.
● Lovers of theatre, wine and dine and leisurely exploration, there are a 3 places in the area that are a must! Glyndebourne which offers plays and shows in beautiful surroundings where you can picnic in between plays. There are two vineyards in close proximity to YHA, check out the Rathfinny Estate for wine tasting and vineyard tours. For a relaxed and day head to Anchor in and rent a boat and have a picnic on the river River Ouse.
● If you love to explore coastal towns then Seaford, Newhaven and even Eastbourne are all close by with independent little cafes offering that cosy and homely feel to them, perfect after long walks exploring the beautiful trail in South Downs.
So have you been to this part of the English coast?

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  1. October 25, 2015 / 4:39 pm

    That is so beautiful. I have lived in London for 5 years and only ever been to Brighton. I just aways end up abroad instead of seeing more of the Uk (with the exception of Scotland). This looks lovely.

    • October 25, 2015 / 8:34 pm

      As cool as London is its always nice to getaway from every other weekend if you can manage it. I love these getaways to see more of the UK as there is just so much beautiful and you dont have to go through airport security to do it either. Thanks for stopping by and love your blog too! 😀

  2. November 2, 2015 / 7:30 am

    Great post! You gave a much needed and broader perspective to England. Everyone concentrates on London all of the time. I used to live in Bournemouth.

    • November 2, 2015 / 11:44 pm

      Thank you. People really need to explore more of the UK. Its got really beautiful towns and easy access from London too. Bournmouth is lovely. A stones from from Portsmouth where I went to university.

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