The South Downs is England’s newest national park. It’s home to plenty of breathtaking scenery, adventure opportunities, and culture, which means a holiday here is sure to suit staycationers of all kinds.
Walking, whether it’s a scenic stroll or an all-out hike, is one of the most popular things to do in the South Downs National Park. There are 3,300 kilometres of routes for walkers to explore, which is more than in any other national park in the UK! Discover lots of smooth, clear-cut options or more adventurous rambles during your trip. Whatever way you choose to get outside, there’s something here for holidaymakers of all abilities.
Here we’ll look at some of the best walks in the South Downs National Park, so you can staycation with family or friends and enjoy some of the best of the English countryside.
With so many beautiful walks in the South Downs, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Wherever you’re staying for your break, whether it’s inside the park itself or in a vibrant town or city nearby, there’s sure to be plenty of options on your doorstep. Here are some of the most popular walks to get you started. Take a look at the official national park website for even more ideas.
The Meon Valley trail offers a taste of English history. Stroll along the disused railway line, originally built for transporting livestock and produce from Fareham to Alton, and enjoy lots of exciting stop-offs along the way. The trail covers just under 18 kilometres through picturesque countryside, so you can hop on somewhere convenient and walk however far you like.
Before you set out on this unique South Downs walk, make sure you plan return transportation. The Meon Valley trail is not a loop, so you’ll need to consider how you’ll get back to your car or accommodation after your adventure.
This nine-kilometre path runs from Chichester to Lavant, then on to West Dean. The trail passes a Roman road, the reason for its name, which means you can enjoy a little history as well as a lot of beautiful scenery. Allow two hours to walk the length of this non-circular path. You’ll need to plan a walk back or arrange other transportation if you’ve left your car or accommodation at the start of your journey.
Lipchis Way connects Lipchis and Chichester over a 62-kilometre path, so you’ll need to split this one over several days or choose a portion of the trail that works for you. This diverse route passes through plenty of landscapes, from heathlands and river valleys to coastal plains and sandy ridges, so be sure to take your camera!
West Sussex Literary Trail
This stunning and educational trail runs from Horsham to Chichester and is 88 kilometres long. Lined with leafy trees and littered with unique points along the way, the West Sussex Literary Trail is an excellent choice no matter how far you’d like to walk. Highlights include Field Place, the birthplace of Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Bury House, the home of John Galsworthy.
When you’re choosing the perfect accommodation for your national park staycation, it can be a good idea to look at towns and cities nearby. Selecting a beautiful hotel in a neighbouring town or city means easy access and plenty of attractions, rural destinations, and all the conveniences of urban living.