"During a recent home swap holiday in Brighton we had the opportunity to visit two spots that are well known to any Anglophile – Beachy Head of WW2 fame, and the white cliffs known as the Seven Sisters. We started in Eastbourne, which impressed us as a beautifully cared for seaside town. The buildings and streets between the station and the seafront are clean and neat, with attractive gardens and shady trees. We were there in perfect weather, so the shade was appreciated. The seafront has beautiful flower beds, benches, clean public facilities and a delightful bandstand with proper seating where concerts are held. Definitely a place for a holiday in my view!
From Eastbourne it’s about an hour’s walk to Beachy Head, some of it fairly steep uphill but well worth it. The views back towards Eastbourne and across the headlands are wonderful. There’s a Visitor Centre at Beachy Head with a very interesting exhibition about the settlements in the area that go right back to very early times. Also a big pub with plenty of seating and some nice big windows, above which they have kindly written what it is that you can see through that window. Lovely idea!
We visited the memorial to the airmen who flew across Beachy Head, for many their last sight ever of home. Poignant thought. Then on towards Belle Tout Lighthouse with the glistening calm ocean on one side and the green stretches of the Downs on the other. What a spectacular cliff walk this is! We continued all the way to Birling Gap, where we climbed down the tower of steps to the beach to cool our feet and to inspect the chalk cliffs close up. The white chalk is the skeletal remains of billions of minute plankton creatures, and the black bits of flint were originally – amazingly – once sponges. Now I know why flint has that glassy look to it – it’s composed of silica. I was thrilled to actually touch these iconic white cliffs, they really have a special aura about them.
After Birling Gap we continued on to Cuckhaven, where we followed the river inland to get the bus home. The broad walking area on these grassy clifftops ensures that even a lot of people don’t make for a crowded place – there’s room for all and the peace and tranquility is wonderful. If you get a lovely sunny day do remember to protect yourself from the sun. There are no trees along the route and the brush is only high enough to shelter the many rabbits. A camera is obviously a must. We had to stop ourselves from taking photos every few minutes or we would never have got home before dark!
Walking along the tops of these cliffs is a very special experience that I would love to do again someday in the other direction, ending in Eastbourne. Maybe another home swap?" - Bea
This excellent trip report was sent in by long time Home Base Holidays member, Bea Fitze. Check out Bea's wonderful home swap offer in St. Gallen, Switzerland.