7 things to see on The Seven Sisters Walk
The Seven Sisters Walk in Sussex is one of the most picturesque ones you can find near London. It stretches from Seaford to Eastbourne, traversing a spectacular coastal path that offers magnificent views of the chalk sea cliffs on the English Channel coast.
The Seven Sisters cliffs lie near the mouth of the River Cuckmere, and you can visit them directly by stopping around the nearby inn. However, to fully experience the unique beauty of the area, I recommend doing the entire length of the hike between the two towns.
Before you go
The full Seven Sisters Walk is approximately 20 kilometres (12.5 miles long). That means, on average, you can expect the hike to take between 6 to 8 hours, depending on your pace and how often you’ll decide to stop to rest or explore.
This is definitely not a gentle walk! There are few hills along the cliffs you need to climb, and the length is also considerable; therefore, a moderate fitness level is recommended.
It’s not a race, though. The key is to enjoy the journey at your own pace. So expect a full day of experience. Especially if you bring a camera, as the photographic opportunities are endless.
For preparation, good walking shoes and an extra waterproof jacket are always good to have. Pack some water and snacks. Remember the sunscreen and remember to put it on. With the sea breeze, it is easy to forget about it, but after a whole day of walking, you’ll regret it if you don’t have it. If you hike in the colder season, get some warm clothes, as the wind may be pretty intense, and the low temperatures will be very noticeable.
Also, please remember to respect the environment, keep to the designated paths and leave no trash so that everyone can enjoy the unique beauty of the Seven Sisters and the surrounding areas.
How to get to Seven Sister Walk
While the walk can be completed in either direction, the Seaford to Eastbourne route is my personal recommendation as it offers a better viewing perspective. The positioning of the sun, the progressive reveal of the breathtaking Seven Sisters, and the culminating panorama of Beachy Head against the vast English Channel – all seem to align on this route.
So, if you’re travelling from London, the easiest way to get to Seaford is to take the train. There is no direct train, so you’d need to change at Lewes or Brighton. The trains run from London Waterloo, Victoria or London Bridge stations. The travel will take between 1.5 and 2 hours, depending on the connection. Check National Rail or Trainline for times and fares.
When you arrive at Seaford, the trailhead of the Seven Sisters Hike, it is a short stroll from the train station towards the beach and then left (east) towards the cliffs.
Things to see on The Seven Sisters walk
Continue walking, leaving Seaford behind you. Plenty of views are ahead of you, so keep up and enjoy the walk and the sights along the way.
Here is an overview of the route profile, but it’s a bit shorter as it doesn’t include the part inside towns on both ends.
Below you’ll find a rough guide to the seven (wonder why I choose this number?) exciting places to see along the Seven Sisters walk.
1. Seaford Head Nature Reserve
After leaving Seaford, you pass by Seaford Head Golf Course and enter the Seaford Head Nature Reserve. This area is located within the South Downs National Park and forms a significant part of the Sussex Heritage Coast. The reserve is recognized for its exceptional biological and geological features and designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest within the Beachy Head West Marine Conservation Zone.
Check out the Seaford Head pages at Sussex Wildlife Trust to learn more about the place.
2. Coastguard Cottages
Nestled within the natural beauty of Cuckmere Haven, you’ll find the picturesque Coastguard Cottages. These charming white buildings, with their red-tiled roofs, offer a quintessentially English scene that’s straight out of a postcard. The cottages once served as homes for the coastguards and their families, who kept a vigilant watch over the Channel. The historical resonance of these buildings adds charm to their visual appeal.
Set against the backdrop of the sweeping Seven Sisters cliffs and positioned just where the Cuckmere River meets the sea, the Coastguard Cottages offer an incredible view that perfectly encapsulates the coastal beauty of Sussex. The image of these cottages, with the towering cliffs behind and the tranquil river in front, is one of the area’s most photographed and beloved scenes.
Whether you’re a photography enthusiast eager to capture this iconic view or a traveller who appreciates historic architecture and stunning landscapes, a visit to the Coastguard Cottages is an absolute must on your Seven Sisters Walk.
3. Cuckmere Haven
Next up is Cuckmere Haven, a beautiful floodplain where the Cuckmere River meets the English Channel. This spot is perfect for birdwatching or simply for a peaceful break. The salt marsh and the meandering river against the Seven Sisters backdrop make for a scenic view.
During low tide, you may opt to cross the river directly. This route can be a shortcut, saving some time and adding a bit of thrill to your walk. However, it’s crucial to remember that the river is deeper than it first appears, and the current can be surprisingly strong. Only attempt this crossing if you’re confident and the tide is low.
If you’d rather not get your feet wet, or if the tide is high, there’s an alternative route. You can extend your walk up towards the Cuckmere Inn and cross the river safely using the bridge there. This route may be a bit longer, but it also offers its own charming views and a chance to take some rest at the inn.
Whichever path you choose, crossing the Cuckmere River is sure to be a memorable part of your Seven Sisters adventure.
4. The Seven Sisters cliffs
After the river, the trail leads you to the main attraction – the Seven Sisters themselves. Admire the breathtaking white chalk cliffs, each standing tall and proud against the deep blue sea.
Walking along the path gives you a sense of their height, and on a clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of the French coast across the Channel (I cannot confirm, though).
In case you’ve been wondering, the cliff peaks and the dips between them have their names, according to Wikipedia at least: Haven Brow, Short Bottom, Short Brow, Limekiln Bottom, Rough Brow, Rough Bottom, Brass Point, Gap Bottom, Flagstaff Point, Flagstaff Bottom, Flat Hill, Flathill Bottom, Baily’s Hill, Michel Dean and Went Hill Brow.
As you continue walking east towards the next spot, a touch of history waits for you at the William Charles Campbell Monument and the Robertson War Memorial Bequest Obelisk along the way.
5. Birling Gap
Birling Gap, nestled between the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head, is a coastal hamlet featuring a pebble beach, a café and a visitor centre (and toilets, of course)! This is a great spot to rest, grab a bite to eat, and recover some energy before the rest of the walk.
6. Cliff Edge
While walking from Birling Gap to Beachy Head, you can enjoy a thrilling path that leads you along the cliff edge, offering stunning views. Please remember to stay safe and keep a reasonable distance from the edge!
7. Beachy Head & Beachy Head Lighthouse
Beachy Head is the grand finale on your Seven Sisters Walk. Standing as Britain’s highest chalk sea cliff, at a staggering 162 meters above sea level, Beachy Head offers stunning views over the English Channel.
The stark white cliffs drop dramatically into the sea, creating a stark contrast against the azure waters below. Obviously, you won’t be able to see this from the top, but you will see this earlier when approaching the clifftop.
At the cliff’s foot, you’ll find the Beachy Head Lighthouse, a striking red-and-white striped beacon sanding guard since 1902. Accessible only by sea or at low tide, this iconic lighthouse adds a touch of artificial beauty to the raw, natural charm of the cliffs.
It’s a perfect spot to pause, reflect, and take in the culmination of your journey along the Seven Sisters Walk. Just a hint, it may get a little windy there, so if you have something warm with you, now is the time to put it on.
Bonus point: Views of Eastbourne
As you descend from Beachy Head towards Eastbourne, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of this charming seaside town. Lush green parks, Victorian hotels lining the seafront, and the town’s pier jutting into the Channel – all make for a picture-perfect end to your walk.
The Seven Sisters Walk is a journey that weaves together the best of what Sussex has to offer – stunning natural beauty, fascinating history, and an unforgettable coastal trail. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker seeking a challenging path, a nature enthusiast on the lookout for unique wildlife, a history buff interested in war memorials, or just someone who appreciates a beautiful view, this walk has something for everyone.
If you’re eager to see more pictures of the Seven Sisters Walk, I’ve got something you might like. Last summer, I went on this hike with a group called the Outdooraholics. I put together a photo story on my blog - “The Seven Sisters Hike”. I hope you’ll enjoy looking through them!