Hiking the Seven Sisters Cliffs is an easy, enjoyable, and active day trip down from London. To reach the Seven Sisters, there are a variety of transit options. Plan for 2 – 2.5 hours of travel each direction so consider getting an early start on the day to make the most of the day trip.
If a car is accessible, this will provide the most flexibility on the trip. Drive from London to either Seaford or Eastbourne, as the hike runs between the towns. The drive from London takes around two hours to either town. Plan to park in one town and hike between the two. There is then a public bus that runs between the towns, which can be taken back to find your car rather than hiking out and back. If hiking out and back sounds appealing, make sure to give yourself adequate time as the full hike, one direction, is nearly 10 miles.
Bus 12 and 12X run between Brighton, Seaford and Eastbourne and run every 20 – 30 minutes. Bus 12X is the express option, but is less frequent. Bus 12 takes about 40 minutes to travel between Eastbourne and Seaford, 60 minutes between Seaford and Brighton, and 100 minutes if traveling from Eastbourne all the way to Brighton. The easiest spot to catch the bus is at the Eastbourne train station, but the timetables for other locations can be found online if interested in hopping on the bus at a different stop.
For those who do not have access to a car, traveling by train is the best alternative. There are different routes available, so your departure point in London and the cost may affect the route you choose. Below there are a few options which limit the number of changes required and provide the best use of time.
Catch a direct train from London’s Victoria station down to Eastbourne, with the journey lasting about 90 minutes. The walk from the Eastbourne train station to the trailhead takes about 30 minutes and will take you through the town.
On this option, start the hike from Eastbourne, and head towards Seaford. Unfortunately, Seaford and Eastbourne are not on the same train line. Thus, upon arriving in Seaford, catch the 12 or 12X bus from Seaford back to Eastbourne (about 45 minutes) and take the train from Eastbourne to London.
This option requires a transfer in Brighton. First catch a train from London down to Brighton, which takes about 1 hour. Then catch a second train from Brighton to Seaford, a 40 minute trip. The train station in Seaford is very small and the beginning of the hike is about 10 minutes from the station.
On this option, start the hike from Seaford, and head towards Eastbourne. Unfortunately, Seaford and Eastbourne are not on the same train line. Thus, upon arriving in Eastbourne, catch the 12 or 12X bus from Eastbourne back to Seaford (about 45 minutes) and take the train from Seaford to London. You can also stay on the bus and take the 12 or 12X all the way to Brighton from Eastbourne. This adds an hour in the bus, but eliminates the train time from Seaford to Brighton.
Rather than buying a round-trip ticket to Seaford or Eastbourne and using the local bus, you can also purchase one-way tickets between London and Seaford, and London and Eastbourne. This allows you to avoid the bus and instead only rely on the trains. Option C will likely be more expensive than Options A and B, but worth looking into before traveling as it may save time and simplify the day-trip transit.
After arriving in one of the coastal towns, most of your day will be spent walking. The hike along the Seven Sisters Cliff walk is easily accessible on foot. If you do wish to shorten the hike, there are small towns and additional trailheads with parking lots along the hike. The local bus running between Seaford and Eastbourne also has many bus stops between the towns where you can catch it if you are tired of walking.
As this is an easy day-trip from London, accommodations are not necessary. If you do decide to stay the night, consider staying Brighton. This beach town is larger than both Seaford and Eastbourne and provides a good home base.
The full hike to see the Seven Sisters is about 10-11 miles, and runs between the towns of Seaford and Eastbourne. For those who have no interest in a lengthy hike, not too worry, the cliffs can be visited with an out and back from Seaford or shortened by using the local bus.
The hike between Seaford and Eastbourne takes about 5 hours, with a break for lunch. If you hike at a more leisurely pace, plan for 6+ hours. The starting point of the hike can be in either town. If indifferent, the beginning of the hike is much closer to the Seaford train station (about 10 minutes) than the Eastbourne train station (about 40 minutes). This makes it easier to find the beginning of the path from Seaford and you are rewarded quicker with gorgeous views of the cliffs compared to starting in Eastbourne.
If you begin in Seaford, within the first 30 minutes, you will see the white cliffs of the famous Seven Sisters. The path runs continuously along the coast between the towns, with views over the ocean. The hike is rolling hills, and will take you up and over the white cliffs, even taking you down to beach level at some points. When you reach Cuckmere Haven, there is a fairly significant detour you will likely have to take to get around the streams of water. Unless you are lucky and the river is shallow or the tide is low, you will not be able to easily cross the stream on the beach without getting your feet wet. The detour out to the road adds about an hour to the hike.
After the detour, you will have the option of going the beach path or the park path. These paths eventually meet so you cannot choose wrong. The first climb on the beach path up to the top of one of the white cliffs is quite steep. From here, the rest of the hike is continuous up and down, but the climbs are not as steep.
For those who are not interested or incapable of doing the full hike, begin in Seaford to maximize the views. From Seaford, the walk between the train station to the coastal path is short, and the views begin within 20 – 30 minutes of walking along the path. With the shorter version, you control how long you want to hike and can turn around at any point as you will do an out and back route from Seaford. Once you feel like you have seen enough of the Seven Sisters, turn around and head back to where you began.
Keep in mind, when you reach Cuckmere Haven (about 30 minutes from the start of your hike), you will have to make a large but flat detour before you can climb up the cliffs. The first cliff at Cuckmere Haven is easily the steepest so if you make it this far, do not be scared away for what is ahead.
The Seven Sisters hike runs entirely along the coast, meaning it will be windier and colder. Take the weather conditions into consideration when picking a time to hike and dress appropriately for the weather.
On beautiful summer days, the path will be busier and more traveled. If you prefer to avoid crowds, consider visiting in the spring and fall on a moderate temperature day or on a weekday rather than a weekend.
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