Birling Gap

Walks: Seaford to Eastbourne, Eastbourne Circular, Berwick to Birling Gap

Birling Gap's location between the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head makes this the most scenic place of all to swim in the south east, with a wonderful panorama of white cliffs as a backdrop. There is a dramatic descent to the beach too - a gantry of metal stairs that takes you down the cliff.

The beach is pebbly and moderately shelving, but low tides reveal a flat bottom covered by an extensive area of sharp rocks (the remains of cliffs that have been eroded away in the last 100 years). There is a time - three to four hours after high tide, or two to three after low tide - when this rock bed is covered by shallow water, making swimming awkward. At the bottom of the tide you can cross the rocks to get to sand, but the sea beyond also has a few underwater rocks.

  • Food and drink: There is a National Trust café on the edge of the cliff.

  • Buses: The 13X bus from Seaford to Eastbourne (or vice versa) calls at Birling Gap three times a day in either direction on Sundays from March to October, and at the same frequency daily in the summer. Otherwise you can walk inland 2km (1.2 miles) inland to East Dean, from where the 12 or 12a bus goes regularly to Eastbourne or Seaford daily, year round and until late at night. See for details.

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