Birling Gap

Book 2 walk 28 Seaford to Eastbourne
SWC Walk 60 Eastbourne to East Dean
SWC Walk 129 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 cafĂ©/pub on the edge of the cliff.

  • Buses: The 13X bus from Seaford to Eastbourne goes past Birling Gap twice hourly every day in high summer, at weekends from April to October, and on Sundays year round. Otherwise you can walk inland 2km (1.2 miles) inland to East Dean, from where the 12 bus goes regularly to Eastbourne or Seaford daily, year round and until late at night. See for details.

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