3-Night South Downs Guided Walking Holiday

Summer sunset over the Valley of Rocks, near Lynton in the Exmoor National Park, Devon, UK
Duration: 3 nights
Type: Guided Walking
Walking Grade: 1 & 2
from £349pp £299pp

Stride out along the rolling hills and magnificent chalk cliffs of the South Downs. This wildlife-rich chalk downland is a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes of sweeping cornfields and market towns, all of which can be explored on our Guided Walking holidays.

Holiday Highlights

  • Head out on full day walks to discover the varied beauty of the South Downs on foot
  • Admire panoramic sea and cliff views
  • Let a local leader bring classic routes and offbeat areas to life
  • Enjoy magnificent South Downs coastal scenery
  • Visit charming English villages
  • Look out for wildlife, find secret corners and learn about the rich history
  • A relaxed pace of discovery in a sociable group keen to get some fresh air in one of England’s most beautiful walking areas
  • Discover what makes the South Downs so special from the white cliffs to the sandy beaches
  • Evenings in our country house where you share a drink and re-live the day’s adventures

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Explore the beautiful countryside and rich history of Sussex and the South Downs on our guided walks. The wildlife-rich chalk downland is a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes of sweeping cornfields and market towns. Join our friendly and knowledgeable guides who will bring this beautiful landscape to life.

  • Our experienced guides offer the choice of up to three different walks each day
  • Choose the option which best suits your interests and fitness
  • We provide flexible holidays. Join our guided walks, explore independently, or relax at Abingworth Hall

You're welcome to check-in to your room from 2:30 p.m. onwards (upgraded rooms from 1 p.m.) Please join us for afternoon tea.


Option 1 - Pulborough & West Chiltington

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 600 feet (180m)

In Summary: Explore the gently undulating countryside of Sussex on this walk back to Abingworth Hall, via the picturesque village of West Chiltington.

Highlight: West Chiltington church was built between 1100 & 1150 and has a fine collection of frescoes. As we head back to Abingworth Hall there are beautiful views towards the South Downs.

 

Option 2 - Pulborough Brooks Circular

Distance: 8½ miles (14km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (200m)

In Summary: Walking from the house, our route takes us westwards along the ridge to the RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks and a convenient coffee stop. Continuing north we pass Wiggonholt Church, and walk alongside the brooks to Nutbourne and eventually back to Abingworth Hall.

Highlight: Stop to enjoy the RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks where sightings may include sandpipers, lapwing and shoveler ducks.

 

Option 3 - Rother & Arun Valleys

 Distance: 11 miles (18km)

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (300m)

In Summary: Our route from Stopham takes us through woodland and over gently rolling countryside to the tidal limit of the River Arun. We pass Wigginholt church and the RSPB reserve as we head back to Abingworth Hall.

Highlight: Discover the 17th Century timber-framed cottage that was once the home of Sir Edward Elgar, and soak up the view that inspired his Cello Concerto.

 


Option 1 - Seven Sisters

 

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 500 feet (160m)

In Summary: Starting at Friston church, we walk south to reach the chalk cliffs near Birling Gap, before walking along the Seven Sisters coastal path to Cuckmere Haven. 

Highlight: Take time to savour the outstanding coastal scenery then gaze down from the final 'sister' over the River Cuckmere as it meanders gracefully towards the sea.

 

Option 2 - Beachy Head & Seven Sisters

 

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Total ascent: 1,150 feet (360m)

In Summary: Follow the South Downs Way from above Eastbourne to Beachy Head. We then follow the glorious coastal path past the Belle Tout lighthouse and over the Seven Sisters to Cuckmere Haven.

Highlight: Look out for the Belle Tout lighthouse, now a private residence. In 1999 it was carefully jacked 17 metres inland, away from the rapidly eroding cliff edge.

 

Option 3 - Eastbourne & Seven Sisters

 

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total ascent: 1,550 feet (460m)

In Summary: We begin with a promenade from Eastbourne Pier to the start of the South Downs Way. Following the walk up to Beachy Head, we continue along the same route as the medium walk to Cuckmere Haven. 

Highlight: Enjoy magnificent sea views as we walk atop the iconic chalk cliffs of Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters - a memorable day of breathtaking scenery.

 


Enjoy a final breakfast before making your way home. 


Explore the beautiful countryside and rich history of Sussex and the South Downs on our guided walks. The wildlife-rich chalk downland is a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes of sweeping cornfields and market towns. Join our friendly and knowledgeable guides who will bring this beautiful landscape to life.

  • Our experienced guides offer the choice of up to three different walks each day
  • Choose the option which best suits your interests and fitness
  • We provide flexible holidays. Join our guided walks, explore independently, or relax at Abingworth Hall

You're welcome to check-in to your room from 2:30 p.m. onwards (upgraded rooms from 1 p.m.) Please join us for afternoon tea.


Option 1 - Amberley & Parham House

Distance: 6½ miles (10½km)

Total ascent: 450 feet (140m)

In Summary: Walk through the fields at the foot of the Downs from the picturesque village of Amberley back to Abingworth Hall, passing through the grounds of Parham House.

Highlight: Parham House is a fine Elizabethan residence, surrounded by an extensive deer park.

 

Option 2 - Amberley, The South Downs Way & Parham

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Total ascent: 850 feet (260m)

In Summary: Walk from Amberley beside the River Arun, then follow the South Downs Way atop the Downs as far as Kithurst Hill. From here we descend through the fields to Abingworth Hall.

Highlight: Soak up the views from Rackham Hill where the panorama stretches north over the hills and woodland of the Weald, and south towards the English Channel.

 

Option 3 - Amberley & The South Downs Way

Distance: 12 miles (19km)

Total ascent: 1,150 feet (360m)

In Summary: Discover the peaceful River Arun then head along the top of the Downs following the South Downs Way as far as Barnsfarm Hill. Our route then turns north, crossing Washington Common, to return to Abingworth Hall.

Highlight: The chalk downlands are a rich habitat for wild flowers. Look out for rare orchids and Common Blue butterflies.

 


Option 1 - Cowdray & Petworth Park

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (220m)

In Summary: Walk from the northern edge of the polo grounds of Cowdray Park, through attractive woodland and fields to Petworth. Here you can visit Petworth House or take an optional walk around the surrounding parkland.

Highlight: Our walk passes by the National Trust's Petworth House - this grand property was built by the Duke of Somerset in the late 17th Century in the style of Versailles.

 

Option 2 - Midhurst to Petworth

 

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (320m)

In Summary: Follow the valley of the river Rother from the historic town of Midhurst to the ruins of Cowdray Park and the famous polo ground. We continue to Petworth where there may be time to walk around Petworth Park or to visit the house.

Highlight: The extensive grounds of Petworth House were landscaped by 'Capability' Brown and captured on canvas by JMW Turner. The park is currently home to England's largest herd of Fallow Deer.

 

Option 3 - Through the Rother Valley

 

Distance: 12½ miles (18km)

Total ascent: 1,200 feet (380m)

In Summary: This longer route to Petworth begins from Stedham with a walk along the Rother Valley to Stedham Mill. Upon reaching Cowdray Park, our route follows that of the two shorter walks to Petworth.

Highlight: Discover the fascinating history of Cowdray House - the former home of the Montague family, was built in 1542 and largely destroyed by fire in 1793.

 


Enjoy a final breakfast before making your way home. 


You're welcome to check-in to your room from 2:30 p.m. onwards (upgraded rooms from 1 p.m.) Please join us for afternoon tea.


Option 1 - West Dean Gardens

Distance:  miles (10.5km)

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m) of ascent

In Summary: Walk through the Sussex countryside to the village of Singleton, then ascend onto the Downs to the top of the Trundle, overlooking Goodwood Racecourse.

Highlight: The walk ends at the highly recommended West Dean Gardens (£9.50 admission payable). Discover the water garden, rich herbaceous borders, and the Edwardian walled kitchen garden.

Option 2 - The Trundle

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (300m)

In Summary: Ascend through the woodland of the Drovers Estate to Levin Down Nature Reserve and the villages of Charlton and Singleton. After ascending the Trundle, we follow the West Sussex Literary Trail to West Dean Gardens.

Highlight: The Trundle is a fantastic viewpoint from where you can gaze down on Goodwood racecourse and the cathedral city of Chichester.

 

Option 3 - West Sussex Circuit

Distance: 10½ miles (17km)

Total ascent: 1,330 feet (400m) 

In Summary: Our circuit through West Sussex takes in the Trundle, before heading west over rolling hills to the Kingley Vale nature reserve and the curiously named Devil's Humps. We return along the Monarch's Way to West Dean.

Highlight: Look out for the Devil's Humps, considered to be some of Britain's finest Bronze Age burial chambers, dating to around 500BC.

 


Option 1 - Cowdray & Petworth Park

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (220m)

In Summary: Walk from the northern edge of the polo grounds of Cowdray Park, through attractive woodland and fields to Petworth. Here you can visit Petworth House or take an optional walk around the surrounding parkland.

Highlight: Our walk passes by the National Trust's Petworth House - this grand property was built by the Duke of Somerset in the late 17th Century in the style of Versailles.

 

Option 2 - Midhurst to Petworth

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (320m)

In Summary: Follow the valley of the river Rother from the historic town of Midhurst to the ruins of Cowdray Park and the famous polo ground. We continue to Petworth where there may be time to walk around Petworth Park or to visit the house.

Highlight: The extensive grounds of Petworth House were landscaped by 'Capability' Brown and captured on canvas by J.M.W. Turner. The park is currently home to England's largest herd of Fallow Deer.

Option 3 - Through the Rother Valley

Distance: 11½ miles (18km)

Total ascent: 1,200 feet (380m)

In Summary: This longer route to Petworth begins in Stedham with a walk along the Rother Valley to Stedham Mill. Upon reaching Cowdray Park, our route follows that of the two shorter walks to Petworth.

Highlight: Discover the fascinating history of Cowdray House - the former home of the Montague family was built in 1542 and largely destroyed by fire in 1793.

 


Enjoy a final breakfast before making your way home. 


You're welcome to check-in to your room from 2:30 p.m. onwards (upgraded rooms from 1 p.m.) Please join us for afternoon tea.


Option 1 - Amberley & Parham House

Distance: 6½ miles (10½km)

Total ascent: 450 feet (140m)

In Summary: Walk through the fields at the foot of the Downs from the picturesque village of Amberley back to Abingworth Hall, passing through the grounds of Parham House.

Highlight: Parham House is a fine Elizabethan residence, surrounded by an extensive deer park.

 

Option 2 - Amberley, The South Downs Way & Parham

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Total ascent: 850 feet (260m)

In Summary: Walk from Amberley beside the River Arun, then follow the South Downs Way atop the Downs as far as Kithurst Hill. From here we descend through the fields to Abingworth Hall.

Highlight: Soak up the views from Rackham Hill where the panorama stretches north over the hills and woodland of the Weald, and south towards the English Channel.

 

Option 3 - Amberley & The South Downs Way

Distance: 12 miles (19km)

Total ascent: 1,150 feet (360m)

In Summary: Discover the peaceful River Arun then head along the top of the Downs following the South Downs Way as far as Barnsfarm Hill. Our route then turns north, crossing Washington Common, to return to Abingworth Hall.

Highlight: The chalk downlands are a rich habitat for wild flowers. Look out for rare orchids and Common Blue butterflies.

 


Option 1 - Cowdray & Petworth Park

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (220m)

In Summary: Walk from the northern edge of the polo grounds of Cowdray Park, through attractive woodland and fields to Petworth. Here you can visit Petworth House or take an optional walk around the surrounding parkland.

Highlight: Our walk passes by the National Trust's Petworth House - this grand property was built by the Duke of Somerset in the late 17th Century in the style of Versailles.

 

Option 2 - Midhurst to Petworth

 

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (320m)

In Summary: Follow the valley of the river Rother from the historic town of Midhurst to the ruins of Cowdray Park and the famous polo ground. We continue to Petworth where there may be time to walk around Petworth Park or to visit the house.

Highlight: The extensive grounds of Petworth House were landscaped by 'Capability' Brown and captured on canvas by JMW Turner. The park is currently home to England's largest herd of Fallow Deer.

 

Option 3 - Through the Rother Valley

 

Distance: 12½ miles (18km)

Total ascent: 1,200 feet (380m)

In Summary: This longer route to Petworth begins from Stedham with a walk along the Rother Valley to Stedham Mill. Upon reaching Cowdray Park, our route follows that of the two shorter walks to Petworth.

Highlight: Discover the fascinating history of Cowdray House - the former home of the Montague family, was built in 1542 and largely destroyed by fire in 1793.

 


Enjoy a final breakfast before making your way home. 


Abingworth Hall

Tucked away in the village of Thakeham at the foot of the South Downs, Abingworth Hall has stood in one form another since the 13th century. Gutted by fire, it was rebuilt in 1910 in its current distinctive style. As well as 25 ensuite rooms the house has all the ingredients you need for the perfect country house stay: three comfortable lounges with squishy sofas to kick back in, the largest of which opens onto an attractive conservatory and bar in which to dally, great food and super-comfy rooms to retire to. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to walking here; go for a lazy amble around the wildlife rich chalk Downlands to discover a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes and vibrant market towns. Highlights of your stay might include the Seven Sisters, the Glorious Goodwood estate, the Devil’s Dyke and Chantonbury Ring, as well as Arundel and the National Trust property at Petworth. Take your pick.

 

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the Hall’s smartly presented rooms, which make use of every nook-and-cranny in the interesting architecture of this characterful house. With 25 bedrooms, Abingworth Hall has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good and Better Rooms to choose from. Clean and bright, with accent colours to offset the simple palette, the rooms are airy and light. Better Rooms might have a feature wall or strong print wallpaper as well as pretty tiles in the ensuite bathroom.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress, larger television, enhanced toiletries and a fluffy bathrobe & slippers – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-20 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, three lounges, library and board games to borrow

After a day strolling on the South Downs, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax in the large gardens and sit by the pretty pond, turn your hand to croquet or practice on the putting green. Ease through a couple of lengths of the heated outdoor pool if you’ve still got energy to burn. Hole up in the light-filled conservatory with pretty views of the gardens or retire to the Drawing Room with its wood-panelled walls, log burner, library of books to browse and comfy seats to sink in to; there’s a telescope for you to scour the night sky too. In the evening, take your seat in the bar or join fellow guests in the large ballroom for the evening activity.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Abingworth Hall is varied and tasty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room, which has a giant brick fireplace at its heart, hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a five-course feast of local Sussex flavours. Look out for the Sussex Churdle, a traditional, meaty ploughboy lunch, local Chiddingly beef cooked with black olives and Sussex smokies, smoked haddock served in a prawn sauce. Cap it all with a Sussex Pond Pudding, a pud that’s part of the honourable tradition of British dishes with names to pique the interest more than the appetite, which is actually bright and zingy, suety and syrupy all at the same time

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Getting to Abingworth Hall

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

What to Bring

Essential Equipment

To enjoy walking/hiking comfortably and safely, footwear, clothing and equipment needs to be suitable for the conditions. Safety is our priority and Britain is famous for its changeable weather, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities.

  • Footwear with a good grip on the sole (e.g.Vibram sole) is the key to avoiding accidents
  • Walking/hiking boots providing ankle support and good grip are recommended (ideally worn in), and specialist walking socks to avoid blisters
  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed, are better than a single layer (include spares)
  • Fabrics (lightweight and fast drying) designed for the outdoors are recommended
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers
  • Warm hat and gloves. Gaiters are an optional but useful extra
  • Denim jeans and capes are not suitable on any walks
  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner
  • Thermos flask for hot drink
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre)
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar
  • Small torch
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed)

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Camera

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change. Non-member associate fee: £10 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2020
14 Aug - 17 Aug
3 Version 1 £395 £365 Save £30 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
21 Aug - 24 Aug
3 Version 1 £395 £365 Save £30 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
28 Aug - 31 Aug
3 Version 1 £395 £365 Save £30 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
11 Sep - 14 Sep
3 Version 1 £395 £365 Save £30 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
18 Sep - 21 Sep
3 Version 1 £395 £365 Save £30 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
02 Oct - 05 Oct
3 Version 1 £385 £335 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
09 Oct - 12 Oct
3 Version 1 £385 £335 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
23 Oct - 26 Oct
3 Version 1 £385 £335 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
30 Oct - 02 Nov
3 Version 1 £349 £299 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
06 Nov - 09 Nov
3 Version 1 £349 £299 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
2021
05 Feb - 08 Feb
3 Version 1 £365 £315 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
12 Feb - 15 Feb
3 Version 1 £365 £315 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
19 Feb - 22 Feb
3 Version 1 £365 £315 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
26 Feb - 01 Mar
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05 Mar - 08 Mar
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12 Mar - 15 Mar
3 Version 1 £365 £315 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
19 Mar - 22 Mar
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26 Mar - 29 Mar
3 Version 1 £395 £345 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
06 Apr - 09 Apr
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23 Apr - 26 Apr
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30 Apr - 03 May
3 Version 1 £409 £359 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
07 May - 10 May
3 Version 1 £409 £369 Save £40 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
28 May - 31 May
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04 Jun - 07 Jun
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11 Jun - 14 Jun
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25 Jun - 28 Jun
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16 Jul - 19 Jul
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23 Jul - 26 Jul
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06 Aug - 09 Aug
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13 Aug - 16 Aug
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20 Aug - 23 Aug
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27 Aug - 30 Aug
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03 Sep - 06 Sep
3 Version 1 £409 £369 Save £40 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
10 Sep - 13 Sep
3 Version 1 £409 £369 Save £40 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
17 Sep - 20 Sep
3 Version 1 £409 £369 Save £40 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
15 Oct - 18 Oct
3 Version 1 £395 Available Trip Notes Book Now
22 Oct - 25 Oct
3 Version 1 £395 Available Trip Notes Book Now
05 Nov - 08 Nov
3 Version 1 £365 Available Trip Notes Book Now
12 Nov - 15 Nov
3 Version 1 £365 Available Trip Notes Book Now
Duration:
3 nights
Type:
Guided Walking
Walking Grade:
1

3 nights from £349pp £299pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

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