Cycling the South Downs Way Southern England
Single / Double
Any Start Date February to November
A five centre self-guided cycling tour from Eastbourne to Winchester along the South Downs Way in England. 5 nights bed and breakfast en-suite guesthouse accommodation with 4 days cycling. Includes return rail fare from Winchester to Eastbourne, luggage transfer, route guide and maps. Hire of a 21 speed all-terrain bicycle would be extra. PLEASE NOTE: The only meal included in the tour price is breakfast.
Starting at the seaside town of Eastbourne this route is almost entirely on a well defined chalk bridleway free from traffic. It rises gently onto the South Downs with stunning views over this area of outstanding beauty. The route passes close to towns such as Kingston near Lewes and Storrington. With occasional climbing over beautiful rolling hills where horses roam freely. Quite hilly in parts your efforts are rewarded with spectacular views over historical green landscapes. The final section of the tour is the shortest and easiest, ending at Winchester. Once the ancient capital of England you will have the rest of the day to take in the sights of this impressive city. Your final morning you will catch the train, with your bike, back to Eastbourne.
START and FINISH: Eastbourne in the south east of England.
ARRIVAL DAY: At Eastbourne. Fitting out with your bike. Your 1st nights’ accommodation is in the seaside town of Eastbourne. There are many places to eat in the town centre from fish and chip shops to luxury restaurants (not included). Overnight Eastbourne, England.
DAY ONE: Eastbourne to Kingston near Lewes. Distance approx. 20 miles (32 km). After breakfast you will pick up your bikes from the shop and begin the ride through Eastbourne on a cycle route out of the town. This will give you time to get used to your bikes before starting on the South Downs Way. Rising fairly gently onto the Downs the views become more spectacular as you go, back over Eastbourne and the East Coast behind you. Riding through this area of outstanding natural beauty you reach Alfriston, an opportunity for lunch or refreshments and to have a rest. Climbing gently onto the Downs again you will see the historical enigma the Long Man cut into Wilmington Hill. Dropping down to cross the River Ouse you leave the route slightly to reach your next accommodation at Kingston near Lewes, England.
DAY TWO: Kingston near Lewes to Storrington. Distance approx. 24 miles (38 km). Rejoining the route from Kingston will be quite steep, but you could always push your bike. Once on top the views are outstanding as you ride over rolling hills to a deep cut in a hillside known as Devils Dyke, with its hotel a good place to stop for lunch. On through open fields full of cattle and horses you will pass shallow depressions in the Downs known as ‘dew ponds’. Their purpose was to supply drinking water for sheep. The Way takes you on a plateau-like section over Steyning with splendid views on either side, including grand buildings like Weston House. Heading north you leave the route to your next overnight stop at Storrington, England.
DAY THREE: Storrington to East Meon. Distance approx. 27 miles (43 km). It is a steep climb back on to the Downs, but alternatively you could ride on the road to Amberley, where you can meet the route at a lower level. You will eventually have to climb up to enjoy the wonderful views from the highest point of the South Downs Way, Crown Tegleaze at 830 feet. You will notice the route becomes increasingly greener as you go, with more grass on the trail and trees lining this section. Cocking is an opportunity for lunch if you have not brought a packed one, which would save you from having to drop down only to go back up again afterwards. Overnight: East Meon, England.
DAY FOUR: East Meon to Winchester. Distance approx. 18 miles (29 km). Today (your last day’s ride) is quite short and easy, so you should arrive at Winchester mid afternoon. This allows you plenty of time to have a good look around this ancient city, which in Saxon and Norman times was the capital of England. Winchester has a lot of fine historical buildings for you to see and although the cathedral has a circular cycle route around it, Winchester is probably best seen on foot. So you may like to leave your bike at your accommodation for tonight and enjoy this impressive city, with its good selection of bars and restaurants, where you can celebrate the completion of this tour. Overnight: Winchester, England.
FINAL DAY: Return to Eastbourne. Today you catch the train back to Eastbourne and return your bike.
RAIL TRAVEL from LONDON to EASTBOURNE (NOT included in tour price): Eastbourne is the nearest railway station. Presently the 16:46pm train from London Victoria arrives Eastbourne at 18:15pm. The next is at 17:16pm which arrives 18:51pm.
The nearest major international airport is London, Gatwick. The local airport is Southampton.
RAIL TRAVEL from WINCHESTER to LONDON (NOT included in tour price): Winchester has frequent direct trains to London.
ARRIVING and DEPARTING by EUROLINES or NATIONAL EXPRESS COACH: This is by far the cheapest option for long-distance travel in England, Scotland, and Wales. There are very convenient buses from each major airport. National Express carries over 16 million passengers to 1000 different places in the UK every year, and thousands more from destinations across Europe and Ireland. You can purchase an e-Ticket where you print your travel ticket online in a matter of minutes OR you can obtain an m-Ticket and have your travel ticket sent to your mobile phone - no paper ticket required. You then present this to the driver on arrival.
ARRIVING BY CAR: Please ask for details.
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GRADE B cycling: Between 20 - 27 miles (32-43kms) a day. The route is on a chalk bridleway quite hilly in places. We recommend that clients bring their own cycles, clothing and equipment. We can arrange for the hire of this, if required. The cost would be about £50. You will start cycling about 10am and finish at approx. 4pm. These grades are for guidance only and will depend on weather conditions and your fitness.