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Notice: Due to a fault with our phone line we are unable to take card payments today in the cafe (26 August 2015) The beach may be temporarily closed for safety reasons if there are very high tides or during stormy weather, so if you are intending to access the beach please call 01323-423197 to check prior to your visit. Please note that the cafe and shop will be closing at 6pm every day.

Surf, go rock pooling or relax in the sun

Birling Gap and Crowlink, near Eastbourne in East Sussex, are part of the world famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs, one of the longest stretches of undeveloped coastline on the south coast.

One minute you can be walking on ancient downland, the next you could be rockpooling below towering cliffs of chalk. Spectacular, unspoilt views of the sea can be seen from all angles.

Birling Gap provides a point of entry for delightful walks and you can find our café, shop and visitor centre here on the cliff top. The beach below is ideal for seaside picnics with its rock pools and areas of pebbles and sand. It is a great example of a marine nature reserve.

The wild forces of the sea create unusual chalk platforms and huge heaps of gleaming white chalk as the cliffs erode at up to one metre a year. For a more secluded walk venture inland at Birling Gap or Crowlink. With over 500 acres of open chalk grassland the area is rich with butterflies and downland flowers. Nearby sites of archaeological interest, like Belle Tout neolithic enclosure, have much to tempt families further along the coast.

Please note: Access to the beach may be closed at short notice in bad weather or due to sudden cliff falls.

What to do on a summer day in Sussex?

Close up of young girl looking in rockpool on shingle beach © National Trust

Close up of young girl looking in rockpool on shingle beach

We have plenty of things for children of all ages to enjoy as summer has now arrived. You can enjoy all the hands on activities in our free visitor centre, go for a stomp across the hills, sample a children’s pick and mix lunches in our café or complete some of your 50 things to do before you're 11¾  including: jump over waves or find a crazy creature in a rock pool!

Find out more.....

Come and learn about 'Life on the Edge' in our visitor centre © National Trust/David Cooper

Come and learn about 'Life on the Edge' in our visitor centre

Our visitor centre, 'Life on the Edge', is now open next to the shop. Watch our video showing this winter's cliff fall, find out how the Seven Sisters got their name and hear from people about their experiences of Birling Gap's past. In our smuggling and shipwreck zone children can try on coastguard uniforms and listen to bird sounds in the wildlife area. Look out for floor markings showing the edge of the cliff in years to come.

Adapting to change at Birling Gap

View along the Seven Sisters from Birling Gap © Alexandra Bosly/National Trust

View along the Seven Sisters from Birling Gap

The combination of tides, storms and rain this winter has seen dramatic cliff falls and seven years’ worth of erosion in just two months. We need to adapt to the change that coastal erosion brings and that meant taking down the sun lounge of the café and the safety boat house before they became dangerous. The cliff top fences are moveable and the beach steps are designed to be moved as the cliffs erode. Despite the storms the café and shop have stayed open through the winter.

Cliff top coffee and beachside lunch

The beautiful seaside cafe and seating area at Birling Gap © National Trust/ Lee Walther

The beautiful seaside cafe and seating area at Birling Gap

Our relaxed cliff top cafe has outdoor seating and uninterrupted sea views. From midday we have a wide selection of freshly made sandwiches, pick and mix lunch buckets for children and light meals. While in the cafe you can enjoy our exclusive Harold Mockford pictures which the family have kindly donated. Don't forget the café has extended opening hours over the summer!

Special supplies and glorious gifts

Seaside essentials in the shop at Birling Gap © National Trust/ Lee Walther

Seaside essentials in the shop at Birling Gap

Our shop sells locally sourced items, seaside goods and traditional National Trust favourites from fishing nets to fleeces, books to buckets and spades. We hope you find everything you need. If there is something you would like to see us stock but do not currently hold, please let us know and we'll see what we can do.


Art exhibitions in our visitor ventre

Cloud shadows over the South Downs National Park by Gay Biddlecombe SSCC © Gay Biddlecombe

Cloud shadows over the South Downs National Park by Gay Biddlecombe SSCC

Autumn colour, open skies and winter landscapes are the themes of our latest exhibition by the Seven Sisters camera club which is open until 2015. This local group have different exhibitors every month and it has been a joy to see these beautifully captured studies of the South Downs National Park through the camera lens.

Saving a coastal jewel

Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the Neptune Campaign, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, we are pleased to announce the acquisition of Gayles Farm, a beautiful coastal downland spot.

A coastal celebration

 Find out more about our amazing free family fun event at Gayles Farm on Saturday 5 September - Hurricane flypast, Lindyhop dancing, music from the Spitfire Sisters, guided walks, craft activities and much, much more....

'50 things' fun

 © Alexandra Bosly/National Trust

Here at Birling Gap we've counted 33 things for you to tick off your 50 things to do before you're 11 ¾ list. They include rock pooling, kite flying and bug hunting. Have a go, you may even find more than we did.


Bramble-berry ramble

Beautiful bowl of blackberries at Newark Park © NT Beth Taylor

Enjoy foraging in the Cuckmere Valley for blackberries on a gentle 2 mile walk, then return to Alfriston Clergy House for tea and scones.  

Birling Gap circular

Cycling the South Downs Way on the Devilâ¿¿s Dyke Estate © Leo Mason

A gorgeous circular cycle ride, starting at the Eastbourne YHA and taking in Friston Forest, Crowlink and some of the Seven Sisters, with a quick pit stop at Birling Gap for refreshments before the return leg back to the start.