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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 rainy day in Sussex?

Children braving the rain © Photography by Ward

Children braving the rain

We have plenty of things for children of all ages to do when it’s raining. You can watch dramatic video of cliff falls in our free visitor centre. Maybe enjoy one of our children’s pick and mix lunches in our café or why not complete some of your 50 things to do before your 11¾  including: No.13 – Make a mud pie, No.31 – Hunt for bugs and No.6 Run around in the rain.

New for 2014

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 brunch

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. We serve a range of filling breakfasts in the morning. 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.

 

Festive fun

Lacking inspiration for fabulous festive presents?  Or simply need a chance to blow away the cobwebs?  From our Christmas fayre to Boxing Day walks there's lots of family fun at this top coastal spot.

Amazing archaeology

Close up of volunteers carrying out archaeology dig

There's a fascinating project under way looking at archaeological sites along the Seven Sisters that are under threat from coastal erosion  - watch this space to find out more and how you can join in.

Organic lawnmowers

12 Exmoor ponies will be back in November at Belle Tout to help us look after this special place by grazing the long grass and scrub over the winter months.

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