Autumn and winter family fun at Birling Gap

Two little girls splashing in puddle with parents in background

There’s so much for you and your family to see and do at Birling Gap. Head to the beach for strand line searches and fossil hunting. When you've finished for the day why not stop in the café for a delicious cup of tea and a slice of cake, all served with a backdrop of sea views?

Fossil hunting

There's something special about hunting for fossils
Close view of fossils at the disused Loftus Alum Works, North Yorkshire.
There's something special about hunting for fossils

From Birling Gap car park, head down the steps to the beach for an excellent spot to take a glimpse into the past. The whole family can hunt for fossils in the chalk falls on the beach, this is a great time of year to uncover hidden treasures. The best time of day to look is at low tide, so check out the tide times before you set out. We would love to see any fantastic finds so please email us a photo of any special discoveries or tag us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Strandline searches

The wave cut platform at low tide
Gullies in the wave cut platform at low tide off Birling Gap
The wave cut platform at low tide

Once the tide comes in you can comb the strandline looking for the dark empty egg cases of skates and rays, known locally as ‘mermaid’s purses’.  Find out tide times to help you plan your visit, and find out more about how to plan your visit.

Surf's up!

Find the perfect waves for all surfing abilities
Child bodyboarding on a beach
Find the perfect waves for all surfing abilities

With a south-west-facing beach, Birling Gap is one of the best spots to surf in the South East. Surfers are always welcome and our car park is open all day all year round (free parking for members). It's a great place to enjoy views of the Seven Sisters whilst you're waiting to catch a wave.

50 things to do before you're 11 and 3/4

Ripe juicy blackberries are delicious to eat straight from the bush
A close up view of some blackberries
Ripe juicy blackberries are delicious to eat straight from the bush

Pop into our Visitor Centre to pick up some pointers on where to start.  Remember to check out our events listing for things that might be going on and get the whole family involved, rain or shine.

There's so much to see and do at Birling Gap, so why not get cracking with your 'to do' list and start with:
No.2 roll down a really big hill
No.21 pick blackberries growing in the wild
No.25 make a grass trumpet
No.31 hunt for bugs
No.42 go swimming in the sea
If that's not enough, we've many more things to keep you busy  .There's plenty of things to do on our beautiful beach so whilst you’re down there why not:
No.5 skim a stone
No.18 create some wild art
No.20 jump over waves
No.7 fly a kite
It can get pretty windy up on the South Downs- perfect for kites and while you're up there try:
No.28 climb a huge hill
No.44 go bird watching
No.37 check out the crazy creatures in the rock pool
Join us on a rock pool ramble and see what you discover. You could tick these off while you're there:
No.8 catch a fish with a net
No.26 hunt for fossils and bones
No.39 catch a crab
No.30 hold a scary beast
No.49 find a geocache
How many are nearby? While you're at it, you can try:
No.45 finding your way with a map and compass
It's not all sunny days at Birling Gap, but that shouldn't keep you indoors when you can still:
No.6 run around in the rain
No.15 play in the snow
No.27 go star gazing

There are still more adventures to be had at Birling Gap and beyond. Once you've completed one of the things, don't forget to go to use the app to get it ticked off.

Yummy treats

Cream tea
A traditional National Trust cream tea
Cream tea

Perched on the cliff top at Birling Gap the café and shop are a haven for great food, coffee and shopping. With every scone or cuppa you buy you are supporting National Trust conservation work across the South Downs. Dogs are welcome (with their owners) throughout the visitor centre, shop and marked areas of the café. Check out our doggy dos and don’ts. So pop in before your walk and grab a hot drink to go or relax over lunch and a glass of wine with friends. Every penny of profit goes towards looking after special places.

Opening time:

10am - 4pm until February half term