Family coast walk

Walking trail

Take a wander up Lookout Hill to Mad Jack Fuller's folly and enjoy some breathtaking sea and downland views.

All our houses, gardens, parks, toilets, cafes, shops and car parks are now closed to further restrict the spread of coronavirus. We urgently request people to stay local and observe social distancing - please do not travel.

Three people walk along the top of the magnificent Seven Sisters cliffs with distant views behind of sea , horizon, Birling Gap coastguard cottages and Belle tout lighthouse


Bounding up to Belle Tout trail map


Birling Gap car by the Coastguard Station, grid ref: TV554960


From the bus stop follow the finger post with a yellow arrow 'South Downs Way'. Walk up the path and through the gate with the National Trust sign 'The Lookout' and follow this path up the hill to another finger post. Follow this finger post and take the path bearing left along the cliff top or through the scrub.

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An etching of the shipwreck the 'Nympha Americana' on the beach at Birling Gap


At the top, head towards the lighthouse either along the clifftop path or through the scrub.


Follow the path to the left of the lighthouse. Continue to follow the old access track down the hill. This will afford wonderful views towards Beachy Head and the candy-striped lighthouse. At the bottom of the path turn left to head back towards Birling Gap.

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A family group walks over Lookout Hill with Belle Tout lighthouse in the background


Continue walking along the track around the base of the hill This will take you through a delicate small dappled woodland known as the Horseshoe Plantation, much loved by dragonflies and migrating birds.

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An Early Spider Orchid


Continue along the track and this will take you back to the car park from where you started.

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Volunteers working on an archaeological dig with Belle Tout lighthouse in the background


Birling Gap car by the Coastguard Station, grid ref: TV554960. Now why not head back to the cafe for a post walk treat?

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Family coast walk


Some slopes, steps and uneven terrain. There is a fairly steep hill to walk up to reach the top of the coastal downland.

Well-behaved dogs on leads are always welcome.

At certain times of year there will be stock grazing so electric fences with access gates may be found across the route.

Family coast walk

Contact us

Family coast walk

How to get here

Birling Gap bus stop (westbound), East Dean, near Eastbourne, BN20 0AB
By train

Eastbourne station 5.5 miles (9km) ; Seaford station 6.5 miles (10.5km).

By road

5 miles (8km) west of Eastbourne and 6 miles east of Seaford. Birling Gap car park is sign-posted from A259 at East Dean, between Seaford and Eastbourne. Crowlink car park, near East Dean, is accessed from A259 using the lane between Friston Pond and Church, opposite the sign to Jevington. Parking: at Birling Gap (pay and display), £1 for an hour, £2.50 for half day, £5 for whole day.

By foot

On South Downs Way between Exeat and Eastbourne. Birling Gap is accessible by foot and forms part of the Seven Sisters route. Footpaths from East Dean across Crowlink down to Birling Gap Walk on grass verge or path along Gilberts Drive/ Birling Gap Road – follow brown tourist signs from East Dean.

By bus

For Birling Gap: 13X bus. Runs hourly Eastbourne Terminus Road to Brighton via Birling Gap, Sundays and bank holidays all year. Weekends from Easter to September. Daily from June to September. For Crowlink: 12A and 12B bus or 13X, Brighton to Eastbourne (via Seaford). See Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company for timetables.

By bicycle

Network of bridle paths with cycle stands available at Birling Gap. Went Way bridleway from East Dean to Birling Gap.

Family coast walk

Facilities and access

  • Toilet block in main car park at Birling Gap
  • Drinking water available outside the toilet block at Birling Gap
  • Baby changing facilities available
  • Birling Gap café is located beside the car park; all food is locally sourced
  • One accessible toilet using a RADAR key; adapted WC
  • Accessible parking
  • The shop is stocked with local and seasonal items, perfect for treats and gifts