With dramatic white cliffs overlooking golden sandy coves, the South Downs shoreline is an iconic sight. Stretching across Hampshire , Surrey and Sussex on the southern coast of England, this beautiful area has been immortalised by writers (including Graham Greene, Rudyard Kipling, and Jane Austen), poets (such as Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Francis William Bourdillon), and artists (including Vanessa Bell and Edward James). In 2011, it was finally declared to be an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and ever since, the South Downs National Park has been a haven for wildlife and visitors alike.
Despite its protected status, it is still possible to rent coastal cottages within the boundaries of the park itself, offering a peaceful rural retreat to anyone in need of a seaside break. From your seaside cottage, you can explore the stunning coastline, taking in part of the 100-mile South Downs Way route. Don’t miss the Seven Sisters Country Park, with its rolling hills and limestone cliffs – a truly breath-taking sight. To get closer to nature, visit one of the many local nature reserves or pop into The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust near Arundel, where you can meet water voles, otters and other elusive animals.
Coastal holiday cottages near the Sussex Downs are within cycling distance of some of England’s best vineyards – the chalky composition of the soil and temperate climate is very similar to the Champagne region in France, and the local sparkling wines are more than a match for their French counterparts.
While sea view cottages are the best base for beach lovers and coastal hiking enthusiasts, the inner park area has a lot to offer. The views across the valleys are truly awe-inspiring – it is hardly a surprise that this place has attracted so many artists over the years. In fact, limestone carvings such as The Long Man of Wilmington date back hundreds and hundreds of years, proving the staying power of this unique and beautiful land. When you are relaxing in a cottage by the sea with a glass of local wine in your hand, you will understand exactly why.
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