Ancient fossils, dramatic cliffs and whimsical charm

A four-day itinerary exploring a truly quintessential English seaside county

Majestic chalk cliffs, vintage Victorian glamour and the undulating hills of the South Downs – Sussex and the town of Eastbourne are as famous for their old-world charisma as for their modern bohemian spirit. Discover seaside top spots and enchanting English villages in this four-day itinerary, with Eastbourne’s luxury boutique hotels as your base.

AT A GLANCE

  • Four-day independent itinerary for Eastbourne, based on arriving at and departing from Gatwick Airport
  • Explore quaint English villages and ancient woodlands before returning to the Victorian grandeur of your seafront hotel
  • Highlights include the stunning South Downs National Park and uncovering ancient fossils at Beachy Head

START IN STYLE: EASTBOURNE

Victorian piers, pebbly beaches and a century-old lighthouse – Eastbourne is the picture-perfect British seaside town. And it’s the place to do picture-perfect things. Why not start your stay with a stroll down King Edwards Parade to Helen Garden? A beautiful clifftop park overlooking the sea, its real treasure lies just beneath – in the secluded Italian Gardens. Carved into the cliff face is a small, secret grove and wooded amphitheatre. In the summer months you can sit in the shade of the pergolas and watch Shakespeare performances with a picnic and champagne. In spring and autumn, the Italianate arbours double-up as shelter against light showers, so you can enjoy the gardens – come rain or shine. 

Round off your first day in Eastbourne with a meal at Horeau’s Restaurant. Specialising in seasonal flame-grilled seafood, Horeau’s occupies part of the Victorian Swan Lake House. In fine weather you can make the most of the building’s Mediterranean heritage and dine in the south-facing courtyard garden amid exotic banana, olive and fig trees.

Eastbourne Beach

UNPACK YOUR SUITCASE

Take your pick of two boutique hotels – choose from the old-world glamour of the Grand Hotel, or the timeless Chatsworth Hotel, overlooking Eastbourne's historic Pier. Both are situated on the seafront, so you can drop your bags and enjoy the view before heading out for a stroll along the promenade. Suggested stay 3 nights.

The Grand Hotel

THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES: CLIFFS ON CANVAS

The legendary white cliffs of England’s South Coast have long been a draw for artists. Start your second day at Towner Art Gallery, home to the work of renowned Sussex artist Eric Ravilious. Or unleash your inner Turner with a one-off painting workshop at Studio 11 in The Old Printworks.

In the afternoon, experience the mighty muses in person. Take the Beachy Head road and stop at Holywell seafront for a dramatic coastal walk along the base of the towering cliffs. Fossil hunters will be in their element: these cliffs offer some of the best chalk fossil finds in the UK, and you don’t have to look for long before you uncover ammonites, brachiopods and bivalves in the rocks.

DAY THREE: COAST AND COUNTRY PARKS

Eastbourne benefits from the contrasting dramas of its impressive coast and a picturesque National Park. Pack your walking shoes for a trip to the Seven Sisters Country Park, a nature-lover’s dream. After spotting all manner of British bird life, perhaps cycle from the park along the clifftop to Beachy Head. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, hire kayaks and paddle down the river to Cuckmere Haven – a tranquil riverfront beach with scenic views of the cliffs. Rest tired muscles and indulge in your hotel spa, before enjoying fine dining and signature cocktails in the restaurant.

Seven Sisters

DAY FOUR: BID A FOND FAREWELL

Kickstart day four with a short walk into Eastbourne’s ‘Little Chelsea’ – where antique shops and boutiques provide an eclectic independent shopping scene. Before returning to the hotel, detour via Eastbourne Pier and indulge in a little nostalgic amusement with arcade games and 2p slot machines. At the end of the boardwalk you’ll also find the Camera Obscura – a Victorian-era oddity that projects a 360° view of the seafront. Round off your British seaside holiday at Favoloso by tucking into an extravagant ice cream sundae with all the trimmings.

TRAVEL TIPS

Direct trains run regularly from Gatwick to Eastbourne. Buses and coaches take excursion groups from the town centre, but you might prefer to hire a car to explore the more rural areas of Sussex and the South Downs.

BOOK YOUR BOUTIQUE HOTELS

To book the hotels on this independent itinerary, get in touch with our Voice Reservation Team on 0800 0482 314 (UK) & 1-877-234-7033 (US). You can find a full list of our dedicated toll-free numbers here. We're ready and waiting to plan luxury adventures 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So whenever inspiration strikes, just get in touch.