Because I really like bucking the trend (re:traveling on the off season so it’s cheaper) my boyfriend and I went to The South Downs this weekend for some winter hiking. The weather was blusteringly cold but beautiful on the first day – clear skies and wonderful views.
The South Downs are great for Londoners sans-cars, as you can get to many of the walking trails via train from London! We did rent a car and spent the weekend. There’s so many different trails, that you can visit many times and never get bored. Not to mention the walks often have lovely pubs dotted throughout so you can pop in for a quick lunch.
We headed out straight from our B&B, no driving neccessary, and headed up the South Downs Way towards Harting. The walk was long, and had a few very intense uphill climbs, but it was well worth the time. There were cows and sheep and lots of locals walking their dogs, and everyone greeted us with a friendly hello (which is always a nice surprise for a hardened New Yorker like myself!). At the end of the walk, we went to The White Hart for lunch and well deserved drinks by the fire.
The second day was very cold and rainy, in fact it snowed in the morning! We abandoned the idea of hiking for a stroll along the great British sea-side – that was bleak and beautiful, a sepia-grey washout of the coast line. But it was very, very windy. We then headed to Chichester for an awesome walk around the historic wall and a great Sunday roast (nut roast for me) at a pub in town called The Park Tavern.
Chichester is fun for a more suburban, picturesque day out. Cute shopfronts and antique stores make for fun perusing, and the cathedral’s gardens were beautiful. The Park Tavern had amazing food, a great atmosphere, and really friendly staff and I absolutely reomend it for anyone who happens to be in the area.
One of the things I love about the UK, and London in particular, is the easy access to such remote and beautiful areas. We were at The South Downs in under two hours, and even with the shorter days, the holiday didn’t feel rushed. If you live in the area, I encourage you to travel there! Even for those who don’t particularly enjoy hiking, there are some easy / low key walks with some amazing sights and beautiful nature to experience.