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South Down's National Park

Home > London > Walks | Weekend Escapes | Escape the City
Published April 7th 2011
The UK's newest national park, the South Downs in southern England, spreads over a whopping 628 square miles, stretches 87 miles east to west, and takes in three counties.

Its close proximity to London makes it the perfect weekend escape for many city folk looking for a bit of peace and quiet in picturesque surroundings made up of river valleys, woodland, and chalk uplands.

You can hike along its many trails, or simply drive, or take a train or bus, to one of its quaint towns and villages. These include places such as Arundel, Buriton, East Meon, Alfriston, Amberley and Lewes.

If you're the energetic type with time on your hands, you may want to take on the beautiful South Downs Way, a 160-mile trail enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and horse riders alike.

The route encompasses some stunning scenery, from the beautiful Meon Valley in the west, to the dramatic Seven Sisters white-chalk coastline in the east.

Of course, you don't have to do it all in one go. How about making it your next New Year's resolution: to walk the entire South Downs Way, bit by bit, before the year is out?

If you do decide to explore the South Downs Way, be sure to go prepared. Plenty of liquids and sunscreen are important for those hot summer days (yes, we do have a few of those each year) while it can get bitterly cold in the winter, with the cold temperatures exacerbated by the fierce winds whipping off the English Channel.

The South Downs recent designation as a national park is great news for all those who appreciate and enjoy the UK's delightfully unique countryside, and ensures that future generations will now be able to enjoy this wonderful part of the country.
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Why? Because it's London's closest national park.
When: All year round.
Where: From Winchester in the west to Eastbourne in the east.
Cost: Free.
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