South Downs Way Accommodation – Top Tips!

Seven Sisters, East Sussex
Seven Sisters, East Sussex


Here at Stay In Britain we feel very lucky to be based in one of England’s most beautiful National Parks; The South Downs National Park. The South Downs Park is England’s newest National Park, having been designated a National Park in November 2009.

South Downs Way Sign PostThe National Park covers an area of 1,627 square kilometres, stretching for 140 kilometres (87 miles) from Winchester to Eastbourne and encompassing large areas of Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex. The route can be walked comfortably in 5 days.

Stay In Britain is based in Petersfield (Hampshire), which is almost in the centre of the National Park.  We are perhaps a little biased therefore when we say that our immediate area offers the very best that the park has to offer!  People living in Eastbourne or Winchester may beg to differ however!

Every year, thousands of walkers, runners and cyclists choose to walk, run or cycle part or the whole South Downs Way. Whereas some people turn the route into an endurance course, others choose to break the journey up into chunks and find accommodation along the way. So where are the best places to stop overnight?

Here are some of our favourite places to stay overnight working from Winchester to Eastbourne in an Easterly direction.  We’ve walked and cycled this route many times so we can speak with confidence when we recommend these accommodation choices!

Chilcombe (5 miles from Winchester)

Views across the South Downs Way
© Image courtesy of Martin Robson (Flickr)

The Hamlet of Chilcombe nestles in a valley east of Winchester and very near the A31. The nearby bowl barrow on Telegraph Hill, on the South Downs Way itself, was a former prehistoric settlement. The village has a small Norman church (1120 AD) which affords nice views over Winchester.

  • Complyns Bed & Breakfast: Complyns Bed and Breakfast is a detached 17th century listed former farm house with a large country garden and orchard. The popular South Downs Way quite literally passes the B&Bs front gate. Both walkers and cyclists are welcome

Buriton (22 miles from Winchester)

Buriton Church, South Downs National Park
© Image courtesy of Andrew Bowden (Flickr)

The picturesque village of Buriton lies 400 metres to the North of the South Downs Way (at the bottom of Kiln Lane). The village lies approximately two miles South of Petersfield. The village boasts two pubs, a village hall, a large village pond (with plenty of ducks and huge fish), a car park and the Church of St. Mary.

  • The Five Bells: Our local pub here at Stay In Britain and our favourite place for a Sunday roast! This traditional country pub also has dog friendly self-catering accommodation but you are advised to book early; the accommodation here is very popular!
  • The Village Inn: Just 100 metres from the Five Bells, the Village Inn offers upscale accommodation and fine ‘gastro pub’ dining. The 14 individually designed bedrooms with luxurious roll top baths or contemporary showers are designed to suit all tastes and budgets.

Houghton (43 miles from Winchester)

Images of the South Downs
© Image courtesy of Martin Thomas (Flickr)

Houghton is a small linear village and the chosen location for a historic stone bridge across the River Arun. The village’s simple church, dedicated to St Nicholas, was originally built in the 13th century but largely rebuilt in 1857. The village’s George and Dragon pub, which pre-dates the English Civil War, was a stop-off point for Charles I’s son (the future Charles II) on his escape to France in 1651.

  • Arun Valley B&B: The Arun Valley bed and breakfast at Houghton Farm offers quality accommodation at reasonable prices. Houghton Farm is situated just 150 metres from the South Downs Way and within easy walking distance of a truly excellent pub which has recently been refurbished – The George and Dragon
  • South Downs Bunkhouse: Larger groups of walkers or cyclists will be interested in the South Downs Bunkhouse which offers beds from £24 per person per night. Bed spaces are sold on a mixed gender / mixed party basis and there are 20 beds in total.

Pycombe (61 miles from Winchester)

South Downs Sheep
© Image courtesy of Alistair Young (Flickr)

The small village of Pyecombe is situated just off the A23 just a few miles inland from Brighton. This pleasant village has a beautiful 12th century church and many pretty ivy-clad flint houses. Being right on the South Downs Way, it makes for an obvious stop although accommodation is very limited.

  • Saddlesombe Farm: We thoroughly recommend a stopover at Saddlescombe Farm with owners Camilla and Roly. They have some very nice B&B accommodation but more importantly you can spend some time here experiencing life on a working farm. The farm is just 5 miles north of Brighton and here you can find sheep, cows and arable crops in abundance!

Alfriston (78 miles from Winchester)

The Clergy House in Alfriston
© Image courtesy of eGuide (Flickr)

The ancient village of Alfriston dates back to Neolithic times and is featured in the Domesday Book of 1086. In the centre of the village green (The Tye) is the ‘Cathedral of the Downs’, St. Andrew’s Church, which lies on a raised mount surrounded by a flint wall. Right alongside the Church is the Clergy House, a National Trust property, the first purchased by them.

  • Bo-Peep Farm: This lovely farmhouse has three rooms available as B&B accommodation. Sitting alongside the ‘Old Coach Road’ which runs from Firle to Alfriston, it’s an ideal base for walkers, runners and cyclists. There’s plenty of off-road parking and safe cycle storage.

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