The South Downs Way is renowned for its splendid walking, cultural experiences, and ease of access. Walking the entire route you’ll be treated to beautiful views and charming villages, but…
The South Downs Way is renowned for its splendid walking, cultural experiences, and ease of access. Walking the entire route you’ll be treated to beautiful views and charming villages, but you’ll also get to the experience some of the warmest hospitality in all of England.
Accommodation options on the South Downs Way include everything from campgrounds to B&Bs to luxurious hotels. For every budget and preference there is almost always an excellent accommodation option on this National Trail.
We’ve put together this South Downs Way Accommodation Guide to help you understand your options and get the most out of your South Downs Way Adventure.
Let’s get started.
In This South Downs Way Accommodation Guide
- Should I reserve my South Downs Way accommodation in advance?
- South Downs Way Accommodation Cost
- South Downs Way Accommodation Directory
Should I reserve my South Downs Way accommodation in advance?
This largely depends on when you plan on walking the South Downs Way, but during the peak season it is a resounding yes! That means that from approximately mid-March through the end of September you’ll be best served by booking your accommodation in advance for the South Downs Way.
This is true even for those bringing a tent along and camping on their walk as many of the campgrounds are quite popular in the summer months.
When booking for peak season, the earlier the better. If possible, try to reserve the most in-demand accommodation 3-4 months in advance, if possible. If you’re more of a last-minute person, don’t despair. Even calling a few days ahead while you’re on the trail could really pay off.
South Downs Way Accommodation Cost
One of the great things about the South Downs Way is the variety of itinerary options. Given that the walk passes through many villages, towns, and farming communities, it is possible to find a place to lay your head almost anywhere along the walk.
Just as you can customize your itinerary to suit your needs, you can also choose your accommodation to suit your personal budget.
Prices can vary greatly from place to place, and expect accommodation costs to increase the closer you get to the coast. However, generally speaking, here’s what you can expect to pay for accommodation along the South Downs Way:
- B&B/Guesthouse/Hotel: £75+ (per person/per night)
- Bunkhouse/Hostel: £40 (per person/per night)
- Camping: £15 (per person/per night)
In our accommodation directory, we’ve provided our recommendations for high-end, mid-range, and budget options at all of the common stopping points along the South Downs Way. We’ve defined those categories as follows:
- High-End: £85+ (per person/per night)
- Mid-Range: £50-85 (per person/per night)
- Budget:<£50 (per person/per night)
NOTE: Camping accommodation is not included in this post. Check out our detailed Guide to Camping on the South Downs Way for camping options on every stage.
South Downs Way Accommodation Directory & Map
There are wonderful places to stay along the entire South Downs Way route. In this accommodation directory, we’ll give you key details about all of your options, as well as our top recommendations for every budget.
We’ve organized our list to follow most variations of the classic west to east South Downs Way itinerary. You can also view all of the accommodation providers in this directory on the map below.
Read the directory in its entirety or jump to a specific stopping point from the list below:
- East Meon
- Upper Beeding/Steyning
High-End: The Old Vine
For those looking to start their South Downs Way walk with a bit of luxury, you can’t go wrong with the Old Vine Hotel in Winchester. This centrally located hotel features beautifully appointed guest rooms and excellent service. Don’t forget to check out the on-site restaurant as well.
Mid-Range: The Winchester Hotel
The Winchester Hotel has simple, efficient rooms that provide a good mid-range option in Winchester. While certainly not luxurious, the Winchester Hotel is in a great location and provides good value for the money. The indoor pool and hot tub are perfect for loosening up those muscles before your walk!
Budget: The King Alfred Pub
Tucked away on a quiet corner, the King Alfred Pub in Winchester is the quintessential pub accommodation. This lovely spot features charming rooms set above a lively pub. The staff is incredibly friendly and you’ll enjoy a convivial atmosphere. Highly recommended!
Mid-Range: Brick House
The Brick House in Cheriton is a unique place to spend the night on the South Downs Way. The beautiful accommodation shares a building with a bakery school, so be sure to stick around for the included breakfast! This is the most convenient option for those looking to stay in Cheriton.
Budget: The Milburys
You can’t get find a better location than The Milburys Pub, located right on the South Downs Way. There are only two rooms available, but if you’re looking to stop before reaching Exton this is a great option.
High-End: Manor House Exton B&B
Located on the northern edge of the lovely village of Exton, the Manor House B&B offers excellent accommodation at reasonable prices. The Manor House has only two rooms so you’ll enjoy some peace and quiet before enjoying the excellent breakfast the following morning.
Mid-Range: Crossways B&B
The Crossways B&B is a simple, but well run bed and breakfast in the heart of Exton. You’ll have the entire place to yourself and they only feature one room, which can be a great feature for the weary walker.
Budget: Bucks Head Inn
The best bet for budget accommodation in Exton is the Bucks Head Inn, located just south of the main village. This is quintessential pub accommodation with five rooms set above the main pub.
High-End: Ye Olde George Inn
The Ye Olde George Inn in East Meon offers well appointed rooms above the pub and restaurant. Breakfast is included in the room rate and highly recommended. The Ye Olde George Inn gets great reviews for its friendly staff and comfortable rooms.
Mid-Range: The Long House
The Long House in East Meon is a good fit for those who don’t want the busy atmosphere of pub accommodation. This quiet and tranquil bed and breakfast is known for the owners going above and beyond, even sometimes picking up weary South Downs Way walkers from the trail!
Budget: Wetherdown Lodge & Campsite
Situated just south of East Meon, the Wetherdown Lodge & Campsite offers simple accommodation at reasonable prices. The bed & breakfast features en suite rooms that are small but cozy and set in the beautiful woodlands of South Downs National Park.
High-End: The Hampshire Hog
The Hampshire Hog is located south of Buriton on the A3. This upscale restaurant and B&B has beautiful rooms that are sure to add a bit of luxury to your South Downs Way walk. The onsite restaurant gets good reviews for its classic pub fare.
Mid-Range: The Village Inn at Buriton
The Village Inn is situated in the heart of Buriton occupying a beautiful white brick building. The rooms were recently redesigned and have a boutique hotel feel while still maintaining their charm. There is an on-site restaurant with an excellent gin selection.
Budget: Copper Beeches
Copper Beeches sits east of Buriton, but just a short walk from the South Downs Way. This farmhouse style B&B features simple rooms and friendly owners. The pastoral setting is what the South Downs are known for!
High-End: The Blue Bell
This free house is located smack dab in the center of Cocking, making it a convenient option for South Downs Way walkers. You’ll find three B&B rooms available here as well as an on-site restaurant. The rooms are simple, but well designed.
Mid-Range: Hysett House
The Hysett House is a small, family run B&B on the north edge of Cocking. The rooms are basic, but the warm hospitality from the owners is what Hysett House is known for.
Budget: Moonlight Cottage B&B
The Moonlight Cottage B&B features small but functional rooms very close to the main South Downs Way trail. This cozy accommodation is a good value for the money and the helpful owners make it a highly recommended option.
High-End: The White Horse Inn
The White Horse Inn offers beautiful rooms a short distance from the South Downs Way in Sutton. This well run establishment has a high-end restaurant and makes a great spot to indulge in a little luxury on your South Downs Way walk.
Mid-Range: Stane House
The Stane House is a classic English B&B located in beautiful countryside just off the South Downs Way. The lovely back garden is a treat on a sunny day and the owner’s bring a warm hospitality only found at English B&Bs!
Budget: Folly Hide
Folly Hide offers some of the most unique accommodation on the South Downs Way. This “tiny house” is a renovated shepherd’s hut set in a beautiful garden. You’ll enjoy privacy while still having modern amenities and getting to experience what life was once like in the South Downs.
High-End: Amberley Castle
By far the most luxurious accommodation you’ll find on the South Downs Way is the Amberley Castle. A truly unique place to spend the night, the hotel is set within the the Amberley Castle grounds. You’ll pay dearly for a night here, but this could very well be the highlight of your trip!
Mid-Range: Black Horse
For those looking for well run pub accommodation in Amberley look no further than the Black Horse. This excellent establishment has 11 rooms featuring unique furniture and all including breakfast. This is a popular place with the locals as well as travelers making it a great option.
Budget: The Sportsman Inn
The Sportsman Inn sits in a pastoral location just outside of Amberley. With beautiful views of the countryside this is a great budget accommodation option. Both double and twin rooms are available depending on your needs.
Mid-Range: Holt House
The Holt House is a charming B&B located just off the South Downs Way in the small village of Washington. With only three rooms available it maintains a cozy and communal atmosphere while providing all the necessities. Breakfast is included and room rates are quite reasonable.
High-End: Springwells House
The Springwells House is a boutique bed & breakfast located north of the South Downs Way in Steyning. Featuring six well appointed rooms, this is a lovely option for those looking for a tranquil setting. The beautiful gardens make this a great value for the money.
Mid-Range: The Castle Inn
The Castle Inn is located a short distance off the trail and features a variety of rooms to suit any budget. This B&B style accommodation has a popular restaurant and beautiful back garden. A great option for those looking to stop in Upper Beeding or Steyning.
Budget: YHA Truleigh Hill
Situated immediately off the South Downs Way, the YHA Truleigh Hill is a very popular stop for walkers. Perfect for those who prefer simple accommodation, the YHA Truleigh Hill has both dormitory and private room options. Take advantage of the communal kitchen to prepare your own dinner.
High-End: The White Horse
The White Horse Inn in Ditchling is a classic and well-designed guest house near the South Downs Way. This great option includes seven bed & breakfast style rooms as well as a cozy restaurant and bar.
Mid-Range: The Bull
Located right in the center of Ditchling, The Bull is a classic English guest house. One of the oldest structures in the area, The Bull features boutique style rooms set above a well-regarded restaurant. Prices are reasonable, but be sure to book ahead for the summer months.
Budget: Tovey Lodge
The Tovey Lodge is a self-catering cottage located a short distance from the South Downs Way. This is a great option for couples as the cottage features a double bed and plenty of space for relaxing. You’ll enjoy much more privacy here when compared to a traditional hotel.
You’ll find several good mid-range accommodation options in the Kingston and Lewes area. We outlined your best bets below:
This simple bed and breakfast is just a short distance from the South Downs Way, making it a great option. The host is friendly and you can enjoy the lovely back garden during your stay.
Although the Kings Head is located a fair distance from the South Downs Way trail in Lewes, this still makes a good option for walkers. The warm and inviting atmosphere make this a popular stopping point, while weary walkers will appreciate the beautiful soaking tubs in the rooms!
Budget: The Newmarket Inn
The Newmarket Inn is located just a stone’s throw from the South Downs Way adjacent to the busy A27. This is the most convenient option in the Kingston/Lewes area and the new owner gets rave reviews from guests.
High-End: Wingrove House
The Wingrove House is one of Alfriston’s best bed & breakfasts. The rooms are well-designed and the restaurant is known for its excellent meals. This is a great place to spend your final night on the South Downs Way!
Mid-Range: Deans Place Hotel
Located just south of Alfriston, Deans Place Hotel is set in a stunningly beautiful country-house. Rooms rate here are quite reasonable and you can take in the pastoral feel of the grounds while still enjoying modern amenities. Highly recommended!
Budget: Ye Olde Smugglers Inne
The Ye Olde Smugglers Inne offers budget friendly pub accommodation in the heart of Alfriston. The friendly staff and convivial atmosphere add to the warmth of the place, while the simple rooms offer great value. This is your best bet if you’re looking to keep you budget in check.
High-End: The View Hotel
If you couldn’t already tell from the name, The View Hotel in Eastbourne is known for its expansive views. While you won’t experience the same hospitality that comes with rural B&Bs, the View’s staff often goes the extra mile. The perfect place to relax after completing the South Downs Way!
Mid-Range: The Cherry Tree Guest House
The Cherry Tree Guest House features 10 simple rooms set in a beautiful location. The breakfast gets outstanding reviews and is perfect for the hungry SDW walker! This is a great option to rest and relax for a few nights after your walk.
Budget: YHA Eastbourne
The YHA Eastbourne is located on the outskirts of town and is the perfect budget accommodation option in Eastbourne. Choose from dormitory style or private rooms and enjoy the communal atmosphere at this excellent YHA.