The ancient name for the island of Britain was Albion, and that name is said to have come from the white cliffs on its Southern shores. Perhaps the most famous of these cliffs are the white cliffs of Dover, further along to the East,. Whilst Dover may be more well known it is the cliffs of Sussex, and in particular the Seven Sisters, that are the most dramatic. and largest extent of chalk sea cliffs in the world.
The white cliffs of Sussex, and The Seven Sisters, are part of the South Downs National Park, where the green rolling hills meet the sea and expose the white chalk that sit just under the surface. The white cliffs are one of the most evocative images in the whole of the United Kingdom, an image that for centuries greeted all those arriving on these islands and to the many who left was the last of image of Britain they would ever see.
The story of these cliffs goes back millions of years when this whole area was a prehistoric ocean. In the ocean lived tiny planktonic algae, when the algae died the skeletal remains sank to the bottom and over millions of years built up layers of chalk or calcium carbonate.. Within the chalk you can see flint, this very hard stone is made from fossilised sea cucumbers and other dead marine creatures..
At the end of the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago much of Britain, and Northern Europe was covered by a vast sheet of ice, as the climate changed and things warmed up, the ice melted, huge quantities of water carved out the chalk creating the channel between the UK and France, creating the majestic white cliffs of the Seven Sisters.
You came and looked and saw the view
Long known and loved by me
Green Sussex fading into blue
With just a touch of sea.
– Alfred Lord Tennyson
The Seven Sisters are in a fairly remote part of the country, which means getting here is not straight forward, but also not impossible.
By Car: To get to the white cliffs by car all you need to do is type ‘Baechy Head Countryside Centre’ into your sat nav. As an example, it would take about 2.5 hours from the center of London.
Public Transport from London: The quickest and easiest way to get to the South coast is to take the train to Brighton.
London Victoria – Southern Trains running 2 trains an hour or London Bridge / St Pancras (Kings Cross) – Thameslink Trains running 4 trains an hour.
Public Transport from Brighton to the white cliffs: From the front of Brighton Train Station take the no. 12 coaster bus to the village of East Dean (1 hour) and then walk the last 40 minutes to Birling Gap for the visitor center and views.
Please be aware that there is no bus to the white cliffs, this has been suspended due to covid – 19. I will update when that bus is running again.
Finally, you can join our tour. Our guide will meet you at London Bridge Train Station and bring you to Brighton, we will provide return train tickets.
In Brighton, our minibus will be waiting at the back of the station to head out on our voyage of discovery and will return to the station at the end of the day, where our guide will help you get the train back to London.