England coastline

Seven Sisters : Trek from Seaford to Eastbourne

March’15

A bunch of crazy people of a trekking group randomly meet from different parts of England to spend a day walking from one town to another crossing one of the most iconic natural landmarks of the country.

This is the account of a day long trek of the cliffs of Seven Sisters in East Sussex. And I was one of those crazy trekkers.

Seaford

We all met at Seaford station near the Martello Tower. Led by our guide Lana, we walked towards the seafront. Seaford is a lovely seaside town, east of Brighton and west of Eastbourne, right at the foot of the rolling hills of South Down in East Sussex. It has scenic beaches and is a perfect spot for lazy summers.

It was a cold, misty and cloudy day. Too add to the fun, it was quite breezy.

IMG_0842

A view of one of the beaches of Seaford in South Downs.

South Downs National Park:

Our walk commences into the South Downs National Park which is home to the white chalky cliffs of Seven Sisters with the dreamy blue waters of English Chanel washing their feet. The  The walking trails are clearly defined.

highres1

Commencing the walk. The ascent to the cliffs was right in front of us.

Due to some parts of the South Downs being closed, we had to take a diversion, bit of a roundabout to Cuckmere Valley Park crossing beautiful scenery of Cuckmere Haven

And some stopped by Cuckmere Valley Inn for a quick refreshment

IMG_0825

The beautiful and cute Cuckmere Inn huddled among green bushes and trees.

Continuing our walk, we now approach the majestic chalky cliffs overlooking the vast expanse of the English Channel.

IMG_0780

The Seven Sisters

The Seven Sisters are seven cliffs. All of them have different names. They are in a nice sketchy pattern with gradually declining arches. The names of the cliffs from west to east are: Haven Brow, Short Brow, Rough Brow, Brass Point, Flagstaff Brow, Bailey’s Hill and Went Hill.(Source : http://www.visitsoutheastengland.com/places-to-visit/seven-sisters-p274481)

IMG_0888

Birling Gap : A beautiful spot with a restaurant of National Trust from where you can admire some really scenic views and click some envious shots.

Next few hours was trekking up and down all seven cliffs. My pace was falling, so were my legs. The views are worth every painful muscle.

Few shots along the way, a misty and cloudy day throughout with sporadic drizzles.

IMG_0857

These rocks seemed to have the side face of a haggard man. Rather many side profiles. Interesting work of nature

IMG_0930

We can see Beachy Head at a distance which is the highest cliff point. While it looks near, we have a good distance to walk upto it.

IMG_0939

There is a red lighthouse here, very similar to the cliffs of Dover. In contrast to the chalky cliffs and lovely blue waters, this is like a bright color brush stroke on a mundane painting.

IMG_0932

Beachy Head :Chalky Headland on English Channel. Also known as Suicide Point. (No wonder)

 

IMG_0935

The undulating terrain of the cliffs is its real beauty. A motor-able road for those who want to take it easy and chilled out.

 

IMG_0940

Another angle of the winding roads

IMG_0926

The sun is slowly settling down. There are breathtaking views as it plays a hide and seek behind the clouds.

As our lovely walk nears closure, we could get the first sight of the beautiful town of Eastbourne from the vantage point of the South Downs park. We have to walk all the way down to that road. As we walk we decide what to do next in the town, and needless to say the unanimous choice is to rest our limbs and treat our famished self at some very well known fish and chips local joints.

IMG_0960

Eastbourne. Very European, red roofs, terracotta shades and some lovely beaches.

Oh, what a day it has was. As I boarded my train from Eastbourne for a long journey of 2 hours back to my home at Reading, I relaxed and reminisced the day long walk , the strain in my calves and tingling numbness in my toes actually felt very rewarding. I would surely come back for another trip probably in summers when its less windy and we have more sun.

Vital Stats

How to reach Seaford or Eastbourne : Both these stations have railway stations which connect them to London and many other main stations. If you are coming from London, you can take trains from London Victoria to Seaford. There is a change that you have to make at Lewes. The change time is very short and you have to change platforms. So be quick. To book tickets and see timetables refer http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

When to visit Seven Sisters : Even if you are driving up to the South Downs National Park, it will be advisable to visit during summers i.e June-August time frame. If its too wet and windy, it may get difficult to walk around.

Where and What to eat : Both Seaford and Eastbourne are coastal towns and have a great selection of sea food delicacies at their local joints. We had fish and chips in Eastbourne at Qualisea Fish Restaurant which has been dishing mouth watering seafood delights since 1964.

 

Advertisements
Categories: Chalky Cliffs, Cliffs, England coastline, europe, seven sisters, solo travel, travel, travel blog, travel europe, Uncategorized, visit britain, visit england | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stonehenge and Salisbury : The Mystery Wonders of England

Stonehenge needs no introduction to anyone in the world. Brushing shoulders with Pyramids of Giza, as one of the seven wonders of Ancient World, this pristine wonder is one of the gems of English Heritage. Generally people are caught in a dilemma whether to visit or not, as there is nothing touristy to do there and to travel so far to see some stones may not sound as an exciting holiday idea; however I would say for those who are looking to explore British Heritage and go down the lane of history, it cannot get better than this.

Visiting Stonehenge would certainly require a day. If you are based at London it will take you a 2 hour travel by Train or a little over 2 hours by road depending on the traffic. My personal suggestion would be to take a Train from London to Salisbury which in itself is quite a treat of historical marvels. There are Stonehenge Bus Tours from Salisbury which will take you around Salisbury, Old Sarum and Stonehenge. So you get to explore some more pearls of British history.

Salisbury

Salisbury is a town in south-west England in the county of Wiltshire which basks in the glory of the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral.

c1

Salisbury Cathedral

Built in 38 years, Salisbury Cathedral has a Gothic architecture style, quite evident from its spires. It is difficult to get enough of its detailed designs and sculptures on the façade. The saints and kings on its walls seem to be talking to you every time you look at them.

c27 (2)

The facade of the Cathedral

c26

View of the Cathedral from one of its gardens

The inside of the Cathedral is intimidating with its huge stained glass windows, tall pillars and high arches.

c2

The interior of the Cathedral with its tall columnar pillars

c12

View of the interior of the Cathedral

c24

The gardens and the intricate arches all around it.

However other than its magnificent architecture, what makes this Cathedral attract visitors is that it houses the original best preserved copy of ‘Magna Carta’. A quick refresher from our textbooks, Magna Carta was the royal charter which led to the rule of the Constitutional law in England. Beautifully handwritten in Latin, The Magna Carta is on display in the Chapter House of the Cathedral. Photography is not permitted.

c30

Magna Carta. Original copy of the document is preserved in the Cathedral.

Though a lesser known one than its peers, this Cathedral has many entries in the record books of UK.  Standing tall with its 404 feet high spire, which is the tallest in the UK, it pretty much dominates the skyline of this quaint town. Dated as old as 1220 AD, this Cathedral has the largest ‘Cloister’ and ‘Close’ in Britain and houses world’s oldest mechanical working clock.

c31

The tall spire of the Cathedral can be spotted from miles. This is certainly the major highlight of this structure.

Stonehenge

Around 9 miles from Salisbury lies the World Heritage site of Stonehenge. Unlike other monuments, the entry to Stonehenge is highly regulated. One cannot go near the stones and have to view them from the periphery of a restricted fencing.

View of the Stonehenge from outside the fence

Well, an obvious question arises in every visitor’s mind what is after all the hullabaloo around Stonehenge? I had the same apprehensions arising in my mind too prior to my visit. This matter can be very subjective and would be more appropriate to say that it depends what interests a traveller. I am a history freak so it was a natural incline to visit places of historical significance which made me plan a trip to Stonehenge.

As a visitor to Stonehenge, I was completely awed with the brilliance of its placement in the middle of a countryside. It also amazes me like many theorists as to how these gigantic stones were transported and then made into these vertical and horizontal patterns.

????

A close up view

Some theories mention these stones were transported from Wales through waterways and then rolled to its current site, while some believe that this is not possible without human intervention and a large workforce was involved to get these stones. Definitely there must be a deep study of some science involved. Maybe it was an observatory, maybe it was not.  A part of me also goes with the Pagans and Druids to go by the thread of Religion that this place was of religious significance and has a supernatural dimension too.

Another close up from another side of the stone arrangement

Yes a day out seeped in history can be tiring; if its summers you can come back to the quaint markets of Salisbury to soothe your nerves with some retail therapy and chilled beer.

Some of the photos from a local market in the town center of Salisbury

Polish Sausages; quite a common site in any local market

The world would be different without Italian desserts and we are all are bitten by the ‘Italiano’ bug.

Wooden toys which are actually plant holders.

And as I call it a day and walk back to the station, there is an English flavour that i cant help clicking. Canals in the towns with bushy canopies and bridges with the charm of yore.

Salisbury is at the confluence of 5 rivers. One canal flowing in the town.

A bridge across the canal

*Note to Travelers*

The cheapest and easiest way to travel would be to purchase the tickets of the Stonehenge tour from either Salisbury Railway station or get onto the Bus at the marked stops and purchase directly from the Driver.

Online Resource Pool: There is plenty of information on web about Salisbury and Stonehenge and other stone circles in the UK. My suggestions would be to refer the below prior to making your visit.

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/

http://www.stonehenge.co.uk/about.php

http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/

For train bookings from London to Salisbury

https://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

For booking tours to Stonehenge

http://www.thestonehengetour.info/

Categories: cathedral, cathedrals of europe, England coastline, english cathedrals, magna carta, salisbury, stonehenge, visit england | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Chalky Cliffs of England : Isle of Wight

soutEngland has an envious coastline spreading miles enveloping this beautiful little country. As they say the English are blessed with everything best and luxurious and i cant agree enough; its coasts are bountiful with scenic beauty and many splendors of nature.

If you browse thru the Must Visit Places in England, its chalky cliffs would definitely appear as a Not to Miss sight. There are various places on the English Heritage Coastline that you can have a view of the chalky cliffs, however some are really popular ones with breathtaking scenery. Chalky Cliffs are limestone rocks, very calcium-y in nature, thats how they get their white color. Well, I will stop here as Iam not a geologist neither do I have a profound interest in this subject; there are many learned souls who have published the How and Why of the ‘chemical side’ of these alkaline wonder; as as admirer of the wonders of nature, my post would showcase three sights that I visited in last one year of the Chalky Cliffs and trust me some of the sights blew me off.

Isle of Wight

More famous for the Isle of Wight Festival, this small county is located in English channel off the Hampshire Coast. It has been a favorite summer resort since Victorian era. Apparently Queen Victoria breathed her last moments of life here at Osborne house. Travelling to Isle of Wight is easy. You can reach Southampton or Portsmouth which are well connected by trains from anywhere in England. From here you can take a ferry to Isle of Wight. I did the former, Southampton route and took the Red Funnel ferry to West Cowes in Isle of Wight

i2 (2)

The view of one of the Pier and the Isle of Wight Mainland.

For ease of navigation, i took a bus tour which took me to the Chalky Cliffs area called ‘The Needles’ and a complete round of the Isle. In retrospect it wasn’t a bad choice tho i dint walk quite a lot. The views from the Bus of the highlands, the sea, and the lush green pathways was exquisite.

IW2

View of one of the streets opening to the Sea

The Cliffs

Enroute the views opened to the beautiful chalky cliffs in the English channel. Spread across few miles, these cliffs look were also checkered with green vegetation patches.

IW5

The first views as the Bus took a turn onto the path to Needles

There are many small towns enroute where one can stop to admire these cliffs. However the route on which i planned my journey took me all around these cliffs till the south point of the Isle. There were limited photo opportunities however got to capture some great views thru my eyes.

IW1

Walk along the coast in any of the small towns along the coast

The last bit of my ride along these kind of tree tunnels. The photos clicked from the moving bus created this whirlpool effect.

IW3

Tree Groves and Tree Tunnels enroute to Yarmouth

When you dont have a high-end camera, the easy way out is to sit in the upper deck of the Bus. From this top perched seat i could get great views and some decent photos to preserve memories of this trip

i11 (2)

Lush green scenery enroute

And finally a much more beautiful view of the Chalky Cliffs.

IW4

Glistening under bright sun the white chalky cliffs of Isle of Wight

Yarmouth

Finally I alight from the Bus at Yarmouth. A small town and one of the oldest in Isle of Wight. Famous for its Pier, Castle, a transport hub and a retirement destination. I did enjoy few hours here.

i25 (2)

Yarmouth

Right on the banks is a long wooden Pier. It opens up on the English Channel.

i42

Check the names written on each wooden plank

After a day of lovely views, my stomach ached for some good food. And what a delight to sit in one of the most well known Cafe of Yarmouth overlooking the Sea with some lovely mac and cheese and french baguettes. The Gossips Cafe, a quaint Cafe. What a lovely name and well yes i did manage some Gossips here with my friend who accompanied me on this trip.

i30

The lovely Gossips Cafe

i32

A well deserving meal at the end of a day of overdose of Cliff views

I prepare to catch a bus back to West Cowes. And then a ferry to Southampton. A long journey ahead.

What a lovely day it was and I regret to have made such a short trip to this beautiful place. There is lot more to discover here and spend some days at leisure at one of the beautiful beaches like Shankhlin. Its a romantic getaway and spending a day or two would be my recommendation to everyone.

My last click before the sun rests for the day. To come back again!

i43 (2)

From the Pier of Yarmouth.

Note to Travelers:

Links for booking Ferries to Isle of Wight

http://www.wightlink.co.uk/iow/

http://www.redfunnel.co.uk/

Read more about Isle of Wight and also the Isle of Wight Festival

http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/

http://isleofwightfestival.com/

Link to my Trover Album featuring some of the pictures on my Blog as well.

http://www.trover.com/u/theredbagandpurpleshoes

Categories: Chalky Cliffs, England coastline, ferry, hampshire, southampton, visit britain, visit england, visit isle of wight, visit yarmouth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.