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South Downs to the Sea

Rolling chalklands & the ‘Roman Riviera’
Combine leisurely walks through the unspoiled and varied landscapes of the South Downs with stays at high-quality accommodation and visits to hill-top forts, Bosham Quay and the cathedral city of Chichester. This self-guided walking holiday includes luggage transfers.
South Downs to the Sea. 6 nights
South Downs to the Sea. 6 nights

Holiday information


A walking holiday in the South Downs

Humans have been walking in the South Downs for centuries, all taking in the views that found Virginia Woolf “overcome by beauty more extravagantly than one could expect.” Characterised by rolling chalk countryside, and presenting an enticing tableau of fertile valleys, varied woodland and – as you move towards the coast – soft seascapes, our chosen portion of West Sussex makes for idyllic walking country.
This unspoiled swathe of southern England is also rich in culture and history: from Bronze Age burial mounds and panoramic Iron Age hillforts in the South Downs National Park, to the ‘Roman Riviera’ of Chichester Harbour – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Here, reminders of Roman occupation are as abundant as the many thriving nature reserves and pretty waterfront villages; the walled city of Chichester has a particularly strong connection to the past: as well as the Roman walls and bathhouse, you will find graceful Georgian town houses and a stunning medieval cathedral – the only English cathedral visible from the sea.

To complement the far-reaching views and fascinating history, we have chosen three high-quality places for you to stay: two fine country inns and a charming hotel offering excellent service and delicious, locally sourced food.

Book with confidence

At present, we are only accepting bookings for English holidays for travel from 17 May onwards. Our flexible booking arrangements, commitment to safety and financial protection mean that you can book with confidence, despite the current restrictions in place.

What we’re doing so you can book and travel with confidence >

We will contact customers who have a holiday booking with us in spring nearer the date of departure.


The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

    You should always be prepared for wet weather, whichever month you are travelling.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 8 8 11 14 17 20 22 20 20 15 11 8
    mm 65 48 47 51 48 45 49 47 43 70 65 67
  • Arrival in Chilgrove
    Night 1: at the White Horse Inn (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.

  • Circular route from Chilgrove: 12.5km (8 miles), 4hrs
    Today’s walk to Beacon Hill is a favourite of ours, with enough – but not too much – of a challenge. From Beacon Hill, on a fine day, views extend from the Weald in the north to the Isle of Wight in the English Channel. There’s also an Iron Age hillfort here (archaeological evidence suggests that the down was first occupied around 3000 BC), as well as a former telegraph station. This was a link in the shutter telegraph chain (1796-1816) which connected the Admiralty in London to its naval ships docked in Portsmouth and Plymouth. After being replaced by a semaphore station, ‘Telegraph House’ was the home of the famous Beacon Hill School run by the renowned philosopher, Bertrand Russell. Also featuring on today’s walk are the Devil’s Jumps – Bronze Age burial mounds whose name owes much to local legend.
    Beacon Hill
  • Chilgrove to East Lavant: 12.5km (8 miles), 4hrs
    You begin with a steady uphill section, but then are rewarded with a descent through Kingley Vale, a National Nature Reserve and the highlight of today’s walk. You arrive along a wooded ridge intersecting with the top of this horseshoe-shaped dry valley, where first you encounter several Bronze Age burial mounds or ‘barrows’ known as the ‘Devil’s Humps’ (not to be confused with the Devil's Jumps that feature on the Beacon Hill circuit), before descending through some magical, Tolkien-esque yew groves that boast curiously shaped specimens over 500 years old. Picking up the West Sussex Literary Trail, you eventually reach the attractive village of East Lavant, where your next two nights are spent at the Royal Oak Inn.
    Kingley Vale
  • Choice of routes from East Lavant: 6-18.5km (3.5-11.5 miles)

    Circular route via Goodwood: 8.5km (5.5 miles), 3hrs; 185m ascent/descent
    This five-mile circuit takes you along the West Sussex Literary Trail before climbing St Roche’s Hill and The Trundle – an Iron Age hillfort overlooking Goodwood racecourse – then dropping back down Chalkpit Lane with views over Chichester Harbour.

    Halnaker to East Lavant, starting by taxi: 18.5km (11.5 miles), 6hrs; 350m ascent/360m descent
    We recommend this longer route through rolling countryside, beginning with a taxi transfer to Halnaker (pay locally). Walk through a splendid ‘tunnel of trees’ to Halnaker Windmill (a Sussex landmark), before continuing along the line of a Roman road and dropping to three pretty hamlets alongside the River Lavant. The final part of your route is the same as the shorter option above, taking in St Roche’s Hill and The Trundle before descending with views towards the English Channel.

    Visit West Dean Gardens, then walk back: 7.5km (4.5 miles), 2.5hrs; 175m ascent/190m descent
    Following a short stroll to Mid Lavant, catch a bus to visit the beautiful and unusual West Dean Gardens (or book a taxi to take you directly there). We then suggest a walk back via St Roche’s Hill and The Trundle hillfort (as above), before steadily dropping back down to East Lavant and your accommodation.

    Visit The Weald & Downland Living Museum, then walk back: 6km (3.5 miles), 2hrs; 150m ascent/175m descent
    Take a short stroll to Mid Lavant before catching a bus to visit the outdoor Weald & Downland Living Museum of rural life (or take a taxi). After your visit, walk back via the hamlet of Singleton, then climb to St Roche’s Hill and The Trundle before steadily dropping back down to East Lavant.
    West Dean Gardens
    Halnaker Windmiill
  • East Lavant to Bosham: 11km (7 miles), 3.5hrs
    Today you leave East Lavant and head south towards Chichester on the Centurion Way. This walking and cycling trail was once the Chichester to Midhurst Railway line, although it is now some years since the last train ran and the tracks were removed, and even longer since the Romans marched nearby – the Centurion Way is so-named as it crosses the course of a Roman road. When you reach Chichester, you have the option of detouring into the historic centre to complete a circuit of the city walls (see Day 5 below) or continuing directly to Bosham on a route that passes the Fishbourne Roman Palace (open weekends). This palace is the largest residential Roman building ever discovered in Britain, and is renowned for its remarkable collection of mosaic floors and impressive underfloor heating system. In Bosham, your final two nights are spent at the Millstream Hotel & Restaurant.
    From pretty East Lavant...
    ...your route skirts Chichester © Visit Chichester
  • Choice of routes from Bosham: 2.5-16km (1.5-10 miles)
    Bosham itself has an attractive quayside, an arts and crafts centre with many small, independent boutiques, and an impressive Saxon church that is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The village is also well placed for further exploration, lying within the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and just a few miles from the city of Chichester. 
    Circular route via Itchenor & Dell Quay*: 16km (10 miles), 5hrs
    Our first recommended route explores the peaceful farmland and picturesque waterfront villages of Chichester Harbour. This unspoiled stretch of coastline, with its twisting creeks and rich range of habitats that include saltwater marshes and tidal mudflats, is a haven for wildlife, attracting large flocks of wading birds and wildfowl. The birdwatching opportunities on offer are a real highlight of the route, as are the fantastic views across the water and the varied terrain: walk across open fields, through reed beds and along a section of the old Arun to Portsmouth Canal. This area is also very popular with the sailing fraternity, and as you pass through the different villages, you’ll spot boats of all shapes and sizes bobbing in the marinas.
    *As this walk involves a ferry crossing, it is possible only outside high tide, and when the ferry is running (daily, 1 May – 30 September).
    Chichester city walls walk: 2.5km (1.5 miles), 1.5hrs
    Alternatively, catch a bus or train from Bosham and travel the short distance to Chichester. This compact cathedral city is charming to explore on foot, and a particularly interesting perspective can be gained from the Roman walls. Constructed in the 3rd century AD, these are the best-preserved ancient defensive walls in the south of England, and walking along them you will enjoys fine views across Chichester’s historic centre and to such iconic sights as the Pallant House Gallery, 16th-century Market Cross and legendary Priory Park cricket ground.
    Explore Chichester Harbour on foot © Visit Chichester


You stay at two high-quality inns – or ‘dining pubs’ – of character, followed by a traditional 4-star hotel set within its own gardens.

Options to extend or shorten your stay

Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 6 nights: 01 June 2021 - 31 October 2021

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 Jun - 31 Aug 2021 £695 £525
    1 - 30 Sep 2021 £660 £480
    1 - 25 Oct 2021 £595 £425
    3rd & 4th person discount -£35
    Single traveller supplement £35

    Please note: dogs are not permitted on Inntravel holidays

    Included travel: transfer Bosham-Chilgrove to collect car OR from/to Chichester railway station

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    White Horse Inn, Chilgrove
    'Feature': 01 Jun - 31 Oct 2021 £8
    Royal Oak Inn, East Lavant
    'Feature': 01 Jun - 31 Oct 2021 £8
    The Millstream Hotel & Restaurant, Bosham
    'Premium': 01 Jun - 31 Oct 2021 £8

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Royal Oak Inn, East Lavant (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Jun - 31 Aug 2021 £72 £144
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2021 £65 £130
    The Millstream Hotel & Restaurant, Bosham (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Jun - 30 Sep 2021 £86 £172
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2021 £68 £136
  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Connecting travel options - via Chichester railway station

    Outward route Price per person Latest train
    arrival time
    taxi Chichester station to hotel (0h20) included flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest train
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Chichester station (0h15) included flexible
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 1 dinner
    2 picnics
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • taxi from/to local railway station or to collect car

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >



If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We sincerely hope that your holiday experience will be as enjoyable as it would have been before the pandemic – walking holidays are ideal in these times of social distancing, and we’re not operating holidays if the key highlights can no longer be delivered – but, naturally, there will be some changes to ensure your and other people’s safety.
    Your holiday experience: what to expect >
    Safety measures being taken by hoteliers & others >
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • Yes, absolutely. Over the years, we have arranged a great many walking holidays in the UK for customers living in the USA, Canada, Australia and beyond.

    If you've never travelled with us before, it's worth reading the web pages which explain how we can cater for customers who live outside the UK. The main thing to bear in mind is that our tour operator's licence doesn't allow us to book flights that originate outside the UK, and nor are we able to book rail travel in the UK, so we can't make travel arrangements for you, other than pre-arranging taxis between the local railway station and the accommodation – see the ‘prices & travel options’ section for the options available.

    As regards entry requirements, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. Our essential travel information page provides links to websites where you can find out about the applicable requirements, along with general official travel advice.
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to take out our recommended travel insurance policy (if you live outside the UK you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    We'll ask you for the details of your policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency phone number) so that we can help out if the worst happens while you are on holiday. It's up to you, though, to check that your policy covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs; we don't check alternative policies.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
  • Unfortunately not. The Inntravel team includes many dog owners, but the extra considerations – such as whether taxi firms accept dogs for transfers to the start of walks, whether routes cross private land on which dogs are not allowed, and proximity to a vet’s – would add another layer of complexity to what are already quite complex holidays.
Last fetch time is : 3/5/2021 5:25:06 PM