Birling Gap Beach, Surfing, Prawning, Picnic, Walks

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Intersection of: Beachy Head Rd
And Birling Gap Road...
Take the A259 from East Dean,
Head west from Eastbourne
Or head East from Seaford
East Sussex, BN20 0AB

Rating: Recommended: Blue Flag (2005).
Prices: Free Parking on the roadside.
Info: Birling Gap beach, surfing, rock pooling, prawn fishing, swimming, nudists, dog walks, BBQ

From the coastal hamlet of Birling Gap, situated on the Seven Sisters, visitors can head East towards Beachy Head to enjoy the dramatic views from the cliff tops, or walk down to the pebble beach (awarded the blue flag in 2005) where breathtaking views of the English Channel can also be enjoyed. This tranquil location is a popular spot for long dog walks, cycling, hiking and walking paths and mountain bike trails, bird watching, naturists, swimming, sun bathing and BBQ's on the beach.

After descending a large stairway, the beach at Birling Gap tempts visitors with abundance of rock pools, a terrific place to try your hand at catching prawns and shrimp as well as crabbing. The chalk cliffs are being eroded away at an alarming rate, but frame the beach beautifully from the west, with stunning sea views toward Eastbourne in the East.

The beach is best visited at either low tide or high tide, due to the nature of the rocks which can make getting into and out of the water difficult at times.

Nearby open grassland is rich with butterflies and wildflowers, making the area an ideal location for seaside picnics too, with the added bonus of parking (for either yourself and your picnic, or your vehicle). Birling Gap is also a marine nature reserve and is based near to sites which may be of archaeological interest.

The beach is also advertised by Naturist UK, but remains a relatively quiet spot. Clothed beach visitors will be found at the bottom of the stairs (hopefully not in a pile). The nudist area can be found a few hundred metres away, following the beach to the right, where naturist visitors may often find they have the whole beach to themselves. The next nudist or naturist beach along the coast is Brighton’s Black Rock Beach and is overlooked by a busy road, which is perhaps not ideal if you wish to remain unseen whilst bathing nude on the beach.

If a topless beach with naked bodies, sun-kissed boobs and unclothed bodies is not your scene, simply do not walk to the right upon arriving at the beach. Otherwise, this quiet beach should be perfectly suitable for the children and whole family.

The Marine Conservation Society's annual Good Beach Guide’s 2009 Rating was: “Recommended (highest water quality standard)”

The National Trust feel that nature should be left to take its course and the beach should be left to erode as the tides and the ocean slowly claim back the land.

Directions to Birling Gap: Coming from Eastbourne, follow the Beachy Head road to Birling Gap. The location is also accessible via the A259 from East Dean (between Eastbourne and Seaford). Head South at East Dean, following signs to 'Birling Gap'.  If using sat nav, the postcode at Birling Gap is BN20 0AB.

Photo Credit: Sunset Wedding by Marie Stone