Wednesday 9 July 2014

National Trust - Birling Gap, East Sussex

What a nice Saturday we had last week. Some of the volunteers here had expressed an interest to go and visit Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters cliffs and we were happy to oblige and give them a lift. With our National Trust card in hand, we set off. I was super surprised to find though that there is no cost for visiting Birling Gap and walking the land that the National Trust owns and preserves.  You do need to pay for parking if you don't have your member parking badge but the prices were reasonable and you could claim the full cost back if you bought from the cafe or shop, which is what we did.

The tide was pretty high when we arrived but the kids still enjoyed going down from the clifftop onto the beach and throwing pebbles in and seeing what booty we could find. You can see the large steel stairwell that you descend in the first picture. I was so glad to find it was not some rickety cliff steps as I know there has been more cliff erosion here in the last year than there has been in the decade before it! We would like to go back when the tide is lower as lots of rock pools reveal themselves.

We decided to give the paddling and wave jumping a miss on that day as it was not the warmest but some others were more hardy than us and having a great time. After a while, on the beach, we headed back up the stairs and into the visitor centre to see what we could find. There was a lovely helpful assistant by the door who advised us of the many events going on over the summer months and talked to the girls about all the things they could find on the beach. Miss E really loved the natural chalk and Miss M was super proud of her cuttlefish find.

We all found the visitor centre interesting, it included history, facts, things to touch and explore and also a dress-up corner. Don't I look fetching as a fisherman?

We decided the best place for our picnic would be on the cliff top and my husband declared that he could spend every day up there just gazing over the beautiful views.

Next up a walk along some of the seven humps of the cliffs (seven sisters you see) and let me tell you they are far steeper than they first looked. The kids thought it was fabulous fun to run up and down the slopes and I was pleased there was a small wire fence to give them a visual boundary and keep them far away from the cliff edge. As it got later the sea started to go out and that makes the beach view even more dramatic.

I'd definitely recommend a trip to Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters, we will be going back again and this time I'll take my walking shoes and go a bit further afield, there are over 500 acres of open grass chalkland to explore after all.

Our day finished with ice-creams from the National Trust shop and the prices were as I'd expect, my tub was £1.70 for a very decent ice cream and the kids had various kiddie lollies. We also bought a boogie board and some fishing nets and there was a good variety of nice gifts and memorabilia.

The toilets were clean and easy to access and there was drinking water available on tap to refill your bottles. I'd imagine the only downside to this National Trust site might be tight parking in the very peak summer months but we will be back and I'd recommend a visit.

Check out all our other National Trust reviews over here. 

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