Gateway to the South Downs

East Dean - the greenThe idyllic villages of East Dean & Friston are the gateway to The South Downs National Park, adjacent to Beachy Head, Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters.

It is a fantastic location for walkers, cyclists and holidaymakers seeking a relaxed location set in beautiful countryside.  The nearest beach is at Birling Gap, just one mile away, while Eastbourne town centre is just a couple of miles drive.

Steeped in history, with strong Saxon and Norman influences, the flint church and cricket green, with its regular open-air market, offer quintessentially English treats.  There is a great pub on the green which people visit from miles around – The Tiger Inn serves up tasty lunches and evening meals and you can enjoy your meal overlooking the green when the sun is shining.  Or if you feel like something more exotic, there’s also the fabulous Thai Terre restaurant on the green.

East Dean has a small selection of village shops, including a post office, hairdressers, grocery store, delicatessen and an award-winning butcher, as well as a doctor’s surgery.  There is a weekly farmer’s market every Wednesday.  For more details on this lovely village, visit the East Dean and Friston community website.

The area provides some of the finest cliffs in Southern England, where the sea has cut into the white chalk leaving gaps in the tall cliffs

This seven mile formation of cliffs and gaps is  called “Seven Sisters” and now owned by the National Trust, interlaced with fine walking trails and the famous South Downs Way droving trail to Winchester over some 80 miles from Beachy head.

Crowlink and the nearby Cuckmere valley was a centre for the smuggling trade from the Continent in the 1800s and a local war between the smugglers and the excise or customs men who built barracks at Cuckmere and Birling Gap to block and capture contraband landed at the four gaps in the sheer cliffs between Eastbourne and Seaford.

Smuggling landed tea, tobacco, spirits, coffee, spices,and French fugitives. “Genuine Crowlink Gin” was a popular brand. The beaches at Crowlink Gap are still called Smugglers Bottom and the church at Friston was used to house the excise men.

During the Second World war, a Spitfire squadron base was established on the downland to the West of Crowlink and today all that remains is a temporary hut that housed the Flight Sergeants mess.

We can provide you with the finest places to stay in East Dean and Friston, including houses with swimming pools, private garden and some of the finest views you can experience.

Where to stay in East Dean & Friston