The South Downs bolthole that offers a ‘complete escape from the world’

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The Seven Sisters chalk cliffs are one of the most famous beauty spots on England’s south coast. A trio of newly-renovated cottages is giving guests a chance to immerse themselves in this iconic landscape

From the pebble beach at Cuckmere Haven, it’s a steep climb up a well-trodden track to get up on to the cliffs but the reward is one of the most exhilarating views the British coast has to offer – the dazzling white chalk faces of the Seven Sisters stretching into the distance. I have seen these cliffs in sunshine, mist and rain, from above, below and from the sea, and they never fail to make my heart beat faster. Below us lies the Channel, a soft milky blue this morning, the hazy shape of a ferry fading into the horizon like a ghost ship. Behind us is rolling grassland as far as the eye can see.

These are the “blunt, bow-headed, whale-backed Downs” that Rudyard Kipling conjured so vividly in his poem Sussex, written in 1902 when he was living with his family in nearby Rottingdean. Kipling would still recognise this landscape, “half-wild but wholly tame”, but it could so easily have been a different story.

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