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Birling Gap

East Dean East Sussex BN20 0AB

Don’t leave it too long to come and visit this coastal beauty spot. The tiny hamlet of Birling Gap, perched on a 40-foot cliff above a pebbly beach, is fast slipping into the sea: on average 3 feet disappears each year, and the storms and tidal surges of January 2014 saw a whopping 9 feet of cliff crumble away. Of the eight old coastguards’ cottages clinging to the clifftop, only five now remain; opposite them, also living on borrowed time, is a smartly refurbished National Trust café and shop – the perfect spot for a cuppa after a blowy tramp along the glorious Seven Sisters cliffs. The pebbly beach down below never gets too busy, even in the height of summer; it’s best visited at low tide, when there’s great rockpooling to be had, and even a thin strip of sand (a rare commodity in Sussex) – all with the stunning backdrop of the Seven Sisters.

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