Thank you, I will be moving to the South Downs.
For my conference at the University of Sussex (just north of Brighton), I chose to stay at a Youth Hostel in Alfriston. It meant a 40-minute train trip plus a 3.5-mile walk, bus, or taxi trip, but it was definitely worth it. The youth hostel was much cheaper than a hotel in Brighton, of course, but I don’t mean economically. It was really incredibly to see more of the country and get to know folks.
For one thing, the South Downs are gorgeous. The sea (as in, Channel to France) is right there, but so too are rolling English pastures and hills, lots of sheep (yes, Megsie, sheep), lookout views, and hiking trails. I walked a great deal and loved every minute of it.
Saturday I got to the beach...dipped my toes in and waved to France. Also got to hike up some cliffs (hurray!). The Seaford "Seven Sisters" are gorgeous chalk cliffs. Truly fabulous.
Staying in youth hostels is also a really great way to meet fascinating people from all walks of life. My first night, I met Helen, an English woman in her mid-70s who was staying in the area for an extra night before meeting up with some friends and staying in a fancy hotel and going to the opera. She got a bachelor’s in the History of Art…after retiring! We had a lovely conversation and went to bed at 8:20 like the sweet old ladies we are. (I had to be up at 6 am for the conference and had been traveling all day, so 8:20 really was a delightful bedtime.)