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England Travel Tips 
Discover the Real England   



  By Mike Valeriani
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Beachy Head


Beachy Head car parkArriving at Beachy Head involves a pleasant drive among the shallow and dense hills of the South East of England. It was a long time that I wanted to visit this place and finally I was almost there.

Following the navigator always has some mixed feeling: I love not to have to worry about anything and just find myself there, but at the same time I hate not to know where I am at any given point.

I miss the times when with a real paper map folded in your hands you knew exactly where you were and you could almost anticipate turns and junctions. This no longer happens; we follow the inanimate voice wherever it tells us to go and sometimes we find ourselves in the strangest places, but this time I was pleased with the choice of roads picked by the computer.

Road sign watch for toadsThe nice point about navigators is that sometimes they take you on very small and forgotten roads that you wouldn't have even known they existed otherwise.

For instance, I would have never chosen to turn left on Lullington Road off North Street as a route to the cliffs and I would have missed a fantastic little country road with signs to watch out for toads on the road and following the marvelous little River Cuckmere leading to Seven Sister Country Park. 

This road was a very peaceful place, so peaceful that when I stopped in a small lay-by to take some pictures of a horse painted on a hill, there was an old couple sleeping in their car, with the windows rolled down, disturbed only by the noise of my engine.

This pleasant drive only lasted five minutes or so, before I arrived at the junction where Exceat used to be (an antique village abandoned in 1400). There I could finally have a glimpse at the English Channel. I was surprised at the number of tourists I encountered. I purposely visited on a weekday, even though it was the Easter holiday, but I definitely did not expect to see coaches from Germany here.

Following on the A259, I soon arrived at the famous cliffs. I parked and after having donated 80 pence to the voracious parking machine for 30 minutes of parking in the middle of nowhere, I made my way onto the grass. There were children playing in a relaxed atmosphere.

Beachy Head high cliffs with people walking

I did not realize that the high cliffs were right in front of me just 20 yards away. Beware, because you just can't see them when you are standing on them. You don't realize you are on the edge until you actually get there, so if you have pets or children be very careful.

There are no particular signs that warn you about the great danger, so you need to use all of the common sense you've got. Unfortunately I have discovered that "common sense" is not common at all. Keep in mind that these cliffs are not very stable and at times they do collapse. I wouldn't stand too close to the edge, especially on wet days.

Beachy Head cliffsUnfortunately I have witnessed a few silly grown ups throwing stones down the cliffs of Beachy Head.

You may be far up and you may feel like you were in a different world, but there are actually people walking down there and a stone thrown from 200 metres high up has got to do some serious damage if it ended up on someone's head. Think, just think before doing something silly.

I wasn't planning to spend much time there, so I only paid for 30 minutes. I ended up staying twice as much, because even if it doesn't look like it at first, there is a lot of walking to do and visiting the cliffs at Beachy Head also involves a lot of staring at this incredible natural spectacle, so don't get caught out with the parking demon machine. There are parking wardens and they do check, so beware. The fine for expired tickets is GBP 60.00.

In the whole it has been a fantastic day, but it is not a place where I would take children, who cannot fully appreciate neither the beauty nor the danger of these marvelous cliffs at Beachy Head.





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