Birling Gap, south of Eastdean in East Sussex is a peaceful, scenic beach, close enough to Brighton to satisfy nudists who are disappointed by Brighton's own Black Rock Beach (which is overlooked by a busy road and rude gawkers). The only things overlooking Birling Gap are the gleaming white chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters
. Though not an official nude beach, it has been used by "naturists" for years. Birling Gap and much of the South Downs
area nearby are owned by the National Trust
. There is open access to both the beach and the Downs. The few walkers in the area are used to nude bathers and won’t be shocked.
Marine Conservation Society's annual Good Beach Guide 2009 Rating: Recommended (highest water quality standard)
Birling Gap Nude Beach Essentials
- Description: A relatively narrow shingle beach beneath the South Coast's magnificent cliffs, There are some patches of sand at low tide as well as a shelf of sharp rocks that should be avoided. The water quality is good but swimming can be dangerous because of the rocks. This is a very quiet spot and visitors often have the beach to themselves.
- Facilities: There is a free National Trust parking lot as well as a café and toilets in the village of Birling Gap. The National Trust bought the Birling Gap Hotel and has turned it into a visitor center with parking for a few pounds a day.
- Warnings: Rocks have been known to fall off the face of the cliffs so try to avoid the falling rock zone when choosing your spot. A patch of very sharp rocks makes getting in and out of the water difficult. Best times are at high tide, when the rocks are well below the surface, or low tide, when they are exposed to view.
- Getting there: Birling Gap is on the south coast, off the A259 between Eastbourne and Seaford. At the village of Eastdean, turn south following signs to 'Went Hill' and 'Birling Gap'. At the shore, reach the beach by wooden stairs from the hotel parking lot. If you see any clothed bathers on this beach, they will be near these stairs. Turn right at the bottom of the stairs and walk about 500 yards to the start of the nude bathing area. The further along you walk in this direction, the quieter and more deserted the beach will be.