New “South Downs Experiences” are launched in new travel guide

The South Downs National Park has announced eight immersive South Downs experiences as part of a campaign to inspire international tourists to visit the area.

From kayaking across stunning river valleys, to enjoying world-class English wines, the South Downs National Park marked English Tourism Week (March 30 to April 7) with the launch of an award-winning guide that celebrates the area’s history, food and drink, and adventure opportunities.

The printed and online brochure, called the English National Park Experience Collection, has been produced with the support of VisitEngland’s Discover England Fund and alongside eight other National Parks in England.

The collection is now being marketed to travel trade operators as the South Downs and other National Parks seek to build awareness among an international audience.

Katharine Beer, who leads Sustainable Tourism in the South Downs National Park, said:  “We’re really excited to be launching this collection as we look to build the profile of the South Downs among independent and small group travel operators, both overseas and at home in the UK. Each bookable experience has been carefully chosen to harness the growing demand for experiential tourism where visitors want to live, breathe and feel part of the place they are staying. Each experience is supported by a local accommodation provider and it’s very much aimed at supporting the National Park’s diverse accommodation offer.

“Our ultimate aim is to open up new markets, help tourism to grow sustainably and to contribute to the vibrancy of our local communities.”

Margaret Paren, Chair of the South Downs National Park and also National Parks England, recently collected a prestigious accolade from VisitEngland, which awarded England’s National Parks the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award’ for the new tourism programme. Previous winners include Her Majesty the Queen, Sir Paul McCartney, and the 70,000 Games Makers from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Margaret added: “This coveted award is particularly special in our 70th anniversary year when the UK’s National Parks celebrate the founding legislation that paved the way for these treasured landscapes.”

The eight experiences available are:

Paddle the South Downs

Submerse yourself in the South Downs National Park by exploring it on water.

Sparkling South Downs ­– Grape and Grain

Set among the rolling hills of the South Downs are wineries producing world-class sparkling wines, classic English breweries and exciting craft gin distilleries.

Jane Austen – The Dancing Years

A cultural experience exploring the life of the world-famous author, Jane Austen. Visit her birthplace, the “cradle of her genius”, and the church where her father was rector.

Sparkling South Downs – Hampshire Tours

A chauffeured tour of the sparkling wine vineyards and wineries of the South Downs National Park region.

Sparkling South Downs – Fizz on Foot

Take in stunning views on a guided walk over grassy slopes and along the river bank in the South Downs.

Hills, Heath, Hops and Hampers

With an experienced local guide leading the way, discover the fascinating history and geology of the area.

Charleston – Home of Art and Ideas

A guided tour of Charleston, an internationally renowned historic house, garden and art gallery preserved as a time capsule.

South Downs – People, Place and Produce

Meet the people and producers who live and work in the National Park and find out why the chalk land is so special.

The English National Park Experience Collection can be found at: www.nationalparkexperiences.co.uk