100 miles (total)
11,925 ft (total)
South Downs Way
£100.00 – £260.00 inc. VAT
TWO places left for Sep 2023!
Deposit from £120
Total from £445 (non-residential) £595 (B&B)
The classic South Downs Way is 100 miles of classic cross-country mountain biking with challenging climbs, flat-out descents and stunning scenery.
Booking more than one room? Select occupancy and room type for your first room, add to basket, then repeat.
Click HERE if you want a ‘private trip‘.
The South Downs Way is one of the UK’s classic off-road challenges. Established in 1972, this long distance trail is based on an 8,000-year-old route along the rolling South Downs. Today, it’s the perfect option for mountain bikers wanting to soak in the beauty of southern England’s most impressive landscapes.
100 miles (160km) from Winchester to Eastbourne, with over 4,000m of climbing and descending, the South Downs Way is an unmistakably big ride – but within reach of most intermediate mountain bikers.
The Marmalade recipe
There are many ways to tackle the South Downs Way. And over the years, we’ve perfected what we think is the perfect approach, mixing unparalleled riding with the comfort and sociability that turns a bike ride into a real holiday…
Three days – At around 30-40 miles (48-65km) each day, we find the perfect pace for combining great biking with time to enjoy our surroundings.
Expert guiding – Our qualified, experienced, insured leaders have ridden the South Downs Way many times. We take care of navigation, while being on hand to help with everything: whether that’s tweaking your bike, offering biking tips, or finding the best ice cream stops in Hampshire and Sussex. Our maximum group size is 7 riders.
Arundel-based – We spend each night in the same location: our favourite guest house in the historical town of Arundel, with its castle, river and many restaurants. The perfect place to relax after a big day of riding.
Minibus and trailer transfers – We arrange comfortable luxury transport for you and your bike to the start and end of each day’s riding.
Lightweight hassle-free biking – Without having to carry luggage or wonder where you’ll be staying, you can relax and enjoy the South Downs!
Your choice of bike
The South Downs Way can be ridden on all kinds of bike. Hardtail mountain bikes are a popular choice, but we increasingly see gravel bikes and e-bikes in our groups – as well as some full suspension bikes. All are welcome. Each climb, and each descent, is taken at the speed that’s right for you, and we manage our groups carefully to ensure no-one feels left behind. If you’d like to hire a bike for the trip, we can recommend quality suppliers.
Lovely accommodation in historical Arundel
Arden House is one of the most welcoming places we’ve ever stayed. This wonderful bed and breakfast – just 10 minutes from Arundel station (90 minutes from London Victoria) makes an ideal base for our South Downs Way adventures.
Lucie and Iain know what Marmalade mountain bikers need: a comfy night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast. Each evening we return to Arden House to shower, refresh and recover before we dine in one of Arundel’s many restaurants, in the shadow of its huge castle.
Arden House has a range of rooms to suit couples, friends, singles and those who are happy to share. Ask us if you need any help selecting the best option for you.
Dates and pricing
- 2023 Dates: (3 day format)
- 11-14 May
- 21-24 September
We meet in Arundel on a Thursday evening to enjoy an evening getting to know each other, then we ride on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Choose to stay for an additional Sunday night if you’d like to relax and celebrate in Arundel after completing the final day of riding.
- Prices per person: (incl. VAT)
- Double or twin (not en-suite) = £595 (based on two people)
- Single (not en-suite) = £660
- Double or twin (en-suite) = £644 (based on two people)
- Single (en-suite) = £742
- A hearty breakfast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday is included
- Additional fourth night, on Sunday, with breakfast on Monday = from £35 per person, depending on room type
- Contact us for further details or if you have any questions about the room or occupancy options
- On your own and happy to share? Please book a twin room and select ‘Sharing‘ as the occupancy. We’ll try to place with a member of the group of the same gender who has requested the same option. But if no one else books this option, then you will be offered the room as if it were a single room booking, at the single room rate
- Payment (booking 60 days or more before trip)
- 20% deposit on booking, by credit/debit card
- Balance due 60 days before trip, by bank payment
- Subject to our standard Terms and Conditions
- Payment (booking less than 60 days before trip)
- Full balance payable on booking, by credit/debit card
- Subject to our standard Terms and Conditions
- Group size: 7 (max.)
- Three nights’ bed and breakfast at Arden House
- Minibus and trailer transfers between Arundel and the three days’ start and end points
- Full guiding and support by one of our local, professional, qualified and insured mountain bike leaders
What’s not included:
- Evening meals and drinks
- Lunches and snacks (packed lunches available to order)
- Travel to and from Arundel at the start and end of the trip
- Activity and holiday insurance
- Bike hire (options available)
- Bike spares
We comply with the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 by paying money received for package holidays into a trust administered by independent trustees, Serenity Travel Trusts. This means that in respect of all arrangements requiring protection, in the event of our insolvency, funds will be available to ensure that you will receive a refund of the money you have paid to us. If the holiday or weekend is not filled then we hold the right to cancel or postpone.
To read the full terms and conditions please visit them here. Thank you.
Three day format:
- Duration: 5-7 hours per day
- Distance: 100 miles (Total)
- 31 – 38 miles per day
- Day 1 Start: Winchester
- End point – Cocking
- 38 miles | 4,278 ft of ascent (approx.)
- Day 2 Start: Cocking
- End point – Brighton
- 31 miles | 3,730 ft of ascent (approx.)
- Day 3 Start: Brighton
- End Point – Eastbourne
- 31 miles | 3,671 ft of ascent (approx.)
- Minibus meets: 1-2 per day
- Elevation gain: 11,925 ft
- Technical Grade: Advanced Beginner (minimum)
- You will be comfortable with three consecutive days in the saddle cycling up to 38 miles per day
- Capable of riding a minimum average speed of 8 mph off-road
- Any questions, please contact us
- Group size: 7 maximum
- plus ONE of our local, professional and fully qualified mountain bike leader
- You will be at least an advanced beginner mountain biker
- You will be confident in mountain bike handling skills on blue graded trails and proficient with operating your bicycle in the correct manner
- The trails will include features such as roots, small to long rollable drop-offs and loose rocks. All of which are rollable
- Certain trails will be steep in places which will require confident bike-handling skills
- All the trails will have options to ride around features that you do not feel comfortable riding
- You have your own suitable mountain bike (Hybrid and budget bicycles are not suitable for this ride)
- The ride does contain many undulating and moderately steep long climbs
- You have the personal fitness to ride for at least 6-8 hours per day at a social and comfortable pace
- You are aged 18 and over unless accompanied by an adult also participating on this ride
- If this sounds a little beyond your current skill and fitness level, please contact us for other options
Equipment, kit and clothing
- Suitable mountain bike in good working order*
- Gloves and glasses
- Hydration backpack (min. 2 liters)
- x2 spare inner tubes
- Spare rear mech hanger specific for your bike
- x2 spokes specific to your bike wheels
- Puncture repair kit and bicycle pump
- Clothing & shoes appropriate for cycling and weather conditions on the day
- Padded cycling shorts for comfort
- Personal choice of drink and ride snacks
* without these you will not be able to take part in the guided rides. Our guides carry an extensive kit to assist with trail-side repairs.
Anne Bendy –
What an epic adventure! 3 days on the South Downs Way with like minded bikers under the great guidance of Sean, our MTB guide, coach and motivator.
Beautiful rolling countryside was all around and we were fuelled by the delicious breakfast that Lucie at Arden House B & B provided each morning. Wayne, our minibus driver was awesome at our rendezvous points. I certainly highly recommend the Marmalade MTB experience.
This is definitely the way to cycle the South Downs Way! Sean was a great mtb guide, leader and bike repair man! Very kindly fixing my bike on a number of occasions! He got us all up and down the hills with his enthusiasm, motivation and humour. The 3 days were so well organised. Lucie was very welcoming at Arden House and nothing was too much trouble. Wayne was awesome and we were always so pleased to see him with his minibus to pick us up. We had a great team and the weather was kind so all in all a great way to spend 3 days cycling in the glorious countryside.
I knew that the South Downs Way would be a challenge and prepared as best I could but it is only through the organisation and planning of Marmalade MTB (which was without fault) and the direct support and encouragement of our professional and qualified guide Sean and the team of other riders Ann, Annabel, Pieter and David that I actually achieved it. A credit and my thanks to all involved. Highly recommended. I can think of no better way to do it.
Pieter Naude –
I came for a 3 day scenic cruise with my eBike and I return to South Africa having completed the most scenic and most challenging ride in my time! I rode the SDW with my son David and we met up with great co-riders – Annabel, Anne and Simon. Our ride would not have been what it turned out to be if it was not for our truly professional coach and guide – Sean.
Helen Blair –
Brilliantly organised 3 day trip covering the South Downs Way. Sean was a superb guide who went above and beyond to make sure everyone was looked after. With his extensive knowledge of the area, mountain biking tips and roadside repairs, you will be in safe hands. Thanks also to the rest of the fabulous team who made the trip a huge success – Lucy and Iain at the lovely Arden B&B and Wayne from Eastbourne Minibuses for ferrying us around. Thank you!
Jonathan Blackmore –
I cannot recommend highly enough Marmalade MTB, the whole experience was a joy, I very much look forward to more adventures in the future, Sean and team Marmalade, a massive thank you!
Colin Metcalfe –
As a novice to mountain biking, I was very anxious that I would be in the van at half way on day one! I need not have worried, being in the safe hands of Sean, his experience and leadership, creating a supporting team to get us all over the line 3 days later in Eastbourne. His constant encouragement and positive attitude made this extremely enjoyable and would seek out Marmalade for my next guided trip. I have already recommended to others. The organisation was beyond fault and an excellent format. Bear in mind ‘cheeky’ is tougher than ‘substantial ‘. Altogether ….”Brakes on NOW”
Andrea b –
What an adventure. thrilled to have completed it. At the end of each day I was sorry the ride was over.
I had put in some preparation for the hills but not as much as hoped so I was nervous of what lay in store but Sean’s reassurance and guiding was perfect.
So lucky with a wonderful group of like-minded riders. As a pack we rode naturally together on the trails. With as much banter and excitement in the mini-bus, b&b or pub off the trails.
Thank you all for a seamlessly organized experience!
Just back from a superb 3 day trip conquering the South Downs Way, Sean was an amazing leader and I picked up so many useful tips on this trip on how to become a better rider. The scenery was out of this world and each day brought new and exciting challenges but were so super rewarding. Hats off to Lucie at Arden House B & B and to Wayne who ferried us around and waited patiently for us at the various stops, just brilliant !!.
That’s all I can say . Epic 3 days riding the South Downs way . This is my second time and you can never get bored . Sean is amazing , his knowledge and skills across the SDW made me feel at ease knowing I was in safe hands , Lucie at Arden House B&B was always there with a smile , rooms and food were perfect a great location and just what you needed to refresh your batteries for the next day . Wayne from Eastbourne Minibuses was always there with a big smile and also couldn’t do enough to help if needed .
Will definitely be back and 100% will be using Marmalade again .
Thanks guys looking forward to the next challenge
Robert Jones –
Simply just great fun!
If you want to experience the beauty of the South Downs then this is the way to do it.
Sean’s knowledge and experience made this trip really special. Very well organised and some great tips over the 3 days.
Thanks to Sean for sorting out the fantastic Arden House B and B (Lucie) and the awesome Eastbourne Minibuses (Wayne).
Will definitely be returning
Thanks so much Sean and the team (Lucie at the B&B and Wayne with the minibus transport) for a wonderful 3 days cycling the hills and long descents of the South Downs Way.
Your organisation and attention to detail made the whole trip perfect, from breakfast through to evening meal (with many humongous hills in between). Really happy to have taken on the challenge and so privileged to have done the ride with a wonderful bunch of fellow leg-powered mtb’ers. Such fun, even on a rainy 3rd day we were all smiling and the kms clicked by into Eastbourne.
Thank you Sean, Lucie and Wayne and the rest of the gang for a wonderful holiday.
Had a great three days riding with Sean, everything was organised from the minute we got up till the end of the day, Sean has a real understanding of the area. Some spectacular views and a great way to spend three days riding the South Down Way. All of the places Sean organised for the evening meals were very good. Keep up the good work Sean and his Team.
Deb Wheeler –
I was really looking forward to our 3 day South Downs Way trip. It certainly didn’t disappoint. Sean and his team were so well organised, we just rolled down to breakfast and from then on whole day was sorted til bedtime. The riding was fantastic with seemingly never ending vistas of gorgeous far reaching green views. All the riding was fun with some challenging long climbs, excellent long downhills, and we were lucky our fellow guests were a great bunch as we all had fun with lots of banter and laughter. Sean is a helpful and fun guide and top bloke. The evening eating options were perfect. Lucie & Iain at Arden House are so welcoming, their breakfasts and evening meal are to be recommended, and the bed was really comfy. As is the super efficient and cheerful Wayne of Eastbourne Minibuses, he’s my favourite new friend of the trip , sorry fellow riders. All in all a great trip that I’d recommend to anyone. Unless they hate hills and mountain biking. Well done Sean and the Team. Missing y’all ready.
I’ve wanted to cycle the South Downs for a number of years and Sean’s 3 day format made it possible. What made it a truly awesome challenge was the way Sean led the group and my fellow cyclists who were a lovely bunch to spend time with. I can’t recommend the experience highly enough. the whole weekend was perfectly organised with Lucie taking good care of us at the B&B, and Wayne providing minibus support with a welcome smile. A big thanks to everyone for a wonderful adventure!
Gill Sellars –
Just completed the 3 day South Downs Way with Marmalade. Stunning views all the way. Thanks to Sean for the excellent organisation, pre trip training advice, great choice of accommodation at Arden House and eateries each night. This along with the en route riding tips made the 3 days of epic climbing and downhills doable and enjoyable for a very average mountain biker like myself.
Arrived at Arden to warm welcome from Lucie and guide Paul.
Breakfasts were plentiful (burrito for breakfast Muy bien). Wayne and the van were always ready before us so we were soon out on the trail. Paul gave us lots of tips and let us know ahead of any technical bits so we were prepared.
Different style of evening meals every night
When a tyre was ripped Wayne was quickly on the scene with a replacement tyre which Paul fitted and refilled the sealant. Unbeknownst to us he checked our bikes whilst we were having breakfast so a nail through my tyre could be fixed before we hit the trail.
There was great riding for the three days with sunshine every day.
All three elements,Marmalade guide, Eastbourne minibus transport and Arden House accommodation all work seamlessly together so you don’t need to think about anything except enjoying the rides. Brilliant.
An excellent trip! Sean and the Marmalade crew have this weekend organised down to a T so that everything runs super smooth. Just turn up and the next 3 days are solid packed with riding, eating and drinking. Arundel is a lovely base and plenty of waterholes and eateries to keep interest.
The riding is great too: mainly bridleway, with a bit of single track thrown in, and plenty of interesting undulations to keep you focussed.
Would definitely recommend.
The group were well looked after by Sean, Lucie at Arden House and Wayne of Eastbourne Minibuses.
Although we have this on our doorstep, we had never cycled the whole route, and it was an exhilarating experience to string together all those ups and downs.
The attention to detail was second to none, with emails letting us know what to expect, and what we needed to bring along, to the planning of each day’s ride.
We were lucky with the weather, and the rain we expected on the last day didn’t materialise, instead we had sunshine with a cool breeze to keep us going. An experience on the bike that will be hard to beat.
Jeff Grimes –
What a brilliant 3 day trip. Weather was perfect, the ups were steep, the downs were exhilarating and the undulating bits in between gave some fantastic views. Sean led our group expertly and we benefited from his motivational skills on the big climbs as well as his general knowledge of the route. Our group of 8 was really well supported by Wayne our minibus driver and Lucie who runs the B&B. This is one of the best sporting things I’ve done, if you get the chance then do it.
Valerie Jordan –
I did this trip with my husband and we had a great time! Sean and his amazing team had everything perfectly organised: lovely B&B with secure bike storage, minibus transport for us and our bikes transport (with support stops along the way) and a great selection of places to eat in the evenings. He had our group working as a team from the start, enjoying the long downhill runs and encouraging us when our energy was flagging on the uphill grinds.
We will definitely be back for more!
Just home from my first 3 day trip across the 100mile route covering The South Downs Way. To be honest I am feeling a little deflated after the euphoria of the last 3 days. This epic route was fantastic and I’ve made 5 other friends along the way. On Friday we had a months worth of rain in a single day but under Sean’s expert guidance, we were not deterred, the day flowed on, just like the ‘rivers’ running down the slopes! Yesterday we finished the route in blazing sunshine over Eastbourne, the perfect end to a perfect trip. Sean’s knowledge of this route is undeniable, he appears to know every nook and cranny and as such, you always feel in safe hands. A big thank you to Wayne for the excellent transportation and to Lucie at Arden House for fabulous accommodation and fine breakfasts! so very much appreciated.
Just back from an epic 3 day trip conquering the South Downs Way with some awesome people!
Sean was an amazing leader – he even put up with my barrage of questions! Picked up so many useful tips on this trip on how to become a better rider. The scenery was breathtaking and each day held its own challenges but were so super rewarding. Hats off to Lucie at Arden House B & B and to Wayne who ferried us around and waited patiently for us at the various stops.
You definitely need a good level of fitness for this trip but it is fully achievable and an unforgettable experience for sure, along with the added benefit of meeting some like minded, fun, fellow MTBers!
Clare Schruers –
Such a brilliant, great fun weekend, thank you so much! I would definitely recommend Sean and his team if you are thinking of taking on the South Downs Way Challenge.
It was super relaxing not having to organise any of the logistics of the weekend ourselves. We really enjoyed staying in Arundel and Arden House, our B&B was a lovely base and prepared us delicious pre-cycling breakfasts.
Big thanks to our friendly mini bus drivers Wayne and Gregg and also to Sean who was a fantastic guide and coach, giving us tips and help throughout.
I so enjoyed the whole experience and it was great to meet such a fab bunch of people too. Very much looking forward to booking our next adventure with Marmalade.
This really is great fun and you’re so well looked after for the full weekend, from Sean’s superb guiding, bike repairs and MTB cycling tips, through to Lucie’s homely welcome at the lovely Arden House in Arundel, and we mustn’t forget Greg & Wayne who got us and our bikes to and from the route every day. I’ve done lots of road cycling so thought 100 miles over three days wouldn’t be a major challenge – but you shouldn’t underestimate the South Downs Way! The first day is the toughest but Sean’s pep talk got us through and we all built skills and confidence along the way (me especially :)). Loved the big rolling hills on the final day as we neared Eastbourne – finally came into my own and got to the gates first repaying the fabulous dreamwork teamwork we experienced the whole weekend. If you want a fun long weekend cycling challenge then I’d highly recommend this.
Andrew Parker –
Fantastic 3 day ride from Winchester to Eastbourne. Sean got the team to the end in one piece!! Good old Sean!! Good fun all the way!! Arden House in Arundel was a brilliant base. Wonderful choice of breakfasts to start the day off on. Arundel is also a great place to go out in the evening. Thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and made some great friends along the way!! Everything was superbly planned from the drop offs and pick ups to the B&B and not forgetting the riding itself. Highly recommend booking a trip out with Sean!!
Fiona Bates –
Wow…an absolutely awesome weekend!! Still buzzing!
It is obvious that a huge amount of planning and thought has gone into creating a really unforgettable weekend!
From the warm and welcoming Arden House B&B to the super efficient and friendly minibus service.
Sean was an inspiring guide who lead and encouraged us all the way across the magnificent South Downs Way. His passion for MTB was infectious.
A truly memorable weekend. I still can’t believe we did it….100 miles!!?
Mark Bennett –
WOW – What a weekend!
It’s a shame there’s only 5 stars, as this ride goes up to 11!
Sara and I have just completed the South Downs Way 3 Day Weekend. The sense of achievement of riding 100 miles of the most fantastic XC trails coupled to the simply stunning views, your expert planning and guiding and the amazing company of yourself and the group made it an EXCEPTIONAL weekend.
You have found a couple of genuinely great partners in Lucie at Arden House B&B and Wayne at Eastbourne Minibusses. Just like you, they seem to share the same “experience” ethos. It is what will keep clients coming back for more.
We’ve already booked up for another Marmalade MTB Weekend Adventure!
What an absolute belter of a weekend. In signature Marmalade style, everything was taken care of, from our own personal minibus to the start of the SDW at Winchester, and back from the finish point at Eastbourne, to the pukka accommodation and great pub and cafe choices for refuelling over the weekend, not to mention the expert guidance and navigation en route too. It was such an epic weekend and a massive adventure. A tough ride for sure – but memories for life. The thing I really love about guided rides is that you can just strip everything back to the pure enjoyment of the *ride* rather than all the faff that goes with it. Best drug ever.
Thank you for your review Tess. A lot of effort goes into these trips to make them as *faff* free as you say 🙂 and we are stoked your birthday weekend was topped off with conquering the SDW over the two days back in Easter 2019. Thank you and Chris for the big hearts and playing your parts in making the memories for us all!