Sussex’s greatest country(sea)side film location?
Seven Sisters Country Park in East Sussex is a gem for film or photography shoots. Our experienced location manager John Alflatt gave us his top 7 reasons Seven Sisters is such a great south coast film location.
1. A wealth of landscapes in a small area
Gaining in popularity with producers and photogra
Sisters offers a rich variety of landscapes and vistas within a relatively small area. The Seven Sisters themselves are the iconic grass-topped white cliffs on the edge of the English Channel. Below the cliffs is a wonderful, wide pebble beach, behind them grassy hills and pasture roll back across the downs, criss-crossed by chalky white paths. But there’s more…
In John’s words, “There’s also the Cuckmere River running down to the sea, with the curving meanders or the Cuckmere Valley which are completely separate and non-tidal. People paddleboard and kayak on them, and it's possible to film safely on them. There's incredible birdlife all year round, which we obviously take great care to not disturb. But with the right planning, it is possible to film and shoot on the open stretches between the reeds. And then there are the amazing sea-sculpted chalk formations that you can see at low tide and a number of interesting buildings.”
2. Distinctive heritage and modern buildings
“Seven Sisters also has a selection of buildings for shooting, including an unmodernised cottage in a secluded hamlet, a wonderful Sussex flint barn and a large agricultural barn that gives a good area under cover.”
3. Easy to reach
“Many location managers are amazed by Seven Sisters’ proximity to London and weren’t even aware that it existed. The park is between the towns of Seaford and Eastbourne, not far from Brighton and less than two hours’ drive from London. And it's only about 40 to 50 minutes from Gatwick Airport.”
4. You can have accessible and remote feeling
“There were several areas of countryside within Seven Sisters which are slightly more remote and which the public don’t visit so often. These can provide fantastic locations and almost become exclusive to the person carrying out the filming. It’s possible to bring a certain number of vehicles onto the site too. There's a wonderful, secluded valley with an isolated cottage and little clumps of trees, where you feel like you're in your own little world. And then there’s the beach. It’s a fabulous, very long shingle beach, so during the week, there's plenty of room for filming without the public intruding on your shots and the sense of space.
“The downs provide the most incredible landscape, especially at sunset. Haven Brow is the highest of all the Seven Sisters and directly overlooks the Cuckmere Valley and the beach. It is possible to gain access with vehicles to a point with the correct planning, so it's logistically possible to do some quite incredible filming. Permits to film with drones can also be arranged.”
5. Getting a filming permit is quick
“It's relatively straightforward to get a filming permit with a short lead time for Seven Sisters. It depends exactly on what you want to do of course, but the park is happy to accommodate filming requests, and you deal directly with Sussex Film Office
to get your permit. Because we understand the logistics of the site, it’s much easier to tell you exactly what’s possible. This makes it a very viable filming option for slightly more last-minute jobs.”
6. The light
“There’s the incredible clarity of light the south coast offers, which is why filmmakers have been coming to this part of the world since filming began in the UK. Then there are the incredible sunsets looking out west over the sea in the winter, or over the land and the Cuckmere Valley in the summer. They are just mind blowing.”
7. Practical amenities too
“There are some newly renovated holiday cottages that that can be used by filmmakers who want to stay over or need space for the production office, green room, hair and makeup or costumes. And very close to the cottages is a large agricultural barn with water and toilets. There is also a camping barn that can be used as a canteen.
Interested in arranging a recce or want a filming permit for Seven Sisters Country Park?
Get in touch and speak to John or another member of the team directly.