It is the highest cliff on the South Coast, and the highest chalk sea cliff in England, at a height of 536 feet.
The name Beachy is a corruption of Beau Chef, meaning "beautiful headland".
The views are superb, but the melancholy atmosphere derives from the large number of suicides who have been attracted by the huge drop from the cliff edge.
The Lighthouse at the foot of the cliff, now unmanned, replaced in 1902 the 1831 Belle Tout lighthouse, erected in 1831 and still standing.
There were naval battles off Beachy Head in 1690 and 1916.