Brighton is one of the best destinations in the country for some easy family cycling. That’s because it’s relatively flat in the area, there are plenty of safe places to go where there are few risks of accidents and because, in the summer at least, the weather can be fantastic too.
In fact, we can think of 9 fun family-friendly cycling routes in Brighton and a little farther afield which include: the seafront, the dyke railway trail, Preston Park’s cycle track, Stanmer Park, Hove Park, Rottingdean to Shoreham, the Downs Link cycle route, the cuckoo trail, and the Seven Sisters Country Park. Let’s take a quick look at each of them.
6 Fun-Family Friendly Cycling Routes In Brighton City And Surroundings
If you’re in the centre of Brighton and you’re looking for some nearby cycle routes that won’t take all day to complete – then you’re in luck. There are 6 excellent choices available to you. Check them out!
The Sea Front (Brighton)
If you’re just looking for a quick cycle in the middle of a busy day then there are few finer places in the world to go than Brighton’s seafront. You can’t cycle on the promenade after 11 a.m. but if you can get there early, you can enjoy the scenery and the seashore from an almost perfect vantage point.
Given that you’re not going a long distance, you can take even the youngest of children with you on their own bikes and let them build up their cycling confidence. There is a good reason that Brighton is the UK’s most popular seaside destination and you can see it all from the saddle of a bicycle.
The Dyke Railway Trail (Hove)
You want to pick this trail up at the point just before the Downsman Pub, which is in Hangleton Way, Hove. It’s not particularly hard to find and don’t be afraid to ask some advice from a passing local if you can’t work it out – it’s well known in the area.
It follows a route of no more than a mile and a half and that means it’s perfect for families of all ages and particularly those with very young children. You follow the tarmac (yes, it’s a nice even path too) toward the dyke along the old railway line. You can enjoy a range of lovely views as you do so over the sea, the local farms and also the downland.
If you’re on mountain bikes and your children aren’t too young – you can always continue to the Devil’s Dyke (but it is over rough gravel) about another 1 mile and a quarter away. We’d warn you that the first part of this trail can be a bit filthy with dog dirt and litter all over the place but once you get past that – it’s just fine.
Preston Park Cycle Track (Brighton)
Preston Park is home to the oldest “velodrome” in the United Kingdom and it’s the oldest working velodrome in the world today. It was opened in 1877!
It’s a 579-meter track that consists of 4 x straights and 2 x banked corners which is different from most velodromes that operate on oval tracks. That’s because back in 1877 there weren’t any standards for velodromes, so designers did their best and built what they felt people would enjoy.
It’s a very safe place to cycle and to practice speed cycling with the family. Geraint Thomas who won the Tour de France in 2018, has practised at Preston Park as well as Laura Kenny (an Olympic and world champion cyclist) and so has Reg Harris (a World Sprint Cycling Champion). So, you’ll be in good company.
It’s a good idea to check availability in advance, however, as there are several clubs that use the velodrome for training and there are occasional cycling events held there too.
Stanmer Park Cycling (Brighton)
Stanmer Park’s not the ideal venue for young children but if you want to practice some cross-country cycling with your family, this is the place to take your mountain bike and get into the great outdoors.
There is are many different routes you can take most of which are listed on the Trailforks website. There aren’t many facilities on-site, so it can be a good idea to take a packed lunch and some refreshments.
There is, however, free parking which can make it a very affordable family day out.
Hove Park Cycling (Hove)
Hove Park has an annual cycling event called the Hove Park Crits. When that’s not on, it’s the perfect place for a family day out – there is a full network of cycle paths within the park and we’d happily recommend this even to the youngest of children.
If you do visit, look for The Goldstone, which is a massive rock that they say druids once worshipped at. You can see a human face in the stone if you look carefully!
Rottingdean to Shoreham (Rottingdean)
This is an excellent longer seafront route which begins in the village of Rottingdean to the East of Brighton and ends in Shoreham to the West. You follow the undercliffs path to get a splendid vantage of the water and the city in all its glory.
It’s a very easy route and though it’s a bit longer than the others, it’s almost all flat and you won’t spend much more than a couple of hours going from end to end. You may need to keep an eye on smaller children but it’s certainly doable as long as they have a decent level of fitness.
3 Fun-Family Friendly Cycling Routes A Little Farther Afield From Brighton
If you want a more substantial day out, then you’ll need to head out into the nearby countryside and Brighton offers 3 trails that are almost on its doorstep.
The Downs Link Cycle Route (starts at Shoreham)
You definitely need a medium level of fitness to tackle the full 37-mile route from the South to North Downs known as the Downs Link Cycle route. The good news is that it’s designed to follow the old, disused railway lines in the area and that means you’re looking at an off-road and level trail to follow.
You can pick up the route near Shoreham-by-Sea or at various points along the trail if you’re looking to reduce the distance covered (park up in a layby on the A283 and you can easily short cut things for your family).
Don’t forget to stop at Bramber Castle for a picnic as it’s a super place to sit and enjoy nature. We’d also recommend that you check out Brighton City (Shoreham) Airport if you cross the river at the bridge there.
The Cuckoo Trail (Heathfield)
This is a fairly substantial cycling route and is not going to be ideal for those without at least a basic level of fitness. However, it’s safe and flat and nearly all traffic-free and that means young children should not be deterred from tackling the path as long as they can cycle 14 miles.
It is a fully surfaced track that runs through a “green corridor”. The countryside along the route is managed and you’ll find banks of beautiful flowers and in other places lovely trees providing perfect shade for cyclists.
It’s a fabulous spot for a picnic and you can find benches and picnic tables along the route. We’d also suggest keeping your eyes peeled for the sculptures that line the way and the incredible brick arch bridges and the Heathfield tunnel.
Why the Cuckoo Trail? Well, the Cuckoo Line was the original railway line in this area and the first cuckoo of spring would once have been released (from a cage) in the Heathfield Fair nearby.
Seven Sisters Country Park (South Downs National Park)
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous still, then you might want to visit the Seven Sisters Country Park. There are no bridleways within the park, but you are allowed to cycle through the river valley floor.
There is also a concrete track that gives cyclists easy access to the beach if you’re looking for something a little easier. If you want more of a challenge, head down to Friston Forest for some of the best countryside cycling off-road anywhere in the county.
Your family will love a day out at this wonderful place as it offers the opportunity to truly commune with nature.
As you can see families who love to cycle are well-catered for in Brighton and there are at least 9 fun family-friendly cycling routes in Brighton and a little farther afield. We’re positive that if you come to Brighton and jump on your bikes, you’ll have a memorable time.