You can’t beat the feel of a sea breeze on your face, as the wind ruffles your hair and the sun shines down gloriously. This is how summers were meant to be and what better way to spend a summer’s day than cycling from Brighton to Rottingdean?
The Brighton to Rottingdean Cycle Path is one of Britain’s most friendly and safe routes and there’s plenty to see on your way. We’d say you shouldn’t miss Hove Seafront, the i360, Brighton Pier, Brighton Marina, the Saltdean Lido and, of course, Rottingdean itself.
Before we catch you up on the highlights of the trip, though, we’d just like to explain the route (which is so easy to follow that even we can do it without getting lost).
The Route From Brighton To Rottingdean On A Bicycle
You can’t really go wrong with this route. You simply head down the coastal cycle path and go East along the undercliff until you reach Rottingdean. It’s a straight line all the way, with next to nothing but chalk cliff towering over you from the left and lush seas to your right. follow this path for about 4 miles and you can’t go wrong. No map reading talents required.
If you’re in doubt as to which way is east, there are signposts, but you can always ask a local; “which way to Rottingdean?” But a clue is Brighton is on the south coast.
If you want to visit the Saltdean Lido, and we think you should, it’s just another mile farther down the route beyond Rottingdean.
The path is 6.7 miles long (approximately 11 km) in a single direction, it’s 13.5 miles round trip. An experienced cyclist could probably do the whole thing in an hour, but we’d allow a couple of hours for the ride plus some extra time to appreciate the sights and to stop for ice cream (or a beer) somewhere.
Bike Hire In Brighton
There are several businesses around the beachfront that will be happy to rent you a bicycle at a daily rate starting at about £10. Of course, the better the bike, the more they’re going to expect you to pay for it.
However, as the route is mainly flat and not too taxing, you don’t need to kit yourself out like you’re racing for England at the Olympics. The cheapest available bike should be fine, save your money for souvenirs, instead.
You also have the option of using Brighton’s famous bike-sharing scheme, BTN Bikeshare, which allows you to rent a bike from 3p a minute plus a £1 unlocking fee. That means if you used one of their bikes for just 4 hours, you’d only need to pay £8.20 to do so.
The scheme is also supported in Rottingdean so, if you get there and decide you want to grab a bus back, you can leave the bike there.
BTN’s bikes aren’t quite as comfortable as those you can rent from a bike shop, but they are cheaper and the scheme itself is a good example of how a city can encourage eco-friendly tourism without using a heavy hand to deliver the message.
Hove seafront may not be as famous as Brighton’s but it’s just as memorable and often a bit quieter too. The Queen’s Hotel is one of the most famous buildings on the seafront and it strikes an imposing figure along the shoreline.
The big attraction, however, at Hove Seafront is the long row of wooden fronted chalets painted in bright colours. If you ever see a collection of images from Brighton & Hove, you’re sure to see these chalets.
Believe it or not, despite their simple appearances these chalets have running water and electricity and are a very pleasant place to spend some time in near the beach. The rents are not unreasonable, though Hove’s are the most expensive chalets in the area at £1,378.71 for a 5-year tenancy.
The shingle beach is pleasant and attractive though not hugely different from the one you passed by in Brighton to get to the cycle path. The promenade is considered by many to be one of the best destinations for a casual stroll in South East England.
You can’t miss Hove Seafront as the cycle path goes right past it. We’d recommend you take a few minutes there and if you have a camera – grab a snap of those chalets too.
British Airways i360
The i360 is a relative newcomer to Brighton’s seafront. It was opened, officially, on the 4th of August 2016. It is an observation tower which is designed to give visitors to the area a real view of the world near Brighton.
You can see for miles thanks to being 531 feet (162 metres) in the air. On the best days, you can catch sight of the Isle of Wight which is 41 miles (66 kilometres) away!
It doesn’t matter how clear the day is if you want to see the South Downs, the city of Brighton and the English Channel as they are always easy to spot from the i360.
The observation tower was designed by Marks Barfield which also designed the London Eye (another iconic part of the British landscape). It cost nearly £40 million to build and while it was expected to pull in 800,000 visitors a year, for now – 500,000 seems to be more realistic.
It does cost to go in (except for children under 3 who get a free pass) and the adult price is £14.85, the “young person” (16-24, don’t you know?) with a valid ID gets in for £10 and children from 4-15 get a nice discount down to £7.40 each.
You can book online, to get a bit of a discount, directly with the British Airways i360.
Brighton Pier is a Grade II listed building which means it is of significant historical interest. You can find it right in the centre of Brighton very near to where you begin the cycle route to Rottingdean. It was the third pier to operate in Brighton, originally, but it’s the only one still in use today.
It is not the original pier which was the Chain Pier (that collapsed during its construction phase back in 1896). While it took a while for the pier to become popular by 1911 it was one of the biggest venues in Southeast England for entertainment.
The theatre that was once on the pier suffered some damage in 1973 and was eventually demolished in the early 1980s.
It’s still a big hit with visitors to the town. The figures from 2016 show that over 4 million people walked Brighton Pier that year!
An interesting statistic is that it requires more than 67,000 lightbulbs to keep it lit at night!
Brighton Marina was built between 1971 and 1979 but the area around it is in a constant state of development as it’s one of the most popular sailing destinations on the South Coast of England.
It’s a great place to see boats and yachts and there are a large number of food and beverage outlets in the area as well as some pubs and even a casino! If you’re looking to enjoy a relaxed afternoon in Brighton, there’s a cinema and a bowling alley too.
Instagrammers are going to love the photo ops that the marina provides and everyone else will enjoy the scent of the sea as well as the underlying scent of success in the area.
Rottingdean is a pleasant British village with just over 3,000 inhabitants. The local pub, the Ye Olde Black Horse, on the high street is worth stopping in for a quick drink at the end of your journey and the local church, St. Margaret’s is the most historic building in the village.
St. Margaret’s was built in the 13th century and is made from flint which gives it a unique visual appeal when compared to many other churches in Southeast England.
If you want to appreciate a slice of British village life, Rottingdean’s a very pleasant place to do it. The whole area is charmingly picturesque.
The Saltdean Lido is also a listed building and is the finest example of an Art Deco Lido in the country. It was designed by Richard Jones and built back in 1937-1938.
It is the only lido to have the distinction of being featured in the Design Museum of London. It was closed soon after it opened and Butlins, the holiday camp company, tried to buy it in 1958 to redevelop it – fortunately, the government rejected the application for this.
It was restored and reopened in 1998. In 2012, the site was returned to the ownership of the local authority by its leaseholder. It was closed again at this time. A local special interest group was given the lease in 2014 and the lido was finally re-opened to the public in 2017.
If you want a swim, you can, but be warned there is only room for 500 swimmers at a time.
The Brighton to Rottingdean Cycle path is one of the best cycling routes in the country. It’s easy enough to be tackled by nearly everyone and it has some unmissable locations along the route including Hove Seafront, the i360, Brighton Pier, Brighton Marina, the Saltdean Lido and Rottingdean Village.