Brighton and cycling go hand-in-hand. The seaside city though being in a valley has no real hills to tackle and miles of coastal bike trails and interesting sights to see. Whether it’s a summer’s day or a winter one, there’s always something to enjoy when you jump into the saddle and tour Brighton on a bike.
But how do you find the right tour for you? Well, we found the 11 best bike tours in Brighton, England for you. The number 1 bike tour in Brighton is the Grand tour of Brighton. In 150 minutes you will see the best of the city as well as enjoy a coastal ride through both Brighton and Hove. This tour is ideal for day and weekend visits alike. As well as Stag and Hen Dos and large groups.
So, join us. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about choosing a bicycle tour in Brighton, England and then we’ll walk you through those 11 best bike tours in the city, so you can choose the one that’s best for you.
What Do You Need To Know Before You Book Your Bike Tour?
If you’re going to book a bike tour in Brighton, then you’ll want to examine a few things about the tour before you make a commitment. It’s important to get the right information at this point and we think the critical components are:
Easy To Book
Your Brighton bike tour must be easy to book. You don’t want to turn up on the day and risk being disappointed and you don’t want to spend hours and hours online going through dozens of screens trying to give them your credit card either.
The best bike tour operators in Brighton want you to feel comfortable. They offer multiple sales points (from their own websites to TripAdvisor or Airbnb to hotlines for those who prefer to call) so that you can shop in a way that you are familiar with and where you trust the warranties provided to you.
You also want speedy confirmation once you’ve booked. The best rated bike tour in Brighton (according to TripAdvisor) offers a text confirmation service. They send you an SMS which explains where you need to be and at what time and how to get there.
Quality can come at a bit of a price premium and certainly, you’d expect to pay more for a guided tour on a decent and comfortable bike than you’d pay for one of Brighton’s rental bikes which tend to be somewhat basic.
However, you don’t want to be ripped off, either. A good tour should offer value for money, so that when you’re finished with your ride around Brighton – you feel great about having spent the day on a bike.
Respects Your Time
We don’t want any crude jokes at this point but there are things in life where more length is not always better, and we think this is true of bike tours. Ideally, you want a tour that takes you to all the important sites, but you don’t want to find that you’ve list your entire vacation to a tour and you have no time left to explore.
We think the ideal bike tour of Brighton is a couple of hours to half a day long. That way it fits comfortably into a weekend, you see everything that matters, and you’ve got some time to eat, drink, and explore some of Brighton’s attractions in much more detail.
The Sights You Will See
If there is something you particularly want to see on a bike tour of Brighton and you don’t see it in the tour itinerary – you should ask, before you book, whether it’s possible to get a tour that includes what you want.
However, we’ve found that the best bike tours of Brighton are very comprehensive, and you can easily find a tour that will take you to every major site of interest in the city.
What Are The Important Components Of A Bike Tour In Brighton?
There are also a few more practical aspects of the actual tour that you might want to pay attention to. It’s important not just to see the things you want but also to get the best experience out of a Brighton bike tour then there are things your tour guide needs to take care of and things you might want to deal with too.
Obviously, at least you’d hope so, you need a bicycle for a bike tour. However, any old bicycle won’t cut the mustard, here. You want something that is easy to ride (and ideally, even if you haven’t ridden in 20 years – it shouldn’t be too complicated to ride).
You are also going to want your tour guide to attend to two things:
A tour guide should be ready to adjust the saddle, peddles, handlebars, etc. as needed to ensure that the bike is set up for you. You won’t get this from a bike rental service, either, and a bike that is poorly set up can lead to injuries including muscle strain and/or cramp.
The bike should be designed to keep the rider fully upright so that they can peddle with the least strain on the body and so that they can actually see the sights clearly on their Brighton bike ride.
A Camera or A Photographer
We think that nearly everyone carries a smartphone with a camera nowadays and if you’re looking for shots for Facebook or Instagram that’s going to be about the perfect camera for a bike tour of Brighton because it fits in a pocket easily.
However, if you’re looking for something to hang on the wall at home, you might want to bring a better camera or talk to the tour operator to see if they can provide a photographer for your trip.
Better still if the guide has some experience as a photographer – they can help you take better photos no matter what camera you decide to use.
The Right Shoes
Cycling in high heels is probably possible but we wouldn’t recommend it and we don’t think it’s at all safe. It’s a good idea to pick shoes that work well in all circumstances (including when riding a bike) for your bike tour but if you really can’t bear to be parted from something less practical, it’s a good idea to bring a second pair that you wear while riding and change into your fashion statements when you’re not on the bike.
We’re not talking black spandex here but simply a pair of comfortable shorts that keep chafing to a minimum. It’s the most pleasant way to cycle and it will save you any potential discomfort later on in the day too.
No one will force you to wear a helmet and unlike in other parts of the world, there is no legal compulsion to wear a helmet but it can provide an extra layer of safety and assurance, particularly for inexperienced cyclists or cyclists who haven’t ridden in a while. Your tour operator ought to give you the option of a helmet, so that you don’t have to buy one for your Brighton bike tour.
When we’re on vacation, we tend to pick up a bunch of stuff as we wander around, a little food here, a nice t-shirt there, and it can be a real pain to have to go back to your accommodation to dump this stuff before you go on your bike tour.
A good bike tour provides a secure place for you to store luggage, bags, shopping, etc. and helps you to have an easier, safer cycle unimpeded by extra weight.
The Tour Guide (Added Value)
Yes, a guided tour will give you a tour guide but how much extra value can they add to your stay? The best guides provide more than a ride around Brighton and offer advice and help on every aspect of your vacation. This can be a huge boon when it comes to finding great watering holes or the perfect shop for a souvenir for the folks back home.
Drinking and cycling is not the wisest choice and in the UK, if you do drink before you cycle, you cannot be covered by the tour operator’s liability insurance which means if you hurt yourself or someone else whilst under the influence, you’ll be paying for the damage.
You won’t be prevented from joining a bike tour in Brighton if you drink but you should be aware of the potential consequences.
The 11 Best Bike Tours In Brighton
We confess we have an interest in this, Brighton Bike Tours which provides the majority of our top-rated tours is affiliated with this blog. Fortunately, you don’t have to take our word for it that they are the best bike tours in Brighton.
TripAdvisor rates them as the best Bike Tours in Brighton and, in fact, the best outdoor activity out of 48 options in Brighton. The two other competitors in town, Cycle Brighton ranks at 9 on that list and The Brighton Beach Bikes Tour doesn’t make the list at all – though this may be because those tours are not guided tours, you’re essentially paying for a map as opposed to a tour.
The Grand Brighton Bike Tour
This tour is designed to be your perfect introduction to the city of Brighton. It takes you to all the major sights in the city without overwhelming you. If you’ve only got a weekend to spend in Brighton, then you’re going to love the freedom this offers you to explore some more once you’ve finished cycling.
It costs between £19.50 and £22.50 per person and includes bike hire as well as all the safety equipment that you need. Brighton Bike Tours also provides secure luggage storage at the start of each ride and that can be a very valuable service.
Their tour guides are real locals with extensive local knowledge that they combine with personal interest stories to make the city come alive. Each group on this tour will receive a bespoke experience that can’t be replicated elsewhere.
The tour begins in the city and walks you around the most iconic sites there including the most eye-catching churches and houses.
There is a stop in the middle of the tour at the Pavilion Garden so that you can grab a cup of tea and a slice of cake while doing some people-watching (and Brighton is brilliant for people-watching).
The second half of the tour takes in the beach and seafront area which is Brighton’s best-known and best-loved feature.
The Grand Coastal Bike Tour
If you want your Brighton bike tour to have a complete emphasis on the seaside nature of the place, then this is the tour for you. It takes you through North Laine to the Brighton Pavilion before moving onto the seafront. Much of the early part of this tour is downhill, so you can enjoy freewheeling for a nice section.
As with the Grand Brighton Bike Tour, this costs between £19.50 and £22.50 per person and includes bike hire as well as all the safety equipment that you need.
Cross the boundary from Brighton into Hove and then enjoy a meal at Fat Boy Slim’s café which is a Hove landmark. Yes, when the DJ’s not touring or racking up the biggest numbers of people in history on the beach, he’s running a pleasant little eatery on the seafront (he’s not there very often but you might get lucky and see him in the flesh.)
The whole thing wraps up with a final look at the i360 which is Brighton’s varied skyline’s most recent and, possibly, most interesting addition.
The Epic Brighton Tour
This is a slightly more substantial tour and takes about 210 minutes to complete and it’s slightly more expensive at £45 per person (there’s a 5-person minimum for this tour to run too).
The poppy-filled meadows of Preston Park are a really big addition on this tour, and you won’t forget how pleasant it can be to experience England’s green and pleasant land from within the city.
Checking out the secret garden at Preston Manor House is also a great way to experience something that most visitors to Brighton will never see.
The Absolute Brighton Bike Tour
This is the tour for the experienced cyclist or serious Brighton enthusiast (or maybe both at the same time)! It runs for 5 hours in total and explores not just the major sights but all the hidden gems that Brighton has to offer.
Because of the length of the tour, you can ask them to schedule breaks at places you’d most like to visit or ask for recommendations on breaks. The chance to catch the white cliff underpass is a real highlight of this tour and it means you can show off something unique to the South of England in your photos for friends and family.
They say that this is the best way to experience the city of Brighton and the seashore and seascape around it.
As you might expect this tour is a little more expensive and you need to book at least 5 people for it to run. (However, if you can’t get 5 people together, you should call Brighton Bike Tour and see if they can find other people to join your group). It costs £75 a head and includes bike hire.
The Brighton Twilight Cycle Tour
It’s fair to say that, often, the best way to see a city is to see it as twilight hits. That’s for two reasons, the first is that the place lights up at this point and many buildings and sites of interest take on a special aspect.
The second is that you’re in “Golden hour” when the light from the sun is most flattering and interesting for photography. That means you can get some of the best shots for your social media or your home at twilight.
This 90-minute tour which costs just £17.50 per person, including bike hire, offers you the chance to explore Brighton at twilight and enjoy the chance to capture the magic that makes Brighton special and which brings millions of visitors to the city each year.
Stag and Hen Do Cycling Tours
If you’re visiting Brighton for a stag or hen weekend, then why not make a Brighton bike tour part of the experience? Please bear in mind the rules about alcohol consumption, though a stop at a pub can be part of the tour – you don’t want to drink too much because you won’t be covered by liability insurance.
A bike tour is better done as a way to work up a thirst or to experience the city before you go on to dinner and drinks later. It can be a superb bonding experience and the tour guides at Brighton Bike Tour can add some cheer and good humour to one of the most important weekends of your life.
Bespoke Group Tours
Brighton Bike Tour is also happy to develop bespoke tours of Brighton and the surrounding areas if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary. Of course, costs vary depending on the size of the group or the length of the tour, but you can be certain that you can get exactly the experience that you want from this service.
Brighton Beach Bikes Tours
They bill themselves as the only bike tour that begins on the beach, but you need to be aware that their tours are missing two key components: bikes and tour guides.
Yes, they’re the cheapest “bike tours” in Brighton because the “tour” is really just a map. If you want a bike, you’ll need to rent one or bring your own as they’re not supplied and if you were hoping to get some serious insight into the city, that’s not going to happen either because you’ll be your own guide.
That’s not to say that Brighton Beach Bikes Tours are terrible, far from it, it’s just to say that once you’ve weighed up the costs, they’re not the greatest value when you compare them to the guided tours offered in the city.
They offer three tours:
- The Brighton Family City Adventure – yes, you’ll need to bring your family as they won’t supply one of those, either. You follow their clues (which are “cryptic”) to find the places on the map and learn a little about the city as you go.
- The Brighton Musical Journey – if you fancy cycling around a bunch of music venues to not venture inside and listen to the music, this is the tour for you. There are some interesting facts about the city’s music scene supplied, though.
- The Beach Scavenger Hunt – is a nice way to kill a little time with your family on the beach looking for certain items and competing against each other.
Each tour consists of three sheets of paper (a map, a question sheet and an answer sheet) and costs approximately £7.50 per person excluding bike hire.
If you’re looking for a bike tour in Brighton, England there are 11 options you can choose from. We recommend a tour with Brighton Bike Tour which is TripAdvisor’s number one recommendation too.
Don’t forget to go through our list of points on how to choose a tour before you book, though, you want to make sure that whoever you book a tour with – you get what you want out of the day.