3 superb ‘flat’ cycle routes starting in Brighton.

‘Where can I cycle that’s not too hilly? This a question that we are frequently asked at Cycle Brighton. To answer it here are 3 superb flat routes that will set your heart racing, not because you are competing in the mountain stages of the Tour de France, but because of their lovely views and the abundance of things to see and do.

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Route 1 – Coastal Rottingdean

 Our Coastal Rottingdean route follows the coastal cycle path eastwards from Brighton seafront to the village of Rottingdean. The route is a round trip of 10 miles from central Brighton.  Mainly following National Cycle Route 2 it is flat apart from one or two gentle inclines.

En route you see Brighton’s vibrant sea front cafes, bars, shops, galleries and of course our famous pebble beach. Stop off at our renowned Victorian pier with its fairground attractions and traditional arcades.

Heading down the coast, following Volks railway you will reach Brighton Marina. Enjoy exploring the waterfront with its wide range of shops, cafes and restaurants overlooking an interesting display of yachts and cruisers. Places to visit include cinema, bowling alley and casino.

Cycling eastwards along the newly developed coastal path you will arrive at Rottingdean. It is a picturesque seaside village that became fashionable in the nineteenth century among artists, writers and politicians. Rottingdean is an ideal place to spend some time browsing the shops and galleries and taking tea in a traditional English tearoom.

Route 2 – Coastal Worthing

This second ‘flat route goes west along the coast from central Brighton, again following National Cycle route 2 to the seaside town of Worthing.

The distance to Worthing is 10 miles so one option is to cycle one way then hop on the train from Worthing back to Brighton or Hove.

This is a varied route. At the start you will cycle along Hove seafront dominated by the famous pebble beach and the architectural beauty of Regency squares and crescents. Hove Lawns is like a large sea front garden. The lawns attract visitors all year round to enjoy the beautiful views and relative peace and quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of Brighton beach.

From Hove lawns you will cycle to Hove Lagoon, where you can stop at Fatboy Slim’s famous beach café while watching the wakeboarders and windsurfers. After Hove you will ride along-side Shoreham Harbour. Shoreham Harbour is the premier Sussex port and the largest port between Dover and Portsmouth. The port handles a wide range of commodities including steel, timber and grains as well as catering for fishing and leisure users.

Crossing the harbour via the lock system you continue to follow NCR 2 until you reach Shoreham. Shoreham-by-Sea, is a historic town with a centre which reflects the architecture of its fishing history. It is a unique area with the natural features of its tidal river, an active harbour and commercial port.

In the centre of Shoreham you will cross the river on the new cycle bridge onto Shoreham Beach.

shoreham harbour

Shoreham Beach, with its vegetated shingle, is an internationally rare habitat that contains such plants as Yellow Horned Poppy, Sea Kale and Curled Dock.These plants encourage a wealth of wildlife to the beach.

Further along the coast you arrive at Widewater Lagoon Nature Reserve. As seasons change throughout the year, you will discover a rich diversity of birds that rest, migrate and reside here. All around the banks of this saline lagoon, you can enjoy the colourful plants and flowers that thrive in shingle and coastal grassland.

Continuing along the coastal cycle path you eventually reach Worthing. Worthing is the largest town in West Sussex, and a thriving shopping, dining, entertainment and business centre.

Route 3 – Bramber Castle 

The 3rd of our ‘flat’ routes follows the same route to Shoreham but rather than continuing along the coast heads inland and meanders alongside the Adur River to the historic Bramber Castle.

The route is approx. 10 miles one-way but watch out you don’t have the option to return by train!

Going upstream from its estuary at Shoreham by Sea, the river is tidal and is contained within man-made embankments for a distance of some 9 miles through the ‘Shoreham gap’ in the South Downs.  The river has been an important trade route since Roman times.

After a short distance up the river there is the option to cross the river by bridge and visit Shoreham Airport. Opened in 1911 it was the first commercial aerodrome in Britain. It is now mainly used for light aircraft and helicopter flights. Visit the Art Deco terminal with its café with great views over the airfield.

Continuing up the riverside path you will reach Bramber Castle. The castle was founded in 1073 to command the Adur Valley and the river traffic up to Steyning. Today it’s a great place for a picnic – quiet and atmospheric.

river adur

So we have described 3 enjoyable and varied flat cycle rides and more detailed route maps are available from Cycle Brighton. Brighton can never be accused of being ‘flat’ in terms of its atmosphere, nightlife and things to do. However for cyclist looking to avoid those challenging hills there are some great flat routes. 90% inspiration 10% perspiration. Flat can be fun.