Located on the south coast of England, the seaside city of Brighton has been a holiday destination for British travelers for generations. Known for Brighton Pier, the city, more properly known as Brighton and Hove, is a classic destination for a British beach holiday. And since it's so easily reached from London and quite easy to get around, Brighton remains a popular place to take a British vacation to this day.
But there's more to Brighton and Hove than just the seafront. This part of the country is packed with rolling hills and extensive open lands that offer some of the best walks in the country. If you find yourself in Brighton looking for spectacular views and interesting trails to explore, you're in luck. The countryside around the city offers some of the best hiking you could possibly want.
Of course, whether you're in the mood for a gentle stroll through a charming village or an exhilarating coastal walk along a clifftop path, you'll have a much more pleasant time if you don't carry more than you need to. That's why Bounce provides luggage storage in Brighton and Hove so that you always have a place to leave your things. Drop off your bags, put on your hiking boots, and get ready to enjoy the wilder side of Britain.
Our Top Hiking Trail Picks in Brighton
Brighton is surrounded by some stunning scenery, but if you just want to get some miles down without leaving the city, that's perfectly possible thanks to Brighton's popular Undercliff Walk. Beginning at Brighton Marina, this three-mile walking path runs along the Brighton sea wall, giving impressive views out over the ocean and of the white cliffs that rise behind the town. This is a quintessential thing to do while in Brighton, and the easy terrain makes it suitable for just about everyone. There's really no excuse not to take this easy walk to see a little more of the town. And since you won't leave the town itself, you can easily treat yourself to the best brunch in Brighton once you've finished your walk.
Brighton Coastal Path
Another decent walk that won't take you too far out of the city itself, the Brighton Coastal Path covers five miles along the waterfront to the west. Starting at Brighton Pier, you'll travel past The Tempest Inn and towards Hove. This popular path will take you past some of the most iconic attractions in Brighton, and lets you stretch your legs while seeing more of the city. You'll end up in Shoreham Harbour, where you can watch the boats come in and enjoy a quiet pint in a local pub or some delicious seafood to reward yourself for being so active. Plus, you'll have saved money by doing one of the best free things in Brighton, so you can afford to treat yourself.
Falmer Hiking Loop
A short train ride from Brighton will bring you to the village of Falmer, and from there, you can start one of the best woodland walks in the Brighton and Hove area. The Falmer Hiking Loop takes a circular route through a local forest that is particularly impressive in spring and autumn. It's great to be able to experience nature so close to the city, and this walk lets you get some decent exercise without being too taxing. Plus, the relatively gentle terrain makes it suitable for just about everyone.
Brighton to Lewes
It's not every day you get to take a hike through history. But in Brighton, you can do exactly that with the Brighton to Lewes trail. Beginning close to Brighton's railway station, this trail takes you out past the city's racecourse before joining a National Trail on the outskirts of the city. Along the way, you'll get impressive views out over the South Downs to the rugged coastline beyond, and you can also explore the 14th-century buildings of the village of Kingston. Finally, you'll reach Lewes Castle, an impressive ruin that dates back to the 11th century. Spend a little time exploring the castle, then treat yourself to lunch or dinner in a restaurant or pub in the village, and you'll be enjoying the English countryside the way it was meant to be seen.
Just to the northeast of Brighton, Stanmer Park offers beautiful woodland walks that you can enjoy in any season. This park is a great place to encounter local wildlife like deer, and there's even a historic country house in the park that was built in the 13th century. There are a couple of different routes through the park that vary from 1.75 up to 5 miles, making this a great excursion for beginner and intermediate hikers. The park is easy to reach from the city itself, and the terrain is mostly gentle, so this is a great option for families to spend some outdoor time and see a little more of the city while they visit.
Ditchling Beacon to Devil's Dyke
The area around Brighton is famous among hikers for the epic South Downs Way - which we'll discuss later. However, this long-distance walking trail isn't for everyone. So you may be pleased to know that you can experience one of the most breathtaking sections of the South Downs Way by hiking the much more manageable section that runs from Ditchling Beacon to Devil's Dyke. This portion of the trail covers seven miles and is easily reached from Brighton by bus. The terrain is moderate, making this a great choice for intermediate hikers. In spring, this route is famous for its wildflower meadows, and Devil's Dyke itself, the longest and widest dry valley in the UK, is a famous beauty spot. There is also an Iron Age hillfort in the area that will keep history buffs happy, and once you reach Devil's Dyke, you'll find many more hiking trails through the countryside that you can explore if the seven-mile trek to get there just wasn't enough for you.
One of the many hikes around Devil's Dyke, the Chasm Explorer is a popular trail that's less demanding than the walk to Ditchling Beacon, but no less scenic. Covering three miles of moderate terrain, the trail takes you on a loop trail that will take you past the Iron Age hillfort and the remains of a Victorian funicular railway before plunging down into the valley itself. Once you've had your fill of countryside views and the bracing sea breeze, stop in at one of the local pubs for lunch - you've earned it!
South Downs Way
Brighton is home to many great easy trails that are perfect for beginner hikers and families to explore. But what if you're more of a hard-core hiker and you want to really get some miles behind you? Well, if that's the case, the South Downs Way may be the best choice for you.
If you've explored Devil's Dyke already, you'll have encountered one of the most impressive and most popular sections of this epic trail. But the South Downs Way runs for 100 miles from Winchester to Eastbourne, and along the way, travels some of the beautiful and unspoiled terrain in the south of England. You can walk, bike, or even ride a horse along this vast trail, and along the way, you'll find plenty of campsites, hotels, inns, and B&Bs where you can spend the night and recharge your batteries before taking on the next section.
Blackcap Circular Walk
The South Downs National Park is an undisputed highlight of the Brighton area. The South Downs Way travels through the park, but avid hikers will find many more hiking trails that let them see more of this sprawling park. For instance, the Blackcap Circular Walk covers a little over six miles of moderate terrain and offers beautiful views of rolling hills, woodlands, valleys, and fields. This trail, like many others in this National Park, is highly recommended for those who want to explore the countryside around Brighton more deeply.
Another popular trail in South Downs National Park, Castle Hill covers more than 11 miles, and with 1700 feet of elevation gain, it's a good challenge for intermediate and even expert hikers. However, this tough trail rewards those who explore it with meadows full of wildflowers, sweeping views, and peace and quiet you simply won't find on the more popular trails. The varied terrain the trail covers means you won't get bored along the way, and this trail is easily accessible from Brighton itself, so you don't need to travel far from the city to get a decent walk in. It's an excellent way to see more of the region while making sure you get your exercise at the same time.
Finally, we can't talk about hiking on the south coast of England without mentioning the Seven Sisters Trail. Although this is located outside of Brighton and is a 19-mile drive away in Eastbourne, it also happens to be one of the most stunning hiking trails in all of Europe. The trail winds its way along the top of plunging cliffs of white chalk that glow in the sun, and the dizzying view over the sea is something you have to experience for yourself. The entire trail covers an impressive 14 miles, but if that is too much for you, you can just hike sections and enjoy the grandest view the south coast of England has to offer.
Easy Hikes in Brighton
Located as it is on the seafront, Brighton is a relatively flat city, and that means the town itself has some great paths that aren't too challenging even for beginner hikers. The scenery on the Undercliff Walk might make you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere, but you don't have to leave Brighton to enjoy it. Likewise, the Brighton Coastal Path offers a way to get some exercise and enjoy impressive sea views without having to travel outside the city itself. But if you do want to get away, you can experience the fields and woodlands of the area on the Falmer Hiking Loop and still make it back to Brighton in time for lunch.
Intermediate Hikes in Brighton
For those looking to challenge themselves a little more, a short journey out of Brighton itself towards the South Downs provides plenty of opportunities to try something new. Castle Hill lets you see some of the splendor of the national park with a long trail that will test your mettle. The elevation changes of the Chasm Explorer likewise make it surprisingly challenging for a relatively short trail, and if you want a longer excursion, you can take the path from Devil's Dyke to Ditchling Beacon. If you really want to push yourself, you could combine these two trails into one long and challenging walk.
Difficult Hikes in Brighton
Brighton isn't the Alps, much less the Himalayas. However, if you're a keen hiker who wants to keep pushing yourself, the area around Brighton has many long-distance walks that can provide a good challenge. Of course, they don't come tougher than the South Downs Way, which can turn into a multi-day adventure that will take you through some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain this part of the UK has to offer.