Once they get the hang of it, children love riding their bikes. Not only is it a skill that will last a lifetime, the feeling of speed, the breeze in your hair and the sense of freedom you get are simple pleasures that all ages can enjoy.
There are loads of great places to take your family cycling in and around our city. Here are some of our favourites!
Top Spots for Learners & Younger Children
We have some fantastic parks in our city which are great places to take younger kids and those just starting out. Preston Park and Hove Park both offer lots of space, away from the traffic, with big expanses of grass (much nicer to fall on when you’re learning!) and tarmac paths for a bit more speed. They also have playgrounds and tea rooms to provide extra encouragement for little legs. There are plenty of smaller parks too, such as St Ann’s Well and Hove Rec. Once they’ve learnt the basics and have got their confidence, you’ll be able to explore further afield.
The Seafront Cycle Route
Wherever you are in Brighton, head to the seafront and then choose left or right! Left will take you towards the Marina and the Undercliff beyond, where you can ride with the beach on one side and towering chalk cliffs on the other. Right will take you along Hove seafront, past Hove Lawns and towards Hove Lagoon, and on to Shoreham - you’ll even cross a bridge over the harbour!. Whichever way you go there is a dedicated and (mostly) segregated cycle path – just be aware that the section between the piers will always be busy with pedestrians on a sunny weekend.
Feeling more adventurous? Try one of these:
Devil’s Dyke Cycle Route
Head up Dyke Road and over Devil’s Dyke roundabout, follow the road northwest for a few hundred metres and take the left fork. From the car park immediately on your right you can pick up a segregated cycle path that takes you to Devil’s Dyke (approx. 1.5 miles). This is the nearest trig point on the South Downs to the north of the city. Enjoy a picnic and take in the spectacular views across the Weald and down into the Dyke itself. From here you can simply head back the way you came, which may be enough of an excursion for younger children (my 7-year-old loves this route). However the Dyke is roughly halfway along the South Downs Way (SDW), a National Trail which runs for over 100 miles from Winchester to Eastbourne, so there are lots of options to head further afield as your kids get older and want more of an adventure.
An alternative way to reach Devil’s Dyke is to use NCN (National Cycle Network) route 82. This starts at Hove seafront and goes up via Hove Park to Hangleton and onto a disused railway, which meets up with the cycle path described above to take you to the Dyke. See the link below for more information.
Shoreham to Bramber Castle Route
This a lovely ride along the banks of the river Adur up to Bramber Castle near picturesque Steyning. You can start from Shoreham or park up in one of the laybys on the A283 – you’ll find the path (aka the Coastal Link) between the road and the river to your left. From here you follow an easy trail for about 2 miles, crossing the river by a little wooden bridge before carefully crossing over the road and reaching the castle. There’s not much of it left, but kids will find plenty to explore on the hill where it stands before you turn for home. Alternatively you can pick up either the SDW or the Downs Link path from here for a longer route.
Arundel Boating Lake
My son loves it here! Drive into Arundel from the A27 and turn right at the mini-roundabout onto Mill Road. Go past the castle and over the bridge and you will see the boating lake on the left (continue round the bend in the road for free parking). There is a track that goes all the way round the perimeter of the lake (about 1 mile) that is great for kids on bikes. We like to go anticlockwise from the jetty, and at the top of the lake go through the gate into the field for a picnic (you can follow this track up the valley if you want to explore further). Coming back down the other side of the lake there is a steep hill on your right with lots of exposed tree roots to clamber up and slide back down. Once you’re back at the road, go right on the footpath for 500m where there is a playground on the left and the all-important ice-cream.
About 37 miles from Brighton, just off the A21, you’ll find Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, a beautiful spot with trails for various abilities. Choose a loop from the short 4km, a longer but still easy going 9km or a more technical 13km. All routes are signposted and there is a great café back at the car park.
Best Family Cycling Routes in Brighton
Arundel Boating Lake
Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest
Useful links for more information