Things to do

Active and outdoors

If you love being active and outdoors, the green hills of the Downs and the chalk-and-shingle shore of The Living Coast offer infinite ways to relish your time outside. For ideas of how you can get outdoors and discover more about life on The Living Coast, read on.

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1. Explore The Living Coast by Bike

Cycling is a great way to discover the heritage and landscapes of The Living Coast at any time of year. Visit The Living Coast by Bike website for ideas on where to pedal, no matter your ability. Offering amazing on-road and off-road routes through The Living Coast, each one starting and ending at a train station, the site highlights the cultural and natural treasures to look out for as the seasons unfold.

Hire bicycles and e-bikes in town and country locations across The Living Coast, from Stanmer Park, and Lewes, to Shoreham and Ditchling. Brighton & Hove also has a city-wide bike-share scheme.

Cliffs and beach in Sussex

2. Hop on a boat

With Newhaven and Shoreham ports and Brighton Marina in The Living Coast, there are many ways to get out on the water in vessels ranging from yachts to fishing boats. Take a trip out to the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, explore nearby wrecks and reefs with a dive charter or try your luck on a deep-sea fishing expedition.

Why not experience the piers and the historic Brighton & Hove seafront from the water, go on a dolphin-spotting trip, or potter along the base of the chalk cliffs where the Downs meet the sea.

Dolphins swimming alongside a boat off the coast of brighton

3. Get out on the water

There are dozens of ways to enjoy being in or on the waters of The Living Coast, from diving to kayaking. Besides the ever-changing sea, there are the two meandering rivers that mark the boundaries of the biosphere: the River Adur in the west and the River Ouse in the east.

These watery environments have been navigated for centuries and hide wonderful surprises, from seals and starfish, to short-snouted seahorses, knobbly spider crab, water beetles and lapwings.
Get in touch with one of the many businesses across the biosphere where you can learn to kayak, stand-up paddle board, kitesurf, windsurf or dive.

Photo by Liz Finlayson/Vervate The Living Coast, the Brighton & Lewes Downs UNESCO Biosphere Region includes land and sea from Shoreham to Newhaven.  Surfers near Brighton Marina

4. Swim The Living Coast

Outdoor swimming has a long history within The Living Coast. The mood-boosting properties of cold sea water were first popularised by a local physician Dr Richard Russell in the 18th century, and the numbers of people dipping in the refreshing waters of the English Channel between Shoreham and Newhaven in winter and summer is steadily growing. Best to start swimming when it’s warm though and acclimatise yourself slowly to nippy winter waters. There are swim schools that specialise in outdoor swimming, as well as many social swimming groups.

Besides the sea, why not take a dip in the cool waters of the spring-fed Pell’s Pool in Lewes, the oldest operating freshwater swimming pool in the UK. Or plunge into the Saltdean Lido, a heated Art Deco pool on the cliffs overlooking the sea.

Cliffs and beach in Sussex

5. Walk the countryside and coast

From the banks of the Adur and the Ouse to the sheep-grazed hilltops of the South Downs, there are countless walks to give you a rich sense of The Living Coast and how nature and culture intertwine across its landscapes. Take a short, flat stroll, or hike for miles along the coast or up and over the hills.

Besides the promenade that runs the length of Brighton & Hove, there are many accessible paths. including sections of the South Downs Way, the Downs Link from Shoreham, the Undercliff Walk from Brighton Marina to Rottingdean, and circuits in Stanmer Park. For impressive views, head for the summits of Devil’s Dyke, Ditchling Beacon, Mount Caburn near Lewes or one of two Castle Hills in Woodingdean and Newhaven.

Photo by Liz Finlayson/Vervate The Living Coast, the Brighton & Lewes Downs UNESCO Biosphere Region includes land and sea from Shoreham to Newhaven.  Lewes and District  Lewes Railway Land and Egrets Way

6. Breeze up to the South Downs by bus

The Living Coast encompasses a wonderful wildlife-rich slice of the South Downs National Park. Besides heading up to South Downs by bike or foot, you can reach it using the Brighton & Hove Breeze up to the Downs service.

Hop on a bus to get to the top of Devil’s Dyke, Ditchling Beacon – the highest point in East Sussex – or the fields and forests of Stanmer Park. Spend a day wandering, picnicking and enjoying the views before you get the bus back to Brighton & Hove.

Electric Brighton & Hove bus by Regency Square in Brighton

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