Nature map first view

Top Spots

Get out and enjoy The Living Coast, by exploring some of the special places highlighted below and in our interactive map.

Top Spots to visit range from Brighton seafront, with its captivating aerial displays of starlings at winter dusk, through to fringing chalk downland hills including the spectacular setting of Devil’s Dyke – the “grandest view in the world” according to the famous English landscape painter John Constable. Make time though to take in some lesser-known hidden treasures, such as Castle Hill nature reserves.

  • Preston Park, Brighton

    Preston Park, Brighton

    One of our historic Victorian parks that have achieved the prestigious ‘Green Flag’ award.
    Get to know the ‘Preston Twins’, the two largest English Elm trees in the world that are part of Brighton & Hove’s unique National Elm Collection.

    Practicalities: Bus links, Train links, Cycling access, Local food & drink

  • Hollingbury Hill, Brighton

    Hollingbury Hill, Brighton

    Absorb the great panoramic view of the Biosphere, from the closest area of the South Downs National Park to the city, where the countryside comes to town; explore this Iron Age hillfort (with Bronze Age remains) and surrounding chalk grassland habitat (which was a top Victorian spot for butterfly-hunting).
    A traffic-free dedicated cycle/walking route runs along Ditchling Road, and a public footpath crosses the golf course.

    Practicalities: Bus links, Cycling access

  • ​Stanmer Park, Falmer

    ​Stanmer Park, Falmer

    Roam around this historic landscaped parkland, Brighton’s countryside estate and gateway to the Downs and a favourite place for dog-walking and kite-flying; enjoy the traditional village, grand house and ancient church and restored orchard of Sussex apple varieties.

    Practicalities: Bus links, Train links, Cycling access, Local food & drink

  • ​Devil’s Dyke

    ​Devil’s Dyke

    Marvel at Constable's “grandest view in the world” and most dramatic example of a dry chalk valley in the UK, with extensive views over the Sussex Weald and diverse chalk grassland; the site of an Iron Age hillfort and former Victorian railway and cable car. Managed by the National Trust, together with nearby historic Saddlescombe Farm (with rustic museum, teashop and campsite).
    Pub onsite, National Trust car park, bus service and traffic-free cycling/walking route from the top of Dyke Road.

    Practicalities: Bus links, Cycling access, Local food & drink

  • ​Ditchling Beacon

    ​Ditchling Beacon

    Hit the high point of the Biosphere (248 m asl) for great views over the Sussex Weald from this Iron Age hillfort, plus walks along the South Downs Way ridgetop (to the Jack & Jill windmills to the west) fringed by rich chalk grassland; or challenge yourself to cycle up the steep stagecoach road below.
    National Trust car park and Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve here.

    Practicalities: Bus links

  • ​Castle Hill, Woodingdean

    ​Castle Hill, Woodingdean

    Hike along the ancient Juggs Road towards Lewes, the direct route taken to transport the daily fish catch from Brighton in times past, and stop off at this internationally important National Nature Reserve (managed by Natural England) of chalk grassland, which in summertime is covered with many wildflowers and rare species including early spider orchid and the wartbiter cricket.

    Practicalities: Bus links, Cycling access.

  • ​Mount Caburn, Lewes

    ​Mount Caburn, Lewes

    Situated a stone’s throw from Lewes town as well as Glynde village, climb to the top of this internationally important National Nature Reserve of chalk grassland, an Iron Age hillfort with stunning views down the Ouse river valley to Newhaven and the English Channel.

    Practicalities: Bus links, Train links, Local food & drink

  • Shoreham Beach

    Shoreham Beach

    Breathe in the sea air from the new Adur Ferry footbridge whilst you admire the view up the Adur river estuary of the saltmarsh and mudflats of the RSPB nature reserve, a haven for wading birds in the winter months.
    Be sure to walk across to Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve, with its rare and colourful vegetated shingle summer flowers; next to historic Shoreham Fort with a visitor centre. On a national cycling route.

    Practicalities: Bus links, Train links, Cycling access, Local food & drink.

  • Brighton Seafront

    Brighton Seafront

    Wonder at the mesmeric “murmurations” of thousands of roosting starlings as winter dusk settles over the two piers, take a flight up the i360 observation tower for a bird's eye view, learn about the variety of life under the sea at the historic Sealife Centre, or take the world’s first electric railway of the Volk’s (summer season only) to Brighton Marina along a route of colourful and rare vegetated shingle plants, from where you can take boat trips and enjoy sea-fishing.

    Practicalities: Bus links, Train links, Cycling access, Local food & drink

  • ​The Undercliff, Brighton-Saltdean

    ​The Undercliff, Brighton-Saltdean

    Walk or cycle along the flat traffic-free route that runs beneath the towering white chalk cliffs, a nationally important geological site that holds a record of past ice ages and hidden fossils.
    On the beach you can delve in to rock pools at low tide when the chalk reef of one of England’s first ever new Marine Conservation Zones is exposed, home to crabs, sea anemones and mussels.

    Practicalities: Bus links, Cycling access, Local food & drink

  • ​Castle Hill, Newhaven

    ​Castle Hill, Newhaven

    Look along the dramatic Sussex coastline from the top of Castle Hill Local Nature Reserve by historic Newhaven Fort, surrounded by flowery grassland that sits atop geologically diverse cliffs; below lies West Beach, with its rare vegetated shingle and exposed sea-caves when the tide goes out, and Friars Bay marine conservation area - a specially protected intertidal zone to enjoy without taking anything away other than photos and memories.

    Practicalities: Bus links, Train links, Local food & drink