Cycling in the South Downs
YHA South Downs is great for mountain bikers and road cyclists alike. The hostel benefits from a cycle rack and repair equipment to keep your bike in excellent condition while you're cycling the beautiful pathways which start on our doorstep.
Uniquely for a UK National Trail, the entire 100 mile length of the South Downs Way is open to cyclists and, what’s more, it’s accessible from the hostel front door! Running from Winchester, the ancient capital of England, to the white cliffs of Eastbourne it has a total ascent of 3,800 metres; plenty of slopes and undulations mean it isn’t the easiest trail to tackle, but the scenery is simply sublime.
If you’re fit enough and game enough, it’s possible to complete the whole bridleway in a day but most take 2-4 days to ride it. And with 4 other hostels along the route – Littlehampton, Brighton, Telescombe and Eastbourne – YHA can accommodate you all the way. For those preferring a more relaxed, shorter excursion, simply cycle a section in either direction and take the train back to Southease station - just 200m away from the hostel.
If a shorter route is what you’re after then why not try part of the South Downs way and jump on a train back. Below are some examples of shorter routes:
Southease – Ditchling Beacon with the option to call in at Houseedean Farm
Southease – Eastbourne with the option of getting the train back
More leisurely still is the going in Seven Sisters Country Park, 10 miles to the east. Though there are no bridleways as such, cycling is permitted on the valley floor and a paved track provides easy access to the beach. A pleasant hour’s bike ride north from the hostel brings you to the cafes, independent traders, art galleries and historic buildings of Lewes. Visit Anne of Cleves’ 15th century house to enjoy the Tudor garden, authentic interior and Lewes Folk Museum."
Other things to do nearby
The entire 100 mile length of the South Downs Way is open to cyclists, from Eastbourne to Winchester.
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to on-road and off-road cycling in Sussex.
YHA Eastbourne is at the foot of the iconic Beachy Head, just 400 metres from the start of the South Downs Way, an ancient ‘Right of Way’, in the newly created South Downs National Park. &nbs
If you want to have a go at watersports rather than just watching from the shore, the watersports centre on the seafront offers courses in sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, body-boarding and power boati
YHA Eastbourne is just 400 metres from the South Downs Way in the South Downs National Park.
Catch up with the contemporary art scene for free - this gallery has three floors of exhibitions, collections and interesting events. Look out for creative workshops and cutting-edge performers.
Visit Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters with their dramatic white cliffs and gently undulating downs.
Enjoy the thrill of the outdoor rides, or visit Rocky's Adventure Land, a huge indoor soft play area. Take your swimming costumes for the water slides and the other wet areas. Visit the Fort
12 miles Explore the history of Medieval England with this magnificent moated castle and superb Elizabethan gardens. Visit the website
Various watersports are available from Newhaven Marina or from Piddinghoe Pond, both a short distance from the hostel.
Stargazing – a simple yet intriguing and inspiring evening activity.
YHA South Downs is right on the South Downs Way, ideal for either long distance walkers wishing to tackle the whole thing or for those wishing just to cherry pick the sections with the stunning views,
Just 8 minutes away on the train is Lewes, County Town of Sussex with a Norman Castle and cobbled streets. Visit the imposing, 1000- year-old Lewes Castle to enjoy panoramic views across the sur
1066 Country is the kind of place where you don't just learn about history, you live it. Visit the 1066 Country website
The world's oldest operating aquarium is right on the sea-front! With amazing exhibits, you can see how fish and marine creatures live beneath the waves, plus there are plenty of opportunities t
10 miles Glide around the Carousel like Mary Poppins, Climb the Helter Skelter to see the Isle of Wight or Relax in a Deck Chair. Visit the website