Brighton may have a reputation as a party town, but it doesn’t stop the locals getting up the next morning and getting active.
Take a stroll along the promenade between Kemptown and Hove and you’ll be passed by sporty looking types, running, roller blading and skateboarding their way to fitness. Activities don’t just take place on dry land – look out to sea and you’ll spot kite surfers, windsurfers, kayakers and sailors all enjoying the sea breeze.
Stand-up paddle boarding is the latest craze in town – which involves standing on a surfboard and using oars to propel yourself through the water. If you want to give it a go, Brighton Watersports in King’s Road Arches along the waterfront offer lessons. You can also rent kayaks, windsurfs and wakeboards.
Hove Lagoon is a great option for those new to watersports, as it offers all the above, but in the safety of calm, shallow water. Another popular beachside activity is volleyball. There are sand courts on the lower esplanade between the two piers, or you can head to Yellowave Sports Centre on Madeira Drive. Yellowave has a great cafe making is a popular social hangout – particularly with families as alongside the six courts there is a large sandpit for kids to play in and a climbing wall.
If you want to get from end of town to the other quickly, hire a bike from Brighton Beach Bikes. It’s right on the seafront cycle lane, just west of the Pier, and offers 15 miles of gentle bike rides without crossing any roads. If you prefer your rides a bit more challenging, head to the South Downs. As well as the long downs there are some serious ups to tackle – with stunning views over Sussex and the English Channel as your reward.
Hove Lagoon is a great option for those new to watersports, as it offers all the above, but in the safety of calm, shallow water
Or you can get someone else to do the donkey work for you – or should that be horse work? At the Three Greys Riding School in Pyecombe, just outside Brighton, you can explore the South Downs on four legs. Riders of all levels are welcome.
If sitting on a horse still sounds like too much effort, there is plenty of sport in Brighton for spectators. Brightonians are loyal followers of Brighton and Hove Albion – nicknamed the Seagulls (for obvious reasons). The impressive American Express Community Stadium in Falmer is just 10 minutes from Brighton by train. There is a great atmosphere at the games, which makes it a fun day out for all the family.
Cricket is also a popular sport in this city, with Sussex County Cricket Club in Hove the world’s oldest county club. Sussex enjoyed its first official County Championship title in 2003, after waiting 164 years, which was the start of the club’s ‘Golden Decade’, during which they won many more titles. What better way to while away a few hours in the sun than watching the sport of gentleman?
For those looking for something a little faster-moving, the sport of kings maybe more your thing. Brighton has its own racecourse on Whitehawk Hill, with great views over the South Downs on one side and the sea on the other. It has a number of weekend and evening race meets where you can have a flutter, or just enjoy cheering the horses on as they thunder past the grandstand. There is also a racetrack at Plumpton, set in stunning Sussex countryside, which is around a 20-minute drive from the city centre, or you can take the train.
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