Visit the Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere – a unique blend of Downs, Towns and Coast – now internationally recognised by UNESCO as a new World Biosphere area
Our Biosphere area covers an area of land and sea larger than the nearby Isle of Wight, with the world-renowned city of Brighton & Hove at its heart, surrounded by the dramatic countryside of the South Downs National Park and bounded by the river valley towns of Lewes, Newhaven and Shoreham-by-Sea.
Home to more than a third of a million peple, it attracts as many as twelve million visitors a year, all of whom share the space with a wealth of wildlife – including beautiful rare orchids, brilliant blue butterflies, songbirds such as skylarks, and elusive seahorses beneath the waves.
Here you can go from city chic one moment to rural rambles and seaside strolls the next, taking advantage of frequent public transport services of buses and trains to get around, and enjoying the extensive network of public rights of way for walking, cycling and horse-riding.
Located only one hour from London by train (Victoria/London Bridge/St. Pancras International stations) and motorway (M23), just half an hour from London Gatwick airport, and serving as a gateway to England from the continent on the ferry (Newhaven-Dieppe), our world-class environment couldn’t be easier to reach from the rest of the UK and Europe.
Top Places to visit (map) range from Brighton‘s famous seafront, with its captivating aerial displays of starlings at winter dusk, through historic Victorian parks with their unique grand old elm trees, 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.
Don’t miss the historic market town of Lewes, framed by impressive chalk heights of the Lewes Downs and Mount Caburn, and bisected by the River Ouse that flows down to the port of Newhaven on the English Channel.
Shoreham to the west, at the mouth of the River Adur, is another port where you can appreciate rare shingle beaches adorned with colourful wild flowers in the summer months.
There’s plenty of wild space to explore and outdoor activities on offer to spend a good few days here, in addition to the area’s well-known cultural attractions, amazing array of local food and drink, and distinctive shopping and entertainment.
– For example, why not rent a bike and ride along dedicated off-road paths next to the Ditchling and Falmer roads to get out to the Downs, or explore the coastline of the Undercliff beneath towering white chalk cliffs?
– Or take the bus or train to the attractive historic landscaped estate of Stanmer Park, where you can enjoy a range of woodland and downland walks or set out on longer hikes?
– Or even take a boat trip out from Brighton Marina, and perhaps have a go at sea-fishing?
Be inspired to explore more!
Download the ‘Best of our Biosphere’ Top Ten (pdf), to find out our favourite places and top tips.
Find out even more of ‘what lies beyond’ by Visit Brighton and more widely in the South Downs from Responsible Travel.
For a range of guided outdoor activities, have a look at what SoSussex can offer you.
For public transport information, you can check Traveline.