Bridge opening times


18-Apr-14 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk213

Clifftop congestion

18-Apr-14 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk213

Looking back...

...towards Newhaven

18-Apr-14 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk213

Smile please!

Clifftop photo opp

18-Apr-14 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk213

All change at the rockface

approaching Brighton from the east

18-Apr-14 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk213

Newhaven to Brighton and Portslade walk

A Victorian Fort, White Cliffs, cliff top and cliff bottom paths, Brighton's busy pier and promenade and quieter Hove


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Tue, 18-Feb-20

Date # Post
Sat, 10-Feb-18 9

Saturday walk - Newhaven to Brighton: a (largely) mud-free walk by the sea

Length: 18.8km (11.2 miles) to Brighton station, but you can take a bus at almost any point on the walk

Possible extension to Portslade: 23.8km (14.8 miles)

Toughness: 2 out of 10: undulating grass to start with, then tarmac paths

9.47 train from Victoria (9.53 Clapham Junction 10.03 East Croydon) to Lewes, arriving 10.47, changing there for the 10.57 to Newhaven Town, arriving 11.06.

Buy a day return to Newhaven Town, which will be accepted for return from Brighton (and probably from Portslade).

Walk directions are mostly not needed, but for some notes to help you on the walk, see here. The directions of SWC walk 65 are useful in the afternoon: see below. For GPS click here.

I have had my eye on this walk for some time. Perhaps a tad too urban as a summer walk, but also much less urban than you think in its early stages. In the summer one might say "mud free: wear trainers not boots". In the winter, maybe some mud in the early stages: but wear footwear that will be comfortable on tarmac as well as on grass.

You start in Newhaven, which is a town best swiftly left behind. But beyond is a surprise - a pleasant headland with an interesting fort and (the walk instructions suggest) a breakwater that is worth walking out onto. This is a bit of the South Coast I bet you have never been to.

From there westwards you are for 1.5 miles or so on grassy clifftop as good as any on the south coast. 3.4 miles into the walk houses start to your right, but a reasonable grassy strip is preserved (if my memory serves me right) for another 3 miles to Saltdean. Dotted along this stretch are several pubs - see the walk notes for details, eg the Smuggler's Rest 5.3 miles into the walk.

From Saltdean you can switch to a promenade along the bottom of the cliff, which gets you away from traffic noise. There are seaside tea options at Saltdean, Rottingdean and - my personal favourite - the kiosk at Ovingdean about 1km beyond Rottingdean (may only be open when the weather is good), where you can sit on the beach with your tea and cake and dream of summer.

From Rottingdean onwards, you could use the directions for walk 65 - see pages 7-8, starting in paragraph 63: these will take you all the way to Brighton station via the Pier, with a diversion into Brighton Marina. (This document also has full details of the tea options in Rottingdean: see page 2-3).

If you can time your arrival at Brighton Pier to 4.45pm or so (twenty minutes before sunset) you can enjoy the spectacle of some 20,000 starlings circling in formation in the sky before roosting under the pier (which they do roughly at sunset).

From there the walk 65 directions take you up through the North Laines to Brighton station, but if you have finished too early, you can carry on along the seafront to Hove, a pleasant stretch which passes the new i360 observation tower, cutting inland to get a bus back to Brighton station when you feel like it. If you follow the GPS track to the end you come to Portslade station, from where there are regular trains back to Brighton.

The fastest trains back from Brighton are at 18, 28 48 and 58 to Victoria, but the 02 and 32 to London Bridge are only a few minutes slower. The Thameslink trains to St Pancras are slower still, but not much slower if you going to change at East Croydon. T=3.213

The curse continues. The FOURTH week in a row where Saturday had by far the worst weather. The forecast rain was probably what put some walkers off but it was wind that was the main feature. Despite some rain on the train down, it was actually dry once we started walking and this lasted till near lunchtime. The rain then stopped (on the coast at least) for an hour and a half mid afternoon. But the wind was gale force, sometimes forcing one to a stop, in one place blowing spray up from the sea onto the cliff in a great plume. At times this was rather trying, though the turbulent seascape was exciting. So to summarise for the record: strong winds and some rain.

Walk numbers may also have been hampered by a total suspension of the Victoria Line at around 9am due to a signal or power failure. All things being considered, it was impressive that eight of us assembled on Newhaven station. A locally resident walker later joined us, so 9 in all.

The early part of the walk, on Newhaven Head, was surprisingly unspoilt and scenic. On a nicer day we might have explored the fort or gone onto the breakwater. As it is we pressed on into the howling gale. Three miles in one comes to the bungalow sprawl of Peacehaven perhaps on a sunny day it would look more idyllic. But there was always a grassy strip twixt the houses and the sea and some nice backward cliff views.

For lunch we went to the recommended Smugglers a Vintage Inn, with their trademark unsmiling but efficient staff. It would have been a cosy place if the heating had been on, but the food was nice enough and came quickly (apart from one dish forgotten due to a not entirely unforgivable mix up). Top marks too to a pub chain (which includes the Cuckmere Inn and Beachy Head pub) that last year had no vegan options and now has a whole separate vegan menu four starters, four mains, four desserts. A pity it then followed the invariable British pub tradition of not having any vegetable curry left.

After lunch four split off to walk over the downs to Southease. Two got the bus from Rottingdean. Only three of us trudged on along the cliff bottom path (I have never seen it so deserted) to the marina and then Brighton Pier. There we had a well deserved tea at the wonderful Mock Turtle (surely the Platonic ideal of tea rooms) and saw several thousand starlings mumurating by the pier at dusk. Bless them, the bad weather did not put them off and it did not put us off either.
Fri, 18-Apr-14 Newhaven to Portslade