South Downs is England’s newest national park, earning the title in 2010 thanks to its diverse landscapes, wildlife, and rich cultural heritage. If you’re looking for a UK staycation with plenty of opportunities for adventure, this varied national parkland will be an ideal choice.
Cyclists, rejoice! South Downs National Park has a route for every kind of adventurer to discover. From quiet, easygoing lanes to the UK’s only bike-friendly National Trail, the 160km South Downs Way, there are plenty of options to explore.
There are lots of places to stop off during a cycle in South Downs. Whether you take a brief pause to enjoy a viewpoint or a more extended break for some food and drink, you can experience lots of local gems along the way. Here, we’ll look at some of the best cycling routes in the South Downs National Park, and recommend some convenient hotels nearby.
These are some of the most popular cycling routes in the South Downs National Park.
South Downs Way
The South Downs Way is a 160km off-road National Trail running the entire length of the national park. You can cycle from Winchester, the start of the track, to the unique white cliffs of Eastbourne for an exciting adventure you’ll never forget.
Most people travel along South Downs way in a couple of days, camping in-between. However, you can cycle the whole thing in one day if you’re very fit and ready for a challenge. Be sure to give way to walkers and horse riders, and don’t ride in groups of more than three or four.
The Meon Valley trail is perfect for cyclists looking to explore a little local history along the way. The route was once a railway line, used for transporting livestock and produce between Fareham and Alton. Today, the almost-18km trail passes through beautiful countryside between West Meon and Wickham.
It should take around two hours to cycle the Meon Valley trail, and it’s worth noting that this option is not a loop, so you’ll need to make your way back if you’ve left a car at the starting point.
The shortest of our recommended cycles, Centurion Way, is a 9km-long trail between Chichester Lavant and West Dean, along another dismantled railway track. You should be able to cycle the length of Centurion Way in 45 minutes, making this an excellent option for kids or less-able riders to enjoy. There are a couple of pubs along the trail, so why not take a break and grab a little refreshment before continuing your adventure?
When you’re planning a staycation to the South Downs National Park, choose an Accor hotel nearby and enjoy comfort and cleanliness you can trust. We’re doing all we can for the safety and security of our guests and have special measures in place to ensure your visit runs without a hitch.