Guide to Paragliding in Sussex: Best spots to launch near Brighton

Sep 27, 2019 BY Paul McWilliams

One of the most quintessentially English counties, Sussex is also one of the most beautiful. The South Downs National Park runs through the county and meets the sea, making ideal conditions for Paragliding in Sussex. With some of the best spots to launch near Brighton.

Paragliding in Newhaven one of the best launches in sussex © Copyright nick macneill and licensed for reuse under CC 2.0 licence

Introducing Sussex and Brighton

Sussex is split into two counties, East Sussex and West Sussex and is home to some stunning scenery. The bohemian seaside city of Brighton and Hove is pretty much in the centre of Sussex. Brighton is the party capital of the UK but also attracts an alternative crowd.

Nearby towns such as Lewes, Eastbourne, Worthing, Shoreham and Newhaven are all within easy reach of the city. The county is also full of quaint villages, beautiful beaches, idyllic country pubs and is one of the most wooded counties in the UK.

Brighton and Sussex are understandably popular with tourists from London and all over the UK. But the main draw for paragliding in Sussex is the South Downs. An 87 miles (140km) chalk escarpment running from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in East Sussex it’s the UK’s newest National Park.

Paragliding in Sussex

If you visit the Downs or just drive along the A27 – the main east to west road – you’ll often see the sky dotted with paragliders. The South Downs hills and coastal cliffs are home to some of the best spots to launch a paraglider near Brighton.

It is also home to some of the top paragliding schools in the UK. So it’s little wonder that paragliding in Sussex has earned a reputation for some of the best in the UK. Plus, the views aren’t bad either.

Paragliding in Sussex flickr image by PaulTKeith

With launches facing a variety of directions there are places to take off whatever way the wind blows. Both East and West Sussex have plenty of popular launch sites for paragliding near Brighton.

Best spots to launch near Brighton

So you want to go paragliding in Brighton, but where should you launch? Well here are quite a few spots to choose from!

Make sure you check out the Southern Hang Gliding Club who look after paragliding in the region. Many launches are only open to club members, so if you are a visiting pilot, you need to get day membership before you fly.

Devil’s Dyke

Devils Dyke is in the Downs just outside Brighton. Legend has it that this vast gorge in the hills was caused by the Devil trying to breach the Downs, which prevent the rest of England being flooded by the sea. It’s a nice story but a load of nonsense.

However, the steep northern drop off from the Downs into the flat countryside of Sussex is one of the best spots to launch near Brighton. Head up here on a sunny day, drink in the views, and you’ll be hard pushed to find a better spot in the whole of the UK. There is even a pub at the top for spectators.

Paragliding in Sussex flickr image by Bods

Ditchling Beacon

Very close to Brighton you’ll find Ditchling Beacon a stunning local beauty spot and the highest point in East Sussex. Again launches are on the steep northern slopes.

Launching from here isn’t as easy because of the way the land is divided up. But once you are in the air you can soar for hours above the green and pleasant countryside below. Paragliding in Sussex doesn’t get much better than this.

Mount Caburn

One of the highest isolated peaks in the South Downs, this huge hill is situated just outside Lewes and sits 480 ft above its surroundings. It’s a bit of a climb but when you’re at the top you have incredible south facing views and a glimpse of the sea towards Newhaven.

There is a busy road down below but you should have few problems avoiding it. Once you’re done, head into historic Lewes to find out why this town has a history of non-conformism and political agitation. While in the area it would be criminal not to try the award winning ales by Harvey’s Brewery. 

Newhaven Cliffs

Although most of the launches spots in Sussex are understandably in the South Downs the coast is also popular. If you like to soar along the seashore then one of the best spots to launch near Brighton is from the Newhaven Cliffs.

Paragliding in Sussex flickr image by Bods

It’s a great spot, with some amazing sea views – as you might expect. When the conditions are right there paragliders can follow the cliff tops as far as Brighton Marina – which is around 8 miles away.

Beachy Head

Another coastal launch Beachy Head is just outside Eastbourne. This cliff is the largest of the Seven Sisters and a popular tourist destination. From here you can soar over the Seven Sisters Country Park for some of the prettiest paragliding in Sussex. Beware it has very restricted landings.

Other paragliding spots near Brighton

There are plenty of other spots for paragliding near Brighton. The easy to access Firle Beacon is very popular and along with Bo Peep can be found just off the A27 between Lewes and Eastbourne. Also the alluring sounding High and Over near Seaford has fabulous views of local beauty spot Cuckmere Haven.

West Sussex paragliding

There are some great spots found near to Brighton in West Sussex too. Steyning has a couple of launches and is a great place for paragliding. Also Truleigh Hill near Shoreham has fantastic views of the Adur River and Lancing College.

Paraglider and MTBer near Truleigh Hill, shoreham one of the best launches in sussex Flickr CC 2.0 licence image by Bods

There are plenty of companies offering tandem flights and paragliding lessons near Brighton. There are also a number of clubs you can join if you wish to paraglide in Sussex on a regular basis.

We hope you found this Brighton paragliding launch guide in Sussex useful. Check out our paragliding discounts as you could save a fortune on your next adventure.


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