Brighton to Lewes

“Sorry, this has been ordered for the Lewes Argos, not the Lewes Road Argos”.


“Don’t worry, happens all the time.”

Down the Sainsbury’s travelator I travellated, weighing up this sudden necessity to cycle to Lewes.

It’s not a pretty or fun journey, at any point. The Lewes Road has a cycle lane – good. It is protected mainly by paint – bad. At least the bus stop bypasses were decent.

How can he be parking illegally, surely the paint is there to stop him

The latent demand is there. This road takes in campuses of both Brighton and Sussex University, the latter nestled in the foothills of the South Downs. But given the lack of facilities for those walking or on a bike, no wonder most take the bus or drive.

“That’s it, follow the red”, said one dad, gently, to his young son wobbling his way across the garish paint on one particularly unforgiving junction.

There was, at least, an early filter for bikes, but everything else was designed to move cars as quickly and as dangerously as possible.

At least here there is some distance between me and the motorway

Once you escape the final northern suburbs of Brighton, the route takes you directly alongside the A27 – sometimes startlingly so.


For one stretch, the poorly maintained pavement is directly alongside the dual carriageway, with very little room for manoeuvre.

As Audis and coaches roar past, all you can do is hope their eyes are on the road and not their phones, or their in-car touchpad displays which are somehow still legal.

Not pictured: the thundering A27 just off to the right.

There are a couple of moments of respite. One, where a quiet road runs blissfully parallel for a few hundred metres, and you’re able to enjoy the sight of the chalk Downs. And second, where you are joined by the South Downs Way for a truly excellent lay-by food van.

But otherwise, it’s one of those routes that could do easily be made useful, safe and beautiful for people without cars, to the benefit of us all in health and joy, but instead, without radical change, it will merely be the hardiest of souls pounding the shared use pavement forever.

Where are you Oscar. I need you.

At a large roundabout cyclists are sent up the Brighton Road on another pavement for a few hundred metres, then unceremoniously dumped on the road as the pavement narrows and we reach the outskirts of Lewes.


The prison is a jarring sight just before the town centre, a huge bleak monument to Victorian priorities. It is, I realise, designed to pay homage to the town’s castle, which would also have had a long history of strange and unnecessary punishment.

I arrived into town, perused a flea market, and sat down in a cafe to figure out when the Argos shut. I was in no hurry, as the one in Brighton was open til 9pm, and assumed this one would be similar.

At 17:24pm I discovered it shut at 17:30pm.


So: I shall again be coming to Lewes. But I may come over the Downs next time.

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