Enjoying Great Britain’s south coast by bike is the ideal way to truly take in the beauty and variety that this vast area of the country can boast.
Route 2 of the National Cycle Network takes you along the coast from Dover in Kent, to Dawlish in Devon. The route is over 350 miles long, and certainly offers a great challenge, but there can be few more satisfying ways to see such a stunning part of the world than under your own steam on two wheels.
And don’t worry, you certainly don’t need to complete it at great speed or in just a couple of days! If you’re looking for a cycling holiday which takes in a number of the very best locations along the south coast of England, YHA should be high on your list of accommodation providers.
Their network of hostels spans the length and breadth of England and Wales, including a number of excellent options dotted along the south coast – ideal for anyone looking to take in the coastline on a bicycle over the course of a few days.
Here’s a guide to completing the journey from Dover to Dawlish via eight hostels.
The first leg of the ride is the longest, taking you from Dover, through Kent, and into Sussex to Eastbourne. YHA Eastbourne is a short way from Route 2 and offers an excellent stop off option, with facilities including a cycle store and a self-catering kitchen. Eastbourne itself is a classic British seaside town and is dominated by the beach with views out to the Channel from the end of the Victorian pier.
The next leg of the journey is a cracker, taking you into the serene undulating landscapes of the South Downs National Park. A slight detour along the route will take you to Southease and YHA South Downs, where you can stop for refreshments at the excellent Courtyard Café.
Heading further onwards, you’ll soon find yourselves pedalling through Brighton and right past one of YHA’s most impressive hostels, YHA Brighton. Again, feel free to call in and enjoy the grandeur of the building whilst enjoying a drink or a bite to eat – it’s well worth popping in to open your eyes to a totally different type of hostelling experience.
Once back in the saddle head the 22 miles onwards to YHA Littlehampton, the next stopover on the journey. Positioned just a short walk from the beach and only four miles from Arundel Castle, the hostel offers comfortable, cosy accommodation, including private en-suite bedrooms.
Heading westwards, the next part of the ride will take you through Hampshire across both Portsea and Hayling Islands, into the New Forest National Park. YHA New Forest is the next hostel along the route, and will be at its best following a renovation over the winter of 2016/17.
Just a short way from Route 2 in the heart of the New Forest the hostel boasts great facilities including specialist cycle storage and glamping accommodation in the form of both camping pods and bell tents. There’s plenty of reason to make this a stop off destination for your journey.
Travelling onwards and down into Dorset, taking in Bournemouth and Sandbanks, the next hostel along the coast is YHA Swanage. A large, grand Victorian villa, the hostel is five minutes’ walk from the only Blue Flag beach on the Dorset Jurassic Coast. It also provides the ideal excuse for you to make the slight detour up to Corfe Castle to re-join the route, a stunning English village which should not be missed on a route such as this.
The next part of the route will see riders head along the Dorset coast, through Dorchester and on to YHA Litton Cheney. This hostel is set in a quaint village within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and with limited phone signal and no Wi-Fi or television, provides a peaceful retreat which will suit the needs of many a weary cyclist after a long day in the saddle.
The final hostel on the route is the beautiful YHA Beer. The hostel is a quirky building perched in a beautiful part of eastern Devon – a delightful part of the world, particularly when the sun shines. With camping pitches and a range of room types, plus a location just a short stroll from the village of Beer and the Jurassic Coast, the hostel is an idyllic final stop off on this route.
The South Coast Way travels past beaches, rolling hills and historic towns. It’s a gorgeous introduction to long distance cycling. If you’ve been considering giving cycle touring a go we’d urge you to take the leap – you won’t regret it. And with these cycling friendly YHA places to stay you’ll be able to relax at the end of each day with good food, a hot shower and a comfy bed.