Travelling to South Downs, you’ll be in for beautiful vistas and historic National Trust landmarks and buildings. From Herstmonceaux Castle and Battle Abbey to Seven Sisters County Park and other nature preserves, there are phenomenal, one-of-a-kind things to see and do. But here we’re going to cover something a bit different that will also likely appeal to plenty of visitors: live sports. From horse racing to football and everything in between, there’s plenty to enjoy on this front in the South Downs region.
England’s favourite sport can be enjoyed pretty much anywhere in the country, but you’ll be able to see a Premier League team (the highest division in English professional football, for those who don’t follow) right in South Downs. Brighton & Hove Albion plays in the city of Albion, and competes in the Premier League against some of the best clubs in all of Europe. The Seagulls, as they’re called, offer a somewhat more intimate stadium experience than most of their league counterparts, which can actually be perfect for travellers (as opposed to the somewhat overwhelming bigger stadiums in places like London and Manchester). And for those travelling with families, we should also note that the club occasionally offers clinics for kids. You’d have to get lucky for one to be on the schedule, but it’s something to keep in mind!
While you’re in South Downs, even if you aren’t a sports fanatic, you may also consider heading over to one of the most beautiful horse racing courses in the world at Goodwood. Two hundred years ago, the races here were for entertaining military troups, but today anyone can purchase tickets and attend, and many take advantage of the ever-expanding online horse racing markets as well. Whether you want to pass by for a casual day at the tracks or you want to study up on the competitors, place a few bets, and zero in closely on the competition, it’s a fun place to work into your trip.
The Goodwood Motor Circuit is relatively young for a UK sporting venue, having opened in the 1990s. But the two-and-a-half-mile circuit is long and difficult, and famous for its sweeping curves and the close competition it brings about. While only members of the racing club can get tickets for events, you can experience the sport and venue for yourself if you book a chance to drive at Goodwood. It’s a bit more adventurous than spectating, but for thrill-seekers it’s a wonderful option.
Centurion running, or ultramarathons, are becoming more and more popular. Any race longer than the 26.2 miles of a traditional marathon qualifies, but the South Downs Way 50 and South Downs Way 100 are both foot races that go particularly far to challenge the athletes. Generally speaking, they’re actually required to carry some survival gear, in addition to ordinary race equipment. But this makes the race all the more impressive and many find that it can be captivating to watch. You can take in one of these annual races on your visit and cheer on the runners, all while you enjoy some of the beautiful views along the route.
No matter which of these options speaks to or inspires you most, sports can absolutely be a component of your South Downs visit. Any of the above can be absolutely fascinating, and tons of fun to experience in person.