Sports in Brighton

Brighton is a great sports city, not only for watching sports but for playing as well, especially if you’re into football, rugby, swimming, running or chess. There are several modern venues in Brighton where you can enjoy these sports and many others.

For starters, Brighton may be known as the City on the Sea, but it also has a number of impressive inland swimming complexes. Visitors will thoroughly enjoy taking a dip at the Prince Regent Swimming Complex, which has four pools and several water slides for people of all ages. The Prince Regent also houses a fitness centre stocked with the latest equipment. For beginners, we recommend the St. Luke’s Pool where lessons are available in their smaller teaching and training pool.

The King Alfred Leisure Centre, the largest indoor sports centre in Brighton and Hove, is likewise open to the public. Aside from swimming, the centre also has indoor facilities for other sports in two multi-purpose sports halls. Guests can choose to play basketball, badminton, volleyball, table tennis or five-a-side football. There is also a popular trampoline on the premises and hour-long trampolining lessons for adults and children every Saturday.

Brighton and Hove’s other three leisure centres are referred to as ‘dry’ centres as they do not have swimming facilities but they still offer plenty of keep fit opportunities. The Stanley Deason Leisure Centre is another popular multi-purpose sports hall in Brighton. They do not offer swimming, but there are excellent facilities for squash, hockey and football as well as a workout gym. The Withdean Sports Complex has excellent facilities for athletics, tennis, squash, dancing, league football and American football while the Moulsecoomb Community Leisure Centre features a multi-purpose sports hall and a room for lifting weights and fitness exercises.

Women may want to consider joining the Brighton and Hove Running Sisters, an all-female group of avid runners. Netball is another popular sport with the women in Brighton and it provides ladies with the opportunity to train with the England team.

Golfers have the option of playing on several golf courses located in and around Brighton’s city centre. One of the most popular golf venues is the 18-hole Hollingbury Golf Course, which has its own pro shop, cafĂ© and bar.

If your idea of sports is watching other people work up a sweat, then you will enjoy attending the games of the Sussex Country Cricket Club, which competes in the top flight, or the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club.

Brighton’s chief football team, the Brighton & Hove Albion FC, has a rather illustrious past and is one of the main reasons for the huge popularity of football in the city.

There are so many venues in Brighton where people can practice their dribbling, engage in an actual game or simply watch professional football. The King Alfred Leisure Centre is always a good place to find a friendly five-a-side game while the all-weather football pitches at the Stanley Deason Leisure Centre are great for 11-a-side matches. There are also suitable football facilities at the Withdean Sports Complex for league football and American football and the Moulsecoomb Community Leisure Centre for indoor football.

The Brighton & Hove Albion FC was founded in 1901 and currently plays in the Football League One for the 2006-07 season following their relegation from the championship. Nicknamed the Seagulls as befits the team of the City on the Sea, the Brighton & Hove Albion FC are fierce rivals of the Crystal Palace Eagles. Previously, they were known as the Dolphins or the Twins.

The team started playing in the Southern League, joined the Football League Division Three in 1920 and remained there until World War II. Their best finish was third place during the 1936-37 and 1938-39 seasons. After the war, Brighton earned the dubious distinction of having the team with the best record that never won promotion. That ended in 1958-59 when they finally climbed to Division Two. However, the team stayed there for only three seasons before being relegated in 1961-62. After the end of the 1962-63 season, they were down in Division Four. One bright spot was in the 1964 season when Brighton successfully signed England International Bobby Smith and the club captured the Division Four championship that year.

Usually clad in blue and white stripes, once again competed in the old First Division from 1979 to 1983 and reached the FA Cup Final in 1983. They drew 2-2 with Manchester United but lost 0-4 in a replay. During that same season, the team was relegated from the First Division. They endured a period of financial struggle during the decade that followed and were nearly relegated to the Nationwide Conference in 1997. By 2001, they had ascended from the basement division and a second successive promotion was attained. However, they were relegated at the end of one season. Promotion was achieved after one attempt, but relegation followed two years later.

Bristol Sports

Bristol is a sports-loving city and that’s immediately evident when you visit the Bristol City Ground or the Gloucestershire Country Cricket Club.

Golf lovers will feel right at home in Bristol, with its superb golf courses. The best golf courses around are hands-down the mesmerizing Manor House Golf Club at Castle Combe and the beautiful Woodlands Golf and Country Club in Almondsbury.

If you love outdoor activities, you will not run out of things to do at High Action in Winscombe, a great venue for couples and entire families. Here, you can try rock climbing, abseiling and a host of other adrenaline pumping diversions. If you prefer something less strenuous, High Action’s amazing woodlands and parkland are ideal for pony trekking and tobogganing.

For young kids or simply the young at heart, Bristol Indoor Paintball in Kingswood is a favourite venue for a rollicking good time. You will have to pay a small entrance fee, but that already includes your gun and safety equipment. It’s a small price to pay to play in this fantastic venue that puts a premium on adventure and will push your stamina to the limits.

If ice skating is your idea of fun, then The Bristol Ice Rink on Frogmore Street is the kind of venue where you can lose yourself. Less experienced skaters who feel too wobbly to stay on their feet can benefit from the ice skating lessons at the venue.

Now, if you prefer skiing to ice skating, Bristol has something to offer you too. The Avon Ski Centre boasts of the best skiing in the area. Located on Lyncombe Drive in Churchill, the Avon Ski Centre is a great place for a grand time on the slopes. Skiing neophytes can also visit Avon to take lessons.

For people who love the sea and water sports, there are a number of excellent places in Bristol which can guarantee you a whole day of fun and adventure. Foremost of these places is the Portishead Yacht and Sailing Club on Bolton Road, one of the country’s leading sailing clubs. Not so keen on sailing? The Portishead Yacht and Sailing Club features a roster of trained professionals who specialize in teaching the basics of selling to couples and entire families.

The Avon County Rowing Club is perhaps one the region’s oldest and most prestigious rowing clubs. It was built over a century ago at Saltford and caters to guests of all ages and abilities. Training is available to all visitors as well as to coaches and umpires. In just a few short lessons, even a beginner can learn to perfect some masterstrokes.

Bristol is also filled with swimming pools galore which are run by the local council of by independent businessmen. It also houses venues for trout fishing such as the Bristol Water Fisheries on Stoke Hill in Woodford Lodge. It’s equipped with special boats for the handicapped.

Speaking of the handicapped, the Bristol Ability Sports Club is a special centre that offers a wide range of sports activities for disabled people. Highly qualified coaches are on hand to lend their support. The Club is located at St. Paul’s Community Sports Academy on Newfoundland Road.

When it comes to sports, the most popular sport around is still football and there are plenty of venues to cheer for the home team or even to get in on the action.

The city has two main professional football clubs, Bristol City and Bristol Rovers. They belong to separate leagues but both team share the ardent support of locals all across the city.

Established in 1883, the Rovers currently competes in the Football League Two. Their home games are played at the Memorial Stadium on Filton Avenue.

The Bristol City Football Club is the more popular and successful of the city’s two pro clubs. Their home games are played at the Ashton Gate Stadium on Ashton Road. As the home team, they are heavily involved in local events and are well-loved by the community. The Ashton Gate Stadium also hosts a number of activities for people of all ages, mainly football and rugby events.

Meanwhile, the city also has a host of excellent soccer schools such as the Brazilian Soccer School and the Jamie Shore Soccer School. They’re excellent venues where kinds learn about ball control and the fundamentals of the game as well as discipline and team spirit. Rumour has it that the next Pele will be coming out of these schools in a very short time.

On the other hand, if you’re over the age of 18, it doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to the game you love, especially in Bristol. The city has many indoor football facilities where the older and working set can show off their skills during their lunchtimes or during weekends. The competition in these places is evident every day. There are also several sports centres that provide football lovers with five-a-side games. Among the most prominent of these venues are the St. Paul’s Community Sports Academy on Newfoundland Road and the Hengrove Athletic Academy on Norton Lane in Whitchurch.

Sporting Events Around the UK This Summer That Aren’t the Olympics

So much attention has been paid to the Olympics. Of course, it’s a great honour to host such a major sporting event, but, unfortunately, not all of us can afford tickets and a trip to overpriced London during the July to August games period. Thankfully, sports is high on the agenda in many other British cities this summer too. So if you’re looking for an active holiday destination for yourself, family and friends, consider some alternative options.


Brighton will be a hive of physical activity this summer. From June 23rd to July 8th TAKEPART festival offers a jam packed programme of sporting events for all ages. Just some activities you could be taking part in are the massive Zumba scheduled to take place in Preston Park on 23rd June, karate, healthwalks, sailing, street dance and many, many more.

Paddle Round the Pier returns to Brigton this year too. It’s known as Europe’s largest annual free beach festival and takes place July 7-8. Any proceeds raised go to charity. Events include paddling, surf and sailing competitions, as well as land-based sports such as skate and BMX racing.


If you’re seeking a sports-related adrenaline rush, Leeds is a good place to go. On Sunday 17th June you could be taking part in the Mencap Abseil Challenge. The charity event will see brave participants abseiling an incredible 30 metres down the side of the city’s central Met Carnegie. The speed of your descent is up to you… Any money you raise will go to the good cause of supporting over 250 families with a learning disability in the Leeds area per week.

Leeds will welcome the Olympic flame by hosting the Leeds Loves Sport festival from June 18th to July 1st. The calendar of events includes some of the city’s largest law firms competing in corporate games, sports centres offering free swimming sessions, and organised park runs.

Toddlers can do sport too! June 20th will see The Barnardo’s Big Toddle held at Temple Newsom House and Park. The short, sponsored walk saw almost 500,000 toddlers take part last year. Organisers expect more this year. It promises to be a great sight to see! All money raised will go to local Barnardo’s charity projects.


Bristol locals and visitors are in for a summer of fitness. One of the year’s biggest sports initiatives is the 46 ping pong tables to be distributed throughout the city’s parks and public spaces on June 29. The Ping! Bristol tables will be available for a month, free to use, and coaches will be on hand to teach beginners how to play, and give tips to more advanced players.

The first month of summer will also see the return of the Ritchey Bristol Bikefest 2012 that kicks off on the Ashton Court trails on June 9th. On day one participants get to show off their fitness levels during the 12 hour team/solo endurance race, while on day two there’s a ‘mere’ 6 hour team/solo event, and 3 hour-long novice event.

Looking to flex those muscles even more? Check into a Bristol city hotel with a gym on site.