Photos and articles about Brighton and Hove in the time of coronavirus. See our collection and add your own!

The view from Race Hill

City centre with Isle of Wight in the distance
Photo by Peter Groves

Favourite view

My favourite view of Brighton and Hove is from Warren Road on the Race Hill, towards Elm Grove.  Just before you reach Tenantry Down, the view over the whole of Brighton and Hove is spectacular. It’s even better, if the sun is low in the west, but still strong enough to illuminate the city, with a silhouette of the old workhouse tower, Brighton and the Isle of Wight in the distance!

Excellent vantage point

The entire city and beyond can be seen from this vantage point, with the seafront to the left, the Downs to the right, the city below and Shoreham and Worthing in the distance. Many parts of our beautiful city stand out, Round Hill, St. Peter’s Church and Brighton Station so prominent. The elegant townhouses facing the English Channel can just be seen, with the long bay stretching as far as the eye can see, into the distance.

Brighton Bay?

At sea level, perception of the bay is slight, only from the Race Hill, does the long sweeping arc of the bay become apparent. Strange that the bay at Brighton has no geographical name,  but I think we should name it ‘Brighton Bay’.


Comments about this page

  • I love this view. When we visit Brighton we walk along the seafront from the pier to Rottingdean, catch a bus to the top of the hill and then walk through to Bear Road. Always take a few minutes to admire this view. Never knew we were looking at the IOW in the distance.

    By Iris Trangmar (13/06/2010)
  • There’s no way you can see the Isle of Wight from Warren Road. Shoreham yes, Worthing perhaps but definitely not the Isle of Wight. Maybe with a telescope?

    By Nathan (16/01/2012)
  • Sorry Nathan, you are wrong, there’s around ten or more locations in Brighton where you can very easily see the IoW by eye. Much depends on the weather conditions and position of the sun. Summertime late afternoon or evening is the very best time, when i’s surprising that although seen from high positions in Brighton like Warren Road, Devils Dyke, Ditchling Road, Old Boat Corner, it can also be seen from the following much lower locations; just above The Downsman Pub in Hangleton, top of King George Ave, RSC Hospital, Hollingbury Golf Course, B&H Golf Course and many more. Another even more surprising low location is, just above BHASVIC Dyke Road park. I was most amazed when I first saw it from here, as it’s such a low location. Put your telescope away Nathan.

    By Peter Groves (17/01/2012)
  • Sorry to have to put you right on this Nathan, but when I was working at the Brighton General back in the mid 50s we had one startling day of extremely clear air, (this always was seen as a sign of much rain to come). The atmosphere was so sharp and from the top of what was E block of the hospital you could in fact see the land mass of the IOW, no actual details just a black large land mass that was easy to identfy as the IOW due to size contour and the fact it was an island unattached to the mainland. Yes normally you can only see out to Worthing, generally best at night when seafront lights show. But on rare occassions you can see the IOW from the top of the hill.

    By Ken Ross (17/01/2012)
  • You would be less likely to see the Isle of Wight from Shoreham than Warren Road because of the height difference; you need height to see farther because of the curvature of the earth. The cliffs at Bembridge IoW are clearly visible from Warren Road on clear days; I have even stood at the cliffs at Bembridge and seen the downs and cliffs of Brighton. Nathan you should go to Warren Road on a clear day, look westerly and you will see the IoW cliffs standing out of the sea.

    By Michael Brittain (18/01/2012)
  • This is an issue that causes much argument. Mathematically, the Isle of Wight is just below the curvature of the Earth and so, normally, you cannot see it from the Race Hill, telescope or no.  However, under certain weather conditions (which, as Ken mentioned, usually mean much rain to come!), light is bent around the curvature of the Earth and, under these conditions, the Isle of Wight is visible. The technical name for this effect is a mirage – when you see something that isn’t where it appears to be. This is why some people will insist that the Isle of Wight can be seen and some will insist that it can’t!

    By Paul Fellingham (17/10/2016)
  • Some years ago I took a party of Landscape Studies students on a field trip to Splash Point, Seaford; it was a bitterly cold bright, clear November day and at mid morning you could plainly see the IoW from the beach! from a few feet above sea level.  When I was at Brighton & Hove Grammar the island could be seen from the modest height of Dyke Rd Park at the top of the Twitten (now renamed Crocodile Walk…no…I have no idea why!).

    By Geoffrey Mead (18/10/2016)
  • I will look at the maths later, but I am positive that you can see the I.O.W. from various points, inc the Race Hill, and not a mirage!
    I agree with Geoffrey regarding the view from (the not very high) Dyke Road Park just opposite the Booth Museum, in fact this time of year it is perfect at sun set if it’s a clear evening.  Also the i360 claim that the I.O.W. can be seen from the top, which in fact is very similar height to the Race Hill.  I’ve seen it loads of times from loads of points in Brighton, and not a mirage!

    By Peter Groves (19/10/2016)
  • As the area of the Isle of Wight which can be seen from Brighton is St. Boniface Down which is 790 feet high bringing it well above the curvature of the earth, this means that, weather and conditions permitting, it can be clearly seen from Brighton.  There must be a good view from the i360.

    By Dan O Shaughnessy (19/10/2016)
  • Race Hill is 470 ft; tables available on the net states that at 470 ft you can see 25 miles, not as far as the I.O.W. However, the tables assume a flat surface, just the curvature of the Earth. The I.O.W. is itself quite high, in fact almost 800 ft (same as Ditchling Beacon), it sticks up a long way, and that is why, on a clear day (I’ve always found evening is best), you can easily see the I.O.W. from many high points on the outskirts of Brighton!

    By Peter Groves (19/10/2016)
  • I am wondering about seeing the Isle of Wight from the beach at Seaford with earth curvature and the horizon distance and all the rest of it. I live on the Romney Marsh and when I visit Folkestone I can see France when the tide is right up on a clear day, which is about 21 miles or so across the pond. Seaford is quite a way from IoW. I would love to see a photo of this taken on a clear day.

    By Mick Peirson (20/10/2016)
  • This discussion is interesting. I’ve seen the IOW many, many times from Brighton, most often from Race Hill. I remember one of my children telling their teacher that the IOW was visible from Brighton, and getting most roundly censured. But what do teachers know? Lol. I wonder if any of you learned folk can identify the smaller land mass that I can see to the right of the IOW. I can’t make out if it’s a continuation of the island or of the mainland? Thanks.

    By Janet Beal (20/10/2016)
  • I believe at 430ft high it’s Portsdown Hill you can see Janet, the hill is to the north of Portsmouth. As Portsmouth, Selsey and Bognor are on low lying land, they are not visible above the horizon, this makes Portsdown Hill look like an island on the horizon.

    By Michael Brittain (20/10/2016)
  • I do not often ‘pull rank’ but it was definitely the IoW! I do have a PhD in Geography, teach Landscape Studies and have lived here for (nearly) 67 years, so am 100% confident in my analysis of what was seen.

    By Geoffrey Mead (20/10/2016)
  • On clear days we used to frequently see the IoW from the kitchen window of my Mum & Dad’s ground floor flat at the top end of Poplar Avenue in Hove, close to the now defunct Downsman public house. The image was exactly the same in terms of topography as the one you see from the Race Hill, Devil’s Dyke Road and i360 etc. Evenings can be a good time as Geoffrey says, but it also helps if it has rained heavily either shortly before, or overnight, as this helps clear the atmosphere.

    By Alan Phillips (22/10/2016)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *