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A useful guide to visiting the Ouse Valley Viaduct, West Sussex.

Have you ever wondered what 11 million bricks looks like? See for yourself by taking a day trip to visit the stunning Ouse Valley Viaduct, West Sussex. 7 minutes drive from Haywards Heath or about 20 minutes south of Crawley, the Ouse Valley Viaduct carries the London to Brighton line over the River Ouse. If you've taken this London day trip to the seaside you'll have gone over this historic viaduct on your train!

Built between 1839 - 1842 and designed by John Urpeth Rastrick, the Ouse Valley Viaduct has been described as "the most elegant viaduct in Britain" by the National Transport Trust and it's easy to see why - as you stand beneath the viaduct, the oval shapes of it its 37 red brick arches (technically called "pierced pillars" apparently) create a dizzying optical illusion as you look through them. Standing at 29 metres at its highest point, the Ouse Valley Viaduct isn't the tallest railway viaduct in Britain (that's the Ballochmyle Viaduct in Scotland, standing a lofty 52 metres high!), but its striking and unique architecture certainly makes it one of the most photogenic.

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How to get to the Ouse Valley Viaduct

Located out in the countryside, the easiest way to get to the Ouse Valley Viaduct is by driving, as there aren't any direct public transport links.

Google maps photo of a layby next to Ouse Valley Viaduct
Ouse Valley Viaduct parking

As you can see in this photo from Google Maps, there is an unpaved country layby directly opposite the footpath across a field that leads to the viaduct which is where we left our car. It's free to park here, but spaces are limited - we estimated that the layby would only take 6 cars. To get here, use the address Border Hill Lane, RH17 6QR. Be careful when crossing the road to get into the field as it's busy and cars drive very fast down it!

If you arrive and the layby is full (the viaduct gets particularly busy at weekends and in the peak summer season), you can park at Ardingly Reservoir and walk for about half an hour back to the Viaduct. Use the postcode RH17 6SQ.

If you're visiting by train, the London Bridge - Brighton service stops at Balcombe, the closest village, and from there you can walk through the Sussex countryside to the viaduct.

Bear in mind, this is a much longer walk, about 4 miles, so will take over an hour each way, but it's a beautiful area and a nice way to spend a sunny day!

Useful information for visiting the Ouse Valley Viaduct:

The Ouse Valley Viaduct is free to visit and you don't need to book tickets in advance.

The site is open 24 hours a day but there's nothing to see after dark! We'd recommend arriving early in the morning or later in the afternoon as the viaduct can get very busy!

Once you enter the field leading to the viaduct, be sure to keep to the footpath as the field is privately owned and crops are grown there. If it has been raining, wear appropriate footwear as the path is unpaved and the area under the viaduct can get very muddy.

There are no shops or toilets at the viaduct so bring any food with you and use the toilet facilities at Ardingly Reservoir.

Drones are not permitted at the Ouse Valley Viaduct.

Over 100 trains per day cross the viaduct on the busy London - Brighton route, so you're bound to see a few!

The Ouse Valley Viaduct is Grade II listed and measures 450m long.

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