So you’re planning a fun mini-break on the south coast of England, we would seriously recommend a weekend in Brighton.
We couldn’t recommend visiting Brighton highly enough, it’s packed full of fun stuff and often referred to as ‘London-on-sea’.
Everyone knows that more often than not, when a traveller says they’re going to England, they really mean they’re going to London. Truly, we think they’re missing out and that Brighton should be on every UK visitor’s itinerary.
We’re not denying London is great; oh no, we love it too. But, there is so much more to England than just London.
However, if you’re not quite ready to go “full English” and immerse yourself in quaint villages and rolling Yorkshire dales, then this is the place for you. We have put together a guide to show why a weekend in Brighton should be on your itinerary.
Top Brighton Attractions
Brighton is a city full of amazing free things to do which you would be a fool to miss out on.
No visit to one of the best seaside locations in the UK would be complete without a visit to the beach and a stroll along the pier is a must. Art lovers will enjoy roaming around on the hunt for some awesome street art.
One of our favourite things to do in any city is to get an aerial view from a really tall building. Introducing the British Airways i360 tower. It stands 162m high at the site of the former west pier and is the tallest building in Sussex. If we’re honest it’s mega-ugly but the views are great.
For just £16 you can experience the ride up the “vertical cable car” and get some breathtaking views. You’ll just have to hope you don’t visit on one of the days that it breaks down and stands people up in the air!
Whilst London is famous for its theatrical performances, Brighton has a number of theatres too. The Brighton Theatre Royal attracts West End shows and musicals, whilst the Brighton Dome and the Komedia are famed for their comedy shows. In addition, there are a number of ‘fringe’ theatres for the more cutting edge fans.
If you’re a big sports fan then get to Brighton. The city’s football club Brighton & Hove Albion have recently been promoted to the English Premier League. You can expect to see the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United gracing the playing field at the AMEX stadium, on the outskirts of the city.
The stadium seats approx 31,000 people and is easy to get to using public transport. You can even do a tour for just £13!
If golf is more your thing there are three courses in and around the city. East Brighton Golf Club, Hollingbury Park Golf Course and Waterhall Golf course.
One of the big draws to the city is the Royal Pavilion. Explore the gardens for free or pay the £13 entrance fee for a tour around this beautiful building (10% off if booked online). Re-designed as a seaside pleasure palace for the Prince Regent, George IV, this Asian-inspired architectural beauty houses works of art and furniture.
If you’re spending any time at all in Brighton (especially during May), you will more than likely witness some kind of festival or event. The Brighton Festival runs for the whole of the month, Brighton Fringe runs into June (5th May to 4th June this year!).
The Brighton Marathon happens every year in April whilst Brighton Pride occurs in August. In addition throughout the year various venues both big and small, host events from film screenings to parties.
Brighton Marina is a leisure and entertainments complex. Whether you’re interested in gazing at some beautiful yachts moored in the harbour, some family-friendly fun or you’re searching for some delicious food, Brighton Marina is the place for you. There is an eight-screen cinema, a bowling alley, an indoor glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course and a casino for the gamblers out there. Add to that a whole host of restaurants and cafe and you can’t go wrong.
Whilst it’s not our cup of tea, adults and children alike will enjoy a visit to the Sea Life Centre. It’s no longer just a case of looking at fish in tanks. Marine life feeding, glass-bottom boats and behind the scenes tours are all available. Open seven days a week from 10am, with the last admission from 3pm to 5pm depending on the times of the year. Tickets are available on the door but discounts are available online.
Fit in Some Shopping
If regular high street shopping is what you’re after, then look no further than Churchill Square shopping centre. Located in the heart of the city it offers 80 shops, cafes and restaurants for every budget.
The Lanes and North Laine are one of Brighton’s most famous features. Narrow winding alleyways, lined with independent shops and cafes attract people from all walks of life. You could spend an entire day lazily strolling the lanes, gazing in windows, picking up knick-knacks and even spotting a world-famous chocolate shop on the way.
In addition to the leisure activities detailed above, Brighton Marina also offers lots of retail therapy options. There is the UK’s largest fair trade shop ‘Love That Stuff’ and an E-Bike shop where you can’t rent or buy electric bikes.
Where to Eat and Drink in Brighton
This is one of my favourite parts of any new destination – what can I eat? In Brighton, the answer is pretty much, anything. If you are a vegan or vegetarian you will be especially happy to know that Brighton is an absolute treasure trove of options.
Street Food/Food Trucks
I am a big fan of food trucks and street food. I regularly watch US TV shows whilst drooling over the amazingly sumptuous offerings being served up. Whilst travelling in Asia I was in my element with so many street stalls. Whilst street food is still in its relative infancy in the UK, especially outside of London, there are some to be found.
Just outside the Churchill Square shopping centre, there are (at the time of writing) 3 stalls – A falafel truck selling wraps called Dr Falafel, a Greek food truck and a gourmet hot dog truck. We ate falafel and it was delicious! In addition most Fridays there is a Street Diner food market.
Great Vegetarian Options
Brighton is a meat-free lovers paradise. You can find vegetarian and vegan food at every level. From the Dr Falafel food truck mentioned above to delicious and pricier sit-down options such as Terre Terre and Food for Friends. We can highly recommend Terre Terre on East Street and the Prince George pub on Trafalgar street. If you’re after quick eats there is a small Loving Hut cafe serving vegan-friendly Asian cuisine.
Traditional Fish and Chips
A weekend in Brighton by the seaside has to feature this classic. If there’s one thing you HAVE to do when in an English seaside location, it’s eating Fish & Chips. Don’t worry, there are a number of places that sell veggie/vegan-friendly fish & chips. .
If for some reason you want it indoors, served on a plate and with cutlery, well then you’re doing it wrong.
But if you insist, you will find world-renowned Harry Ramsden’s on the seafront. However to do it properly, i.e. takeaway, with a wooden fork and either wrapped in paper or cardboard tray, get some from the pier or one of the outlets on the beach.
Enjoy a Cheeky Pint!
From traditional English country pubs to swanky cocktail bars there is plenty to choose from. We would recommend visiting Merkaba which is located in the myhotel Brighton. This is a funky cocktail bar with a photo booth and fish tanks!
Where to Stay in Brighton
Check out Airbnb or even House sitting sites. Whether you are looking for backpacker dorm-style accommodation or 5-star elegance, Brighton has something for everyone.
Getting In and Around Brighton
If you’re flying in, getting to Brighton couldn’t be easier. It’s only half an hour by train from Gatwick or 90 minutes from Heathrow via central London. If you want to keep costs low, you can get a coach or National Express bus.
Whilst they take longer they are clean, comfortable and often cheaper than a train. Getting to Brighton from other UK locations is also simple using trains, buses or a car.
Once you’ve made it to Brighton, you probably won’t need to use transport much. All of the ‘best stuff’ is within easy walking distance and is in fact, part of the experience.
If you’re heading up to Brighton Marina or the AMEX arena to catch a football game, you will probably want to hop on one of the many local buses. Otherwise simply enjoy soaking up the atmosphere as you stroll around Brighton.
Places to Visit Outside Brighton
If you’re willing to travel a little bit outside of Brighton, then there are two things you should definitely consider. Brighton is very close to the South Downs National Park, so if you’re a fan of walking/hiking this is for you.
Covering 1,600 square kilometres of varying landscape, from white cliffs, ancient woodland and wide-open pastures, together with beautiful market towns this is a part of old blighty not to be missed.
One of the most famous bits of English is the Battle of Hastings in 1066, which ironically took place in Battle.
Battle is just 32 miles east of Brighton, easily reachable by car or train. Here you can stand on the spot where the country’s future was decided 950 years ago.
Planning a visit to Brighton? Let us know in the comments below…