Best things to do in Brighton

A friendly guide to the seaside Gem

Welcome to Brighton, the vibrant seaside city on the southern coast of England! Known for its eclectic mix of historic charm and modern flair, Brighton is a top destination for travelers seeking a blend of relaxation, culture, and fun. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Brighton lover, this guide will walk you through the best things to do in this lively city. Get ready to explore Brighton’s must-see attractions, hidden gems, and everything in between!

1. Stroll Along the Brighton Palace Pier

Why Visit?

Brighton Palace Pier is an iconic landmark that offers fun for all ages. Stretching out into the English Channel, the pier is home to amusement rides, arcades, and classic seaside fare like fish and chips and candy floss.

Highlights

  • Amusement Rides: Enjoy thrilling rides like the Crazy Mouse roller coaster or the traditional carousel.
  • Arcades: Test your skills on various arcade games and win some fun prizes.
  • Seafront Views: Take in stunning views of the coastline and the city from the end of the pier.

Insider Tip

Visit the pier in the evening to see it illuminated with colorful lights, creating a magical atmosphere perfect for a romantic stroll or family outing.

2. Explore the Lanes

Why Visit?

The Lanes are a maze of narrow, winding streets lined with quirky shops, cozy cafes, and unique boutiques. This historic area of Brighton is perfect for those who love to shop, eat, and discover hidden gems.

Highlights

  • Independent Shops: Browse through an array of independent stores selling everything from vintage clothing to handmade jewelry.
  • Cafes and Restaurants: Stop for a coffee at a charming cafe or enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants offering a variety of cuisines.
  • Street Art: Keep an eye out for vibrant street art adorning the walls of The Lanes.
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Insider Tip

Visit The Lanes early in the morning to avoid the crowds and enjoy a leisurely breakfast at one of the local cafes.

3. Relax on Brighton Beach

Why Visit?

Brighton Beach is a pebble beach that stretches for miles along the seafront, offering a great place to relax, swim, and enjoy the sea breeze. The beach is lively, especially in the summer, with locals and tourists soaking up the sun.

Highlights

  • Brighton i360: Take a ride on the British Airways i360, a 162-meter tall observation tower, for panoramic views of the city and the coastline.
  • Beachfront Bars: Enjoy a refreshing drink at one of the beachfront bars while watching the sunset over the water.
  • Water Sports: Try your hand at paddleboarding, kayaking, or even windsurfing for some added adventure.

Insider Tip

Bring a blanket or beach chair to make sitting on the pebbles more comfortable, and don’t forget to pack a picnic for a fun day out by the sea.

4. Visit the Royal Pavilion

Why Visit?

The Royal Pavilion is an extraordinary former royal residence built in the Indo-Saracenic style, reminiscent of Indian architecture. This opulent palace offers a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of King George IV.

Highlights

  • Guided Tours: Join a guided tour to learn about the fascinating history and architectural details of the Royal Pavilion.
  • Gardens: Stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens surrounding the palace, which are free to enter.
  • Museum and Art Gallery: Explore the nearby Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, which houses an impressive collection of art and artifacts.

Insider Tip

Purchase a combined ticket to the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum & Art Gallery for a full day of cultural exploration at a discounted price.

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5. Discover Brighton Marina

Why Visit?

Brighton Marina is one of the largest marinas in Europe, offering a plethora of activities, dining options, and shopping opportunities. It’s a great place to spend a day exploring, dining, and enjoying the waterfront.

Highlights

  • Boat Trips: Take a boat trip around the marina or out to sea for a unique perspective of Brighton’s coastline.
  • Dining: Choose from a variety of restaurants and cafes offering everything from seafood to Italian cuisine.
  • Shopping: Browse the shops at the marina for fashion, gifts, and more.

Insider Tip

Check out the weekly car boot sale at the marina for some great bargains and unique finds.

6. Enjoy the Nightlife

Why Visit?

Brighton is known for its vibrant nightlife, with a wide range of bars, clubs, and live music venues to suit all tastes. Whether you’re into dancing the night away or enjoying a quiet drink, Brighton has something for everyone.

Highlights

  • Live Music: Catch a live gig at iconic venues like Concorde 2, Brighton Dome, or the Green Door Store.
  • Pubs and Bars: Enjoy a drink at one of Brighton’s many pubs and bars, from traditional British pubs to trendy cocktail bars.
  • Clubbing: Dance until dawn at popular clubs like Patterns, Coalition, or The Arch.

Insider Tip

For a more laid-back evening, head to the North Laine area, where you’ll find a variety of cozy pubs and quirky bars with a relaxed atmosphere.

7. Take a Day Trip to the South Downs

Why Visit?

Just a short drive or train ride from Brighton, the South Downs National Park offers stunning natural beauty and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. It’s the perfect escape for those looking to experience the great outdoors.

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Highlights

  • Hiking: Explore the many hiking trails that crisscross the South Downs, offering breathtaking views of the countryside and coastline.
  • Cycling: Rent a bike and cycle through the rolling hills and picturesque villages of the South Downs.
  • Picnicking: Pack a picnic and enjoy a meal surrounded by nature at one of the many scenic spots in the park.

Insider Tip

Visit Devil’s Dyke, a deep valley on the South Downs, for some of the best views in the area. It’s a popular spot for paragliding, so you might even see some adventurous souls soaring above.

Conclusion

Brighton is a city that effortlessly combines the charm of a seaside town with the energy of a bustling metropolis. With its rich history, vibrant cultural scene, and endless opportunities for fun and relaxation, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful city. Whether you’re exploring the historic Royal Pavilion, relaxing on the beach, or enjoying the nightlife, Brighton promises an unforgettable experience. So pack your bags and get ready to discover the best of Brighton – you’re in for a treat!