Brighton is a small, vibrant city on the south coast of the UK, an hour from London. It’s a popular tourist destination thanks to it’s beach, many pubs and restaurants, and relaxed atmosphere. If you’re coming for a holiday in Brighton, these are the places to try to see:
Everyone who visits Brighton goes to the beach at some point, even though the top is mainly pebbles rather than sand. Just 15 minutes walk from the train station, all downhill, the main area between the piers gets full quickly in the heat of summer, but walk either east or west along the coastal path and you’ll find an empty spot soon enough. To get to sand the tide needs to be low, but the pebbles don’t seem to put anyone off and are often seen as part of the charm of the beach.
The beach front has a few pubs, a restaurant, art galleries and the fishing museum, so you can grab a beer and learn a little about Brighton’s origins while you’re recovering from sunning yourself.
You can’t miss the Brighton Pier from the beach, it’s home to arcades, a fun fair, nightclub and some small shops selling treats. A must for a candy floss and a wander around while you take a break from the beach.
Close to the beach is the Royal Pavilion, Brighton’s best known historic building. Rebuilt and extended for King George IV 200 years ago, it resembles a piece of India dropped in to England. The building is impressive and dominated by minarets and domes, it’s well worth going on the tour to find out it’s full history.
Behind the Pavilion are some small but very pleasant gardens, which were originally larger and laid out by John Nash, the designer of the current Pavilion. The gardens are free to enter and are often used as a sunbathing area during summer lunches before people go back to their office jobs.
On the edge of the gardens is the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, which is also free and houses local designs and artefacts, and visiting art exhibits.
In Brighton you can find a full compliment of mainstream shops that exist in any English town, and two areas of more interesting, mainly independent stores.
The oldest section of Brighton, The Lanes were built to house fishermen and their families. The modern Lanes is known for it’s restaurants, jewellers and antique shops. The tight pavements, little more than alleyways, are very difficult to navigate so it’s best not to try and just take yourself where your nose points.
The North Laine area just south of the train station is home to many of Brighton’s independent shops. If you want a bonsai tree, an out of print album, high class stationery, or a fixed-wheel bike, you can get them all in the North Laine. Indeed, you could get all of these items on a single street within the North Laine. Fiercely independent, the trading association for the North Laine doesn’t allow chain stores in the main streets so this is the best place to come to for strange shops that can’t afford to exist on the high street.
The best part of the Marina is the row of restaurants looking out over the harbour area, where you can eat with a view of the boats and yachts moored there. You have even have your meal on a boat, a converted ship houses one of the most popular restaurants.
After your meal, you can hire a boat or go out on one of the regular cruises? You can take a dolphin tour and even if Flipper isn’t playing ball, you’ll get a different perspective on Brighton from out on the water.
Drive a few minutes north and get to the South Downs, a national park where you can walk or ride in beautiful countryside. Further west Arundel, a historic tourist town which has a castle you can tour, and a lovely wildfowl lake which is home to many rare breeds of bird. If you have a family, taken them east and about twenty minutes drive from Brighton is Drusillas Zoo Park, home to meerkats and other exotic animals, and a large play area for children.
It doesn’t matter if you’re coming for a day or a week, there’s plenty to see in Brighton. You can sit in pubs and restaurants all day and soak up the local vibe, or buzz about visiting museums and galleries. Whatever you do, it should be an interesting and relaxing visit.