Offbeat Brighton may enjoy some of the gloss of London with its gentrified townhouses and sophisticated Regency squares, but the city will always, first and foremost, be a magnet for the eccentrics and creatives of the world. The result is a melting pot of quirky boutiques and eateries combined with sleek restaurants and bars; a destination where markets, festivals and the arts are fully ingrained into daily life.
Whether you want to fill your shopping bags, enjoy original entertainment or simply relax by the sea, Brighton caters to a variety of tastes.
Top things to do in Brighton
1. Hit the beach
Brighton is a city for all seasons and the beach is no exception. Choose to sun yourself on the shingle beach in the summer with an ice-cream in hand or wrap up warm in colder climes for a stroll and a portion of traditional fish and chips.
2. Shop the Lanes
The city is easy to navigate on foot and the Lanes are one of the most enjoyable places to wander until you're thoroughly lost. This criss-crossed network of alleys and squares offers a dose of cafe culture as well as plenty of intriguing, independent stores selling all manner of wares from jewellery to homeware, clothing to gifts. Be prepared to give your credit card a workout.
3. Picnic at the Pavilion
The regal dome of the Royal Pavilion is one of the most recognisable landmarks of Brighton. Built as a pleasure palace for King George IV, it blends regency grandeur with architectural nods to the east. Visit the estate for a guided tour of the interior or enjoy a wine-soaked picnic in the beautiful gardens.
4. Take in a show
In Brighton, every night is show night. The city offers a selection of excellent theatres including the Theatre Royal, Brighton Dome and Komedia, offering top entertainment for an assortment of tastes.
Brighton short break. Enjoy a mix of typical seaside activities on the historic piers and some fine shopping and eating opportunities. Find out more here.
Where to eat?
For the epicurean traveller, Brighton might just be paradise found. With a heavy emphasis on all things locally-sourced, Fairtrade and homemade, there are a variety of restaurants and cafes that can fulfil all manner of dietary preferences and requirements.
Enjoy the warm welcome and lovingly created lunches and breakfasts at the Compass Point Eatery; don your foodie hat at Isaac at Gloucester Street for a spot of fine dining; or treat yourself to afternoon tea at the delectable Cakes the Difference. Alternatively, simply wander the streets with a weather-eye open – you may just discover a hidden gem.
Where to sleep?
For a central location, right on the seafront, the Grade II-listed Brighton Hotel is one of the finest in town, offering home-away-from-home comfort and an excellent view of the famous pier. Alternatively, The Old Ship Hotel is a popular option with its restaurant, cocktail bar and stylishly decorated interior.
Even if you’ve lived your whole life in the UK, there’s always somewhere new to discover. Find out more here.