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Brighton

  • Known as 'London by the sea' thanks to its cosmopolitan nature, Brighton is an exciting place to be. Britain's first, and still most popular, seaside resort is one of the most liberal towns in the country with a large gay population, lots of vegetarian restaurants and a newly elected MP from the Green Party. Life here seems to pass much more slowly than it is does in London and the big cities of the ...
    © Philip Bird / 123RF
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination United Kingdom

Known as 'London by the sea' thanks to its cosmopolitan nature, Brighton is an exciting place to be. Britain's first, and still most popular, seaside resort is one of the most liberal towns in the country with a large gay population, lots of vegetarian restaurants and a newly elected MP from the Green Party. Life here seems to pass much more slowly than it is does in London and the big cities of the North and the people appear to appreciate it more too. It has a buzzing arts scene, with a host of local painters and photographers and other creative types, as well as loads to keep the family occupied. Brighton Pier is of course one of the main attractions, but there is so much else to do and see including the Pavilion, the aquarium, the independent shopping areas behind the seafront and even the surrounding towns and villages such as Rottingdean and Newhaven. What's more, it is only an hour or so away from London on the train which means a quiet day or weekend away from the big city is within easy reach and won't break the bank.

Brighton: what to do?

You cannot go to Brighton without taking a walk along the famous Brighton Pier. Formerly boasting dining, smoking and reading rooms and at one point a theatre, it is now a more commercial outfit with arcades, fairground rides, souvenir shops and restaurants and bars. Entry is free and you can get a great view back on to the town for a different perspective. The world's oldest operating aquarium, Sea Life Brighton, is a great place to take kids, while just outside is the departure point for the Volks Electric Railway, also the oldest operating of its kind in the world. For a shopping experience you won't find elsewhere, head to The Laines and North Lane.

Probably the most fascinating of Brighton's attractions is the Royal Pavilion. Once a small farmhouse rented out by the extravagant Prince George, it has been enlarged several times over the years. Its exterior recalls Indian architecture while the interior, full of Chinese décor can be visited by the public. Not to be missed is the Indian Military Hospital gallery. If you have time of an evening, why not catch a play at the Theatre Royal just opposite, a famous venue having hosted plays by Noel Coward and Terence Rattigan. Then, head down to the beach and watch the sun setting with the burnt West Pier in the foreground: stunning.

  • Close proximity to London
  • Pleasant locals
  • Creative arts scene
  • Lots to do for the family
  • High standard of hotels
  • Stag do/hen party culture

Reminders

Getting to Brighton is very easy, especially from London. There are trains from several London rail stations including St. Pancras (the Eurostar Terminus), Victoria and London Bridge. The city is also easily accessible from Gatwick airport which is just 45 minutes away by rail. The nearby port of Newhaven has ferry connections with Dieppe in northern France.

To avoid

Brighton is not only a student town (it has two main universities and many English language schools), but it is also a big stag and hen night destination. This means that at weekends, the centre of town can get quite noisy with rowdy, drunk youngsters. If you would prefer to avoid this try sticking to the areas just outside the main town, the Marina for example would be a good compromise.

Brighton: what to eat?

Being by the sea, you won't be surprised to hear that there are many seafood restaurants in Brighton, especially traditional fish n' chip shops. Along the seafront you'll find café-type eateries which, while not especially classy, are cheap and typical of British seaside towns such as Brighton. For something more refined you'll find good fish restaurants in town as well as pretty much every other type of cuisine you can think of. There are also a good number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants around Brighton, some of which are excellent and require reservations in the evening. Don't miss out on an afternoon cream tea at one of the big seafront hotels.

Brighton: what to buy?

There is only one souvenir you need to bring back from Brighton and that is Brighton Rock! These cylindrical sticks are made essentially of sugar and usually have wording running through its entire length so that it can be read at both ends and be seen when bitten into. You can find Brighton Rock with the name of the town, first names and sometimes with patterns running through it and they can be bought in many places in town, along the sea front or on Brighton Pier. If you haven't got a sweet tooth, you may want to see what treasures you can find in the many antiques markets, especially in North Lane, one of the most well known being Snooper's Paradise.

Brighton Reviewedhotels
  • 8.85 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    myhotel
    Brighton - United Kingdom
    Hotel Hotel 0 Etoile(s)

    It is perhaps not surprising to find a hotel based on the principles ...

  • 8.45 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Hilton Metropole
    Brighton - United Kingdom
    Hotel Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    With its history, grandeur and class, the Hilton Metropole probably ...

  • 8.35 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Seattle
    Brighton - United Kingdom
    Hotel Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    Without a shadow of doubt, this is one of the finest hotels in ...

  • 8.2 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Hotel du Vin Bistro
    Brighton - United Kingdom
    Hotel Hotel 3 Etoile(s)

    They very fact that this hotel's name features the word 'bistro' ...

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