Brighton is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in England, it’s even a strong contender for the best places to visit in the UK. There are so many fun things to do and places to visit in Brighton, and in this blog post I’m going to share some of my favourites with you!
What makes Brighton one of the best places to visit in the UK is the colour within the city. Brighton is full of colourful houses, stunning street art and rainbow flags, best known for being the LGBTQ+ capital of the UK. But that’s not all it’s got going for it! The alternative lifestyle, the buzzing nightlife, shopping on the Lanes, fish and chips on the pier and the surrounding countryside for wonderful walks in England make Brighton a unique place to visit on your UK road trip!
Whether you’re staying in Brighton for a weekend, or just a day, you will definitely have time to explore and enjoy some of the best things to do in Brighton. Don’t forget to pack your camera, so that you can take photos of the wonderful street art and colourful streets in Brighton!
Prior to this recent visit, I hadn’t been to Brighton in years. It was about time I went back to enjoy this city with a pair of fresh eyes, so I packed an overnight bag and headed to the English coast. As usual, I packed in a load of exploring during my weekend in Brighton and have shared all of my top tips, finds and information in this Brighton blog with you!
In this Brighton travel guide I am going to share with you the best places to stay in Brighton, the best things to do in Brighton, the best places to visit in Brighton and my favourite adventures so far.
Other travel guides you might find useful…
- 30 places you must visit in the UK
- 28 best places to visit in England
- My weekend guide to Brighton
- The best things to do in England
- 18 unique things to do in England
- The best places to visit in Surrey, England
- The best things to do in Cornwall, England
- Top things to do in Bournemouth, England
- Weekend guide to the Isle of Wight
- The 15 UK National Parks on a map: Which should you visit?
Where is Brighton?
Brighton is a seaside resort situated on the South Coast of England. It’s in the county of East Sussex, and about 1hr from London by train, 3 hours from Bristol, 2.5 hours from Bournemouth, or 4.5 hours from Leeds.
How to get to Brighton…
Brighton is well linked to London and the South East of England by train. Alternatively, you can drive, but parking once you’re there can be tricky.
Once you’re in Brighton itself, everything is within easy walking distance so you won’t need a car to get around.
If you’re in a hotel, AirBnb or staying at a friends, be sure to check the parking situation and whether you have a space allocated. Otherwise it’s a little like London: tricky or expensive. Parking can cost up to £20 a day, which can be a bulky expense on top of your trip.
The train station is right in the centre and walking distance from the centre and the beach front. A great option to avoid car hassle, and more environmentally friendly too!
If you’re coming from further afield, it’s easiest to fly into London Gatwick. But, you can get to Brighton from most London airports and from Southampton Airport fairly easily by public transport.
Where to stay in Brighton…
Deciding on where to stay in Brighton completely depends on the type of stay you are after. Are you looking for a weekend staycation in a coastal bed and breakfast? A cheap hostel room? A luxury seafront hotel? Luckily, Brighton can do it all!
For example, if you want to stay in a hostel in Brighton, YHA have their YHA Brighton hostel. This is the the perfect option for budget accommodation with close access to places to visit and things to do in Brighton. Book your YHA stay here.
If the price is right then grab a hotel in the centre or even on the beach front. Some of my favourite seafront hotels in Brighton include…
- Queen’s Hotel
- Thistle Brighton Hotel
- Umi Hotel Brighton
- The Grand
- Hilton Brighton
- The King’s Hotel Brighton
The first time I went to Brighton, I stayed at The Kings Hotel on the seafront. The location was perfect and it was clean with great service.
Top tip: Hotels can get pretty pricey and booked up in the summer months of June – September. Try and book ahead to secure a good deal & ensure you actually get a bed! Use booking.com for great deals.
If prices are looking too high, then you can often save money booing an Airbnb. Air Bnb is also perfect if you’re looking for more of a countryside experience. See pictures below of the Shepherds hut we stayed in!
Places to eat in Brighton…
Alongside a whole load of fish and chip takeaways, Brighton delighted me with its extensive offering of vegan, vegetarian and health conscious eateries. One of the best things to do in Brighton is to eat your way through the very accommodating and inclusive food scene!
Whatever it is that takes your fancy, Brighton does a flippin’ impressive job to accommodate!
- Fish and chips on the pier. There is no shortage of fish and chip shops if you fancy them!
- The Hilton for afternoon tea with a sea view or a gorgeous Sunday Roast
- The Tempest, where we enjoyed cold ciders, an insane pulled pork burger and a beetroot and goats cheese tart, which was too, amazing!
- Food for friends, in The Lanes, which I would highly recommend. Even if you love a burger you’ll love this restaurant, so don’t be put off by the ‘vegetarian’ thing.
- Meat Liquor
- Marmalade cafe
- Red Rooster
- Harry Ramsden’s
- Tropical sushi
- Sabai Thai
- Yefsis of Greece
- The Bok Shop
- Alcampo Lounge
Brighton of course also has all your usual chain restaurants, as well as plenty more food options along the seafront and in The Lanes. Comment on this post if you have any more recommendations!
Places to drink in Brighton…
Brighton not only has a thriving health and wellness scene, but also an amazing nightlife! (It’s all about balance, right?) One of the best things to do in Brighton is to head to town as the sun goes down and watch the city come to life after dark over a drink or two.
- Juice 42, for gorgeous raw juices
- The Tempest Bar
- Fortune of War
- Riki Tik Beach Bar – A slice of Jamaica, amazing rum punches and right on the beach front!
- Mash Tun Pub for a more laid back atmosphere
- Pitcher & Piano for cocktails (expresso martinis are amazing! Also picks up with music and atmosphere in the evenings)
- The Cricketers, which is the oldest pub in Brighton.
- Concorde 2
- Shuffle Bar
- Twisted Lemon
- Revolution, for a night out
The best things to do in Brighton…
1. Release your inner child at Brighton Pier.
One of the best things to do in Brighton, and certainly one of the most fun, is to remember what it is to play on Brighton Pier. Head to the arcades for a good session of fun and games and then head out and enjoy some of the rides on Brighton Pier before enjoying some fish and chips or fresh doughnuts to recover some of your energy. Make sure you don’t leave without buying a stick of Brighton rock candy!
2. Go shopping in The Lanes and stop for coffee afterwards.
If you’re planning a visit to Brighton you’ve probably heard of The Lanes, a collection of narrow lanes in Brighton city centre famous for their vintage shops and independent cafes. One of the best things to do in Brighton is to spend a morning or afternoon browsing the vintage and independent shops, stopping for coffee when you need a break.
3. Explore Brighton’s cultural, arts and music scene.
Brighton is pretty famous for having lots of fun things to do and unique events! See whats on at The Brighton Centre if you’re looking for live music, or what’s on at the The Brighton Dome if you’re more into theatre and dance. Alternatively, head to Brighton and keep an eye out for spontaneous events when you’re there: I was lucky enough to stumble across a VW camper exhibition!
4. Eat all the food, and then some more.
As well as all the foodie suggestions above, there are two more fun things to do in Brighton if you’ve got a sweet tooth. First, watch Fudge being made in Roly’s Fudge Pantry & choose your favourite from the numerous flavours. Just make sure you take some home for souvenirs!
Alternatively (or additionally!) you could book onto a cake making class at www.angelfoodkitchen.co.uk – this would definitely be one of the best things to do in Brighton when it’s raining!
5. Head to Globalls for some fluorescent crazy golf!
Globalls has got to be one of the most fun things to do in Brighton… glow in the dark, flurorescent crazy golf! In teams of up to 5, take on the mini golf courses surrounded by positive, bright colours. Who’s going to get the first hole in one?!
6. Enjoy a morning walk along the seafront with a coffee in hand.
While you’re in Brighton, take advantage of being near the water! One of the best things to do in Brighton is to get up early, grab a takeaway coffee, and head out for a seafront walk in the sunshine. The pier is particularly beautiful at sunrise if you’re an early riser, but if not, don’t panic – sunset is stunning too!
7. Hike Devil’s Dyke for amazing views of South Downs National Park.
Take the 77 bus to Devil’s Dyke in West Sussex for some stunning views across South Downs National Park through the countryside. The hiking trails here are some of the best walks in England.
If you’re thinking of extending your stay in Brighton, check out more of the best things to do in South Downs National Park here.
8. Head up the British Airways i360 for panoramic views.
If you’re looking for panoramic views across Brighton, Sussex & the South Downs, and the Isle of Wight, going up the British Airways i360 must be on your list of best things to do in Brighton. The 360 views are in the name, and you get to enjoy them all from the glass pod at the top of this 450ft tower. You can also climb an additional 30m to the top of the tower if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush! Check out tickets here.
9. Learn about the Sussex dolphins on a sunset wildlife cruise.
Golden hour is beautiful… but when dolphins are involved, it’s much more exciting! Sightings of these beautiful creatures this close to the coast are rare, but one of the best things to do in Brighton is to enjoy a Sunset Wildlife Cruise to learn about Sussex dolphins, see the city from a new perspective, watch the sun go down, and support a great charity!
10. Enjoy a bike or walking tour of Brighton.
If you’re short of time in Brighton, one of the best things to do so that you see more of the city is to take a bike or walking tour.
Bike hire is available in many places in the city, or you could book onto a the Jolly Explorer’s Brighton Bike Tour for a guided experience!
Prefer being on foot? Brighton is a really walkable city, so you can also enjoy a walking tour around the main parts. If you’ve seen a fair amount of Brighton and you’re looking for a more specific walking tour, try a street art walking tour or this walking tour to learn about over 200 years of LGBTQ+ history.
11. Do the Brighton zip wire along the beach front!
The Brighton zipwire is the longest on the South Coast, and definitely one of the most fun things to do in Brighton! There are twin wires, so why not do it alongside a friend?! Book here.
12. Check out the street art and colourful houses in Brighton.
If you’re looking for bright colours and unique street art, Brighton is the place to be. From the Banksy Kissing Police piece outside the train station, to John Lennon on Upper Gardner Street, there are plenty of places to see really cool street art in Brighton.
Blaker Street is one of the best places to see the colourful houses that Brighton is famous for, but there are many more too. For more colourful streets to visit in Brighton, check out this post by Global Traveller Charlotte.
13. Wake up and reconnect at Beach Box Spa.
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Brighton, Beach Box Spa is where you want to be. Beach Box is an all year around wood-fired public beach sauna spa, based on Brighton beach. There are 4 unique saunas to choose from, each with stunning views of the beach and Pier so that you can really escape the hustle and bustle of the city, relax and check in with yourself. You can also opt for handmade body treatments, leaf whisks and ice baths!
14. Enjoy a big screen movie experience with Luna cinema.
One of the best things to do in Brighton is definitely heading to the Luna Beach cinema in summer to enjoy movies from the beach. Pack your popcorn and enjoy the ultimate summer cinematic experience, watching popular movies on the 10-metre outdoor LED screen. Check the summer schedule here.
15. Tour the Royal Pavilion.
We couldn’t write a list of the best things to do in Brighton without mentioning the Royal Pavillion, one of the most beautiful buildings in Brighton. What used to be the pleasure palace of King George IV was transformed by John Nash between 1815 and 1823 into one of the most stunning buildings in Britain. Expect a beautiful mix of Regency grandeur with Indian architecture and Chinese inspired interiors.
16. Learn to SUP on Hove Lagoon.
If you’re always seeing photos of people having fun out on the water, but you’ve never done stand-up paddle boarding before and you’re feeling a little apprehensive, make sure you visit Hove Lagoon while you’re in Brighton. At the Hove Lagoon Watersports centre they’ll take you through the process step-by-step so you’re feeling more confident for future water adventures!
Already an SUP expert? Check out their SUP Yoga or SUP on the sea sessions, or try something different like wakeboarding or windsurfing!
Have you been to Brighton?
What are your favourite things to do in Brighton? I’d love to know!
Love as always + happy adventuring…
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