Nothing beats the quaint beauty of a British seaside town. From the wild expanses of Anglesey to the sandy beaches of Bournemouth, the British Isles has plenty of coastal wonders. Yet, the best beachfront property is found along the stunning southern coast of England!
Brighton beckons travellers with its unique blend of seaside charm and a healthy dash of eccentricity. With its eclectic culture and quirky mishmash of attractions, this seaside gem promises a beautiful little getaway for sun-seeking travellers.
So in that case, here is your complete guide to exploring the seaside city of Brighton.
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Table of Contents
Where Is Brighton?
Stretched along the seaside front on the English Channel, Brighton is the pinnacle British seaside resort.
Located about 50 miles south of London, Brighton is easily accessible by road and rail. It’s also one of the best day trips for any visitors to the capital and has plenty of transport options available.
How to Get to Brighton
Being a major town city just a stone’s throw away from London and one of the most popular domestic tourist spots in the land, Brighton has a myriad of transport options to take.
Getting to Brighton By Air
If you’re travelling from abroad, Brighton is accessible via one of London’s major airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, or London City Airport.
From there, you’ll need to transfer to another form of transport and you’ll be on your way! Trains and buses run hundreds of routes each day, so don’t worry if you miss one.
Heathrow Airport: Standing 25 miles west of London, you can take the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station and then catch a direct train to Brighton. In total, the journey should take about 1.5 to 2 hours and costs £37.50.
Gatwick Airport: This airport is the closest to Brighton direct trains run straight from Gatwick Airport railway station to Brighton for a 30-40 minute journey and cost £10.50.
London City Airport: This is the furthest option. Take the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) to Canning Town and change to the Jubilee Line to London Bridge. From there, you can grab a train to Brighton for an hour-long journey £23.70.
Getting to Brighton by Train
Brighton is well-connected to the rest of the UK by its extensive railway network. The city’s main station is Brighton Railway Station which is in the city centre.
Prices also change based on availability and have no real rhyme or reason as to the price they have that day.
|London||1 hr 9 mins||£24.20|
|Birmingham||3 hrs 10 mins||£58.70|
|Cardiff||4 hrs 53 mins||£28.50|
|Manchester||3 hrs 53 mins||£54.80|
|Liverpool||4 hrs 21 mins||£49.60|
|Edinburgh||5 hrs 57 mins||£83.70|
Getting to Brighton by Bus
National Express and other coach services run from various locations in the UK to Brighton Coach Station. The journey will take quite a lot longer than a train but a far cheaper option.
|London||3 hrs 15 mins||£3.60|
|Birmingham||5 hrs 30 mins||£44.20|
|Cardiff||5 hrs 50 mins|
|Manchester||9 hrs 55 mins|
|Liverpool||10 hrs 30 mins|
|Edinburgh||13 hrs 45 mins|
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How to Get Around Brighton
Brighton also offers several public transportation options. Yet, the city is so compact, that it’s easy to get around it all by foot.
Getting Around Brighton by Bus
Local buses in Brighton are extensive and efficient, serving the entire city and most of the surrounding area.
It’s the most convenient way of getting about, and at £3.10 for single tickets, it’s the most cost-effective too…other than walking of course!
Getting Around Brighton by Tram
Albeit very small, Brighton also has its own historic tramline Volk’s Electric Railway that travels along the beachfront.
It only stretches for one mile and is mostly a cute little tourist attraction, but a fun alternative nonetheless. At least it’s the most scenic method of travel in the city!
Getting Around Brighton by Cycling
The city is also one of the most cycle-friendly in the UK with many dedicated cycle lanes and bike-sharing services like BTN BikeShare available for locals and tourists alike.
There are a total of 780 bikes available to rent across the city from 82 separate hubs. You can pay as you go for 8p per minute (16p per minute for e-bikes). Otherwise, you could also purchase passes which are priced as so:
- 2-day pass (£12 for 100 minutes)
- 7-day pass (£24 for 300 minutes)
- 30-day pass (£32 for 800 minutes)
Getting Around Brighton by Taxi
Taxis are readily available in Brighton, and you can also use ride-sharing services like Uber. Prices for taxis start at £2.80 and increase to £1.37 per kilometre. Night tariffs start at a higher £3.80.
What to See in Brighton
This iconic seaside resort is one that accentuates not only the charm of a British holiday town but that of cultural quirkiness and stunning individuality. Character and peculiar sites hide around every corner while vibrant streets burst into life beside traditional and some not-so-commercial structures.
In a town with such rich heritage and a lively atmosphere, there are plenty of places to keep you captivated!
Brighton Palace Pier
There’s one thing that you’re always likely to find in any good old-fashioned British seaside resort – a centuries-old pier. Brighton Palace Pier is the city’s true crowning jewel, one that defines Brighton’s ever-growing present and romantic past. In fact, during its heyday, it actually rivalled the iconic Coney Island in New York!
The hub continues to be a hub of entertainment to this day. Along it, you’ll find funfair rides, mouthwatering treats, and of course, many many arcades.
The Royal Pavilion
Amongst the Victorian-era designs and brightly decorated streets of the youthful centres, the last thing you would expect to find is an architectural amalgamation of Indian and Chinese designs!
The Royal Pavilion is a quirky former royal palace, that was built in the early 19th century as a seaside retreat for King George IV, its unique otter designs are only matched by its lavish interior. Within are an equally opulent and exotic Banqueting Room and the Music Room with its stunning dragon-themed decorations among many.
The estate has been meticulously preserved, offering visitors a glimpse into the extravagant lifestyle of the British monarchy.
Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside as the old tune goes, and it couldn’t be more true about Brighton. Lined up against the shimmering waters of the English Channel, this pebble-lined beach is the UK’s equivalent to Acapulco… minus the weather, models and juicy cocktails of course!
The promenade behind it also attracts a litany of restaurants, bars and market vendors too, all you would ever need for a day of entertainment!
While not strictly in Brighton, the Seven Sisters is still a worthwhile trip out of the city! Forming a significant part of the South Down National Park, this stunning series of chalk cliffs on the Sussex coast stretches for roughly 22 miles! You might recognise them too, as they’ve featured in quite a few movies over the years, including Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
The striking pale white cliffs contrast so beautifully with the subtle hues of the pebble-covered beach and rippling ocean. Nature surrounds the cliffs in each direction, making it the perfect place for enthusiasts and nature lovers to enjoy some hiking and striking photo sessions.
Brighton holds the title of the most eccentric city in the entire UK! The city’s diverse range of cultures and accepting nature have allowed for a bright spark of character to persist in the city year-round. North Laine is the best representation of that!
This vibrant neighbourhood is a bustling hub of creativity with colourful storefronts, graffiti-covered walls, and a constant buzz of artistic energy. The streets hold a treasure trove of vintage clothing stores, antique shops, and art galleries where you could spend hours perusing.
Along with hosting regular markets flogging everything you could imagine and plenty of mouth-watering eateries, this neighbourhood continues to prove its ever-evolving nature.
Haven’t we just been here? Well, not to be mistaken with North Laine, the Lanes are another collection of mesmerizing streets hiding some wonderful travellers’ treats.
This historic area boasts a vibrant atmosphere steeped in character and charm. As you walk along the cobbled streets, you’ll come across a captivating assortment of antique shops, jewellers, and quaint independent stores – a true shopper’s paradise.
Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
Housed within a striking 19th-century building, this museum offers a captivating journey through time and history that extends far beyond the shores of Brighton. Its diverse collections span centuries, including everything from ancient Egyptian artefacts to contemporary artworks.
A number of the exhibits also showcase the unique history and cultural diversity of Brighton itself. With many pieces reflecting the artistic spirit of the city, it’s the perfect place to tap into Brighton’s incomparable creativity.
The Undercliff Walk
Remember earlier in this guide I mentioned the Sussex cliffs stretched for about 22 miles, well you can see that for yourself while still in Brighton!
While having far fewer natural landscapes behind them compared to the Seven Sisters, the undercliff walk is still a wonderful little geological slice of beauty. Better yet, it’s within easy walking distance from the city itself!
British Airways i360
As beautiful as Brighton is from the ground, the ultimate view can be found far above it! British Airways i360 is an eye-catching observation tower that offers visitors a unique perspective of the city and its coastline.
Its futuristic design was the idea of the man who built the London Eye! The slender glass viewing pod gently glides up and down the central column, providing vibrant panoramic views encompassing not only the city but the rolling countryside and of course the vast English Channel. On a clear enough day, you might even catch a glimpse of France from across the ocean!
Volks Electric Railway
As we mentioned before, Volks Electric Railway is not only the most unique way to get about in Brighton but also by far the most picturesque! On top of that, it holds the title of being the world’s oldest functional electric railway.
Opened in 1883, this Victorian marvel was initially designed as a tourist attraction rather than any legitimate transport. Stretching along the seafront for just over a mile, the railway continues to guide visitors between Brighton Pier and Black Rock, offering scenic views of the coastline along the way.
Despite facing a number of closures and refurbishments throughout its extensive history, the railway remains a beloved icon in Brighton’s cultural heritage, and always will!
The Open Market
The Open Market is a place almost as diverse as the city itself! Since the Victorian era, this spot has been a centre of commerce and the go-to place for vendors and shoppers alike.
From fresh produce and artistic crafts to vintage finds and plenty of delectable treats, the market caters to a wide array of needs. It also serves as a melting pot of creativity and community engagement by fostering a sense of inclusivity and encouraging the support of local businesses and artists.
Along with its lively atmosphere and regular live music shows, it’s a beautiful reflection of the market’s evolution over time representing Brighton’s dynamic cultural landscape.
Spanning over 63 acres, Preston Park offers a wide range of attractions and amenities for visitors to this wonderful space. With expansive lawns and pristine flower beds, it challenges the vibrant nature of Brighton itself!
After a long day of exploring, it’s the perfect place to escape to some tranquil serenity away from the eccentric energy of the city. Be sure to check out the historical Preston Twins and Rotunda for a bit more architectural wonder!
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What to Eat in Brighton
It’s no secret that British food might not have the best reputation around the world! Yet, Brighton is lauded as a haven for foodies, offering a diverse array of delicious culinary options. As well as the significant influence of the diverse range of cultures that call Brighton home, it’s a culinary guide to mouth-watering international cuisine.
Sadly, Brighton doesn’t have too many unique treats that stem from the city itself, though there are certainly a few British icons that are well worth a try!
Fish and Chips
Is there a more iconic British meal? A true mouth-watering treat that’s made to be eaten when sitting beside the seaside! Just be sure to keep an eye on those pesky seagulls, they will get you!
On the topic of fish, Brighton’s convenient coastal location makes it the perfect spot to sample some freshly caught seafood! Restaurants abound and offer all manner of fruit from the sea – oysters, mussels, crabs, prawns and everything in between! Even better when they’re all thrown together in a paella or seafood platter!
This traditional sweet is a regular feature of every seaside resort in the UK! This colourful rolled hard candy actually originated from Brighton, and has become a must-eat for any trip to the seaside. Shops throughout will sell all manner of designs with different writing running through its centre.
Gelato and Ice Cream
Ice cream and beaches go hand in hand better than anything else! Along the promenade and far beyond you’ll find plenty of places that serve up the finest frozen desserts!
Craft Beer and Local Brews
In vibrant, hipster-friendly places like Brighton, there are numerous local brews and pubs targeted specifically towards serving up some of the finest craft ales produced both in and around Brighton.
Where to Stay in Brighton
Being the pinnacle Victorian-era seaside resort, there has been a vast range of accommodations available in the city for centuries. There are also a number of worthwhile neighbourhoods and places to suit a whole range of budgets. Here is a guide to the best places to shack up in Brighton!
Brighton City Centre
Being in the heart of the city means you’re in the heart of the action. Its perfect walking distance to many of Brighton’s biggest sites including, the Royal Pavilion, the Brighton Pier, and The Lanes.
Kemptown is Brighton’s trendiest area simply bursting with diversity. The area is also known for its vibrant LGBTQ+ community and a litany of independent shops, bars and restaurants. Placed just east of the city centre, it’s the perfect distance from the attractions and at the centre of the city’s action.
Much like our last two entries, this would keep you right in the heart of the city with all the culture and convenience surrounding you on all sides. It also has plenty of shops, restaurants and quirky characters to keep you occupied.
If you’re after more of a peaceful retreat, then Hove is a great option. Placed just west of Brighton, though still within easy reach, the area offers a more relaxed and upscale atmosphere. With some elegant Regency architecture and a tranquil seafront, it’s a nice change of pace.
If you want even more peace and serenity, then finding a place next to Preston Park is a great option! Located just a bit north of the city centre, it’s a quiet residential area surrounded by greenery and peace away from the excitement of the city.
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