You wouldn’t think of sunny skies and crashing waves when visiting the United Kingdom, but there is a seaside city that would beg to differ. Located just south of London, Brighton is a gem of a city.
With its funky sights and Boho vibe, it’s easy to understand why it conjures up unforgettable summer nights for many locals and Britons — if they can remember it. The city paints an unforgettable contrast of raving neon clubs against the backdrop of beachside calm, sharing with you its brand of eclectic craziness.
Indeed, Brighton is a city that packs a punch because of its electrifying and over-the-top atmosphere. The calm of the sea is amazingly contrasted by the ornamental buildings and bright and bustling city streets.
How to Get There
Transportation heading to Brighton is quite accessible. The first option is to take the train from London, with two major links serving the area, Thameslink and Southern. From London, get off at Queens Road station that is just a 10-minute walk away from the centre. Buses and taxis are also available outside of the station if you prefer not to walk.
The second option is to fly to London Gatwick Airport. Upon arriving, you may take the train that is only 30 minutes away and you get dropped off at the city centre.
Being a small city, it’s highly discouraged to drive around in Brighton due to limited parking. The best and easiest way to explore is to take public transportation. The city has many options for you and it will all depend on your preference. Firstly, you may take a cab to and from the city with its service available for 24-hours. They are also easy to find especially if you visit the city’s main taxi ranks located at East Street, Queen’s Square, and Hove Town Hall. You may also visit Journey On to see a map of all the ranks in the city.
Another option would be the bus, a safe and environmentally friendly way to explore. Bus fares usually start at £2 because fares change at times. To be sure, you may check the website for the latest updates.
Taking a bike around is also a recommended option since it offers an enjoyable way to get around and see the beachfront. It is quick and easy given the established cycle paths that run from east to west. You may rent bikes from various shops in the city.
Like most of the cities in Britain, the most favored way to get around is walking. With almost everything in Brighton being a stone’s throw away from each other, it is fairly easy to see what you want and get what you need on foot.
Top Things to Do
Navigating your way around Brighton is quite easy mainly because its landmarks are extremely distinguishable. An example of this would be The Royal Pavilion that seems to transport you to India because of its Taj Mahal-like silhouette and ornamental decor.
It used to be the vacation home for George, Prince of Wales, but it’s now transformed into an art gallery and museum. If you wish to visit, the entry fee is £15. From here, you can drop by the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery that showcases art pieces from ancient Egypt, 20th-century fashion, and contemporary exhibits.
Being in a beachside city, it would be a shame not to visit Brighton Palace Pier. Having been around for over a century, this pier has gone through a lot, surviving two world wars and the battering of countless storms. You will find a lot of arcade games and rides that is a must-see if you are traveling in a group.
For a less carnival-like feel, go to The Lanes, a neighbourhood that houses a lot of independent cafes, vintage shops, and bookstores. Did you know that these are all in 16th-century buildings? Going for a walk here would be a good place to spend the afternoon. While you are at it, drop by the birthplace of the confection revolution, Choccywoccydoodah.
Going around the city, you would notice that it is littered with rainbow flags which adds a lot more colour to the already ornamental city. Being Britain’s LGBTQ capital, this is understandable. If you are interested to know more about how this happened, going on a walking tour would be the best. It is also a good way to go around since this tour takes you to The Lanes to the “Gay Town” of Kemptown.
What to Eat
With all the walking in Brighton, you would need a way to power through the day. Thankfully, the food selections in the area are as good and adventurous as the city. Your first stop should be Terre á Terre, Brighton’s most celebrated vegetarian restaurant. For such a green city, it is easy to understand why this restaurant claims that it is a place where vegetarianism is an indulgence rather than deprivation. Before going here, make sure to book a reservation given the crowds it gathers.
You also cannot miss the seafood delicacies the seaside city has to offer. If this is what you fancy, make sure you go to English’s of Brighton. Serving for 75 years now, this is a paradise if you want a taste of Essex oysters and locally caught lobster. Moshimo is also a good place to get some fresh seafood so it makes it a really good place to get some sushi. With over 50 offerings, eaten in the classic Japanese conveyor belt style, it would make you so full.
The drinking scene in Brighton is also as good as its restaurants with a club or pub in almost every corner of the city. For a good drink further amplified by amazing music, make sure you go to The Prince Albert. You will immediately notice the bar once you get off of the station because of its over-the-top mural of famous 20th-century artists.
Meanwhile, BYOC is pretty new in the scene and it has quite an interesting way of serving customers. Short for Bring Your Own Cocktail, the entire premise of the bar would be to bring your favorite spirit, and you’ll just be surprised with what the bartenders mix it with. This place would be ideal for people who are into making and mixing cocktails and those who are after a different kind of drinking experience.
Where to Stay
If you are a first-timer in the city, it has been recommended that you stay in the area of North Laine. It’s the city’s cultural and bohemian epicentre. Staying in The Lanes is the best option if you are on a budget. It’s also where you can find most of the independent cafes and restaurants that are generally affordable.
Kemptown would be the best choice if you want to be near the party scene because from here you will immediately see the trendiest bars and clubs that are all near each other.
• Plan your trip by checking out the latest events that range from food, theater, art, and parades.
• May is the peak of the summer season so it gets crowded with tourists coming from different parts of the city.
• Be adventurous with your food and drinks since some experiences are only found in Brighton.