Brighton and Hove beach huts - Brighton, United Kingdom
Known as the UK’s LGBTQ Capital, and boasting the UK's only Green MP, Caroline Lucas - Brighton prides itself on its reputation as a cultural and environmental powerhouse. Once the destination for curative sea-bathing, people have been flocking to Brighton for hundreds of years. But it's not just the beautiful pebble beach that attracts visitors to its bohemian territory from all over the world; the city hides a plethora of riches in its diverse streets. Since it's popular getaway choice (especially for Londoners), there are a bunch of budget hotels, hostels and B&Bs catering to every pocket. From plentiful pubs to offbeat restaurants, quirky graffiti and a fantastic pier, there is A LOT to do in the gorgeous coastal city. However, here's my list of non-cliche things to do in Brighton, if you're visiting for just a two-day weekend.
Depending upon where you're arriving from, I suggest a relatively early start to get the full Brighton experience. Train tickets must be booked in advance in order to bag cheaper prices. Visitors who fall under the 'student/18-30/60+' category, are lucky to avail half-priced tickets, provided they have valid/relevant UK rail cards (currently available to UK citizens/residents only).
St. Pancras International, London, United Kingdom
1) Bagelman Breakfast:
Brighton presents unique culinary experiences right off the bat. Bagelman is no ordinary bagel house. With only two branches in the UK (one in London and the other in Brighton), this little shop situated inside the train station is a haven for carb lovers. It caters to possibly every single dietary requirement, offers a variety of bagels to choose from and individual fillings. Their salmon and cream cheese bagel is a personal favourite, and I genuinely can't recommend it enough. Bagel prices start from £2.5, depending upon personal fillings and preferences.
Bagelman, Brighton Station
2) The Lanes and its Murals:
Small, but perfectly formed, the labyrinth Lanes guard a trove of shiny treasures – antiques, jewellery, markets, bakeries and enough restaurants to fill an afternoon. The salt from the sea is nearly perceptible here – but please do NOT rush! The twisted alleyways also present a plethora of brightly coloured murals, with a new one popping about every few weeks. The latest one is based on Alice in Wonderland, right at the entrance of Hanningtons Lane. Uniquely designed in 3D exposure, it is another well executed eye-candy added to the Lanes.
Alice in Wonderful Mural - Hannington's Lane, Brighton
3) Afternoon Tea at That Little Teashop In The Lanes:
Exploring the Lanes often results in collective rummaging of stomachs. While there are plenty of upmarket cafes to take care of said hunger pangs, very few come close to That Little Teashop In The Lanes. Beautifully decorated with turquoise coloured cutlery and a vintage interior, this dainty little tea shop is tucked away from the modern world in the quaint North Laine. It offers an excellent afternoon tea, separate selection of handmade cakes, excessive tea flavours and a stepping-back-into-time atmosphere. With generous portions and reasonable prices, afternoon/cream tea with scrumptious scones will only make you £9 poorer.
That Little Teashop In The Lanes - North Laine, Brighton, United Kingdom
4) Exploring The Royal Pavillion:
The flamboyant charm and vision of George IV is responsible for the iconic Pavilion, which is still holding court in the heart of Brighton approximately 230 years later. Richly eccentric, the one-time pleasure palace of a robust, gambling good-timer blends Mughal and Islamic architectural traditions with stunning results. Museums and art shows located within the pavilion are ticketed (£12.30 per adult), with free access only for Brighton residents. However, the gardens are free and open to the public all year round.
The Royal Pavillion, Brighton, United Kingdom
5) Detour to Kemp Town:
The coastal city has no dearth of colourful streets however, making a detour straight out of the Lanes and The Royal Pavillion brings visitors to one of Brighton's hidden gems. Kemp Town, or Blaker Street, has a beautiful row of the most brightly coloured houses. It's like Notting Hill in London; only better and much less crowded! Perfect for a stroll and some classic photo-ops. It also provides a beautiful view of the beach and the pier in the distance.
Kemp Town, Brighton, United Kingdom
6) The British Airways i360:
The world’s tallest moving observation tower climbs the sky, as visitors jump aboard a moving glass pod. From 162 meters up, it lends panoramic views of the city, the South Downs and, on a clear day, even the Isle of Wight. There is also an on-site pub/snacks station, as well as a souvenir shop. The journey takes around 25 minutes in total and costs £14.85 if booked online; £16.50 at the door.
162m up in the sky! British Airways i360 - Brighton, United Kingdom
7) The Seafront:
It may sound like a no brainer, but no trip to Brighton would be complete without a bumpy seat on the city’s infamous pebble beach – better yet, take a ride on candy-floss painted horse on the classic carousel before renting a striped deck chair to watch the sunset.
8) Brighton Palace Pier:
Cheap thrills, spills and stuff-your-face fills await on this icon of a bustling seaside retreat. To the west, you can glimpse the Pier’s elegant, fading sister – the West Pier – still standing regally in the distance. The Brighton Wristband (online price - £17.50) gets you access to as many crazy rides as the child in you desires. The Brighton Pass, however, can be bought from one of the many on-site kiosks; topped up with specific, individual rides. These start from as little as £2, and Horror Hotel is my personal favourite! There are unlimited ice cream shops, candy-floss kiosks, coffee vendors, mini-golf courses, tarot card readings and so much more.
Horror Hotel - Brighton Palace Pier
9) Brighton Marina:
One of Europe’s largest marinas and a village in its own right, Brighton Marina boasts restaurants, a cinema, and even glow-in-the-dark dinosaur mini-golf. For those who want to get in the water, there are diving courses and jet ski rental – with picturesque views of the moored yachts.
10) Dinner at Food For Friends:
An ever-inventive choice of vegetarian and vegan food keeps bringing locals back for seconds and thirds! Kept fresh-looking and as popular as it has been since 1981, you should be prepared to wait for a table on busy shopping days. Dessert just as finger-licking as the main course; their warm honey cake drizzled with mixed fruit, toffee sauce and caramelised bananas is absolute perfection. It's a little on the pricier side (but worth it), with a meal costing £12-15 per individual.
Sweet potato and aubergine tart - Food For Friends, Brighton, United Kingdom
Brighton obviously deserves a lot more time than just a weekend or 48 hours. However, these activities will keep your travel itinerary full without feeling rushed, and your mood perfectly happy for a good couple of days. Happy exploring!