A 12 Hour Guide to Brighton, England
With Brighton being just less than an hour by rail from London, or only half an hour from London Gatwick airport, it was perfect for a quick day trip whilst visiting some friends. We decided to drive, which on one of the hottest days of the year so far, maybe wasn’t the best idea! I would definitely advise getting the train from London, or there’s even a direct rail link from the Eurostar at St Pancras.
The train from London does tend to be the most affordable when you compare it against the cost of petrol and parking for a car. We got a bit of a shock at paying £5 an hour in the NCP! The average cost of trains from central London are between £18-£25 single, or they’re often cheaper if you have a railcard or travel off-peak.
Having seen Brighton as a bit of an indie hot-spot, it was somewhere I’d always been keen to visit as part of the UK. With Brighton just a short journey away from London - it was finally time to squeeze in a trip.
A classic seaside resort in the South of England, Brighton was much different to my previous comparisons with the likes on Blackpool growing up in the North of England. Developed as a fashionable destination for the great British holiday in the Georgian era, it’s clear this has influenced some of the architecture around Brighton, including the beautiful Royal Pavilion.
Renowned for it’s diverse communities, quirky shopping and large cultural arts and music scene, it’s easy to see how Brighton has been voted one of the happiest places to live in the UK.
With a fondness of growing up a short distance from the seaside myself, I love a trip to the beach! Brighton beach isn’t a sandy oasis however but rather quite rocky, adorned with pebbles. You’ll spot the traditional striped British deckchairs making an appearance lined across the shoreline, with the pier stretching out into the distance behind.
Along the beach you’ll find quirky little shops, galleries, arcades and clairvoyants dotted amongst the arches. One of my favourites was the carousel bar where a wedding was taking place, what a great venue! It's also along here that you'll find various options for the likes of fish and chips and a good old fashioned '99' ice-cream.
Brighton Palace Pier
One of the most prominent parts of Brighton has to be the Palace Pier. With the sound of the fairground rides in the distance whilst candy floss and popcorn scents fill the air, you’re immediately transported back to that classic British seaside nostalgia where everyone is a big kid. Place your bets in the arcade or experience the stomach churning loop-the-loop rides looking out over the end of the pier.
The Royal Pavilion provides an opportunity to whisk yourself away back to the time of King George IV. A combination of regency grandeur and India meets China, the Royal Pavilion is one of the most recognisable buildings in Brighton. If you have time to explore, you can enter the palace and see for yourself. Walk amongst the royal bedrooms, banqueting hall, the great kitchen, reception rooms and hear all about the stories of life inside the Pavilion. Tickets cost £13.50 for an adult or £8 for a child, they do also offer family, senior and student discounts. (prices: May 2018)
The gardens are open to the public and accessible daily for free. Take a picnic and sit outside on the grass admiring the grand architecture, whilst watching the hustle and bustle of Brighton go by, surrounding the Pavilion.
Where to Eat
I’m a firm believer in the good old fashioned chippy and a ’99’ flake ice cream combo for any kind of food at the seaside. However if you’re looking for fresh fish and seafood, Brighton is definitely the place for you. There are various shacks along the seafront offering their catch of the day. A mix of shellfish, cockles, mussels, crayfish, crab - you name it, they’ve got it! The best cheap and cheerful food places can be found along here, however you will be looking to pay more of a premium if you choose restaurant dining instead. We wanted to grab something on the go for lunch by the pier, so chippy and a sausage it was!
If something a little less greasy spoon takes your fancy, head further into the city centre for a wide selection of independent cafes and restaurants catering to all tastes and dietary requirements.
Shopping in Brighton
One of the most famous and popular shopping districts of Brighton is ‘The Lanes’. A shopper’s paradise of independent shops and boutiques, The Lanes is a comprised of twisting alleyways and cobbled paths.. If you’re a bit of a magpie, The Lanes has more jewellery shops in a concentrated area than I’ve ever seen. Offering up a mix of antique and modern custom designs, there’s something for every taste.
If you're looking to get a sweet treat fix, head to the fabulously named Choccywoccydoodah. With a mix of giant chocolate sculptures and huge slabs, to modest delicate truffles - you won’t know where to look. There’s also a cafe upstairs where you can grab yourself a coffee as the perfect accompaniment.
Will you be heading to Brighton for a weekend break?