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Things to do in Brighton

Brighton is a  small, vibrant city on the south coast of the UK, an hour from London. It's a popular tourist destination thanks to it's beach, many excellent pubs and restaurants, and relaxed atmosphere. If you're coming for a holiday in Brighton, here are some places you must see:

The beach

Just 15 minutes walk from the station, all down hill, the beach is a very popular part of Brighton. The section between the two piers gets full quickly in the summer, but walk either east or west along the coastal path and you'll soon find a spot to call your own. It is rather pebbly, but if the tide goes well out smooth sand will be revealed.

The beach front is home to a few pubs, art galleries, restaurants, and the Fishing Museum, so if the sun gets a bit much, you can grab a beer or a little bit of culture while you cool off.

The Pier

From the beach you can't miss the Brighton Pier (also known by it's older, official name the Palace Pier.) It's home to a number of small shops, two arcades, and a complete fun fair at the end, where you can get amazing views of Brighton from the taller rides. A must for the candy floss and a place to wander around while taking a break from the beach.

Brighton Wheel

Just a minutes walk from the Pier is the Brighton Wheel, a Ferris wheel which gives you views across the sea and up and over Brighton. A 12 minute ride takes you around the wheel three times, giving you a chance to see some of Brighton's lovely architecture from an unusual angle.

The Pavilion

Five minutes walk from the beach is the Royal Pavilion, Brighton's most historic building. Covered in minarets and domes, it resembles a piece of India dropped in to England. Rebuilt and extended for King George IV 200 years ago, the Pavilion runs tours throughout the summer and is well worth a visit as the inside is even more opulent than the exterior.

The Pavilion is set in some small but lovely gardens, originally planned out by John Nash, the designer who re-developed the Pavilion. They're free to enter and provide much needed basking space when the sun is strong and the beach is full. On the edge of the gardens is the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, which is also free and houses local designs and artefacts, and visiting art exhibits.


As well as a full range of mainstream shops that you could find in any English city, Brighton has two areas of mainly independent, more interesting shops.

The Lanes is the oldest part of Brighton and was originally a fishing village. Nowadays, this mainly pedestrian area holds many small cafes and restaurants, a range of pubs, small jewellers and other independent businesses. It's almost impossible to navigate around on a short visit, so just have a wander, get lost in the alleyways, and you should find a gem or two.

The North Laine area holds Brighton's most bohemian selection of shops. Whether you want a bonsai tree, an obscure comic, vintage clothing or a fixed-wheel bike, you can get them in the North Laine. In fact, you could get all of those on Sydney Street, which is one small part of the area. Fiercely independent, the trading association for the North Laine doesn't allow chain stores in the main streets so this is the best place to come to for strange shops that can't afford high street rents.

The Marina

Unless you own a boat, the best part of the Marina is the row of restaurants looking out over the harbour area, where you can eat with a view of the boats and yachts moored there. You can even eat on a boat, one of the most popular restaurants is in a converted ship. After eating, you can take a ride out on one of the many tour boats. You might see a dolphin, but even if they're not playing nearby, you'll get a chance to see Brighton from a unique perspective.

Further afield

Brighton is only a few minutes drive from the South Downs, a national park which can be walked and cycled to your hearts content. Further west  is the historic town of Arundel, with it's restored Castle and wildfowl lake, both worth a trip if you're staying locally for a week or more and it is easily reached by train as well as car. To the east, it's only a 15-20 minute drive to Drusillas Zoo Park, home to many exotic animals including a meerkat enclosure which is a big hit with children.

Whether you're coming for a day or a fortnight, there's plenty to see on a Brighton holiday. You can sit in pubs and restaurants all day and soak up the local vibe, or buzz about visiting museums and galleries. Whatever you do, it should be an interesting and relaxing visit. Check out our range of places to stay in Brighton:

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