Brighton, sometimes referred to as ‘London by the Sea,’ is a charming coastal city just an hour from London. If you’ve never had the chance to go, we highly recommend spending some time in this quirky, fun-filled part of the UK. We’re going to share with you how you can spend the perfect day in Brighton.
Not only is Brighton an incredibly welcoming city, but it’s also got plenty in the way of attractions. You can enjoy the seaside, mouthwatering cuisine, and unique shopping opportunities. It’s no wonder Brighton has been home to many famous public figures such as best-selling authors Peter James and Matt Haig.
Here’s how you can enjoy one day in Brighton.
How to Get to Brighton
Getting to Brighton from nearby locations such as London is actually quite easy. If you’re not driving, the easiest way to get there is by train. Southern and Thameslink train lines offer a direct rail link 24 hours a day running from Cambridge through London throughout the day. The train arrives at the mainline station on Queens Road. You can also arrive in Hove then take a very short ride over to Brighton.
When it comes to getting around Brighton, you can get to and from mostly on foot since it’s a fairly small city. Otherwise, you can travel by car, taxi, or bicycle. There’s also an excellent public transportation system if you prefer to travel by train or bus.
A Day in Brighton
There is so much to see and do in Brighton in a day. Since the city is small and walkable, it’s easy to get around and enjoy all that Brighton has to offer. From culture to nightlife and everything in between, a day in Brighton is full of adventure!
Morning: Enjoy Brighton’s Culture Scene
The best way to start your day in Brighton is by enjoying a delicious breakfast. There are plenty of amazing spots to choose from no matter what kind of cuisine or atmosphere you’re in the mood for. Here are a few of our favourites.
- Moksha Caffe: This quirky, family-owned coffee shop creates its own blend of coffee. They also serve breakfast delights including pancakes, crab benedict, and eggs benedict.
- The New Club: Enjoy breakfast with a view at this relaxed diner. Enjoy dishes like pork and beans, vegetarian/vegan entrees, and breakfast sandwiches.
- Cafe Rust: Dine at this rustic cafe indoors or in their charming courtyard outside. Their menu features croissants, avocado eggs, and so much more.
- Mange Tout: This popular French eatery has been awarded Brighton’s best brunch. They’re known for using sustainable, locally sourced ingredients in their dishes like the egg mange tout and omelets.
After breakfast, explore the unique Royal Pavilion located in the centre of the city. This beautiful seaside retreat was built in the late 1700s for the Prince of Whales, George IV. In the 1800s, the home was redesigned into the work of art it is now.
The Royal Pavilion boasts incredible architecture with domes, geometric lattices, and spires, and unmatched interior decorations. The outside is just as remarkable, featuring a gorgeous garden and green space where visitors can also come across wildlife like butterflies, bees, and birds.
Take a Brighton Tour
On your trip to Brighton, we highly suggest taking a tour to get the full experience. There are several options to explore Brighton on foot whether you’re looking to learn more about its history, food, literature, or art.
- Piers & Queers: This tour celebrates Brighton’s welcomed LGBTQ community and it takes you on a vibrant 90-minute walk to the historic city centre and along the beach. Spend time learning about history including Anne Lister’s and Oscar Wilde’s trip to Brighton. Get to know about heroes including an Edwardian ‘drag king.’
- Brighton Food Tour: Wander around and experience diverse sights, stories, and food in Brighton. This leisurely walking tour allows you to indulge in Brighton’s indie food and drink scene. They offer events for beer lovers, foodies, wine snobs, and just about everything in between.
- Quite Literally Tour: Get inspired on a book tour. Enjoy a mini book tour wandering around Brighton and discovering where famous writers like Charles Dickens and Jane Austen found inspiration. There’s also a book tour that will take you on an adventure to settings used by many authors including the Greene Room used in the novel Brighton Rock.
- Brighton Street Art Tour: If art is more your style, this tour is for you! Your guide will take you to find the most creative street art and graffiti created by Brighton locals and visitors from close-by cities such as London and Bristol. After your tour, you’ll receive a voucher to visit Enter Gallery where you can find one-of-a-kind, limited edition prints.
Afternoon: Explore The Lanes, North Laine, and Brighton Pier
An afternoon in Brighton is well spent exploring special areas filled with shopping, dining, activities, and people watching.
For an afternoon of shopping and exploring, start by checking out The Lanes. The historic Brighton Lanes consist of narrow city streets easily travelled by foot. This lively area features unique cafes, various shops, and antique stores. Whether you’re looking for eccentric art, vintage clothing, or an afternoon cocktail, there are all sorts of goodies to be found within The Lanes.
If you’re ready for lunch, there are a couple of delicious spots to check out. English’s of Brighton is Brighton’s oldest restaurant and serves quite possibly the best fish and chips along with other seafood dishes. If you’re in the mood for some Italian, Zizzi serves pizza, pasta, salads, and more.
Read more: 10 Must-Visit Independent Brighton Bookshops.
About a mile and a half from The Lanes is North Laine. This is also a popular area for dining, shopping, and exploring. It’s a great place to enjoy vegetarian eats and thrift shops. You can even stop and get a tattoo if you’re feeling really adventurous!
Brighton Palace Pier is a must for any day in Brighton. This iconic attraction has been around for over one hundred years. It’s home to amusement rides, restaurants, bars, and ocean views. Wander around the pier and take a stroll on the beach.
Evening: Enjoy Brighton’s Nightlife
Finish your perfect day in Brighton with dinner overlooking the sea. These seafront restaurants offer incredible food and panorama.
- Lucky Beach: This casual beachside eatery offers tables outside for top-notch views. They serve various fish & chips entrees as well as burgers and beer.
- The Salt Room: Savor seafood and grilled meat dishes at this modern restaurant on the water. Indoor and outdoor seating options both offer spectacular scenery. If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, they offer a unique drink menu and cocktail bar.
- Shelter Hall: This pop-up food market by the sea offers independent fare to cater to anyone’s cravings. There’s burgers, pizza, seafood, dessert, and more. Enjoy a beverage and possibly catch some live music.
If you’re looking for a night scene on your trip to Brighton, this fun city has a lot to offer! Many people say that Brighton’s nightlife is the best in the UK.
Whether you’re looking for a casual beer by the ocean or you want to go clubbing, there are opportunities for both. Enjoy cabaret at the iconic Proud Cabaret which features a restaurant lounge, dance floor, and liberal cocktail bar. Brighton also has opportunities for checking out a drag show or a comedy show.
Read More: The Best Cultural Day Trips from London
Where to Stay in Brighton
If you fancy stopping overnight, here are some great hotels in Brighton. They’re all centrally located making it easy to explore the city before and after your night’s rest. And, they’re each close to the beach and the popular West Pier.
This quirky boutique hotel is centrally located. It offers a variety of trendy rooms, beach views, and a lively cocktail bar. Wake up in the morning and enjoy a coffee in the on-site spacious cafe.
Enjoy luxury close to the ocean at Hotel Una. This award-winning hotel is in the heart of the city and offers uniquely designed rooms with a mix of industrial and modern decor. Relax with a beverage in hand at Una’s laid-back yet sophisticated bar. Then, enjoy a tasty breakfast in the morning.
Also centrally located, A Room With a View is within walking distance to the beach. It features a quirky garden space just outside. While there isn’t a restaurant or bar at the hotel, the city’s centre is just a ten-minute walk away. To top it off, each room offers stunning ocean views.