Vibrant, quirky and cool, Brighton (or Brighton & Hove, to give it its official name) is one of the country’s most popular seaside destinations. The essence of the city’s appeal is its faintly bohemian vitality. There is a buzz that comes from a mix of holidaymakers, foreign language students, and a thriving LGBTQ+ community. If this sounds like fun to you - explore our pick of the best things to do in Brighton.
The building you see today is the work of John Nash, the architect of London’s Regent Street. In 1815 he redesigned the Prince’s original modest dwelling into an extraordinary confection of slender minarets, twirling domes, pagodas, balconies and miscellaneous motifs. The result defined a genre of its own – Oriental Gothic.
Equally popular with locals and visitors, Only in Brighton's quirky tour answers all the important questions about Brighton life. How did a song performed at the Brighton Dome help trigger the Portuguese Revolution? Why did the Prince Regent need a stiff brandy when he met his future wife? And just what connects Mount Everest and the Hove branch of Tesco?
The highlight of the Brighton Toy and Model Museum is its impressive collection of model railways. Here you'll find an extensive collection of model trains and railway layouts, along with elaborate landscapes, stations and miniature scenes.
Try Brighton Watersports which offers standup paddleboarding, wakeboarding and kayak rental or Lagoon Watersports which offers windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding and wakeboarding. Their sailing school based at Brighton Marina offers longer dinghy sailing courses and high-speed powerboat rides.
Brighton is a perfect option for a seaside weekend getaway. For more weekend ideas in the UK, read our guide to the best UK city breaks.
Outside of London — England is known for its countryside full of history, picturesque villages, patchwork hills, and winding country roads. Explore the countryside with its castles, parks, and historical cities such as Oxford on this tailor-made refreshing English Countryside Break.
A unique feature that particularly attracts visitors to Sea Life Brighton is the Ocean Tunnel, a tunnel that offers a walk where you will be surrounded by sharks, a variety of fish and other stunning sea creatures swimming overhead and around you.
It is a trundle eastward towards Brighton Marina, stopping off en route at the fabulous Yellowave beach sports venue, the perfect spot for a taster of beach volleyball, with six sand courts, plus an excellent café.
Running at the same time is the Brighton and Hove Fringe Festival, which puts on over 700 events. Also, the biannual Artists’ Open Houses Festival, when hundreds of private homes fling open their doors to show the work of local artists.
Get ready to explore Britain on this unique self-drive tailor-made Great British road trip. Choose the car of your liking before you hit the road: from the Cotswolds and its picturesque villages over the Beatle's favourite hang-out in Liverpool to Scotland's capital Edinburgh: this trip includes many highlights to be explored
The southern slopes slant gently down to the sea, while the steep escarpment on the northern side drops abruptly to give spectacular views over the low-lying Weald. West of Arundel, the South Downs become more wooded on their journey into Hampshire, and the boundaries of the national park extend northward to cover the Western Weald, an area of woodland and heathland.
South Downs National Park is recognised as one of the most beautiful places in England. To find even more picturesque English destinations explore our guide to the most beautiful places in England.
In addition to walking and due to the favourable wind conditions, the area is also popular with paragliders and hang-gliders. You'll also find The Devil's Dyke Hotel pub here, which offers visitors refreshments and food.
Beware though; you could spend hours in this shop. It's best to limit your time (and budget), then move on to the Brighton branch of Beyond Retro for – you’ve guessed it – all things retro. For something a little more special try Hope & Harlequin on Ship Street Gardens, who specialise in the bespoke re-creation of event dresses and vintage wedding originals.
And, if you can fit it in, there’s also a craft workshop where you can make your accessories, and a lingerie rack full of saucy handmade delicates – this, combined with copious amounts of English tea and a vintage makeover is an afternoon well spent!
There is tea, cake and champagne to order, and dancing lessons where partners aren’t required – the divine Champagne Charlie is on hand for any single ladies who need a lead. Beware though girls, don’t look directly into those eyes – you may never love again! Each tea dance is themed so be sure to purchase the appropriate attire from some of those excellent vintage shops.
If cocktails aren’t your tipple though, try some of the excellent vintage wines recommended to you by one of the 14 in-house sommeliers – their cellar has over 500 wines from around the world so don’t be afraid to ask for advice. (Many of the wonderful reds go superbly with the fillet steak, might I add.)
You can see the likes of Joe Black, the “gin-drinking cabaret darling and acid-tongued ringmaster”, and world-famous Dolly Rocket, a giant lady with a giant voice, all hosted by the terrific-in-tights Tariq. For an after-party, head to The Mezmerist where you can dance ‘til you drop (or until the lights come on) and there isn’t a chart song in sight.
Find more accommodation options to stay in Brighton
Feeling inspired by our best things to do in Brighton? Discover more unconventional ideas for your weekends with our guide to great alternative UK city breaks.
If you prefer to plan and book your trip to England without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.
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Top image: Merry-go-round, Brighton © MorganStudio/Shutterstock