How to spend a day in Brighton, England

Enjoying the sunshine in Brighton
Enjoying the sunshine at Brighton beach

Brighton has always been a popular weekend getaway for Londoners. Ever since the Victorian times, people flocked to this lovely town on the coast, to escape the hustle and bustle of London. Brighton is only 76 km away from London, which makes for a perfect day trip. I definitely recommend going by train, since you’ll hop off right at the heart of Brighton, only a short walk from the famous Royal Pavilion!

On a summer day, the town will be bustling with students and tourists alike, but I always found it to have a unique, relaxed vibe. The beaches stretching both ways from the Brighton Pier offer plenty of space for everyone to stroll, sit, run, go for a walk, or just chill. In my humble opinion, Brighton has it all: from a former royal residence to beautiful beaches, hipster shops and a unique viewing platform, you will definitely not be bored if you decide to spend a day here. So, without further ado, let’s dive into my top tips on how to spend a fun day by the seaside!

Visit the Royal Pavilion

This fairy-tale like palace is quite a sight from the outside, so you can’t really miss it while walking through Brighton. However, what I’d absolutely recommend is actually visiting its interiors. You’ll be blown away by the lavishly decorated rooms, carved staircases and painted ceilings. But the exhibition inside also show the less shiny aspects of the palace’s history, when it was turned into a military hospital for Indian soldiers during the WWI. The best way to explore the palace is making use of the free audio tour you can simply download on your phone.

Royal Pavilion Brighton
Royal Pavilion, Brighton, England

In the summer months, take your time to walk around the gardens and stop by for a picking in the park. Should you be visiting during winter, there is another treat waiting for you – the famous ice skating rink right in the palace gardens. Can you imagine a more beautiful backdop for channeling your inner Elsa?

Tip: Purchase your tickets online for 10% off the admission price

Address: 4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton

Opening times: Mon – Sun 10am – 5.15pm (Oct – March)

Price: Adults £13.50 / Children (aged 5-18) £8.10

Have fun at the Brighton Pier

There is something on offer for everyone, from a fancy Victorian café to the craziest rollercoasters. My favourite part might well be the arcades – make sure to bring some change and have fun! If you’re not into games, you can also opt to simply grab one of the classic deck chairs and relax in the sun for a while. Enjoy!

Brighton beach
Brighton Pier as seen from the beach

To make your visit complete, you must grab a piece of the traditional Brighton Rock, a mint-flavoured lollipop. You can get them just about anywhere, but the most famous one is the Brighton’s Rock Shop, just a short walk from the pier.

Address: 42 Kings Road, Brighton

Opening times: Mon – Sun 10am – 5pm

Grab a quick lunch at Bagelman

If you’re like me, you don’t want to spend hours ordering and subsequently waiting for your lunch. Luckily, Brighton offers a great variety of hip places to grab a bagel, a salad or something sweet on the go. One of my favourite stops is Bagelman, a no-nonsense lunch bar with plenty of veggie options. You can take a seat and enjoy your bagel here, or take it with you to the Palace gardens and enjoy a peaceful lunch break at the park.

Address: 7 Bond Street, Brighton

Opening times: Mon – Fri 8am – 4 pm / Sat 9am – 5pm / Sun 10am – 4pm

Pro tip: Don’t forget to bring a light blanket or a beach towel with you to Brighton. Not only you’ll be able to sit down and relax for a bit pretty much anywhere you want, your bum will thank you the moment you discover the beaches in Brighton consist of rather large pebbles. You’re welcome.

Dive into the Lanes

With your belly full and a complimentary ice-cream in your hand, now it’s the best time to dive into the crooked streets of Brighton’s historic quarter, known as The Lanes.  For me, the best part of visiting Brighton is getting lost in its numerous crooked shopping streets. Hipster shops, barbers, vintage clothes and jewellery, quirky souvenirs – you’ll find it all in The Lanes.

Don’t rush through and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and live music in the streets. It’s easy to lose all track of time while wandering the streets, but I’d make sure to head to your next stop – the i360 viewing tower – in time for sunset. Thank me later!

Go up the Brighton i360

Briish Airways i360 Brighton
British Airways i360 in Brighton

Brighton’s answer to the London Eye, the British Airways i360 viewing tower will bring you to whopping 137 meters above ground, offering unparalleled views of the coast. The glass pod has been designed by the same architects as the famous London Eye, and this single pod fits up to 200 people. It rises slowly, and the view from the top are absolutely incredible. Make sure to pick a day with good visibility. If you go up on a sunny day, you’ll be able to admire the white cliffs and the endless beaches of Brighton and Hove. Get yourself a glass of champagne and enjoy the ride!

Tip: Don’t fall for the ‘green screen’ photo trap, they’ll take a series of funny pictures of you as you enter the waiting area, and try to sell it to you for about £15 afterwards. You’re much better off asking the stewardess for a nice shot once on top. The flight takes 25 minutes, which gives you a plenty of time to both admire the views, and to take a selfie!

Opening times: Mon – Thu 11am – 4.30pm / Fri – Sun 11am – 5.30pm

Price: Adults £13,50 online / £16.50 on the spot

Enjoy a fancy dinner at The Chilli Pickle

This multi award-winning Indian restaurant is where I discovered my love for Indian food. Seriously, even if you think you don’t like it, give this place a chance. The Chilli Pickle won the ‘Best Indian in the UK’ award a while ago, and received a number of other accolades on their name since then. Their chicken curry is to die for, and surprisingly mild. Paired up with some freshly baked naan bread and a delicious glass of mango lassi, there’s no better way to round off a beautiful day.

Address: 17 Jubilee Street, Brighton

Price range: ££ – £££

Check www.thechillipickle.com for the exact opening times and reservations.

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