23 brilliant things to do when you visit buzzing Brighton


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I know this might not be news to a lot of people but Brighton is fun.

For some reason the famous seaside city was not on my radar.  I imagined a gloomy stony beached British seaside resort.

What a mistake. As soon as we arrived I felt an easy and friendly vibe.

Then I started noticing all the cafes, laneways and street art and many fun things to do in Brighton.

Yes, I thought, this is my kind of place. So I grabbed myself a cappuccino and adjusted my attitude and we went off to explore this cool town of Britannia.

 23 brilliant things to do in Brighton England

1 | Crunch your way over stony Brighton beach

2 | Promenade the seafront – keep your eye out for some nautical themed art

23 reasons to visit brighton - Things to do in Brighton

3 | Hire or borrow a deck chair and relax – love this English seaside tradition. So civilised.

Tip – iconic stripey deckchairs are free on a first come first serve basis on the pier

4 | Get your caffeine fix – great espresso (and pastry) at The Lanes Coffee House on Ship Street

5 | Spot a giant prawn! Or is it a shrimp? I can never tell the difference in the UK

What to do in Brighton - Giant prawn Brighton

6 | Try some artisan gelato – this place had a queue around the corner – Gelato Gusto

7 | Discover the fabulous and completely over the top 19th century Regency palace – Brighton’s Royal Pavilion

8 | Stretch out on the lawn in front of the Royal Pavilion and listen to cool buskers mixing Indian and reggae beats

Things to do in Brighton - Relax at the Brighton Pavilion

9 | Stroll along the famous pier and take in the fresh sea air rolling off the English Channel

10 | Get rid of your coins, at the same time placating your kids on the rides. There are fun rides for all ages – from the retro carousel to more modern/scary rides

11 | Sample British seafood – rollmops.. no! oysters.. yes! Munch fish and chips on the beach – they always taste so much better by the seaside

Oysters Brighton

12 | Paddle in the English Channel

13 | Browse the shopping mecca that is the Lanes – especially good for jewellery it seems

14 | Ride the carousel on the shorefront

Brighton things to do - beach boxes at hove

15 | People watch alfresco from the cafes and restaurants of The Lanes

16 | Admire the colourful beach boxes at Hove

17 | Check out the Brighton Museum and its 20th century design and fashion collection

Brighton Museum
www.visitbrighton.com photo credit: Adam Bronkhorst

18 | Do a leisurely bike tour of all the major Brighton sights with a local guide

19 | Hang out in funky North Laine and browse the specialist and independent stores

20 | Get your magical chocolate fix at the Choccywoccydoodah flagship store

North Laine Brighton on a sunny day
www.visitbrighton.com photo credit Adam Bronkhorst

21 | Browse antiques and curiosities at the Brighton flea market – open 7 days

22 | Treat yourself to a pedicure – this spa looked relaxing

23 | Spot street art and murals, many with a maritime theme

Whale Street Art Brighton

I was more than pleasantly surprised on our recent visit to Brighton. Visitors of all types will find something fun and interesting to do.

Whether you are a history and culture buff or simply love the atmosphere of the English seaside you will enjoy your visit to Brighton.

A note on coffee in Brighton

On our days out I usually forgo my daily coffee fix as the options in the UK are not great. Not so Brighton. I spotted many great looking cafes with barista coffee on almost every corner.  After a bit of googling I discovered Brighton has a coffee fixation much like my hometown Melbourne. Good to know! I’ll do more research for the next time we go as there will definitely be a next time.

More day trip ideas from London

A day out on the trail of Jane Austen | Whitstable day trip | Hampton Court Palace |
Steam training in Hampshire | Exploring Sutton Hoo

23 Things to do in Brighton Sussex what to do on a day trip to Brighton












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52 thoughts on “23 brilliant things to do when you visit buzzing Brighton

    • Katy says:

      Thanks Jennifer – it is super easy on the train as well as by car. I will be waiting for a little more sunshine before we head back there I think

  1. Abbie says:

    I never get bored of seeing Brighton – love this summary post (no pun intended) feeling inspired to take a trip down there myself:) #citytripping18

    • Katy says:

      Yes! I also need to go back soon, Abbie. A friend went down on the weekend and has let me know some more tips so I will be armed and dangerous 🙂

  2. Cathy (MummyTravels) says:

    I love Brighton – for some inexplicable reason I always seem to find myself there in winter, so I am feeling quite jealous of all the sunshine in your photos. It’s great with kids too, but I love wandering the Lanes and discovering all the great food and drink as well. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  3. Rosie Hill says:

    Rollmops and mackerel – I’m hooked!! I have been to Brighton a couple of times but never for any length of time (THeatre once and course another time) and I really do think I need to rectify that on a trip back to the UK sometime. It seems thanks to #Citytripping that my UK bucket list is getting longer! Off to pin an image now!

  4. Anisa Alhilali says:

    I went to Brighton for a day many years ago and I pretty much only remember the pier. I really need to go back, since I have been hearing so many good things.

    • Katy says:

      It really is worth the effort Anisa. I keep nagging my husband to go on another day trip. The pier is fun but next time I’d like to explore the Pavilion a bit more. Having said that, I think our children would prefer the pier ?

  5. Mel | illumelation says:

    I MISS BRIGHTON! Last time I was there, a feral seagull swooped down onto my steaming newspaper-wrapped fish and chips and made off with about 5 of them in its claws. Haven’t been in years – would love to check out the street art there!

    • Katy says:

      Arghhh those feral seagulls! A friend of mine wrote and illustrated a children’s book about those pesky creatures. I hope you make it back to Brighton soon and manage to eat your fish and chips in peace!

  6. Karla Strand says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences in Brighton! It was not on my radar but now, perhaps! I agree with you that a place has a certain vibe and that if it doesn’t mesh with your own, it can be tough, so I am glad you enjoyed it. The links are really helpful and I appreciated the pics.

  7. Eloise says:

    I love Brighton; I had so much fun there! But I don’t know if I’d have managed to find all these 23 reasons! Well done!

    • Katy says:

      Thanks Piritta. Yes it is often a good idea to have a “little escape” from London. I like that saying. Brighton is busy enough to be very interesting and small enough to be a little more relaxed than London. Happy travels!

    • Katy says:

      Thanks Ann. Brighton would make my top 3 day trips from London list and I am sure you would enjoy it. Thanks for your comment

  8. Sarah Harvey says:

    Coming from Essex I really should give Brighton a visit, but for some reason I haven’t! After reading this though I feel super guilty! It sounds so charming.

    • Katy says:

      I think we always miss the cool stuff close to home because we think it will always be there. Brighton is fab – jump on the train and enjoy 🙂

  9. Jo says:

    I haven’t been to Brighton but I would love to .. like every other place you see lol. (Plus I wanna know more about the coffee fixation). My #1 reason would perhaps be to hire a deck chair and relax by the sea – can life get any better than that? (Unless I get the free one at the pier, then it does get better :))

    • Katy says:

      I think the deckchairs are so English. I’m sure we had them in Australia a long time ago but not anymore really. I just love the vintage vibe English seaside towns have. All the better if there is coffee. Thanks for stopping by Jo

  10. Rosemary says:

    Sounds like the perfect get-away. Love seaside towns…the food sounds like it is amazing. Thanks for sharing your tips on what to do there 🙂

    • Katy says:

      Seaside towns are my favourite. Maybe because the fresh sea air makes me hungry! Brighton is a definite favourite now. Thanks for stopping by

  11. Stella the Travelerette says:

    I would love to go to Brighton. I think the architecture is beautiful. I didn’t know you could get good coffee in Brighton! Normally I think the coffee in England isn’t great, but since you’re from Melbourne, I trust you if you say it’s good.

    • Katy says:

      Stella. I did a happy dance the coffee was that good. And let me tell you, my happy dance is usually for my kids eyes only!!

  12. Travel Pockets says:

    I haven’t been to Brighton, so this is all new info to me:) I’m a HUUUGE coffee and pastry fan so the thought of having so many options is like heaven to me. I would definitely grab myself a latte and head to the flea market first.

  13. Chantell Collins says:

    I had no idea there was so much to do in Brighton! I love laneways and street art so that would be right up my alley. The colorful buildings are so cute! And it sounds like there is a real buzz in the air. Next time I am in London, I will definitely need to make a day trip out here.

    • Katy says:

      Brighton is such a fun city Chantell. I felt right at home there. Well worth the effort to spend a day there while in London

  14. marie says:

    I have so many friends who live in Brighton and they wouldn’t live anywhere else! You have covered everything brilliantly and your Oyster picture is making me want to jump on a train to Brighton. Definitely worth a day trip from London for anyone staying in London.

    • Katy says:

      Thanks Marie! I immediately started researching house prices and commute times after our last visit. I love oysters too especially straight from the sea!

  15. Nina says:

    I have been only to London and Scotland, but Brighton looks so appealing and full of character. If I ever come back to Uk, Its on my list , seems relaxed place.

  16. Sally from Passport & Plates says:

    I’ve been to England 3 times now and STILL haven’t made it to Brighton! I really want to go and your post just reinforced that. The seafood looks spectacular and I’m loving those colorful beach boxes as well 🙂

  17. Hung Thai [Up Up and a Bear] says:

    That flea market looks like a really happening place. Are there a lot of food to go with the shopping? I personally would love to try the food at places like the flea market because I think more “local” cuisine will be offered.

  18. PaigeBrown says:

    Looks like a great place to visit! I would totally promenade the seafront, get my caffeine fix, totally sample gelato, and go to North Lane! I’m so curious about it now, what makes it so funky?! Haha Cheers!

  19. Pam says:

    What a great guide! I’ll be in Brighton in two weeks to visit one of our kids, who is studying at the University in town. It’s my first visit to the UK, and I can’t wait. I’ve bookmarked this post to refer to it while we’re there; besides going to Chockywockydoodah, I wasn’t sure what else was a must-see, and I love your suggestions. Thanks again. 🙂

    • Katy Clarke says:

      Thank you Pam. Brighton is so much fun and one of my favourite cities in the UK. I’m sure you will have a wonderful time – especially now the sun is out!

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