Brighton: A Weird & Wonderful Travel Guide

In this blog, I bring you the ultimate Brighton Travel Guide. It’s filled with weird & wonderful facts, the best places to stay, the best things to do (according to my husband Paul who was born and raised here) as well as the best places to eat.

The seaside city of Brighton has been enticing travelers for centuries. It is also called ‘London by the Sea’ because it’s the closest seaside resort to London. Brighton is a little bit weird and a lot wonderful!

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I bring you the ultimate Brighton Travel Guide filled with weird & wonderful facts, the best places to stay; things to do and restaurants.

Weird & Wonderful facts about Brighton

I told you this isn’t just any old Brighton Travel Guide – I’ve done heaps of research and come up with some very weird facts about this city. Some of the facts even a local won’t know!

Brighton is a weird & wonderful city by the sea, here are some super interesting facts about the city.

  • The first Body Shop was opened here in 1976
  • England’s first ever casino was opened here in 1962 at The Metropole Hotel
  • The Brighton Sea Life Center on Marine Parade us the world’s oldest aquarium. It first opened its doors way back in 1872
  • Hitler had his eyes set on setting up home at the Royal Pavillion. He wanted it as his holiday home after taking over the U.K (which never happened, thank god)
  • Brighton has the most restaurants per capita than anywhere else in England – there’s approximately 1 restaurant per 250 people
  • The city was the first place in the country to open a nudist beach in 1979
  • Brighton Pier is made up of over 60,000 light bulbs – imagine their electricity bill
The colorful beach huts on Brighton seafront

A locals tips for Brighton

After spending lots of time in Brighton (my husband is born and raised here) I’ve come up with what I think is the perfect day in Brighton. It includes excellent coffee shops, the best restaurants as well as awesome sunset spots. Plus, a whole lot more!

What to do in Brighton in the AM

Stroll through the Lanes early in the morning to catch these narrow quirk-filled lanes at their finest. Pop by Snoopers Paradise at Kensington Gardens in the North Laines – a quirky treasure filled department store that you can easily whisk away a few hours. Also, worth a visit is The Duck House on 4 Union Street – in this fun store you’ll find over 300 different types of imaginative rubber ducks.

Are you a coffee fiend – I recommend grabbing a coffee at Pelicano on Sydney Street or Bond St in the North Laines. In Brighton you are spoiled for choice for great coffee. A good indicator of how hipster/yuppie a city is how many independent coffee shops it has, it’s no surprise then that Movehub’s Hipster index ranked Brighton as the most hipster city in the world!

Other great coffee spots in the city include the very popular Small Batch at 17 Jubilee Street; 44 Poet’s on Poets Corner and Twin Pines in Kemptown.

brighton pier
Brighton Pier sign

My Brighton lunch recommendations

Take a long walk along the seafront and try your luck at the slot machines on the Pier. Waste away an hour playing the aforementioned slots, riding the dodgems/ bumper cars at the permanent funfair here and spoil your lunch with a head-sized stick of candyfloss. Then, take a stroll to the Madeira Lift at the seafront in Kemptown – a creaky, very old Victorian lift that brings you up the cliff which links Marine Parade with Madeira Drive. There’s even a lift attendant.

Tired out from all the fun, grab some amazingly authentic wood-fired pizzas at Fatto o Mano in Hove (or London Road). Other excellent lunch spots in Brighton include Trollburger under Brighton Station; Cin Cin in North Laine and 64 Degreees at Meeting House Lane.

After lunch, take the 78 bus to Stanmer Park about a 15 minute drive from Brighton. It’s well-worth a visit, mainly just to explore a little on foot and take photos. There’s also a little tearooms here if you fancy a snack. 

brighton pier view
Looking at Brighton Pier

Where to eat dinner in Brighton

Hit the Marina for dinner – did you know it’s the largest marina in the UK. Popular restaurants here include Chez Mal; Cafe Rouge and Malika Indian Restaurant. Or if you want to stay in the city for food –  try Casalingo on Preston Street (the hubby’s favorite restaurant) for authentic Italian food.

Where to watch the sunset in Brighton

Okay, I love sunsets. In fact, on vacation I make it my mission to watch the sunset every night. In Brighton I advise ending the day watching the sunset over the West Pier. The best spot for a photo of the sunset is from the Brighton Bandstand, it can get very busy here though.

Stunning sunset over Brighton Pier

Some other best sunset spots in Brighton are:

  • Walk to the top of Bear Road for a lovely view over the city. It’s a short steep walk up to this hillside grassy area.
  • Hove Beach – before sundown snap some photos of the very cute, very colorful beach huts
  • Cuckmere Haven – a riverfront beach about a 30 minute drive from Brighton. One of the most iconic photo spots here is the Coastguard cottages overlooking the Cuckmere River, with the Seven Sisters in the background. Walk just above the cottages on the path to get the best shot.

Where to stay in Brighton

We loved The Grand if you fancy splurging, or The Old Ship Hotel for great-value-for-money, both are on the seafront. Ask for a sea-facing room in both hotels. 

If you fancy an airbnb for a few nights, we love this unique cottage a 15 minute bus-ride from Brighton or this charming house conveniently located in Hove.

Is Brighton worth visiting?

Brighton is a city of extremes from its crowded stony beach, to the tourist trap that is Brighton Pier to the quirky hipster-filled North Lanes. On first look,  it may seem like a typical English city but it’s filled with the weirdest characters.  People you wouldn’t see anywhere else in the world. But that’s why we love it. The restaurants are cool, the bars are cool (even the ‘old man’ bars are cool),the coffee shops are cool. Cool.

If you’re spending a few days in Brighton, why not consider visiting the quaint town of Rye – a 2 hour train ride away. It’s so photogenic there and there’s loads of fun things to do in Rye!

Brightly colored houses in Brighton

How many days do you need in Brighton?

My recommendation is at least 5 – 7 days. It’s especially beautiful and buzzing in Summer. If you want a quieter getaway but still want warmer weather – September is a top choice from me.

You could always combine a stay in Brighton with one of these gorgeous towns in East Sussex.

Planning your Brighton trip, this detailed UK Trip Planning Guide will help you in deciding when to go, what to see, how to get around and even what to pack!

What is Brighton famous for?

Brighton is easily the most famous city in East Sussex and maybe the most famous seaside resort in all of Britain. It is a popular weekend haunt for Londoners (as its only an hour from the capital city), stag and hen parties and for couples looking for an escape. 

The city is also home to the UK’s largest LGBT population. In fact its widely known as the unofficial gay capital of the UK.

It’s also famous for the gorgeous Royal Pavillion; its long stony seafront & Brighton Pier as British Airway’s very flashy i360 tower.

the royal pavillion brighton
Royal Pavillion, Brighton

What are the most popular things to do in Brighton?

  • Blaker Street is certainly one of the most colorful streets in Brighton if not the whole country – an entire road of brightly colored houses, every instagrammers dream right?!
  • Brighton’s Victorian Sewers – Southern Water leads tours through these stinky sewers that were still being used for raw sewage up until 1990. The sewers are 7-miles long and lead all the way to the Telscombe Cliffs.
  • The Royal Pavillion – easily one of the most beautiful homes ever built. It took over a 20 years to be built for Prince George IV. It is often commented on how similar it looks to the Taj Mahal.
  • i360 viewing tower – an enclosed glass pod takes you up 450 feet to the top where you can enjoy glorious views over Brighton.

I hope my Brighton Travel Guide will give you some inspiration for your next visit. There’s so much to see and do in this quirky seaside city and being just an hour from London – it’s so easy to get to.

PIN IT for later!

I bring you the ultimate Brighton Travel Guide filled with weird & wonderful facts, the best places to stay; things to do and restaurants.

2 replies on “Brighton: A Weird & Wonderful Travel Guide”

I’ve only been to Brighton once to visit a friend, so I wasn’t able to look around as much as I would have liked. It looks like there are some fun things to do and see though!

You’ve made me want to visit Brighton again. I’ve been many times through the years but not had chance to try many of these things – you can’t beat advice from a local! Thanks for sharing & once we’re allowed out of the local area…I’m getting on the train to Brighton!

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