So I’m a little bit of a seaside junky, I’m kind of obsessed no matter what the weather about checking out seaside towns, and you don’t get more fun that Brighton, especially if you visit with friends. Brighton is super close to London, a quick hop and a skip on the train, which makes it perfect for a day trip or a long weekend, plus there is loads to see and do.
I actually went a couple of weeks ago with friends, my first time in about 10 years, and it was so much fun checking out the sights, sampling the great food, picking up a gift or two, and finding the best spots for a cocktail.
So here are my 7 things you have to do when you visit Brighton:
1. Visit Brighton Pier
You can’t go to any seaside town without visiting the pier and this Victorian pier is pretty picturesque, with an amazing arcade, I’m a sucker for the 2p machines, as well as a fairground, and various places to grab a bite to eat or a drink, including fish and chips. I couldn’t resist picking up cotton candy and of course a stick of rock!!!
2. Marvel at the beauty of the Royal Pavilion
There is a lot of incredible architecture in Brighton, but non more spectacular that the seaside palace of George IV, it really is a striking building that really mixes Regency grandeur with the visual style of India and China. I have to be honest I haven’t seen anything like this before in the UK.
We didn’t go inside, it was kind of overrun by school tours, but just walking around the grand building, designed by John Nash was enough to satisfy, plus the gardens surround it are so pretty they really are a great spot to grab an ice cream and relax.
3. Stop for a bite to eat at Lucky Beach
There are so many great spots to eat in Brighton, but out of all the recommendations on my Twitter Lucky Beach, which is literally on the seafront, came out on top, so I had to see what all the fuss was about. It got high marks just for having outdoor seating, I do love sitting outside when by the sea, and even more brownie points for having outdoor heaters as it wasn’t exactly a heatwave when we visited.
The menu is predominately burgers, but you can also go for fish and chips, salads and sandwiches, but I would totally recommend one of the great burger options. I went for the French Onion Chicken Burger, it was kind of like pulled chicken breast topped with sweet hot-dog onion, and a delicious emmental cheese and garlic mayo sauce all squeezed into a demi-brioche bun. Seriously dreamy and so filling with the addition of skin on chips with smokey aioli.
For my friends the LBB, the Lucky Beach Burger, which has a 1/3lb 35 day dry-aged conservation scheme local Longhorn, americanised kombu cheese fondue, ketchup leather, lardo fried onions, homemade pickles, on a house brioche bun, and the David Van Day, with its 1/3lb Local Sussex dry-aged Longhorn, blue cheese, pig candy, crispy fried onions, rocket, drunken steak sauce, veg, on a demi-brioche were popular.
I don’t think anyone left the table not feeling satisfied, the food was scrummy, the service was impeccable, and the atmosphere was just so chilled, it just has a great laid-back vibe that really ended off a great day by the seaside.
4. Brighton Wheel
It took a little bit of convincing to get on to the Brighton Wheel, kind of like the London Eye but much smaller, as all I could think was that it was a giant fairground ferris wheel that I’m kind of scared of. But it isn’t, the glass pod is comfortable, you don’t actually rock that much and you can’t even feel the rotations.
Each voyage on the wheel gets at least 3 complete rotations, which takes about 15 minutes, and you get to see the panoramic views of the coastline, surrounding architecture and landmarks, and basically spy on all the people on the beach. One piece of advice, go with friends it makes it more enjoyable and turn off the annoying commentary guide by Steve Coogan.
5. Take a ride on the Carousel
This isn’t just applicable to Brighton, this is actually for all seaside towns that have a carousel. I kind of make it my mission to track it down and in Brighton you are in luck as there are two to choose from, one on the pier or one on the pebble beach, which I actually preferred.
No matter how old you are a ride on a carousel is just one fun thing to do, just choose your horse wisely!!!
6. Enjoy shopping on the sea front and The Lanes
So Brighton has all the regular high street shops, but what I loved about this seaside town’s shopping had to be all the quirky little independents dotted along the seafront and in the historic quarter, The Lanes, which is basically a fabulous maze of twisting alleyways.
You’ve basically got everything from quirky artist shop fronts, to antique and jewellery shops, alongside contemporary and designer fashion boutiques, and even exquisite homeware stores. Highlights had to be Posh Totty, which I actually discovered on NotontheHighStreet.com, they have two stores and a pop-up on the seafront during the summer filled with cute personalised gifts. As well as clothing store Merlin & Ellis, and Pinterest-worthy interior stores Workshop and Utility.
7. Indulge in a cocktail or two
You can’t be by the sea and not enjoy a cocktail. You see I feel that when you are on the seaside you are on your holidays, even if it is just for one day, and cocktails just say holibob to me. We went to a number of places, first up was Pitcher and Piano, where the Espresso Martini was a popular choice, and then we headed to Browns where my husband couldn’t resist getting a bottle of Champagne.
Other great spots for a cocktail as recommended by my lovely Twitter followers, which sadly I didn’t get chance to visit, are The Black Dove, Twisted Lemon and Be at One.
Do you have any Brighton recommendations for my next visit?