It’s never too early to be planning a city break, and here in the UK, we’re lucky to have so many bustling areas full of vibrant cultures and places to explore. From classic seaside towns with traditional British character to diverse, large cities with a wealth of amenities at your fingertips, there’s something for everyone. Brighton manages to strike up the perfect balance between both of these categories, making it the perfect place to enjoy a bit of everything and a lot of wandering. When it comes to planning your visit, we’ve put together a list of essential places to visit, from the well-known parts of the city, to a coffee shop guide for those necessary pit stops and brunch snaps!
Waking up in Brighton
After you’ve woken up feeling refreshed at your Brighton seafront hotel, you’ll be on the hunt for a good cup of coffee to start the day — that or you’ve already done a lap of the stunning marina before the tourists descend on it for the day. Once you’re ready for the day, make a trip to LangLee’s café, where the menu has plenty of homemade treats to choose from, made using organic produce. Fuel up with a sugary yet delicious plate of pancakes, or opt for their signature eggs benedict. They also serve a quirky South African inspired breakfast menu if you’re looking to try something a bit different, so you could even uncover a new favourite dish at the same time. If it’s a warm day, why not venture out and dine al fresco in the garden towards the back of the restaurant. It’s the perfect spot for taking the all-important Instagram picture of your breakfast!
Fancy something a bit different? Head down to Diva café, where you’ll find a tasty array of vegan friendly options and excellent coffee. Among the fresh fruit smoothies, wraps, and breakfast bagels, you’ll find more internationally inspired cuisines as Diva offers a speciality Cypriot breakfast as well as amazing coffee. Once you’re feeling well–fed and energised, begin your morning by strolling through the selection of independently-ran shops which decorate North Laine. The ultra-hipster spot is a treasure trove of interesting finds, from JuJu vintage boutique to Beyond Retro, Artrepublic, and Utility. You’ll find an eclectic mix of homeware, quirky clothing and even the divine Cielo Cakery if you’ve got any room left for more baked goodness! The entire street boasts a unique bohemian atmosphere, lined with bright bunting and guaranteed to fill up with the masses by lunchtime.
View-hunting havens during the day
You can work your way through some of the most iconic scenes in the city, so make sure your camera is fully charged. If you still need to burn off those breakfast calories, then take a walk through the city and scout out all of the most recognisable views — or find some of your own eye-catching shots!
Take the Lanes, for example — another famous shopping area, the Lanes is a narrow, colourful street lined with photo-worthy shop fronts. For another colourful display, of course you’ll want to head down to the beach huts. Each one is a delightful reminder of holidays gone by.
Brighton is certainly brimming with creativity and expression, and you’ll find a host of impressive graffiti masterpieces in unsuspecting locations — such as at The Prince Albert Pub on Trafalgar Street. Even some waste bins have been transformed into canvases by street artists, and you may well stumble across some.
Head back towards the sea and along to West Pier, the ruins of which are now frequented by the starlings that dash through the sky as the afternoon draws in. Before sunset though, be sure to head up the British Airways i360 if you can handle the height, for a crystal-clear bird’s eye view of Brighton and beyond.
Cocktails and waves
While Brighton used to have an unshakable reputation as a party town, nowadays there are plenty of small bars to choose from and be tempted by some zesty mixology. Once you’ve caught a glimpse of the sun setting over the sea front, set the tone for the night by cramming in to the smallest pub in the city: the Queensbury Arms is super–cosy and the ideal place to begin your evening. When you’re ready to move on, head towards No 32 where you can sample a perfectly mixed martini. Unless you’re prepared to stay and dance the night away when the DJ sets begin, then consider venturing out to the Black Dove, a bar that’ll take you on a Victorian time warp with its archaic décor and snug basement setting. One of the most infamous drinks on the menu, the Sazerac, is particularly potent, so if you sample one too many of these, you’ll be brushing away the cobwebs in the morning along the promenade.
Fancy a truly out-of-the-box cocktail experience? Brighton has a few hidden haunts, one of which you’ll need to be kitted up in a boiler suit to enjoy. At Alcatraz: Cell Block One Three you’ll be immersed into a prison where you must sneak contraband in and conjure up some speakeasy–inspired drinks to sip on with your fellow inmates. There’s a warden on watch and real metal cells so beware!
Make your visit to Brighton truly memorable and explore all that the stunning city has to offer, with this great insider guide!