Brighton is an extremely popular tourist destination, with millions of people visiting every year. It is also very attractive to students with many young people moving to the seaside city in order to attend university. It is not really surprising because Brighton is a very welcoming city with a diverse range of activities and attractions.
Within this article we are going to guide you through the top things to do in Brighton.
Iconic Landmarks and Historical Sites
The Royal Pavilion
The Royal Pavilion was constructed as the seaside pleasure palace of King George IV. In 1780, George, Prince of Wales, rented a small lodging house overlooking a fashionable promenade in Brighton. Brighton was changing from a decayed fishing town to an established seaside retreat for the rich and famous as it was so close to London. George has also been advised by his physicians that he would benefit from Brighton’s fortunate climate and to try out the sea water treatments. In order to live the decadent lifestyle he loved, George hired architect Henry Holland to transform his Brighton lodging house into a modest villa which became known as the Marine Pavilion.
In 1811 George was sworn in as Prince Regent because his father, George III, had been deemed incapable of acting as monarch. At that time the Marine Pavilion was a modest building in size, not suitable for the large social events and entertainment that George loved to host. In 1815, George commissioned John Nash to begin the transformation from modest villa into the magnificent oriental palace that we see today.
Now The Royal Pavilion is a museum in which you can go around, looking at the beautiful architecture and gardens. Opening times are dependent on the time of year so best to check the website in order to plan your visit.
Brighton Pier began its life in 1823 when it was a simple old chain pier, primarily used as a landing dock for passenger ships. The pier has been destroyed by storms over the years and in 1899 was completely rebuilt after the old one was washed away in a storm. As the years passed, more and more attractions were added to it until it became the pier we know today.
Nowadays, there are rides, arcades, and many restaurants, bars and cafes. The pier opening times change depending on the day and on the weather. Also some attractions are closed on certain days so it is best to check the website to plan your visit.
The Lanes and North Laine
One of the top things to do in Brighton is to visit The Lanes. It is a famous part of Brighton & Hove. Nestled between the North Laine and the seafront, this quirky area is a joy to wander around with its narrow alleyways, hidden squares, exciting shops, plenty of places to eat and drink.
North Laine is a vibrant, colourful hub that is an essential part of Brighton’s fabulous personality.
A definite must visit.
Outdoor Activities and Nature Explorations
Brighton Beach and Seafront
Brighton Beach is a wonderful place to sit and watch the sea but, if you are feeling more adventurous, there are many watersports you could take part in such as kayaking or paddle boarding.
There are toilets, shops and restaurants along the seafront so you will be able fully relax and enjoy the beach.
South Downs National Park
Located just a short drive from Brighton, South Downs National Park will be a top thing to do in Brighton for any nature lovers. With green fields as far as the eye can see, South Downs is perfect for people who love hiking and beautiful views.
In order to get to it from Brighton, you will need to drive down the A23 to near Muddleswood and then walk across the fields. To get to it on public transport, you will need to get the train to Polegate and then walk for around 20 minutes.
It will take a little effort to get to it but it will be worth it.
Cultural Experiences and Artistic Endeavours
Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
For any culture and art lovers, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery should be top of your list of things to do in Brighton. It has many exhibitions which showcase the history of Brighton as a city such as Queer the Pier, a community curated display which peers into local LGBTIQA+ history.
The museum and art gallery is located near The Lanes, just a five minute walk from the sea so extremely easy to access. The opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm and tickets are £9 for adults and £4 for children aged 5-18.
Live Music and Theatre Scene
Many people move to Brighton in order to attend BIMM, Brighton Institute of Modern Music, so it is not surprising that Brighton has a lively music and theatre scene.
There is The Brighton Centre which has a whole host of things on from live bands to musicals and comedy.
If you want a grassroots type venue then The Hope & Ruin will be perfect for you. It is a music venue and pub that strives to support the independent live music scene here in Brighton. All its bar products are plant based so perfect for vegetarians and vegans. There is something on most nights including DJs, art happenings, quizzes and more.
Food and Drink: A Taste of Brighton
Traditional British Fare and Seafood Specialties
Unsurprisingly, there are many seafood restaurants in Brighton. Riddle & Finn has offered exceptional seafood since it opened in 2006. It has now become established as a premier destination for lovers of seafood on the south coast.
But vegetarians and vegans do not fret! It is not all seafood. There is Food for Friends, which is Brighton’s original vegetarian and vegan restaurant. Opened in 1981, it can be found near The Lanes.
Seasonal Events and Festivals
Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe
Brighton Festival is almost a month of music, art, books and performances, taking place across multiple venues. It is not to be missed if you are an art and culture lover. Taking place in May, you can head to the website to see what is on for next year’s festival.
Brighton Fringe also takes place in May and it is an amalgamation of artists all doing wonderful things. You can take part in Brighton Fringe by filling in the form on their website which would be a great opportunity for any budding artists.
To live or visit Brighton is to know that Brighton Pride is one of the best Pride events in the world. There is the parade, music events, parties and, most importantly, a sense that everyone is accepted for who they are and who they love.
If you are visiting or a Brighton resident, it should be on your list of things to do in Brighton.
Family-Friendly Activities in Brighton
Brighton Toy and Model Museum
From the world’s greatest Pride, to the world’s greatest toy and model museum, Brighton truly has something for everyone.
Brighton Toy and Model Museum is located in a set of four Victorian cellars under Brighton railway station’s main terminus. Covering four thousand square feet, the museum’s displays draw on a core collection, and guest collections, comprising over twelve thousand items.
Open Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm and 11am to 5pm on Saturdays, this museum will be the perfect place for all the family to visit.
Sea Life Brighton
Brighton is not just home to all the world’s greatest things, it is also home to some of the world’s oldest things, including the world’s oldest aquarium. Sea Life Brighton was conceived and designed by Eugenius Birch, the architect responsible for the West Pier. Work began in 1869 and the aquarium opened in 1872 making it the oldest continually operating aquarium in the world.
When you visit Sea Life Brighton, you will be able to see this history with the beautifully restored Victorian Arcade. And with four zones to explore and many animals to see such as jellyfish and sharks, this will be a fun day out for all the family.
Open daily, the times change depending on the day so best to check out their website.
Top Things To Do In Brighton
There are so many things to do in Brighton no matter what you are into you will be happy. From history to art, nature to shopping, delicious food and showing your Pride, it is all available in this wonderful seaside city.
Come and explore all it has to offer!
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