This city barely needs an introduction…
It has been a popular seaside resort since the 18th century and is England’s largest, in terms of population. Together with neighbouring Hove, Brighton became a city in 2001. Brighton’s reputation as a fashionable destination increased when King George IV began visiting the town and commissioned the unmistakable Brighton Pavilion in 1815. You can visit this extraordinary oriental-style building, which has become the symbol for the city, on a trip to Brighton. Much of the Regency era architecture you see on the seafront and in the grand squares of Brighton and Hove dates from this time too.
Brighton continues to be one of the UK’s best city beach break locations. On weekends and summer days you will find people strolling along the bustling Brighton promenade. You can soak up the lively atmosphere, visit beachside cafes and bars, and relax on its world-famous pebble beach. Additionally there are beach and water sports or sailing activities to experience. You’ll also find some great galleries in the Artists’ Quarter on the lower promenade to the west of Brighton Pier.
After dark the area transforms into the heart of Brighton’s nightlife with quirky seafront clubs and bars. These are nestled underneath the Victorian beachfront arches, offering some of the best club nights in the country. If your criteria is something more relaxed, why not drop by The Grand Brighton. The famous Brighton hotel on the seafront offers a luxury afternoon tea or cocktails on the terrace overlooking the sea.
Brighton’s Food Scene
Just along from The Grand is one of Brighton’s many fine dining restaurants – The Salt Room, a seafood and grill restaurant opposite Brighton’s iconic, crumbling West Pier. Its sister restaurant The Coal Shed is also recommended and operates on a similar ethos but with the menu emphasis more on meat than seafood. Other recommended options are The Set which describes itself as offering “seasonal food to make you smile” in changing set menus, critics’ favourite 64 Degrees in The Lanes which specialises in small plates and The Ginger Man, an intimate restaurant with an uncomplicated menu using fresh, seasonal, local produce.
Independent, Eclectic, Quirky…
The city, sometimes known as the gay capital of the UK, is known for welcoming diversity and creativity. In addition to busy and lively mainstream shopping and nightlife there are many quirky venues, galleries and independent shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and coffee shops – with lots clustered in The Lanes shopping area. The Brighton North Laines shopping area is a bohemian bustle of criss-cross streets in the heart of the cultural quarter of the city and home to over 400 unique shops in less than half a square mile. The area boasts the largest selection of independent retailers on the south coast.
A great time to visit Brighton is during the annual Brighton Festival which takes place in May. It’s one of Europe’s biggest arts festivals and includes hundreds of events from exhibitions to live music. Visit the festival website for more information on the range of events and dates.