For centuries, Brighton has been the seaside destination for the English and the reputation as a place of happiness and healing lives on. Brighton’s stony beaches, seaside piers, historic terraces, and chalk cliffs border the water. The town itself is full of historic architecture, restaurants, shopping, art and history, and other incredible cultural attractions.
1.The Royal Pavilion
© Dmitry Naumov/stock.adobe.com
In 1787, construction began on the Royal Pavilion, which was built to be a seaside getaway for King George IV, who was at the time still the Prince of Wales. Today, this large and stately building still bears a lot of evidence of its royal occupants over the years, and its domed, Oriental-style architecture and minarets stand out starkly against the more traditional English architecture of the rest of Brighton. Visitors to the Royal Pavilion can come daily to see the opulent rooms and buildings and learn about the Pavilion’s history throughout the ages, from its start as a royal residence to its role as a military hospital during World War I.
4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton BN1 1EE, UK
The Royal Pavilion provides an epicenter of architectural beauty in Brighton, but it doesn’t stop at the building itself. The Royal Pavilion is also home to the Pavilion Gardens, which provide a stunning green park that is both beautiful and peaceful, right in the center of the action of the city. The volunteers who work to keep the Gardens looking beautiful have restored it as closely as possible to the original plan and vision of their creator, John Nash, with native plants intermixed with more exotic Chinese and Indian varieties, and meandering paths perfect for walking. The Pavilion Gardens are also home to a lovely cafe where guests can enjoy a cup of tea, a coffee, or a pastry or sandwich.
Royal Pavilion Grounds, New Rd, Brighton BN1 1UG, UK
3.Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
Near to the Royal Pavilion and Pavilion Gardens is the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. Here, visitors can explore the collections and exhibits, both permanent and seasonal, to learn about the history of Brighton and the people who have lived there, as well as other exhibits regarding subject matter from around the world. Exhibits range from collections of portraits to ancient artifacts from civilizations like the Egyptians, in mediums such as photography, ceramics, textiles, and even puppets. There are even hands-on exhibits for visitors of all ages. Local residents of Brighton and Hove can access the museum for free, but there is a nominal fee charged for visitors and nonresidents.
12A Pavilion Parade, Brighton BN1 1EE, UK
4.The North Laine
The North Laine is a brewhouse where guests can take a break from exploring the streets and sights of Brighton to enjoy a delicious, craft brewed beer. Its hip and funky interior is an industrial space which has been decked out in bright splashes of color, with white tiles behind the bar and a cool view of the big steel tanks where beer is brewed. Everything on tap at North Laine is delicious, from the Saison du Pier to the Mangolicious Pale Ale, and North Laine even dry hops their own gin, which they use to make delicious concoctions. They serve food too, all made, cured, marinated, and smoked from scratch and right in house.
RVG7+PP Brighton, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-12-73-68-36-66
In centuries past, the area now known as the Brighton Lanes was the epicenter of the fishing district for the historic town of Brighthelmstone. Today, the twisting, historic streets and narrow winding alleyways of this district, which butts up against the waterfront and the beach, is home to one of Brighton’s most vibrant shopping and dining districts. In this maze of streets, visitors will find shops and boutiques selling clothing, jewelry, art, knick knacks, vinyl records, high-end antiques, and more. Just a few steps away from this incredibly diverse heart of the Lanes, visitors will find delicious restaurants, upstairs tea rooms, and historic pubs.
The incredible luxury desserts made at Choccywoccydoodah were made famous by the tv show of the same name, which aired for three years and followed the bakers and chocolatiers as they created unbelievable desserts for their customers. But while the show is no longer on air, Choccywoccydoodah is alive and well, and visitors to Brighton can check out the bakery and chocolate shop for a taste of some of their incredible product. Chocolates are sold in a wide and diverse variety of flavors and types, such as lollipops, chocolate coins, chocolate bars, dipped nuts, truffles, and more, and cakes can be custom made for birthdays, weddings, and other events, or purchased ready-made at the bakery.
3 Meeting House Ln, Brighton BN1 1HB, UK, Phone: +44-12-73-32-94-62
At the seafront of Brighton and Hove, guests can stroll along the promenade as they take in the refreshing sea air and enjoy feeling the breeze as they look out over the water. During the summer, you can join the crowds of sunbathers and merrymakers who relax on the beach or splash in the water, or try out a new sport on the beach or in the water, such as volleyball, sailing, kite sailing, or cycling. At all times of year, the seafront is a great place to enjoy a delicious meal with a view or go shopping along the promenade, which is lined with patios and big picture windows where guests can still catch a glimpse of the sea as they browse the shops or enjoy a drink.
8.Brighton Palace Pier
© Ludmila Smite/stock.adobe.com
The Brighton palace Pier, or just the Brighton Pier as it is more commonly known, is an iconic landmark of the seaside resort that is Brighton. Historically, this pier was built in 1899, but there has been a pier in this location since 1823. In the 19th century, the pier was full of booths where fortune tellers, silhouette artists, and palm readers, as well as even more kiosks where guests could buy candy and treats. Today, visitors to the pier can enjoy dazzling fireworks displays, live music, carnivals, and seasonal events and festivals, as well as year-round entertainment and fun like restaurants, souvenir shops, and more.
Madeira Dr, Brighton BN2 1TW, UK, Phone: +44-12-73-60-93-61
9.The British Airways i360
With the coastal beaches lined with chalky cliffs, and its historic city centre, Brighton is a beautiful place, and there’s no better way to see it than from above. The british Airways i360 is an observation tower that brings visitors up 162 meters in the air inside a round, glass, domed bubble. As it slowly rises to the top of the spire, visitors will have the opportunity to get a 360 degree view of Brighton and Hove and the surrounding area. You may spot rooftop artwork, windmills, and city landmarks that you may already have visited. There is even a bar on board—the Nyetimber Sky Bar—so you can enjoy a refreshing cocktail, beer, or other beverage as you look out over the city.
Lower Kings Road, Brighton BN1 2LN, UK
© Grand Warszawski/stock.adobe.com
Families traveling with children, or all-ages visitors looking for educational fun will love SeaLife Centre, which opened in 1872 and is the oldest still-operating aquarium in the world. The high vaulted ceilings and original Victorian architecture are lit up in bright colors, welcoming guests into the halls and arcades of the aquarium, where they will find sharks, sea turtles, seahorses, anemones, sting rays, and more. The ocean tunnel allows guest to walk right underneath some incredible sea life as it swims above, and there are several talks and feeding times each day throughout the course of the day so guests can learn about various types of sea life. There’s even a rock pool touch tank, where visitors can touch sea life like starfish and anemones.
Marine Parade, Sussex, Brighton BN2 1TB, UK, Phone: +44-87-12-26-67-70
The sailboats and yachts which line the quay of Brighton Marina are as picturesque and iconic as the marina itself, which is home to a fun and chic district of shopping and dining. Brighton marina is easily accessible from the pier via Volk’s Electric Railway, a historic shuttle that has been carrying passengers along the seafront since 1883 along a narrow gauge railway in a historic open air car. At the Marina, visitors can charter a boat for a fishing, diving, or sightseeing excursion, or walk along the Brighton Walk of Fame, where they’ll find carved plaques commemorating some of the famous people who were once part of the Brighton community.
The calm waters of Hove Lagoon are sheltered and separated from the rest of the sea, so it makes for a great place for beginners to try their hands at watersports in a safer environment. From a peaceful but strenuous stand-up paddleboard experience to wakeboarding or windsurfing, visitors at Hove Lagoon can use the water as their play space. Whether you’re traveling with kids or you’re just looking to try something new yourself, Hove Lagoon has the facilities and environment that is perfect for learning, and it’s even surrounded by green space so friends and family can watch and cheer you on from the sidelines.
Kingsway, Hove BN3 4LX, UK
Brighton may be most well known for its beaches and waterfront, but its green spaces are certainly something to be talked about as well. The Level is a central space in Brighton, a large park where locals and visitors alike can relax and have a picnic, play on the playgrounds, or try out new tricks in the skate park. There is a cafe at The Level—the Tomato Cafe—which serves tasty Italian food, as well as The Loving hut, a vegan eatery. At The Level, kids and adults can cool off during the summertime in the fountain feature, which sprays up from the concrete in a refreshing blast of water, and search for butterflies among the flowers and trees in the park.
Union Rd, Brighton BN1 4ZN, UK, Phone: +44-12-73-29-29-29
Graffiti and street art is so prevalent in Brighton, it’d be more surprising if a visitor went their entire stay without spotting any. Brighton and Hove is the original home of Banksy’s famous ‘Kissing Policemen’ piece, and while the original has been sold, there’s still plenty of amazing murals and street art to be found all over the city. From the colorful music mural depicting famous musicians on the side of the Prince Albert Pub, to the Star Wars themed rubbish bin, Brighton is full of creative and striking street art. For other great installations, check out the Super Mario mural at Park Crescent Road, or the Mural at Black Rock, near the Marina, which is constantly changing and updated by local artists.
15.Preston Park Rockery
© Marius Comanescu/stock.adobe.com
Preston Park, which is the biggest park in Brighton, is gorgeous and peaceful, with lots of events like concerts, festivals, and other activities on throughout the year. The park is notably home to the Preston Twins, two 400-year-old elm trees which are widely thought to be both the largest and the oldest elm trees in the world. While the park itself is incredible and gorgeous for a stroll or a picnic, visitors will definitely not want to miss the Preston Park Rockery, an impressive rock garden which is the largest in the UK. With walking paths, streams, and an incredible bio-diverse collection of trees, flowers, and other plants, the Rockery is an experience like no other, and should not be missed.
Preston Rd, Brighton BN1 6SD, UK
16.St Bartholomew’s Church
The red brick exterior of St. Bartholomew’s Church, with its white details, steeply gabled roof, and distinctive round window, is an incredibly uniquely constructed building which is known worldwide for its singular style. Mass is offered once or twice a day during the week and several times a day on weekends, and the church is also open for visitors from Tuesday through Saturday from 10am until 1pm and 2pm until 4:30pm. Visitors can walk peacefully through its vast interior and take in the grandeur, or sit at one of the pews and lose themselves in quiet contemplation.
Ann St, Brighton BN1 4GP, UK
17.South Downs National Park
© Paul Daniels/stock.adobe.com
South Downs National Park wasn’t officially named a national park until 2011, making it the newest addition to the UK’s roster of nationally recognized outdoor natural areas. Inside South Downs National park, visitors will find the famous Seven Sisters—stunning white chalk cliffs that border the coast of the English Channel—but also within the park’s borders are gorgeous rolling hills full of heather and hedged farmland, grasslands, ancient walking paths, and an abundance of wildlife such as otters, skylarks, bats, the rare silver-spotted skipper butterfly, barn owls, and some rare plants like the sundew, which is a carnivorous plant.
Hassocks BN6 8RD, UK
© Earthship Brighton
The first Earthship to be built in England was constructed right in Brighton. This unique building is constructed of recycled materials like glass bottles, old tires, and more. It functions entirely off-grid, and it derives its power from solar energy, uses rainwater for plumbing, and treats its own wastewater on site as well. The Earthship in Brighton was built to demonstrate a need for sustainability, and the project is committed to educating its visitors about climate change and environmental awareness. Visitors can tour Earthship Brighton during one of its scheduled tour events, which can be found on the website.
Stanmer Park, Lewes Road, Stanmer, Brighton BN1 9PZ, UK, Phone: +44-12-73-76-66-31
19.American Express Community Stadium
© Mariusz Blach/stock.adobe.com
American Express Community Stadium also goes by several other names: Falmer Stadium or the Amex being the most common. This massive stadium seats over thirty thousand people, and is most commonly used as a football (soccer) stadium, home of the Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. While staying in Brighton, visitors can join thousands of locals and fans in cheering on their home team during a football match, by donning the distinctive blue and white stripes of the Seagulls and joining everyone in the stands. It’s a singular experience, to be sure, and if you’ve never been to a British football match, you’re really missing out.
Village Way, Brighton BN1 9BL, UK
At Yellowave Beach Sports, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of sand-based sports and fun activities directed at everyone from kids to grown ups. In their facilities, Yellowave hosts league games but also rents out courts for sports like volleyball, beach rugby, climbing, and beach football. Visitors can take classes and lessons with experienced instructors who will show them the ropes when it comes to classic beach sports or newer, more creative beach activities like beach footvolley. Kids can take weekly or holiday sessions in which they will enjoy a day of fun games and drills, and there are specific sessions directed at specific age groups.
299 Madeira Dr, Brighton BN2 1EN, UK, Phone: +44-12-73-67-22-22
21.The Curry Leaf Cafe
© The Curry Leaf Café
The Curry Leaf Cafe is a beloved Brighton tradition, with three locations throughout the city: one in the Lanes, one in Kemptown Kitchen, and one at Brighton Station. At The Curry Leaf Cafe, customers can choose from a wide variety of South Indian dishes, both classic and fusion style. With colorful and airy seating areas and food options that range from a quick bite to eat to a full dinner, The Curry Leaf Cafe is fun, comfortable, and most importantly, delicious. They offer dine in service as well as take away, so whether you’re looking to sit down and enjoy a meal or take some street food with you to munch on as you explore Brighton, Curry Leaf Cafe will have you well covered.
60 Ship St, Brighton BN1 1AE, UK, Phone: +44-12-73-20-70-70
© La Choza
Mexican street food is the name of the game at La Choza, where customers will find a fun and funky space decorated with sugar skulls, bright Mexican-style flowers, and colorful decor. The menu features classic Mexican favorites like tacos, quesadillas, and burritos, stuffed to bursting with chorizo, pork, beef, or seafood and a wide variety of incredible salsas. La Choza also has a kids menu, and prides itself on sourcing locally for items like seafood, smoking meats right in house, and making their own chorizo. La Choza has two locations in Brighton, one on Gloucester Road and one on Western Road, so it’s that much more accessible for visitors.
36A Gloucester Rd, Brighton BN1 4AQ, UK, Phone: +44-12-73-94-59-26
23.The Lion and Lobster
© The Lion and Lobster
Saying The Lion and Lobster is just a pub would be like saying a flying unicorn is just a horse. This massive drinking and dining experience is spread over three sprawling stories, which includes a traditional pub area, three bars, a restaurant, a garden, and a hidden terrace. Located close to the seafront in a historic old pub, The Lion and Lobster is full of cozy nooks and crannies where guests can sit back and enjoy a pint of beer with their friends. The menu at The Lion and Lobster’s restaurant, called The Regency, serves amazing seafood, much of which is caught locally in Brighton, and the drinks served at the bar vary from a traditional gin and tonic to local craft brews.
24 Sillwood St, Brighton BN1 2PS, UK, Phone: +44-12-73-32-72-99
© The Gingerman
An afternoon lunch or a night out for dinner at The Gingerman might be a bit of a splurge, but from the cozy, intimate setting to the gourmet, flavorful food, it is sure to be an unforgettable experience. At The Gingerman, menus are curated seasonally, and feature fixed price meals that come in two or three courses. Guests can choose the number of courses they are interested in, and choose from a small, constantly rotating menu of specialty appetizers, main courses, and desserts, which are prepared in house by The Gingerman’s masterful kitchen staff.
21A Norfolk Square, Brighton BN1 2PD, UK, Phone: +44-12-73-32-66-88
25.Terre a Terre
© Terre à Terre
Sometimes when it comes to dining out, vegetarians get the short end of the stick, forced to ask for a dish to come served without meat, or make do with a plate full of side dishes. But at Terre a Terre, everything on the menu is vegetarian, specially designed to make guests feel like they are indulging rather than making a sacrifice. The cuisine at Terre a Terre is worthy of any five star restaurant, and even meat-eaters who sit down at the table will have a hard time scoffing at any of the food offered there. Terre a Terre is conveniently located near the Brighton Pier, easily walkable from most of Brighton’s attractions.
71 East St, Brighton BN1 1HQ, UK, Phone: +44-12-73-72-90-51
25 Best Things to Do in Brighton, UK
- The Royal Pavilion, Photo: Dmitry Naumov/stock.adobe.com
- Pavilion Gardens, Photo: HildaWeges/stock.adobe.com
- Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Photo: arenaphotouk/stock.adobe.com
- The North Laine, Photo: elenarostunova/stock.adobe.com
- The Lanes, Photo: elenarostunova/stock.adobe.com
- Choccywoccydoodah, Photo: Choccywoccydoodah
- The Seafront, Photo: louiserussell77/stock.adobe.com
- Brighton Palace Pier, Photo: Ludmila Smite/stock.adobe.com
- The British Airways i360, Photo: James/stock.adobe.com
- SeaLife Centre, Photo: Grand Warszawski/stock.adobe.com
- Brighton Marina, Photo: hauhu/stock.adobe.com
- Hove Lagoon, Photo: nickos/stock.adobe.com
- The Level, Photo: yulyao/stock.adobe.com
- Graffiti, Photo: marcinpoluch/stock.adobe.com
- Preston Park Rockery, Photo: Marius Comanescu/stock.adobe.com
- St Bartholomew’s Church, Photo: daviles/stock.adobe.com
- South Downs National Park, Photo: Paul Daniels/stock.adobe.com
- Earthship Brighton, Photo: Earthship Brighton
- American Express Community Stadium, Photo: Mariusz Blach/stock.adobe.com
- Yellowave, Photo: pavel1964/stock.adobe.com
- The Curry Leaf Cafe, Photo: The Curry Leaf Café
- La Choza, Photo: La Choza
- The Lion and Lobster, Photo: The Lion and Lobster
- The Gingerman, Photo: The Gingerman
- Terre a Terre, Photo: Terre à Terre
- Cover Photo: simon gurney/stock.adobe.com