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14 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Brighton, East Sussex

Written by Bryan Dearsley Updated Dec 28, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Author Bryan Dearsley visited England in 2022 where he spent a month exploring its lovely southern coastline, including touring the seaside town of Brighton.

Brighton, the largest and best known seaside resort on the English Channel , stretches some five miles along the pebbled and sometimes steep chalk shoreline of the South Downs in East Sussex.

Brighton Beach and Palace Pier

Once a fishing village with narrow, winding lanes, Brighton blossomed into an elegant vacation spot during the 18th-century, where England's elite relaxed in fashionable spas and hotels under the restorative influence of sea air.

Reminders of this period still abound. Charming Regency terraces; the delightful Palace Pier ; and the Royal Pavilion , the exotic summer home of George IV who was one of the country's most flamboyant and eccentric kings, are among the town's top tourist attractions.

Although Brighton's famous pebble beaches are now lined with souvenir shops and amusement arcades, it remains a culturally vibrant destination and one of the most popular places to visit in England — especially in summer. The town's busy calendar of events includes the popular Brighton Festival each spring, horse races in the summer, and the famous London to Brighton Veteran Car Run in November.

Brighton is also a great place for sports enthusiasts. Highlights include sailing, kitesurfing, and diving, as well as hiking and biking along the downs or across the many lovely green spaces, such as historic Stanmer Park just to the north of town.

For details of these and many other fun things to do in this popular seaside town, be sure to read our list of the top tourist attractions in Brighton, East Sussex.

See also: Where to Stay in Brighton

1. Royal Pavilion & Garden

2. brighton palace pier, 3. brighton promenade and seafront attractions, 4. the lanes and north laine, 5. british airways i360 viewing tower, 6. brighton beach, 7. brighton museum & art gallery, 8. regency-era architecture, 9. brighton festival, 10. brighton toy and model museum, 11. booth museum of natural history, 12. bluebell railway, 13. london to brighton veteran car run, 14. brighton racecourse, where to stay in brighton for sightseeing, brighton - climate chart.

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton

The Royal Pavilion is difficult to miss. Located in the center of Brighton just steps from the sea, the building's extraordinary peaks and spires look as if they'd be more at home in India. That was certainly the intention of architect John Nash, who designed this summer palace for the Prince of Wales (later George IV) in the Indian Mogul style.

Best seen via guided tour, highlights of the building include the Banqueting Room, with its lovely Asian décor, and the Royal Bedrooms. The tent-like Music Room is also worth seeing. Audio guides are available.

Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum

For a real treat, partake in a traditional afternoon tea in the Royal Pavilion Tearoom. Be sure to also allocate some time to explore the delightful Royal Pavilion Gardens. Free to visit, they can be explored by following the gently winding garden pathways, or you can simply stake your place on the lawns or a park bench.

Address: 4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton, East Sussex

Official site: https://brightonmuseums.org.uk

Brighton Palace Pier

No trip to the seaside would be complete without a visit to a pier. With their fun amusement arcades, joke shops, and fish-and-chip stands, spending time at a seaside pier has been a tradition among visitors to the seaside since Victorian times..

Thanks to its decorative ironwork and majestic setting, Brighton's Victorian-era Palace Pier is undoubtedly one of the country's most attractive such landmarks. Jutting out to sea like the upper deck of a steamship on spindly iron legs, Palace Pier is the sole survivor of the town's three original piers (one was destroyed by a storm, while another stands derelict near the town's seafront).

Brighton Palace Pier

Built in 1891 and stretching some 1,700 feet from shore, it has lost none of its appeal. In addition to its dining and shopping, the pier also boasts other fun things to do, including state-of-the-art thrill rides and game arcades.

Address: Madeira Drive, Brighton, East Sussex

Official site: http://brightonpier.co.uk/

Brighton Promenade

There's no end of fun things to do and places to visit near Brighton's Palace Pier, too. Many of them are just a short stroll away, along the promenade, and can easily be combined with a visit to the pier or other major Brighton attractions.

A fun diversion for those traveling with kids is Volk's Electric Railway . Built in 1833 and the oldest operating electric railway in the world, this narrow gauge line runs along the seafront from the pier, with three stations from which to catch the train.

At 1.25 miles in length, a ride can also save a fair bit of walking between attractions. Along the way, you'll pass the Brighton Fishing Museum , with its interesting exhibits relating to the town's origins and its long history as a fishing town.

Indian Pavilion and the Brighton promenade

The railway also connects to Brighton Marina , via the Black Rock station. Be sure to allocate some time to explore the marina, which offers great shopping and dining experiences.

Aquarium station is where you'll want to disembark for SEA LIFE Brighton . Established in 1872 as Brighton Aquarium, this modernized attraction is now home to more than 100 species of sea life.

Address: Visitor Centre, Madeira Drive, Brighton, East Sussex

Official site: https://volksrailway.org.uk

The Lanes and North Laine

The center of the old fishing village of Brighthelmstone , as Brighton was once called, stood on the site of the bustling narrow alleyways known as The Lanes. The charming little 17th-century cottages, with their colorful wooden façades are now antique shops, boutiques, galleries, and cafés.

To the east of The Lanes is Old Steine , a former village green. It is now a well-tended square extending to Grand Parade, a magnificent boulevard lined with trees and planted with flowers.

Also worth visiting is North Laine . This arts-inspired shopping area boasts an eclectic mix of boutique shops and antique stores, galleries, and cafés, as well as entertainment venues.

Address: Meeting House Lane, Brighton, East Sussex

British Airways i360 Viewing Tower

Undoubtedly one of the most impressive attractions on England's south coast, the British Airways i360 Viewing Tower is a must-do on any Brighton itinerary. Replacing the Brighton Wheel as the town's tallest structure (the wheel has since been dismantled), this 531-foot-tall seafront tower opened in 2016 to great fanfare as the world's first vertical cable car and tallest moving observation tower.

Resembling a huge needle and referred to as a "vertical pier", the structure's circular observation platform can lift up to 200 people to heights of 453 feet for a spectacular view of the surrounding area and over the English Channel. Other features include a tearoom and gift shop.

British Airways i360 Viewing Tower

For a real treat, check into the availability of the attraction's food and drink options and time your visit for one of their regular special events.

Address: Lower Kings Road, Brighton, East Sussex

Official site: http://britishairwaysi360.com/

Brighton Beach

If you're traveling to Brighton by train from London and wondering where the beach is, just follow the crowds. Odds are, they're also making their way to Brighton Beach, one of the top spots for swimming, sunbathing, and water-based activities on England's south coast.

Lined by a wide and extremely long promenade, Brighton Beach centers around the historic Parade Pier and is almost always busy during the warmer months of the year.

Also known as Central Beach , it's almost entirely made up of pebbles (or shingle), although some sand is revealed for a short period during low tide. Once you've claimed your spot, and so long as you've brought a towel to lay on, you'll find the beach experience here is as good as any other in Britain.

Lifeguard services are provided during peak months, and change facilities and washrooms are available for the public to use. Also available are volleyball and basketball courts, a large children's play area with splash pool, and rentals of equipment such as kayaks, paddleboards, and Jet Skis.

In addition to the many attractions overlooking Brighton Beach, you'll find plenty of good food and beverage opportunities, too.

Address: Brighton Seafront Office, 141, Kings Road Arches, Brighton, East Sussex

Read More: Best Beaches in Brighton, East Sussex

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

Located in the Royal Pavilion's former Royal Stables and Riding School is the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery . This first-rate museum is worth visiting for its impressive collection of Art Deco pieces, its costume gallery with fashions from the 18th century, and the excellent Willett Collection of porcelain and ceramics.

There's even a good (albeit small) Egyptian Gallery that's worth a visit. A gift shop is located on the premises.

Address: Royal Pavilion Gardens, Pavilion Parade, Brighton, East Sussex

Official site: https://brightonmuseums.org.uk/brighton-museum-art-gallery/

Regency architecture in Brighton

Strolling through Brighton's residential areas, with their lovely Regency-style terraces and squares, is a popular pastime. West of the town center, heading towards Hove, are street after street of old homes, with round bay windows and iron balconies.

The best examples are at Regency Square, Brunswick Terrace, Brunswick Square, and the horseshoe-shaped Adelaide Crescent. Sussex Square, Lewes Crescent, and Arundel Terrace, all east of the town center, are also worth seeing. Another fine local example of historic architecture, Preston Manor is open to the public and perfectly captures life at the turn of the century.

Regency Houses

You can also find some good examples of Regency-era architecture close to the town center and its major tourist attractions. Visit The Lanes for examples of townhomes that also include shopfronts on the lower levels, and a sightseeing walk along the seafront facing Kings Road or Marine Parade will reveal numerous hotels and inns from this era.

Address: Preston Drove, Brighton, East Sussex

Official site: https://brightonmuseums.org.uk/prestonmanor/

Brighton Festival

The annual three-week Brighton Festival runs from early to late May and attracts artists from around the world for performances ranging from orchestral and church concerts to jazz and comedy shows. Film screenings and recitals are also among the 400 or so events offered in this diversified festival.

Although the repertoire is varied, 19th-century music predominates. Venues include the Royal Pavilion, the Brighton Dome , the Theatre Royal, and local churches.

Address: 21-22 Old Steine, Brighton, East Sussex

Official site: http://brightonfestival.org/

Brighton Toy and Model Museum

The Brighton Toy and Model Museum, tucked away underneath the town's train station, contains a vast array of vintage, rare, and unique toys from Britain and Europe. Highlights of the museum's vast collection include antique model trains by Hornby; stuffed bears by Steiff; die-cast cars by Corgi; and all sorts of dolls, toy soldiers, farmyards, circuses, planes, and puppets.

Other collections of note include numerous toy buses, construction sets, boats, stuffed animals, zoos, and character play sets. Particularly fun is a unique train set featuring local tourist attractions.

The museum shop and foyer is also home to a useful Visitor Information Point, offering maps and literature relating to local events in Brighton.

Hot Tip : Try to plan your visit to coincide with one of the museum's special "Running Days" when you'll get to see much rarer toy trains in action.

Address: 52-55 Trafalgar Street, Brighton, East Sussex

Official site: http://brightontoymuseum.co.uk/

Fossilized Dodo bird at the Booth Museum of Natural History

Another Brighton attraction that's certainly worthy of a visit is the Booth Museum of Natural History . It's notable for being home to one of Britain's largest collections of stuffed birds. Other highlights include a large collection of insects, fossils, and skeletons.

Founded in 1874, the museum is also home to the (in)famous "Merman," a Victorian-era hoax creature that many people at the time believed to be real. Be sure to check out the fascinating audio-visual displays that recount the exploits of the museum's "Victorian gentleman" founder, Edward Booth.

Address: 194 Dyke Road, Brighton, East Sussex

Official site: https://brightonmuseums.org.uk/booth/

Bluebell Railway

Just a few miles from Brighton, the Bluebell Railway is a fascinating piece of Britain's engineering heritage. Running some 11 miles along the border between East and West Sussex, this fully functional railway operates between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead. From here, you can catch a connecting train to London or Brighton.

Famous as the first preserved steam passenger railway in the world to operate a public service, the railway's collection includes 30 vintage engines and almost 150 carriages and wagons, most of them pre-1939.

Special themed train rides are offered, including fine dining, murder mystery nights, and Thomas the Tank Engine excursions for the kids. For a special treat, book an afternoon tea experience, served aboard one of the attraction's historic dining cars.

Location: Sheffield Park Station, East Sussex

Official site: www.bluebell-railway.co.uk

London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

While not quite Wacky Races , the Royal Automobile Club's annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run is probably the largest collection of unusual looking vehicles you're ever likely to see. The world's longest running motoring celebration has been held almost every November since 1927 and attracts entrants from around the globe.

Typically, some 500 pre-1905 cars attempt the trip, their drivers eager to test their vintage vehicles on the historic 60-mile run from Hyde Park in London to Brighton's seafront. The event's a huge draw for the throngs of spectators and tourists who line the route to cheer these often slow-moving machines onward to the finish line.

Address: Finish Line, Madeira Drive, Brighton, East Sussex

Official site: www.veterancarrun.com

Brighton Racecourse

Set high up on the Sussex Downs , the stunning views of Brighton and the English Channel from Brighton Racecourse provide a unique background to the races held here throughout the spring, summer, and fall. It is regarded as one of the most intimate racecourses in the country, with horses crossing the line no more than a few feet from the crowd.

Horseracing fans can enjoy a great day's outing here at one of the country's oldest courses (1783). A restaurant and snack options are available on-site. For those wanting to bring their own food, a picnic area is also available.

Address: Freshfield Road, Brighton, East Sussex

Official site: www.brighton-racecourse.co.uk

We recommend these unique hotels in Brighton near town and the seafront:

  • Hotel Una : Located in Regency square, this boutique luxury hotel features eclectic décor in its funky uniquely styled rooms. Perks include a great breakfast in bed, plus a massage room.
  • Blanch House : This mid-range boutique hotel features themed rooms with comfortable beds. Homemade cookies are provided as a much- welcome treat.
  • Artist Residence Brighton : Along with its affordable rates, this budget-friendly hotel features great sea views, creative décor, and comfy beds. A ping pong room is available for guest use.
  • Premier Inn Brighton City Centre Hotel : This budget hotel is a great choice for its central location, and features spacious family rooms.

Brighton Map - Tourist Attractions

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Brighton

The 28 best things to do in Brighton right now

Get the lowdown on the best things to do in Brighton with our complete guide to Britain's hippest seaside town

Joe Minihane

There is no day trip destination quite like Brighton . Whether the sun’s out or not, this is the place to be. Brighton has the perfect mix of an old-school, nostalgia pier (yep, there’s an arcade), and vibrant, winding shopping streets, full of seriously trendy vegan cafés and long-standing markets for thrifting. 

Oh, and there’s the beach. Lined with ice-cream shops, bustling beach bars, and now the much-anticipated Sea Lanes (opened in June 2023), you can spend whole days here sipping tinnies and tucking into fish and chips – just beware of the seagulls. From feminist bookshops to indie galleries, here are the best things to do in Brighton right now. 

RECOMMENDED: 🥙 The best restaurants in Brighton ☕ The best coffee shops in Brighton 👚 The best places to go shopping in Brighton 🏘️ The best Airbnbs in Brighton

This guide was recently updated by Eleanor Forrest , a writer based in Brighton. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines .

An email you’ll actually love

Best things to do in Brighton

Take in immense sea views from the British Airways i360

1.  Take in immense sea views from the British Airways i360

What is it? A futuristic viewing platform on the seafront. 

Why go?  Sure, it might not be the most aesthetically pleasing structure, but the views from this 150-metre-high observation tower are pretty impressive. Here you can gawp at pretty much all of Brighton, out across the South Downs and over the Channel – including, on a clear day, the Isle of Wight.

Explore Brighton Palace Pier

2.  Explore Brighton Palace Pier

What is it? Brighton’s Grade-II listed pleasure pier with fairground rides, bars and restaurants stretching out into the sea. 

Why go? Brighton Palace Pier is a tough old bird. Having stood for well over a century now, this Grade II-listed pier has survived two world wars, constant battering by storms (one of which almost destroyed it before it opened in 1899) and millions of visitors every year. Join the masses in a pilgrimage to the arcade games, fairground rides and chippy vans.

Wander through The Lanes

3.  Wander through The Lanes

What is it? Brighton’s artiest district, which is packed with independent shops, restaurants and traditional pubs. 

Why go? Much of Brighton oozes character and cool, but The Lanes are definitely leading the charge. These narrow streets brim with brilliant independent cafés, record stores, vintage emporiums, bookshops and art spaces – all housed in pretty sixteenth-century buildings. Wandering this maze of passageways is an excellent way to spend an afternoon.

Discover fascinating ocean creatures at Sea Life Brighton

4.  Discover fascinating ocean creatures at Sea Life Brighton

What is it? The Sea Life centre in Brighton is in the world’s oldest operating aquarium.

Why go?  It’s hard not to be taken aback by the striking original Gothic arches as you enter this building, which dates back to 1872. We particularly like the Lagoon, populated with beautiful stingrays, and the interactive rock pool where you can touch a starfish or sea anemone. 

Don’t miss: The aquarium’s latest attraction,  ‘ Day and Night’, lets visitors experience a coral reef as it moves through the day into night, thanks to £2.7 million refurbishment. 

Marvel at the grand Royal Pavilion

5.  Marvel at the grand Royal Pavilion

What is it? A rather fantastical-looking palace in the middle of town. 

Why go?  While you could imagine this infrastructure perched on the banks of the Yamuna in India, the Royal Pavillion is a Brighton gem. This ornate, Grade I-listed structure was designed by John Nash in the early nineteenth century – in the  Indo-Saracenic Revival style, fyi  – and was once a holiday home for George, Prince of Wales (later George IV). Today it’s frequented by visitors after a glimpse inside its quaint replica rooms, art galleries and very impressive grounds.

Don’t miss: A secret tunnel in the building links the Pavilion to Brighton Dome (once George’s riding stable). While you can’t see it on the standard tour, special tours of the tunnel and basement run on selected dates. 

Take a dip at The Sea Lanes

6.  Take a dip at The Sea Lanes

What is it?: Once a derelict brownfield site, now the UK’s first open-water swimming centre, complete with cafés, bars, and a sauna. Sea Lanes opened in June 2023, with the aim of bringing swimming provisions to the city (and utilising a previously derelict site).

Why go?  Firstly, it’s heated. Second of all the Sea Lanes doesn’t just provide a place to swim but is also home to a number of local fitness well-being, food, and beverage businesses. Funded by local Brighton businesses, the site is made up of 23 carbon-neutral units, reminiscent of shipping containers. Whilst offering a pay-as-you-swim service, the site’s 21st-century design is juxtaposed by its proximity to the 19th-century Madeira Drive, combining the two worlds. 

Get to know Brighton’s queer history on an LGBTQ+ walking tour

7.  Get to know Brighton’s queer history on an LGBTQ+ walking tour

What is it? Discover queer landmarks and history in what’s arguably the UK’s LGBTQ+ capital. 

Why go? Rainbow flags fly proudly in Brighton, which many consider the UK’s LGBTQ+ capital. If you’ve ever wondered how Brighton became the town it is today, a walking tour from a local expert is a pretty good place to start. Walks take you through 200 years of history to chart the progress from bravery and achievement, in very different times to the more progressive attitudes of today. Plus, you’ll get to see some of Brighton’s best sights, from the grandeur of the seafront through The Lanes to the ‘gay village’ of Kemptown.

Hike around Devil’s Dyke

8.  Hike around Devil’s Dyke

What is it?  A timeless beauty spot on the sprawling South Downs.

Why go? Just a few miles out of town, the largest ’dry valley’ in the UK makes the perfect location for a dog walk or simply an aimless ramble as the sun sets. The Dyke has been a major tourist draw since the nineteenth century, and it’s very easy to see why.

Don’t miss:  Saddlescombe Farm, just a short hike away, is National Trust-managed farm hamlet with historic exhibits and a charming alfresco tearoom. 

Cycle along the Undercliff Path

9.  Cycle along the Undercliff Path

What is it?  A path that follows the shoreline from Brighton Marina to the village of Saltdean.

Why go?  Found just beyond Brighton Marina, this path sits beneath the chalk cliffs which line the coast east of the city towards Eastbourne. It takes around half an hour to cycle from the Palace Pier to Saltdean. Brighton’s city-wide BTN BikeShare scheme means it’s easy and cheap to get out here on two wheels.

Get your caffeine fix at one of Brighton’s amazing coffee shops

10.  Get your caffeine fix at one of Brighton’s amazing coffee shops

What is it? Brighton’s coffee scene  is arguably the best in the UK.

Why go?  Brightonians spend more on coffee per head than any other city in the UK. With owners who spend time researching and tasting the best beans, you won’t struggle to find a caffeine fix here.

Don’t miss:  Local chains Small Batch and Wolfox can be found throughout the city, but for the best coffee head to Stoney Point.

Explore the city’s independent bookshops

11.  Explore the city’s independent bookshops

What is it?: An array of independent bookshops and sellers upholding the voices of marginalised authors.

Why go?: These bookshops don't just uphold the voices of marginalised voices in the publishing industry, they've also helped to create a community in Brighton. Whether you want to diversify your bookshelf or find something completely new, you're  guaranteed to find your fave new book here (and yes, they sell tote bags). 

Don’t miss:  The Feminist Bookshop and Vegan Cafe on Upper North Street to find some of the best female, non-binary, and marginalised voices out there or walk down North Road and visit the winner of British Bookseller of the Year, Afrori Books which offers one of the biggest selection of books by black authors. The two also join forces in June to hold the Brighton Book Festival.  

Catch the coolest new bands at Brighton’s best venues

12.  Catch the coolest new bands at Brighton’s best venues

What is it?  Check out the coolest new bands at one of the city’s ace independent venues.

Why go?  Brighton is known for giving new artists a leg-up thanks to its numerous small venues. Whether you want to see unsigned bands take to the stage at The Hope and Ruin or Green Door Store, or take in a show from hotly tipped acts at Chalk or Concorde 2, you won’t be disappointed if new music is your thing.

Browse bric-à-brac in Snoopers Paradise

13.  Browse bric-à-brac in Snoopers Paradise

What is it? A huge, eclectic flea market in Kensington Gardens. 

Why go? If you’re after some antique knick-knacks to decorate your room, look no further. Enter through the old-school turnstile of this gigantic emporium and you’ll find two floors positively overflowing with vintage treasure. Each stall inside Snoopers Paradise is independently owned. And good thing – more diversity the better.

Don’t miss: After you’ve bought a quirky hat, jump in the black-and-white photo booth to snap a keepsake.

Pick up some cool vintage furniture at Era

14.  Pick up some cool vintage furniture at Era

What is it?  An upcycled furniture shop specialising in mid-century pieces

Why go?  Brighton has plenty of excellent second-hand furniture shops. But the guys at Era have an eye for the best and coolest pieces, from mid-century sideboards to stylish armchairs. Their shop on Trafalgar Street is heaven for interiors fanatics and they can arrange to deliver across the UK.

Go on a record shopping spree

15.  Go on a record shopping spree

What is it?  A string of amazing record stores selling the best in new music and classic LPs.

Why go?  Brighton has been at the forefront of the recent vinyl renaissance thanks to its brilliant record shops. Whether you want cheap second-hand treasures or the latest heavyweight releases, you’ll have no trouble finding what you’re after.

Don’t miss New record shop on the scene Capsule Records, which opened in 2023: an indie vinyl shop which doubles up as a café, where you can even try the tunes before you buy (via a QR code Spotify link). 

Explore Castle Hill and the lost village of Balsdean

16.  Explore Castle Hill and the lost village of Balsdean

What is it?  A protected nature reserve and abandoned village deep in the South Downs.

Why go?  A short bus ride away, Castle Hill is home to a number of rare butterfly species. Criss-crossed by paths, it’s easy to take a circular route around this hidden part of the South Downs. At the bottom of this deep valley sits Balsdean, a hamlet that was appropriated by the Ministry of Defence for firing practice during the Second World War.

Sip on a sundowner at Rockwater

17.  Sip on a sundowner at Rockwater

What is it?  Brighton and Hove’s newest beach bar.

Why go?  Found halfway along Hove beach, Rockwater is the latest addition to the city’s seafront. A coworking space by day, as well as a restaurant and café, the roof terrace here is ideal for sipping on a freshly made cocktail as the sun sets on a hot summer’s day.

Take a ride on the Volks Electric Railway

18.  Take a ride on the Volks Electric Railway

What is it?  The oldest operational electric railway in the world

Why go?  Running from the Palace Pier to Black Rock, the Volks Electric Railway is a narrow gauge service that delights tourists and young families alike. Opened by Magnus Volk in 1883, its small carriages run along the coast with views out to sea, passing through banks of wildflowers that are often covered with butterflies in summer.

Fill your bags with indie treats at the Open Market

19.  Fill your bags with indie treats at the Open Market

What is it? A vibrant covered market filled with independent shops, street food and artists’ studios. 

Why go? Soggy out? Here’s where to head when it’s sheeting it down. This undercover market packs independent boutiques, artists’ studios and traditional market stalls all under one roof. Shop local and pick up some fresh nosh or grab a book from the dinky bookshop.

Don’t miss: Once your bags are bursting, snuggle up with a coffee from the Flying Saucer Café.

See world treasures at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

20.  See world treasures at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

What is it? An excellent museum and gallery in the city’s cultural quarter.

Why go? Part of the Royal Pavilion, this city-centre museum and gallery is free for locals, while visitors are charged £9. And that’s good value, given the treasures on show – from fine art and ancient Egyptian treasure. Currently, ongoing exhibitions are Queer at the Pier and Finding Faberge, and the contemporary ‘World Above the Waves: Brighton’s Chain Pier’ (running until 14th January 2024) and ‘Roger Bamber: Out of the Ordinary’ (running until 3rd September 2023). 

Don’t miss: If insects are your thing, make a beeline for the Natural Sciences collection, where you can meet half a million of the little critters.

21.  Marvel at starling murmurations over the piers

What is it?  A nightly natural wonder that takes place on the seafront throughout winter.

Why go? From late October until March t housands of starlings gather each night just before sunset to swoop and swirl in a magical dance before settling into their roosts beneath the burnt-out West Pier and the iconic Palace Pier. The spectacle makes for incredible viewing.

Don’t miss  Head to the Palace Pier for close-up views of the birds in action.

Bring out your inner big kid at Brighton Toy and Model Museum

22.  Bring out your inner big kid at Brighton Toy and Model Museum

What is it? A wonderfully kitsch homage to the last 100 years of toys and models. 

Why go? Because who doesn’t enjoy a hit of childhood nostalgia? There are more than 10,000 items on display here – everything from Dinky cars and Meccano kits to vintage penny arcade games, puppet theatres and one of the country’s biggest collections of model railways, including a 1930s three-rail O-gauge layout (which is apparently pretty rare).

Catch a big-name gig at Brighton Centre

23.  Catch a big-name gig at Brighton Centre

What is it? A seafront exhibition centre and performance venue that’s  the place to go in Brighton for big-name comedy, music and theatre.

Why go? Many of the UK’s highest-profile tours head here, presumably undeterred by the venue’s history of hosting final gigs – both Bing Crosby and The Jam performed their last concerts here.

Visit Hove Museum & Art Gallery

24.  Visit Hove Museum & Art Gallery

What is it?: Though technically in Hove, Hove Museum & Art Gallery (also known as the Hove Museum of Creativity) sits within a gorgeous Victorian Villa, originally known as Brooker Hall, on New Church Road. 

Why go?: Though it has various activities related to its seasonal exhibitions, guests can visit the gallery for its display celebrating Hove’s history as a hub for early 19th-century filmmakers. Showcasing some of the earliest recordings in the UK created by pioneers who put Brighton and Hove on the map, it’s a fascinating analysis of how the technology evolved from the tertiary practice of a dedicated few to one of the main forms of entertainment today. Oh, and it's free. 

Don’t miss: Explore The Wizard’s Attic to see the evolution of children’s toys from the 18th century to the present day. It’s fascinating, if a little bit creepy. 

Get your culture fix at Brighton Dome

25.  Get your culture fix at Brighton Dome

What is it? Another big performance venue, the Dome is the Brighton Centre’s slightly more refined sibling.

Why go?  Expect a programme of classical music, dance, theatre and poetry. It’s actually three venues (Concert Hall, Corn Exchange, Studio Theatre) – so you’ve plenty to choose from.

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British Airways i360

Female yoga class taking place on the viewing platform of British Airways i360 Viewing Tower

Why we love Brighton

Quirky and cute, Brighton may seem like a typical British seaside resort, but delve below the surface and you’ll discover vintage shopping, diverse cuisine, health and sustainability at the forefront, while still offering plenty of pubs for a cheeky afternoon tipple. Explore the Victorian history and modern-day delights of Brighton Palace Pier, search the boho boutiques of its cute shopping street, The Lanes, or experience a bird’s eye perspective of the coastline from 450ft above the ground, on Brighton i360. 

Dig into freshly cooked fish and chips, or get back to nature amongst the white cliffs and ancient woodlands of the South Downs National Park. From wildlife to seaside charm, Brighton truly rocks!

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Group of friends in climbing gear at the top of i360 pod with the coastline of Brighton below

Hit new heights

Venture up high into Brighton’s sky on the  Brighton i360 tower, offering dramatic views of the coastline and the South Downs. Head up higher on a Tower Top Climb right to the summit and secret open-air platform.

VisitBritain/Rod Edwards

A group of people in a restaurant in Brighton, eating in the open air at Fishy Fishy restaurant.

A foodie’s dream

Bursting with flavour, Brighton comes alive with its indy food and local produce. Head out onto the streets of the city to discover the tastes that make up its fashionable food and drink scene.

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Pump up the adrenaline

Pump up the adrenaline

Look no further than Brighton for an adrenaline fuelled journey along the coastline on the ride of your life. Jump on a jet ski and see the city sights, pebbled shoreline and iconic pier from the water.

Things to do in Brighton

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Royal Pavilion

Visit this 19th-century seaside ‘pleasure palace’ in the heart of Brighton to discover its colourful history.

VisitBritain/Simon Anderson/Royal Pavilion

Royal Pavilion at dusk, lit up in a range of vivid colours

The Lanes, Brighton & Hove

Shop ’til you drop at the quirky shops and boutiques inside Brighton’s Lanes.

VisitBritain/Ben Selway

Crowds of people on the streets on a summer's day shopping

Brighton i360

Take flight on the world’s tallest moving observation tower, with 360-degree views of the city and coast.

Group of friends in climbing gear at the top of i360 pod overlooking the coastline in Brighton

Brighton and Hove Pride

Bold, brash and oh-so proud: the Brighton and Hove Pride is the party of the year.

VisitBritain/Tom Nagle

Woman flying rainbow flag during Pride

Brighton Beach

Grab a deckchair and soak up the sea air – and stunning views – at Brighton’s beachfront.

VisitBritain

Woman standing on the beach near the pier at sunset

Brighton Zip

Whizz along Brighton’s beach on this 300m (984ft) zipline – the longest one on the South Coast.

Lauren Mabbett Brighton Zip

People at Brighton Zip

What could be cooler than gliding along Brighton’s breezy beachfront on your roller blades?

Skate Fresh

Two people rollerskating along the street in Brighton

Lagoon Watersports

Peaceful Hove Lagoon is perfect for paddleboarding – or switch it up with a wakeboarding lesson.

A woman water skiing and holding onto a line at Lagoon Watersports in Brighton

Cocktails, mini golf and… dinosaurs? With its UV lights and wacky games, this nightspot is one-of-a-kind.

VisitBrighton

Luminescent decorations on a mini golf course at Globalls in Brighton

Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

A celebration of all-things Brighton, alongside artefacts and artworks from around the world.

VisitBritain/Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

An asian woman and teenager looking at paintings in gallery

Brighton Dome

This eclectic entertainment venue hosts stand-up-comedy, circus shows, classical ballet – and more.

Brighton Dome - CGI visual of studio theatre

Enter Gallery Brighton Tours

Local graffiti artist REQ presents a walking tour of Brighton’s most colourful hidden corners.

A tour guide highlighting Brighton's graffitti art on a tour

Brighton Open Market

Brighton Open Market Over 50 years old, this thriving market hosts fashion, food and craft stalls, alongside special events.

Gauthier Soho

A chef tasting prepared food in Gauthier Soho, a high-end restaurant in London

Proud Cabaret

Dine with a difference at this dazzling venue, or catch its legendary drag and burlesque brunches.

A performer on stage at Brighton's Proud Cabaret

This fun-loving food market is located right on the beach, with panoramic sea views from its terrace.

A performer on stage at Brighton's Komedia, a comedy club

Shelter Hall

A foodie’s paradise bringing seven food concepts to the city, all cooked up by Sussex chefs.

An exterior shot of Shelter Hall in Brighton, a popular restaurant with outdoor seating

Brighton Food Tours

Led by local foodies, these walking tours reveal the sizzling spots you won’t find in a guidebook.

A group of people drinking wine as part of a food tour in Brighton

Brighton Bear Weekend

For four days of big, burly fun, the BBW gets Brighton growling – with club nights, bear-a-oke and more.

A group of men attending Brighton Bear Weekend

A landmark gay venue and nightclub, having been a part of Brighton’s gay and lesbian scene for over 30 years.

Revenge, Brighton

Groups of people inside a club in Brighton

Brighton Festival

A cornucopia of live theatre, music, dance and cinema, in celebration of the city’s vibrant cultural scene.

Visit Brighton

Brighton Festival

Brighton Fringe

This annual festival showcases Brighton’s incredible arts scene – featuring dance, music, theatre and more.

HeadFirst Acrobats: PreHysterical by DFPhotography.co.uk

An acrobatic performer on stage as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival

The Great Escape

At venues across Brighton, this music festival hosts a diverse array of over 500 pop and rock acts.

Festival Republic

A band on stage at the Great Escape festival in Brighton

One Garden Brighton

This garden, market and café has mindfulness at its heart, and hosts wellness workshops and festivals.

Fresh flowers and produce on sale at One Market in Brighton

Brighton Diver Rampion Wind Farm Tour

This is no ordinary boat cruise: you’ll voyage out to the whirring turbines of Rampion wind farm.

Brighton Diver

An offshore rig, used by Brighton Diver for fishing and diving trips

The Mindful Garden

Take a fresh look at the Royal Pavilion gardens, with the help of this mindfulness audio guide.

People walking on stone bridge across river

Beach Box Spa

Step inside for a hot, health-enriching sauna experience – then take a cooling plunge in the sea.

VisitBritain/Storyman

Woman holds a yoga pose at the Beach Box Sauna in Brighton

Volk's Electric Railway

For a scenic ride along the seafront, take this open-air train: it has been running for over 135 years.

Volks Electric Railway, Brighton

Volks Electric Railway CAR NUMBER NINE IN SUMMER

Lure Boat Trips

Don’t just learn how to catch a fish in the ocean – discover how to prepare and cook it, too.

Brighton Lure Boat

A lure boat off the coast of Brighton, decorated with the logo of Brighton Lure Boat

Brighton Marina

This shopping and dining area overlooks the marina’s bobbing yachts – a trendy spot to linger in.

A row of shops and restaurants on Brighton's Marina

To the west of Brighton, this neighbourhood is known for its brightly-painted beach huts and shops.

rictours/onlyinbrighton

A rainbow coloured beach hut on Brighton and Hove beach

Brighton Bike Tours

From street art to sea views, this entertaining ride reveals Brighton’s best bits – all on two wheels.

Young man leaning over the railings on Brighton seafront next to a bicycle with Brighton Pier in the background

‘Kind to the environment and good for the soul’: that’s the motto of this forward-thinking bistro.

Kindling Restaurant

A chef plating up food in Brighton's highly rated Kindling Restaurant

North Laine

You’ll find everything from vintage fashion to foodie temptations in this quirky retail quarter.

Smiling woman in denim jacket standing between shops

Featured things to do

VisitBritain/Nadir Khan

Two men on mountain bikes cycling at Devil's Dyke. Sunrise

Outdoor adventure awaits

From soaring high above Brighton, to floating on the water aboard a kayak – the city is full of outdoor adventure set to get your adrenaline pumping.

Woman flying rainbow flag during Pride

Celebrate Pride

Join the party as two days of celebrations come to Brighton – with headline acts, drag artists, DJ sets and live performances, this is one unforgettable weekend.

Smiling woman in denim jacket standing between shops

Hit the streets

Vintage finders, collectable hunters and bargain lovers – head to Brighton’s streets for a shopping scene full of indie shops, boutique and antique stores.

royalpavillionicerink

Ice skating at Brighton Pavilion

Festive cheer

Skate across the ice rink outside Brighton’s iconic Royal Pavilion for a sprinkling of festive cheer in the city.

Places to stay in Brighton

East of the city is this neighbourhood known for its artists, and today is home to one of Britain’s largest LGBTQ communities. It has great bistros, wine bars and you’ll find all things organic and chic here.

Hip and happening Hanover is where a lot of Brighton folk choose to live. You’ll recognise it by its colourfully painted houses and buildings and rammed with restaurants, cafés and bars - which all come as a reward after a very steep hill you have to get up first.

Once a separate part of Brighton, now in a happy marriage. It has lovely regal houses, squares and places to stay. Quieter and more elegant than Brighton itself, with a more laid-back approach to life.

Explore nearby

South downs.

Discover epic trails, rivers to kayak, castles to conquer and wild woods to explore.

Two men on mountain bikes cycling at Devil's Dyke. Sunrise

An unmissable destination for travellers, London is a melting pot of history, culture and green spaces.

VisitBritain/Hazel Parreno

Picadilly Circus underground station

Getting to Brighton

With regular trains from London, Portsmouth and Southampton, as well as the Eurostar from King’s Cross St Pancras, it’s quick and easy to get to Brighton from destinations across the south east.

Getting around

Brighton’s compact size makes it easy to explore by foot, bike or bus once there. Brighton and Hove’s award-winning buses are regular, cost-effective and eco-friendly – making them the ideal way to journey further afield.

Check train times to Brighton from destinations across the south east, including Gatwick and find out more about times, fares and discounts .

Brighton’s best explored on foot, so grab one of VisitBrighton’s downloadable maps , and chuck on your trainers and hit the streets

Get on your bike and head out on Brighton’s coastal route, for gorgeous sea views and access to the South Downs Way and National Park.

Want to know more?

For insider tips and top places to visit, hit up Visit Brighton.

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22 of the best things to do in Brighton

brighton england tourist attractions

Louise Roddon

Destination Expert

Tuesday November 14 2023, 17:19pm

Ever since King George IV picked Brighton for his fantasy holiday pad, the city has retained a fondness for bawdy fun. The Prince Regent’s Royal Pavilion may have transformed what was once a small fishing village into an anything-goes tourist destination, but Brighton still has gravitas. Elegant Regency architecture mixes with top-rate museums; cool restaurants rival London’s foodie scene; and The Lanes’ cobbled alleyways atmospherically evoke Brighton’s early history. As for the city’s more quirky attractions, time it right and you could catch the annual naked bike ride or the Brighton mods meet-up. Alternatively, check out Kemptown for camp pubs, burlesque bars and live music, then North Laine’s hip enclave of indie shops and artisan cafés. Even the beach scene is far from boring, with funky galleries, horsebox-converted saunas on the pebbles, and a swish 50m heated outdoor pool. 

Main photo: Brighton Pier (Getty Images)

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1. Uncover Brighton’s queer history on a LGBTQ guided tour

Unofficially dubbed as the UK’s gay capital, Brighton has a long history of inclusivity. Rainbow flags adorn buildings and not just during Pride; there are gay pubs aplenty alongside specialist bookshops, accessories stores and entertainment venues. And Kemptown, fondly known as Brighton’s gay village, is one of the liveliest neighbourhoods in the city. On this guided walking tour with a local expert, stroll through 200 years of history charting the places and celebrity icons that put Brighton firmly on the LGBTQ map. You’ll also learn how the city hosted the first same-sex marriage in 1923. 

The Queens Arms in George Street, Kemptown. Going on a LGBTQ guided tour is one of the best things to do in Brighton

2. Step inside the Royal Pavilion

Easily Brighton’s most distinctive icon, the Royal Pavilion is an absolute must-see. Built by John Nash, this was the Prince Regent’s ostentatious seaside party pad; its flamboyant exterior of minarets, jelly-mould domes and mock-Mogul detailing almost pales into insignificance once you step inside. George IV favoured Kubla Khan-style extravagance: the dragon-festooned music room is a highlight; so too, the ostentatious banqueting room and nodding Chinese statuettes. Upstairs, don’t miss Queen Victoria’s lumpy-looking mattress-tiered bed; worthy of the one described in Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea .

Visiting Brighton Pavilion is one of the best things to do in Brighton

3. Go behind the scenes at the museum

From the Brighton Pavilion, you’re now a pebble’s throw away from Brighton Museum and Art Gallery . Housed in what was the Prince Regent’s stable complex, this museum has a delightful mix of ceramics and art deco furniture, tribal masks and costumes, and interesting Egyptian artefacts. There’s a good Brighton-focused LGBTQ+ room upstairs, alongside seaside memorabilia and some excellent postwar British art. Plenty of fun quizzes and trails for children are staged, and for culture vultures there’s a new afternoon behind-the-scenes tour, where you get to see the full collection and meet the curators.

brightonmuseums.org.uk

Visiting Brighton Museum and Art Gallery is one of the best things to do in Brighton

  • Best hotels in Brighton
  • Best hotels in East Sussex

4. Tour the city on two wheels

Brighton is highly walkable (most attractions are about 10-20 minutes’ stroll from Brighton station), but if you don’t fancy schlepping around on foot, rent one of the city’s pale-green community bikes. They are easy to use and stationed at key points throughout Brighton, with plenty parked along the seafront. Brighton has stacks of cycle lanes, but for an ozone-fuelled skedaddle, pick one up at the Peace Statue by the burnt-down West Pier and pootle eastwards towards the marina. Couples should opt for a fun tandem ride.

Cycling is one of the best things to do in Brighton

5. Walk the undercliff path to Rottingdean

Rottingdean is Brighton’s hugely photogenic neighbour, and although getting there is straightforward enough by bus it’s much nicer to take the sea-facing stroll. Just beyond the unprepossessing marina is the undercliff walk — a broad-paved pathway backed by steep chalk cliffs. You’ll find some funky sea-facing cafés en route, and if you have kids in tow the rockpools are lovely to explore. Once you reach Rottingdean, head to Rudyard Kipling’s home in the centre of the village. Only the grounds can be visited, but they’re an exquisite example of a traditional English garden.

visitbrighton.com

Completing the Undercliff Walk At Rottingdean is one of the best things to do in Brighton

Best boutique hotels in Brighton

6. Munch your way around the city

Brighton and Hove’s foodie scene has really been elevated in recent years, and the ethos of low-mileage cuisine is a feature in many of its excellent restaurants. However, if you fancy tracking down local produce on the hoof, join a Brighton Food Tours walk. Uncovering districts that many tourists miss, you’ll visit the open market, great cheese shops, Brighton’s own sausage shop and scrummy streetfood stalls. There are four walks to choose from, including a Kemptown tour of microbreweries, roasteries and vintage tea shops. Naturally, tastings and quaffings are included.

7. Have fun on the pier

The city’s beach scene has become so hip that Brighton Palace Pier is almost a stand-alone for traditional seaside fun. Come here for the cheesy appeal of spinning cups and dodgems, or jump on the retro-tacky ghost ride and helter-skelter. You can purchase super-saver tickets from the kiosk at the entrance — a bonus if you’re planning to ride the stomach-churning Turbo Coaster. Entrance is free if you just fancy strolling its length. Top tip: fish and chips from Big Fish Trading Company by the kiosk are really excellent.

brightonpier.co.uk

Visiting Brighton Palace Pier is one of the best things to do in Brighton

8. Spend a day on the beach

Finished with the pier? If the weather’s peachy, Brighton’s beaches offer enough diversions to fill a day. And an evening too; at dusk, you’ve got the strange spectacle of starlings swirling over the piers, and those buzzy live-music beach bars and clubs fill up with cocktail quaffers. During the day, scour the art galleries and cool cafés housed within the old boat sheds, join a volleyball match by the West Pier, or head to Kemptown with some mates for a sauna on the pebbles in Beach Box Spa’s cleverly converted horseboxes.

Visiting the Palace Pier is one of the best things to do in Brighton

9. Ride the vertical pier

For locals, the British Airways i360 — a vertical tower with a glass, doughnut-shaped viewing pod — is very much a love-hate beachside fixture. At 138m high, it’s one of the world’s tallest moving observation towers, and the ride takes you swooshing slowly skywards for sparkly views over Regency squares, back gardens, the burnt-out West Pier and all the way along the coastline towards Beachy Head. Of course, the 20-minute ride can be marred by bad weather, so make this a last-minute option. Themed events include Sussex sparkling wine flights and yoga-in-the-sky sessions.

Visiting the British Airways i360 observation tower is one of the best things to do in Brighton

10. Gawp at sharks and tropical fish

Perfect for families and kids, Sea Life Brighton (just opposite the pier) is the world’s oldest aquarium — an architecturally impressive collection of polychrome arches and salons, stuffed with enormous fish tanks. Book online for family deals to avoid expensive door rates, then gawp at delicate jellyfish, dazzling tropical species and enormous manta rays. Don’t miss the glass-bottom boat ride where you glide through the water over sharks and turtles. As well as daily fish-feeding sessions, there’s also a thrilling behind-glass rainforest adventure, for face-to-face encounters with anacondas, terrapins and poisonous dart frogs.

Visiting the Sea Life Centre is one of the best things to do in Brighton

11. Head for the hills

Brighton has got it made — a walkable seaside city, with the added bonus of easy access to the South Downs. From Brighton station, nab a place on the heritage open-air double-decker bus up to Devil’s Dyke and you’re only 20 minutes away from the UK’s deepest and longest dry valley. The bus stops outside the family-friendly Vintage Inn, perfect for a refuel before tackling the walks. Families should bring a kite; daredevil couples can enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the dyke on a tandem hang-glider.

Visiting Devil's Dyke is one of the best things to do in Brighton

12. Enjoy a dip at Sea Lanes

Eight years in the making, and a welcome addition to Brighton’s beach scene, Sea Lanes is the UK’s first open-water swimming centre. Plonked right on the pebbles just below Madeira Drive in Kemptown, this six-lane 50m heated pool means you can enjoy an open-air dip all year round — or, if you fancy braving the waves, Sea Lanes offers guided sea-swimming technique sessions. The surrounding area has become a hub of fitness-focused outfits — from SUP operators and kayak hire to a sauna, and the cafés and restaurants keep fitness to the fore with a range of healthy organic menus on offer. 

sealanesbrighton.co.uk

Swimming at the Sea Lanes is one of the best things to do in Brighton

13. Discover early filmmakers at Hove Museum & Art Gallery

Before Hollywood, there was Hove… and at the Hove Museum & Art Gallery (also known as the Hove Museum of Creativity) you can discover how this once sedate suburb became an important hub for early filmmakers. This elegant former Victorian villa houses two interactive galleries outlining the city’s importance in film history — from the technology used to create early special effects to magic lanterns and examples of some of the UK’s earliest recordings. Alongside a programme of changing exhibitions, there’s also a fun Wizard’s Attic showcasing the evolution of toys from the 18th century.

14. Zip over the waves

Ready for an adrenaline rush? Head to Brighton’s zip wire, one of the city’s newer attractions, where you get to swish some 30m over Brighton beach on the south coast’s longest zip wire ride. Climb the spiral tower at the entrance, get kitted out and safety briefed, then you’re ready to whizz 300m eastwards from the pier. With its parallel twin wires this ride is perfect for couples or families with older children — and for hardcore adrenaline junkies brave enough to step over the ledge, there’s a super-thrilling 24m drop zone.

The zipwire is one of the best things to do in Brighton

15. Catch a show at Brighton Dome

Next door to the museum, where “Prinny” stabled his 40-odd horses, is the city’s plushest entertainment venue, Brighton Dome. Inside, it’s all Poirot-style art deco glamour (the architect, Robert Atkinson, had also designed London’s former Daily Express building) and the shows staged here span excellent classical and contemporary music, modern dance, talks and debate, magic events and headliner stars of comedy. The Dome runs a full programme of events throughout the year, and if you’re visiting during Brighton Festival this is definitely a venue to check out.

brightondome.org

Visiting the Dome is one of the best things to do in Brighton

16. Meander through North Laine

A five-minute walk from the Dome will bring you to North Laine — the city’s buzziest neighbourhood. This was Brighton’s former industrial quarter, but today its grid of narrow streets lined with Victorian cottages are full of fabulous indie shops, impressive street art, chic cafés and bistros. Always busy at weekends, especially the pedestrianised Kensington Gardens (don’t miss the brilliant flea market, Snoopers Paradise), this is Brighton’s hipster-meets-hippy quarter for quirky finds. For a snazzy retro look, head to Jump the Gun for 1960s mod gear, including tonic suits, button badges and Harringtons.

jumpthegun.co.uk

Shopping in North Laine is one of the best things to do in Brighton

17. Tour the Fishing Museum

East of the West Pier is the Fishing Museum (look out for the old wooden boat outside) — a gem of a Brighton attraction set within the former boat builders’ sheds. Through photographs and marine memorabilia, you can learn the story of the town’s fishing past; from life in the fishing village of Brighthelmstone in the 18th century, to how the party-loving Prince Regent heralded the trend for bathers bagging boat rides from the fishermen. Entrance is free: afterwards pop next door to Jack and Linda’s Smokehouse for a delicious fishy snack.

seafrontheritage.co.uk

Visiting the Fishing Museum is one of the best things to do in Brighton

18. Scour the Lanes for antiques

Talking of Brighthelmstone, the village where the fishing community settled is now in the Lanes, an atmospheric muddle of narrow alleyways and “twittens” stuffed with jewellers and antiques shops. Sure, it gets crowded and you’ll find yourself walking single file at a snail’s pace; but off-season this is a great spot to explore. Alternatively, book a quirky ghost-themed walking tour here, led by costumed actors at dusk. Afterwards? The Cricketers pub nearby is the city’s oldest tavern, reputedly visited by Jack the Ripper and a favourite haunt of Graham Greene.

ghostwalkbrighton.co.uk

Visiting the Lanes Armory Shop is one of the best things to do in Brighton

19. Book in for Brighton Festival

A festival to rival the Edinburgh event, Brighton Festival kicks off in May, when the city’s 40-odd schools rock along the seafront in fancy dress. This arts festival pulls in the crowds for fabulous live music performances, art exhibitions, dance and talks at venues dotted throughout the city. There’s always one atmospherically quirky highlight event — night-time sound and light installations in Shoreham harbour, for instance — so booking ahead is essential. Brighton Fringe Festival runs concurrently, offering tip-top comedy, acrobatics, art shows and kids’ activities.

brightonfestival.org

Attending Brighton Festival is one of the best things to do in Brighton

20. Swim between the piers

Brightonians are a hardy mob; it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing or how cold the sea might be, you’ll spot swimmers splashing in the waves with barely a goosepimple evident. A hugely jolly 1km competition (dating back to 1936, it’s the UK’s oldest swimming race) takes place on dates in June and July and you need to register to join. Alternatively, have a solo “between the piers” swim, or, on a calm day, follow the local hipsters and kayak or SUP the route with Brighton Water Sports.

thebrightonwatersports.co.uk

The annual pier-to-pier race in Brighton - one of the best things to do in Brighton

21. Hit the cocktail scene

OK, we have pubs covered — everything from camp dives to snug, hole-in-the-wall boozers — but townies are getting a taste for cocktails, and if that’s your tipple du jour, Brighton has an amazing choice of bars. The newest kid on the block is Burnt Orange, owned by the Salt Room and Coal Shed restaurateur Razak Helalat. This all-day, all-night cocktail bar excels at properly made martinis, garnished with olives and grilled orange skin, alongside flavour-packed grazing dishes. Other cool venues? Try the Plotting Parlour and L’Atelier du Vin.

latelierduvin.co.uk

Having cocktails at venues such as Burnt Orange is one of the best things to do in Brighton

22. Ride the world’s oldest electric railway

Chunter along the seafront in a dinky open-air train carriage. Volk’s is the world’s oldest continuously running electric railway, and OK, its route is only a mile long, but for families this is a highly pleasurable ride. Opened in 1883 by eccentric local boy Magnus Volk, it trundles along just east of the pier all the way to Black Rock. Pop into its heritage centre to absorb its history, then stop halfway at Yellowave Beach Sports. My recommendation? Pre-book one of their volleyball courts or classes on the sands.

volkselectricrailway.co.uk

Visiting Volk's electric railway is one of the best things to do in Brighton

Take me there

Inspired to visit Brighton but yet to book your trip? Here are the best places to stay from Booking.com and Hotels.com .

brighton england tourist attractions

15 of the best things to do in Brighton

Ashley Owen

Mar 27, 2022 • 7 min read

England, Sussex, Brighton, View of beach at Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier with classic deck chairs on the pebbled beach in summer © Westend61/Getty Images

An inimitable blend of cool and kitsch, Brighton is one of the UK’s most quirky, vibrant and welcoming cities. It offers the perfect combination of lively urban life and laid-back beach vibes, not to mention a thriving LGBTQIA+ scene and more independent stores and coffee shops than you can shake a stick at. 

Here are some of the top things to do in this hip and hedonistic seaside city.

Hit the beach

A trip to Brighton wouldn’t be complete without spending time on its famous beach. Pebbly rather than sandy, you can have a go at watersports such as stand-up paddleboarding and windsurfing or simply relax in the glorious sunshine. It’s worth noting that on warm weekends and holidays Brighton beach attracts sizable crowds from London and other inland locations, so head further along the coast to find a quieter spot, or visit on a weekday. The winter is a lovely time to stroll along the seafront, because the beach is virtually empty and the sunset colors add plenty of atmosphere.

Feel the nostalgia at Brighton Pier

One of the bigger attractions on the seafront is Brighton Pier , a city landmark that dates back to the Victorian era. At 1,722 feet long, it’s packed with classic fairground rides including a gaudy carousel, spooky haunted house, dodgems and a helter-skelter. Inside you can immerse yourself in the non-stop noise and flashing lights of the games arcade, with everything from old-school 2p pusher machines to modern VR simulators. If your stomach can take it after the rollercoasters, nibble on a crunchy stick of Brighton Rock for some traditional sugary sustenance.

People having fun at Brighton Gay Pride Parade, England. The annual Pride Community Parade is the biggest celebration of the LGBT community at  Brighton, UK. Getty Images

Marvel at the splendor of the Royal Pavilion

Brighton’s most iconic landmark is the extravagant Royal Pavilion , which was once the seaside palace of King George IV. It’s an opulent mix of Indian architecture and Regency grandeur, with ornate roof domes and towering spires that dominate the landscape. Meanwhile, the interior is a jaw-dropping display of chinoiserie style, with resplendent bedrooms, gilded banquet halls and a dragon-adorned music room. The pavilion is well worth a visit for a peek into Brighton’s decadent past – if you want to find out more about the city’s history and culture, combine it with a trip to the adjoining Brighton Museum & Art Gallery .

Start your day with locally roasted coffee

Brighton is one of the UK’s most coffee-obsessed cities, and there is a wealth of independent coffee shops where you can get your caffeine fix from locally roasted beans. Stoney Point has long been a favorite with locals, and Wolfox now has several stylish yet homely branches in the city – don’t miss the deliciously fluffy vegan Biscoff donuts! Alternatively, you can people-watch at Pelicano or escape the tourist crowds at Tilt in the north of the city.

Sip on local craft beer

Brighton’s bar scene is second to none, with more pubs than you could possibly hope to visit in one trip. From the rooftop garden of The Mesmerist to the cave-like interior of the beachside Tempest Inn , there’s a unique drinking establishment to suit everyone. The city also boasts some of the best LGBTQIA+ bars in the country, mostly located around St James’ Street in the Kemptown area – don’t miss the “Piers & Queers” walking tour if you want to find out more about Brighton’s history from an LGBTQIA+ perspective. Whichever pubs you choose to frequent, be sure to sample some locally brewed craft beer from breweries such as Brighton Bier while you’re here!

This is the Lanes, a shopping street popular with tourists on July 24, 2019 in Brighton

Get lost in The Lanes

Brighton’s legendary Lanes ooze with character, and you can easily while away an afternoon exploring them. These twisting alleyways and narrow streets are crammed with historic buildings that house all sorts of artistic independent shops, galleries and cafes. From antiques and jewelry to books and vinyl records, these colorful stores have something for everyone. The area gets busy, so avoid visiting on the weekend if you want some breathing room.

Shop at boutique stores in North Laine

A short walk north from The Lanes lies, predictably, North Laine. Less than half a square mile in size, it’s home to the largest collection of independent retailers on the UK’s south coast. You’ll find an eclectic mix of vintage fashion boutiques, bakeries, jewelry stores and gift shops to explore. Stop by Dave’s Comics to browse graphic novels and games, or the renowned Snoopers Paradise flea market to rummage through everything from homeware to books and antiques.

Change your perception of vegan food

Vegan fish and chips is far from the only option on the menu for plant-based visitors to Brighton. In fact, the city is one of the most veggie-friendly in the country, so you’ll be spoiled for choice. Head to Food for Friends for an innovative seasonal menu, Terre à Terre to indulge in a vegan version of a traditional English afternoon tea, or The Roundhill for an epic plant-based Sunday roast that was voted the best in Brighton – beating its many meaty rivals. For dessert, drop by Boho Gelato for creamy vegan ice cream to enjoy on the beach.

Couple enjoying fish and chips in Brighton by neon sign

Tuck into fish and chips 

Indulging in a box of fish and chips is a quintessential part of the British seaside experience, and there’s no shortage of restaurants and chippies in Brighton where you can get your fill. Award-winning Bardsley’s is one of the best, while The Regency offers gorgeous sea views as you eat. If the weather’s good, get yours to take away and enjoy eating on the beach the traditional way (watch out for hungry seagulls!). Don’t eat fish? All-vegan No Catch has got you covered with everything from its signature “tofish” to tempura “prawns”. 

Spend an afternoon at Brighton Marina

To the east of the city lies the quayside Brighton Marina , a hub of shops and entertainment. If you don’t fancy the walk, in the summer you can reach it via the historic Volks Electric Railway, which dates back to 1883 and is the oldest electric railway in Britain. In addition to brand name shops, a cinema and bowling alley, it houses the trippy UV crazy golf facility Globalls, which is perfect for a rainy day. Another hotspot for shopping in Brighton is the Churchill Square shopping center, with over 80 high street chains.

Challenge yourself at an escape room

Brighton is a city that doesn’t take itself too seriously, so it’s a great place to indulge your playful side. Pier Pressure offers a series of fun-filled escape rooms with storylines based around local landmarks like the Royal Pavilion and The Lanes, while Bewilderbox’s two sci-fi-esque rooms boast guest voice appearances from Knightmare host Hugo Myatt and Norman Lovett from Red Dwarf. For a more traditional gaming experience, check out beachside video and board game bar Loading or arcade pub The World’s End.

Admire the view from the i360

It might not be the most visually appealing attraction in Brighton, but the British Airways i360 tower does offer stunning views of the city and surrounding countryside. The glass-walled pod rises 450 feet into the air, from where you can gaze out over the South Downs and on clear days even see all the way across the sea to the Isle of Wight. Admire the sights with a glass in hand from the Sky Bar, or get your adrenaline pumping by signing up for the Tower Top Climb.

Murmuration (collective fluid movement of a flock of starlings) over the ruins of Brighton and Hove's West Pier during sunset.

Gaze out at West Pier

When wandering along the seafront, you can’t help but notice Brighton’s other pier stranded out at sea. West Pier is now just a shadowy skeleton of its former self, having been ravaged by both storms and fires over the years. It might not sound like much of an attraction, yet it’s a hauntingly beautiful sight and makes for a great atmospheric photograph – especially during the winter months, when thousands of starlings swirl and dance in the skies above it.

Catch a live show

Brighton is packed with venues for live music, comedy and theater. The Brighton Centre hosts some of the biggest names, but countless pubs – including the Hope & Ruin and The Brunswick – put on live shows multiple nights a week. If classical music is more your scene, check out the listings for the Brighton Dome , which sees the likes of the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra grace the stage.

Go for a hike

Thanks to its location next to the South Downs National Park, Brighton has plenty of epic hiking routes within easy reach. So pack a picnic and head out to the dry valley of Devil’s Dyke, grassy slopes of Ditchling Beacon, or pretty woodland of Stanmer Park. There are paths suitable for all fitness levels, offering fresh air and picturesque views of the English countryside.

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Must-Visit Attractions in Brighton, England

Be sure to pay a visit to Brighton Palace Pier, whether it be for a spell in the arcade or a hearty fish-and-chip feast

Known as the UK’s LGBTQ Capital, Brighton prides itself on its reputation as a cultural and environmental powerhouse. Once the destination for curative sea-bathing, people have been flocking to Brighton for hundreds of years. But it’s not just something in the water; the city hides a plethora of riches in its diverse streets – plentiful pubs, boutiques, cafés and a cultural quarter bursting with offbeat offerings. From the South Downs to the Channel, here’s a list of must-sees for the seaside experience of a lifetime.

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The Royal Pavilion

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

brighton england tourist attractions

The flamboyant charm and vision of George IV is responsible for the iconic Pavilion, which is still holding court in the heart of Brighton some 230 years later. Richly eccentric, the one-time pleasure palace of a robust, gambling good-timer blends Mughal and Islamic architectural traditions with stunning results. It can be appreciated from the outside well enough, but also permits visitors to explore it and learn more about the history.

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Pavilion Gardens

Architectural Landmark, Music Venue Not to be outdone by the shadows of spires and onion domes, the promenade winding through the Royal Pavilion and its neighbour the Brighton Dome is worth a stroll any day of the year, but is most resplendent in the spring and early summer. The Pavilion Gardens regularly play host to a variety of events, including small outdoor concerts and horticultural shows, and there’s even a small café on the fringes, so you can enjoy a coffee in this idyllic setting.

May Festival season

Natural Feature Each spring, the cultured, artistic masses descend on Brighton for a stellar lineup of unique festivals; the Brighton Festival spans the month of May. The Brighton Fringe brings the weird and wonderful to venues throughout the city while The Great Escape showcases new and unsigned bands during a whirlwind month of carnivalesque proportions. There are a number of other, more specific festivals which take place during May, so it’s worth checking online to see what’s happening and plan your trip around what holds the most appeal.

Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

Art Gallery, Museum Part of the Royal Pavilion Estate, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery hosts a considerable archival collection from early Brighton in print, as well as many personal pieces from King George IV. Historical exhibitions and new art installations rotate through the museum’s schedule month to month, as well as hosting special events.

The North Laine

Market Before heading down to the sea, amble and browse over 400 unique shops and cafés in this colourful quarter. Some of the best watering holes the city has to offer are situated here – as are some of the best venues for an evening of entertainment – the stunning, Grade II-listed Theatre Royal and Komedia.

Architectural Landmark

© Peter Greenhalgh (UKpix.com) / Alamy Stock Photo

Small but perfectly formed, the labyrinthine Lanes guard a trove of shiny treasures – antiques, jewellery, cake and enough restaurants to fill an afternoon. The salt from the sea is nearly perceptible here – but don’t rush.

The seafront

Natural Feature

© Cultura Creative (RF) / Alamy Stock Photo

It may sound like a no brainer, but no trip to Brighton would be complete without a bumpy seat on the city’s infamous pebble beach – better yet, take a ride on a candy-floss painted horse on the classic carousel before renting a striped deck chair to watch the sunset. There are numerous bars and restaurants lining the beach, so you won’t be stuck for places to drop anchor, and you can even rent a kayak and hit the waves if so inclined.

Brighton Palace Pier

Amusement Park, Architectural Landmark Cheap thrills, spills and stuff-your-face fills await on this icon of a bustling seaside retreat. To the west, you can glimpse the Pier’s elegant, fading sister – the West Pier – still standing regally in the distance.The Palace houses a massive arcade which you can lose hours in, as well as a boardwalk which provides one of the best viewing platforms anywhere in Brighton.

The British Airways i360

Building The world’s tallest moving observation tower climbs the sky, like a lone alien from an H G Wells novella. From 138 meters up, it lends panoramic views of the city, the South Downs and, on a clear day, even the Isle of Wight.

SeaLife Centre

Aquarium It’s the world’s oldest operating aquarium, and a mainstay of Brighton’s seafront. Their motto is Breed, Rescue, Protect, with monthly beach cleans. Key attractions include the Day & Night display, a 750,000 litre tank which can show visitors the coral cycle across a 24 hour period. You can even skim over the top of the tanks in a glass bottom boat.

Brighton Marina

© Joe Vella / Alamy Stock Photo

One of Europe’s largest marinas and a village in its own right, Brighton Marina boasts restaurants, a cinema, and even glow-in-the-dark dinosaur mini-golf. For those who want to get in the water, there are diving courses and jet ski rental – with picturesque views of the moored yachts.

Hove Lagoon

Natural Feature The sea can be a scary place to try out any water sport; Hove Lagoon offers wakeboarding, kitesurfing, paddle boarding and more for novices and experts alike. Once you’ve got your sea legs, you might get lucky enough to be sent out into the drink for a spin.

Park, Skate Park There are plenty of notable green spaces in the city, but following a recent revamp, The Level – hailed as Brighton’s Central Park – now boasts a busy skate park, well used by locals. There’s also Pétanque and plenty of space to share a picnic.

Architectural Landmark Tags and murals line the back streets of the city, creating an ever-changing backdrop of colour. It could take days to find your favourite. Streets like Orange Row and Regent Street are a wash of colour, and you can even spot the work of some famous artists if you know where to look, including a replica of Banksy’s Kissing Policemen (the original has sadly since been covered up).

Preston Park Rockery

© Hugh Threlfall / Alamy Stock Photo

The elegantly terraced space – Britain’s largest municipal rock garden – was recently voted England’s Best Park during the Fields in Trust awards. A woodland oasis, the Rockery is a space for exploration, as well as a haven for the bees and birds.

St Bartholomew’s Church

Church This striking red brick building dates back to 1874, the project of the relatively unknown architect Edmund Scott. Rising up behind London Road, it is visible throughout the city, but its great height is most impressive from within.

South Downs National Park

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A viridescent carpet drifting towards the top of the world, this enormous sweep of hills, thickets and chalk cliffs spilling to the sea offer spectacular vistas. Encompassing the Seven Sisters, Devil’s Dyke and Ditchling Beacon, the air up there, it seems, is just a bit sweeter too.

Earthship Brighton

Building, Park The Low Carbon Trust’s pioneering project culminated in the country’s first Earthship, a sustainable, low-impact community centre designed to educate and inspire climate-friendly lifestyles. Tours of this special space explore clean energy initiatives and the ingenious building methods that went into this trailblazing build.

The AmEx Stadium

Stadium With imminent promotion, the home of Brighton and Hove Albion is worth a visit. If you can’t get a ticket, it’s best viewed from the South Downs, mimicking the sweep of the lush surrounding landscape.

Sports Center A sea of sand in an otherwise shingled landscape, Yellowave is the UK’s first beach-sport centre of its kind. Catch a beach volleyball tournament on the weekends, while those who don’t fancy jumping around can stop in for a cuppa and a cake.

Upside Down House

Art Gallery

© Simon Dack News / Alamy Stock Photo

If you casually walk along the beachfront between the i360 and the Beach Club, you might notice something peculiar – a house that has literally been flipped on its head. In reality, the Upside Down House is one of Brighton’s best curiosities. Venture inside and you’ll find a gallery of optical illusions and topsy-turvy furniture. Few attractions are better fodder for the ’gram than the Upside Down House.

Helicopter Tours

Natural Feature Why simply walk the streets and beaches of Brighton when you can see everything from the air? A helicopter tour is an exciting, comprehensive way to experience a city, and this is particularly true of Brighton. Using the HeliFly company, you can book a ride over the city, seeing the divide between older historical areas and newer ones, or if a tour isn’t your thing, helicopter your way to a nearby country manor house for a classy lunch.

Brighton Zip

Amusement Park Another way to get an elevated view of Brighton is the beach’s signature 300-metre twin ziplines. Easily mixed into a day of exploration, the zipline ride takes mere seconds, but offers a unique thrill and a change to take in the sea views from a higher vantage point.

Court Garden Vineyard

Winery Sitting on the outer fringes of Brighton, closer to the village of Ditchling, Court Garden has become one of the most renowned vineyards in the UK since its establishment in 2005. Tours are given regularly, enabling visitors to walk the fields, learn more about the process and sample some of the wine the vineyard produces. You have to venture just out of Brighton to reach it, but it’s worth the journey.

Brighton Toy and Model Museum

Museum, Train Station

© Simon Dack News / Alamy Stock Photo

During the late 19th and early 20th century, the UK went into a golden age of toy production – model trains, dolls’ houses and just about everything else you’d find in a haunted attic. All of it can be seen and enjoyed in a kind of living diorama across 1,000 square feet of Victorian cellar space. The museum features more than 10,000 pieces and donations mean that it is always growing.

Brighton Open Market

Market With a 50-year pedigree, Brighton Open Market is the only open air marketplace in the city, and has become a mainstay for local vendors and shoppers alike. Many shops around the city have a stall there, as well as artists and even a radio station. Unlike many similar markets, the OM is open seven days a week, and even plays host to special events throughout the year. Additional reporting by Callum Davies

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Attractions

Brighton is jam-packed with fun and interesting places to visit – places that will take you up in the sky, down below ground, back in time and flying through the air at a heart-racing pace. Intrigued? Read on to find out which of Brighton’s fabulous attractions might take your fancy.

The Royal Pavilion is one of Brighton’s most famous landmarks, and its original owner is largely responsible for putting Brighton on the map – so to speak! The iconic eastern-influenced palace was built in the late 18 th Century as a seaside resort by the Prince Regent, who later became King George IV. George loved to throw a lavish feast – with more courses than most people can manage – and you can see his fairy tale kitchen, decadent dining hall and sumptuous four-poster bed where his niece, the future Queen Victoria, slept when she came to stay.

Right next to the Royal Pavilion is Brighton Museum & Art Gallery where you can see a permanent collection of art and design exhibits alongside new and changing exhibitions, and learn about the history of Brighton from its origins as a fishing village (before George IV made it fashionable) to how it was bombed and evacuated during World War II.

Seafront Attractions

A much more recent addition to Brighton’s skyline, and one that raised a few eyebrows when it first arrived, is the Brighton i360 . Watch out for events from silent discos to concerts taking place in the sky-climbing “donut”, or simply go just to admire the panoramic views while sipping a glass of Sussex sparkling wine.

Also on the seafront you’ll find Sea Life Brighton . It’s easy to forget that it’s the world’s oldest operating aquarium when you’re standing in a glass tunnel watching sharks and turtles swim over your head! And a little further on from here you can find another historic landmark, Volk’s Electric Railway . Built by inventor Magnus Volk in 1883, it still operates and is open from April to October. There’s no need to book, you can just turn up and ride all the way to Black Rock Station by Brighton Marina, where there’s plenty more family entertainment to be found!

Of course, no visit to Brighton is complete without a visit to Brighton Palace Pier . The Pier offers fun for everyone, from hair-raising rides, arcade games and traditional fairground favourites such as Hook a Duck and Tin Can Alley, to wining and dining while gazing out to sea. In the winter months you can watch the starlings perform their stunning murmurations from here every evening as the sun goes down.

But that’s not all there is to see and do in Brighton. You can explore the city by bus with City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off tours; take a high-flying ride with Brighton Zip ; visit Preston Manor , former home of one of Brighton’s biggest landowners; enjoy some toy nostalgia at Brighton Toy & Model Museum or, if you’re feeling brave enough, take a tour of the Brighton Sewers!

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Bake Awake Baking School offers fun and easy recipes to bake while applying the principles of mindfulness.

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Court Garden is an internationally award winning vineyard just on the northern edge of the village of Ditchling.

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Come and visit Kinsbrook: a progressive vineyard and wine producer in the heart of West Sussex wine country. Kinsbrook Farmhouse, houses a farm shop and restaurant with stunning panoramic views of the vineyard and is open 7 days a week.

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A hexagonal smock mill on top of flint tower and barns dating from the 1820's with the original workings in place. Visitors can discover how grain is made into flour.

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Get arty while you party at this Paint & Sip studio located in the North Laines, right in the heart of the city. Creativity flows like a fine wine, and we encourage you to join us solo, together or meet someone new to sip, dip, splash, slosh.

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Palace Pier is a 1,722ft long Victorian pier, located in the heart of Brighton and Hove’s 8 miles of coastline.

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Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT) is a 400-seat theatre in Dyke Road Park, Brighton. We host a wide range of performances, including theatre, music, comedy, dance, opera, circus and family shows.

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Slake Spirits is for discerning drinkers and natural pleasure seekers who need a little taste of adventure and wonder in their lives. Our newly refurbished distillery in Worthing is now open and we’d love for you to come by to see how we…

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Enter Gallery is a unique gallery space that showcases emerging talent alongside household names such as Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry and Sir Peter Blake.

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Ironworks Studios is a unique multi-purpose studio and event space in the middle of Brighton, just a 5 minute walk from the main train station with an audience reception and licensed café bar.

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Stopham Vineyard is set in a beautiful location near Pulborough in West Sussex in the peaceful hamlet of Stopham, a rural idyll steeped in history

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THE CERAMIC HOUSE is the creation of architectural ceramicist Kay Aplin, who has transformed her home into a living work of art and created a permanent showcase of her ceramic installations, and you can stay here!

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At Brighton Cookery School we help you have the best culinary experience where you are the chef and diner. Combine that with bottomless wine you have the magic formula for a relaxed, and balanced atmosphere where fun and learning go hand in hand.

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Home » Travel Guides » United Kingdom » England » 15 Best Things to Do in Brighton (East Sussex, England)

15 Best Things to Do in Brighton (East Sussex, England)

Stylish, progressive and full of fun, Brighton could claim to be England’s party capital, and pulls in day-trippers from across the south for days at the beach, nights out and shopping.

The city has a thriving arts and creative industry, and its reputation for culture is bolstered by the Brighton Festival every May.

At the end of the 18th century the upper class arrived in what was then a fishing village to “take the cure”, to bathe in the seawater and even drink it.

In that first wave of holidaymakers was the Prince Regent (future George IV). He ordered the Royal Pavilion, an Indo-Saracenic looks like no other palace in the west, with bulging domes and minarets.

Brighton also has a large LGBT community, and 400,000 people come to the city for the annual Brighton Pride in August.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Brighton :

1. Royal Pavilion

Royal Pavilion

As a stylish 20-something the Prince Regent first came to Brighton in 1783 and before long he was spending so much of his leisure time at the town that he commissioned a seaside palace.

The architect was John Nash, also known for London’s Regent Street and Buckingham Palace.

The initial palace was Neoclassical, but in 1815, not long before he became King, George ordered Nash to redesign the building to reflect his taste for the oriental.

With its onion domes and minarets the marvellous Royal Pavilion could easily be mistaken for a mosque.

The audio guide conveys you around the plush interiors, into the Banqueting Room, Great Kitchen where you’ll find out about George’s diet, and into the Royal Bedrooms, adapted when George was overweight and ailing later in life.

2. Palace Pier

Palace Pier

One of the UK’s major landmarks, the Palace Pier pushes out into the English Channel for half a kilometre at the bottom of the Old Steine thoroughfare.

The pier has been a “bucket and spade” stalwart since it opened in 1899 and for most of the 20th century was dominated by a theatre demolished in the 1970s after it became structurally unsound.

Since then the Palace Pier has been a kind of amusement park over the water, with fairground rides and traditional games, concessions stands, two arcades and the biggest soft play area in the city at four storeys high.

As a blast of old-school English seaside fun it will be top of the agenda if you’re in Brighton with youngsters.

3. The Lanes

The Lanes

When Brighton was a humble fishing village the quarter now know as the Lanes was the core of the settlement.

This neighbourhood has the dual appeal of being the oldest part of the city and one of the best places to dine, shop and visit to paint the town red.

The Lanes is a labyrinth of narrow alleys often no wider than an arm span.

They twist through a ravine of painted two-storey buildings, which differ more to Brighton Regency and Victorian townhouses.

Come to this cosy part of the city for cafes, bakeries, antique shops, hand-made jewellery boutiques, and walk to the tune of the buskers that have long been a fixture of the quarter.

4. North Laine

North Laine

Between Brighton Railway Station and the Royal Pavilion, North Laine is a hip shopping district where more than 300 shops are crammed into less than half a square mile.

In Medieval Times the compact grid of streets at North Laine was a network of tracks around farming plots, and after these were paved over in the 19th century the area became an overcrowded slum.

In the 20th century the whole area was earmarked for demolition and redevelopment, but was rescued as a Conservation Area in the 70s, allowing it to flourish into the current bohemian district of vintage shops, design boutiques, music stores and trendy cafes.

There’s a community of designers making a living at studios in North Laine, producing metalwork, glassware, jewellery, ceramics, sculpture and clothing.

5. Going Out

Craft Beer Pub

For decades now, Brighton has been the English destination of choice for stag parties and hen parties, and on weekends in spring and summer the city teems with people down from London celebrating before their nuptials.

For everyone else there’s a venue that will suit your speed, style or scene, from gastropubs, to craft beer pubs, bars with live music, gay pubs, stylish alternative bars and multilevel mega-clubs.

These can be found across the Lanes, North Laine, along Trafalgar Street, on Churchill Square, Western Road and east into Kemptown.

To pick one nightspot to sum up Brighton, The Haunt is a club with a trendy crowd, in a converted cinema booking live bands up to four nights a week.

6. Brighton Beach and Seafront

Brighton Beach And Seafront

By the water you’ll know you’re in an English seaside resort, catching the scent of fish and chips and watching deckchairs fluttering in the breeze.

The pebble beach, 5.4 miles long, has that Victorian glamour with a dash of Brighton’s youthful energy and style, with bars and clubs keeping the waterfront alive after dark.

Out in front of the new British Airways i360 you’ll see the husk of the burnt out West Pier, which was abandoned in the 1970s and was lost to a fire in 2003. The arches facing what’s left of the pier have lovable little independent shops selling books, photographic prints and homewares.

7. Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

Brighton Museum And Art Gallery

Part of the same ensemble as the Royal Pavilion, the building housing the Brighton Museum was intended as the Prince Regent’s tennis court.

This was never completed and instead became a cavalry barracks, albeit a highly ornate one with multifoil aches and minarets.

The museum holds collections of decorative art, natural sciences, fine art, world art, costumes and textiles, oral history, toys, film and more, all stylishly presented in absorbing galleries.

Some of the pieces not to be missed are a Kinemacolour Camera invented around 1910 by British film pioneer George Albert Smith, a pair of breeches belonging to King William IV, a lifelike Egyptian funerary portrait from the 2nd century and the Hove amber cup, a Bronze Age vessel fashioned from a single chunk of amber.

8. Old Steine Gardens

Old Steine Gardens

Back when Brighton was the tiny fishing village of Brighthelmstone, Old Steine Gardens was the village green with a stream running through it.

Before long the gardens became a recreation area in a growing resort, and was incorporated the eastern lawns of William IV’s Royal Pavilion.

Now it’s a green space in touching distance of all Brighton’s big landmarks, neighbourhoods and cultural venues: Moments south is the Palace Pier, to the east is Kemptown, The Lanes are just to the west, while Royal Pavilion is right next door.

At the centre, bordered by flowerbeds is the cast iron and sandstone Victoria Fountain, erected in 1847 to commemorate the queen’s accession to the throne.

The lawns around the fountain fill up on sunny days, and are at the epicentre of Brighton Pride in August and the Brighton Festival in May.

9. Kemptown

Sassoon Mausoleum

East of the Palace Pier and continuing along King’s Cliff as far as Black Rock, Kempstown is a desirable and cosmopolitan neighbourhood populated by artists and actors.

Most of Kemptown was built in the Regency and Victorian periods, leaving it with splendid squares, imposing seafront crescents and quirky buildings like the Sassoon Mausoleum, dating to 1892 and now a nightclub.

This part of the city is Brighton’s “gay quarter” and many of the businesses are oriented to the LGBT community.

It’s also a great place to go shopping, especially if you like chic design, obscure food and hunting for antiques.

10. British Airways i360

British Airways I360

On the seafront at where the burnt out West Pier once met the promenade, stands the British Airways i360, an observation tower that opened in 2016. The monument is a new landmark for the city and was designed and realised by the team behind the London Eye.

You’ll embark on a 20-25-minute ride in a large pod with 360° panoramas 162 metres above the city and coast.

When the sun’s out you should see the cliffs at Beachy Head and the Isle of Wight 50 miles to the west.

Inside the pod you can order a drink at the Nyetimber Sky Bar, sponsored by a brand of sparkling wine produced on the county’s chalk hills.

11. Preston Manor

Preston Manor

One stop on the train from the centre of Brighton is a stately home in the Preston Village suburb.

Preston Manor has existed since 1086 at the latest, when it was mentioned in the Domesday book.

The manor house is mostly Palladian from the 18th century, but there are taces of a 13th-century building in the basement, while the north facade was remodelled in 1905. Inside, Preston Manor has retained the style of an Edwardian stately home and has collections from the period of decorative art, glass, silver, clocks, ceramics and exquisite furniture bequeathed by Edwardian collector Percy Macquoid.

This opulence is complemented by more austere staff areas like the servants’ quarters, kitchen, butler’s pantry and boot hall.

Out in the grounds there’s a 17th-century walled garden and a touching graveyard for the family pets.

12. Devil’s Dyke

Devil's Dyke

Hanging out in Brighton it can be easy to forget that there’s a national park in the city’s back garden.

Traffic permitting, you can reach one of the most arresting natural sights in the South Downs National Park in 20 minutes.

The Devil’s Dyke is a 100-metre-deep V-shaped cleft, sliced from the landscape in the last Ice Age when melting snow poured along the frozen chalk valley.

The hills around the valley climb to 217 metres and if the weather’s on your side you’ll be able to see as far as the Isle of Wight.

You make the trip up to the namesake pub on the brow of the valley, watch the paragliders leaping from the hillside and walk a section of the South Downs Way, a 100-mile National Trail.

13. Booth Museum of Natural History

Booth Museum Of Natural History

Also up around Preston Village is a free museum named for the Victorian naturalist and collector Edward Thomas Booth.

With scores of taxidermied birds, preserved butterflies and other antique animal specimens, the museum is like a time capsule and is as much an exhibition about Victorian scientific customs as it is about the natural world

The attraction opened in this neo-Byzantine hall in 1874, and when Booth donated the museum to the city in 1890 he stipulated that his 300 dioramas must not be altered.

You can view 650 species of butterfly, the native birdlife of the UK in 150-year-old reproductions of their habitats.

The museum also has extensive fossil and mineral collections, rare skeletons of a dodo and woolly rhinoceros, and Victorian oddities like a merman.

14. St Bartholomew’s Church

St Bartholomew's Church

Worth a detour a few streets from the railway station, St Bartholomew’s Church is a Victorian brick-built monument poking above the skyline.

This Neo-Gothic church was built in the first half of the 1870s and makes an impression for the unusual height of its nave.

At 41 metres tall, this could well be the largest parish church nave in Britain, although it’s difficult to draw comparisons to other buildings as the design is so unorthodox.

The architecture is inspired by the Italian Gothic and there are horizontal bands of white Portland limestone climbing the south facade.

There’s a flight of marble steps leading up to the high altar, which is covered by marble and alabaster baldachin, 13.7 metres high and in the Byzantine style.

15. Brighton Festival

Brighton Festival

Now more than 50 years old, the Brighton Festival is England’s biggest multidisciplinary arts festival.

For three weeks every May there’s a feast of music, dance, theatre, film, art circus and family events, held at both established and out of the ordinary pop-up venues around the city.

Each year the festival is curated by a guest director, famous in their field.

Laurie Anderson was in charge in 2016, and in previous years the likes of Anish Kapoor, Brian Eno and Vanessa Redgrave have all taken the reins.

The festival is organised by the same company that runs the Brighton Dome, the city’s top arts venue where ABBA famously won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with “Waterloo”.

15 Best Things to Do in Brighton (East Sussex, England):

  • Royal Pavilion
  • Palace Pier
  • North Laine
  • Brighton Beach and Seafront
  • Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
  • Old Steine Gardens
  • British Airways i360
  • Preston Manor
  • Devil's Dyke
  • Booth Museum of Natural History
  • St Bartholomew's Church
  • Brighton Festival

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Home » Destinations » Europe » England » 23 Charming Things to Do in Brighton, UK

23 Charming Things to Do in Brighton, UK

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Things to do in Brighton

Here Are Some Great Things To Do In Brighton!

Exploring the southern coast of the UK? The lively city of Brighton might make for a great stop!

From the historic Brighton Palace Pier to shopping “The Lanes”, its wild nightlife, the sunny beach, and museums, this seaside city has loads of things to do during the day and at night!

We really like Brighton. Having worked down in East Sussex for years, Eric has been to Brighton a bunch of times over the years – and together we’ve been once. That said, it’s only a quick trip by train/car from London to the coast.

This makes Brighton (and the surrounding area of Hove) a great day London trip ! So, whether you are looking for free things, paid things, or romantic things to do in Brighton, we’ve got you covered!

Here are 23 things to do in Brighton for solo travellers, couples, and families with kids!

Brighton Quick Guide

Best Time to Visit:  Summer is hot but busy. Shoulder season of May/June or September for pleasant weather and less people.

Getting Around:  Very walkable (especially by the Pier & Beach), Brighton + Hove bus for distances. This Brighton Bike Tour might be a great idea!

Top Things to Do:  Explore the Famous Palace Pier, visit the Royal Pavilion , ride the Brighton i360 Tower , experience the Brighton Beach Zip Line .

Where to Stay:   The Grand Hotel Brighton for classic beachfront views, e Queens Hotel & Spa for beach and pier proximity, and lovely Hotel Una for a beautiful hotel overlooking famous Regency Square!

Table of Contents

Things To Do In Brighton, UK

Okay, let’s dive into the top things to do all over the city!

This is a pretty good list of the popular things (and a few smaller gems) but we will add to it as we get back and explore!

Visit The Historic Brighton Palace Pier

Address: Madeira Dr, Brighton BN2 1TW, UK

old pier with white central building high above water.

There is perhaps nothing more synonymous with the Brighton sunshine and waterfront than the Brighton Palace Pier.

The first pier was actually built back in 1823 and was just a chain pier for docking ships. Over time, small food and souvenir shops were added and it became more of a fun than a functional place.

Over the years, storms damaged the old pier and the current pier (as we see today) was opened in 1899.

coloured sign with flags above wooden pier boardwalk in brighton.

Today, the pier has been named one of “the finest piers in the world” which is quite the distinction!

The pier is free to enter and walk about  (it wasn’t always free). At over 1,700 feet long, there’s plenty of pier to walk along!

While much of the pier has been upgraded to modern games and food stalls, the decor remains largely from the old days. This is what gives the pier that classic charm!

historic pier with wooden supports above blue shoreline in brighton uk.

In the middle, there is a large arcade with loads of old and new games. You can earn tickets to buy prizes – and this is a very popular thing to do with kids!

We played a few games when we were there a couple of years ago and had a blast. At the end of the Pier, you will find a small amusement park with rides for kids and adults.

There’s everything from a small roller coaster to bumper cars and a hunted house ride! 

blue coastline through white fence of historic pier in brighton.

As for food, there are stalls for famous fish and chips as well as ice cream, coffee, a beer, and loads of other sweet treats you can dream of.

The best part of the pier is the fact that there are deck chairs that are free to use – as long as you can find one that is currently unoccupied.

Overall, the Brighton Palace Pier is an absolute must-see when you visit. It is lovely and representative of the city’s seaside identity.

With something for everyone – for the adults and especially for the kids – go and enjoy the sunshine down at the Palace Pier!

Our Tip: If you want to enjoy the Pier (and the rest of Brighton) you should consider booking a local Brighton guide for a casual tour of the city!

Relax At The Brighton Beach & Boardwalk

Address: Along Madeira Dr, Brighton BN2 1ET, UK

orange life-guarding stand on beach with pier in background.

Another of the main attractions in the seaside town of Brighton is – of course – the massive Brighton Beach and boardwalk!

Following basically the entire length of the city’s waterfront, the beach in Brighton has been influential in shaping the city from an old fishing port to a thriving resort city.

The beach itself is made of small pebbles so it’s not actually sand – but honestly, they are quite nice to sit on AND you don’t get sand everywhere when you do go for a swim and have to clean up the towels to leave of the day!

The beach itself is pretty regulated with life-guarding stations and swimming flags to follow. Make sure you do follow the rules because the currents at this part of the coast can be dangerous.

beach chairs on beach with buildings along the waterline.

On the beach, you’ll find deck chairs for rent (whereas on the Pier they are free to use) so keep that in mind if you want a chair.

The beach is also nice because it’s very large – meaning that there’s room for everyone to have their own personal space no matter how busy the place gets (even in the summer).

buildings and restaurants along beach boardwalk in brighton.

Just behind the beach is the main roadway and walking boardwalk. This walking path at road level and beach level is absolutely loaded with things to do and check out.

From shops and restaurants to activities like zip-lining and mini-golf, there is something for everyone.

Get your Brighton Zip Line Experience Ticket in advance !

There are even sports courts, a carousel for kids, and other attractions like SEA Life and the Brighton Fishing Museum (see both below in this post). 

rusty metallic structure in blue water with beach in front.

At times, the boardwalk is almost overwhelming because there’s so much to see so just take your time, slow your walk, and enjoy the waterfront art, food, music, beer, whatever!

While you are walking along, you will also see a metal structure in the water. This is called West Pier which was an old pier. It fell into despair and the remains burnt down in 2003.

That said, the place where it met the land is now used for the base for the i360 Tower!

Experience The British Airways i360

Address: Lower Kings Road, Brighton BN1 2LN, UK

rotating sky bar on metallic tower with blue sky behind.

Speaking of the i360 Tower, how about a ride up over 138 metres to see the English coastline and beyond!

Sponsored by British Airways, the i360 is actually a vertical observation deck that pulls riders up via cable in a giant donut-shaped observation deck.

The best part? The ride lasts for 30 minutes and the platform is also a bar which means you can have a drink (glass of champagne) up in the sky!

metallic british airways sign on wall with blue sky behind.

If you know that you want to go up the tower for the awesome experience, you can buy your i360 tower ticket in advance .

This is a good idea since crowds in the summer are big and there is only so much space for people on each ride.

Keep that in mind for when you visit! You can also visit the base where you can find a gift shop and a small restaurant/cafe.

Wanna feel Adrenaline ? You can Walk on Top the i360 Tower Pod as it goes up 138 metres!

Explore the Royal Pavilion & Pavilion Gardens

Address: 4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton BN1 1EE, UK

white palace with towers and green grass and fence in front.

Another of the top attractions in Brighton is no doubt the Royal Pavillion.

Originally built beginning in 1787 as a private royal residence for George, Prince of Wales, the Palace has been added to and used for different functions over the years (it was a wartime hospital, actually).

The unique architecture is unlike other buildings in Britain – this is a nod to the Indo-Saracenic style found in India!

white palace with towers around and green courtyard in front.

Today, the Palace is a top attraction owned by the city of Brighton which you can go inside and tour.

There are many lavishly decorated rooms with old furniture, artwork, and other statement pieces from centuries ago.

The audio guide is worth the price to learn about the history and there’s a terrace tea room where you can overlook the grounds, too!

white palace entrance with young women entering.

The grounds themselves are quite beautiful and have a few other things to check out. They even put on a skating rink in the wintertime!

In any case, if you want to visit the Royal Pavilion, you can check here for your Royal Pavilion admission ticket .

green gardens with flowers and palace in behind in brighton.

Once you are on the grounds, you don’t have to enter the Pavilion. You can simply walk about the Pavilion Gardens and enjoy your surroundings.

The gardens/grounds are full of well-groomed paths which wind through different areas with flowers throughout.

Eric just found a spot on the lovely grass (along with many, many others) and just enjoyed a bit of a lay down in the sunshine. 

people sitting at cafe with trees around at palace gardens.

If you explore the gardens enough, you’ll come across a popular little cafe that basically borders the downtown area known as The Lanes.

On the day Eric visited, there were loads of people having a drink or a small bite to eat (shown above). The atmosphere was just really lovely so definitely check them out when you visit!

Wander The Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

Address: 12A Pavilion Parade, Brighton BN1 1EE, UK

art gallery entrance with stone pillars and blue sky behind.

Located in the Royal Pavilion Gardens, the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery was originally opened in 1861.

The collection of town art, worldly pieces, and natural history specimens outgrew their space quickly. The Museum was moved to the present site in 1873 and hasn’t looked back since!

Today, you can visit the museum – redone in recent years – to explore various exhibits ranging from photography to ancient artefacts, fine art, fashion, and rotating exhibits focussed on modern culture, Brighton’s history, and more!

Basically, check it out because there is something for all interests inside.

Dive Into SEA LIFE Brighton

Address: Marine Parade, Brighton BN2 1TB, UK

Opened all the way back in 1872, SEA LIFE Brighton is actually the oldest working aquarium in the world!

Located right down on the boardwalk very close to the famous Palace Pier, you can dive in (pun intended) to this underwater world.

The exhibits are under the main boardwalk – with historic stone arches making for a cool experience. 

Inside, SEA LIFE has over 150 different species – from sharks to turtles and crabs to many, many fish. Kids can touch some in the interactive part.

You can also walk under the massive central tank in the glass tunnels or float above them in a glass-bottom boat! If you want to visit SEA LIFE, you can get your SEA LIFE Brighton Admission ticket here .

Personally, we are not fans of aquariums ourselves and have not visited SEA Life in Brighton.

However, since it is the oldest aquarium in the world, we decided to mention it in this post. Please do your research and decide for yourself if you want to visit this attraction. 

Lounge At Preston Park & Preston Manor

Address: Preston Rd, Brighton BN1 6SD, UK

Should you be looking for yet another historical experience in Brighton, check out Preston Manor . Located in what was the old village of Preston, it’s now part of the city of Brighton.

The manor itself has been built in phases – from the original building in the 13th century to a large chunk completed in 1738.

These days, the manor house is a museum showing a great example of upper-class life during the Edwardian Era.

Located outside the city centre a little bit, Preston Manor is still easy to get to via bus or car. If you are visiting Preston Manor, you’ll likely also want to check out Preston Park.

As one of Brighton’s largest green spaces, Preston Park has loads of lovely paths, a pond, cafes, bowling lawns, and more.

You’ll also find the old Preston Park velodrome – an unevenly shaped cycling loop once used for competitions (and prone to controversy over its shape)!

Ride Volk’s Electric Railway

Address: Volk’s Electric Railway Visitor Centre, Madeira Dr, Brighton BN2 1EN, UK

railway track along the beach front with fences on both sides.

Want to ride the oldest electronic railway in the world?! Then head for the Brighton waterfront for Volk’s Electric Railway .

Created by local inventor Magnus Volk, the railway line was opened in 1883 and hasn’t missed a beat since!

Eric visited Brighton and on that particular saturday the railway was closed.

Unfortunately for him, crews were doing maintenance and cleaning up garbage around the waterfront area. Maybe you will have better luck riding when you visit?

The train ride seems great for kids – and it actually takes you all the way to the Brighton Marina along the waterfront so it DOES also serve a practical function from March to October.

Shop The Lanes & North Laine

Address: The Lanes, Brighton, UK + North Laine, Brighton, UK

old clock tower with clock face and buildings behind in brighton.

If you are into shopping (and even if you aren’t), you’ll likely end up wandering the Lanes.

Located just back from the waterfront to the west of the main Palace Pier, the Lanes are Brighton’s central “downtown” shopping core.

The winding streets and hills make for an interesting walk through all the big brand shops you’d expect to find with a few boutique ones, too.

There are also places to eat, drink, and just hang out to people watch. 

At the top of the Lanes (close to the Churchill Square Shopping Centre), you’ll find something called the Jubilee Clock Tower (shown above).

Built in 1888 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, it’s an old clock tower which is pretty to look at (locals either love it or hate it) – and is functional, too!

It’s also just a good way to get your bearings as you wander about that area of the city.

colourful buildings with cafes and road in between street north laine.

Brighton is a city of “communities” with many different neighbourhoods making up one big city. Another historical area to check out in Brighton is North Laine.

Located north of the Lanes (main shopping area) and very close to the Brighton train station, this Bohemian neighbourhood is absolutely loaded with boutique shops and more cafes than you could visit in a whole month!

The roads/alleys make up a giant grid system with nice architecture throughout – so just wander through for the experience… but you’ll likely be drawn into SOME shop that suits your interests!

Eric didn’t have time to stop anywhere when he last visited but he scouted out cafes for when we go back together!

Visit Brighton Dome

Address: Church St, Brighton BN1 1UE, UK

sandstone building with fancy exterior and blue sky above.

If you wander Brighton near the Royal Pavilion, you might notice a beautiful looking building called the Brighton Dome .

This is one of Brighton’s premier art venues where they host over 600 art performances from music to comedy, spoken word and more!

Aside from having a show that might interest you when you visit, the Brighton Dome also plays a huge role in putting on one of the most celebrated arts festivals in the UK –  the Brighton Festival!

When you walk by, you might notice just how beautiful the building is – this is because it has over 200 years of history tucked away!

The venue was once built as stables for the horses of Prince Regent. Over time, the venue has transformed into a skating rink and a military hospital during the First World War.

You can even do tours of the building if the history fascinated you enough!

Explore The Brighton Fishing Museum

Address: Kings Road Arches, 201, Brighton BN1 1NB, UK

old museum entrance in red brick wall under roadway.

A really neat museum to check out at the Brighton waterfront is the Brighton Fishing Museum .

With free admission and a whole fishing boat tucked away inside, this small museum is worth checking out.

Eric wandered in and ended up staying for quite a while reading the information and looking at the historic photos from decades and decades ago! 

As we said, admission is free but you can make a small donation at the door.

If you are travelling to Brighton with kids, this might be a good place to check out.

This is because there’s old footage being played inside alongside artefacts like a ship’s wheel, colourful signs, model boats, and the 27-foot “clinker-built punt boat” fishing boat in the main hall!

Discover The Booth Museum Of Natural History

Address: 194 Dyke Rd, Brighton BN1 5AA, UK

In case you want to learn a little bit while you are in Brighton, check out the Booth Museum of Natural History !

It was originally opened in 1874 by Edward Thomas Booth as the Booth Museum (hence the name).

This colourful museum is full of bird, butterfly, and insect specimens along with fossils, minerals, and other bones that have been added over the years!

Today, with over 500,000 specimens, the Museum is among the largest collections of British birds in the country!

It was designated a Natural History Museum in the 1970s and is still considered a trendsetter as one of the first museums to utilize “Victorian-style dioramas” – meaning the specimens were depicted usually in action and with natural decor so that visitors could observe them in their “natural habitat”.

Browse The Brighton Open Market

Address: Marshalls Row, Brighton and Hove BN1 4JU, UK

colourful sign for market with blue sky behind.

Given that Brighton has a vibrant creative, alternative art scene, it makes sense that there is a marketplace to serve the needs of an inclusive community.

Enter: The Open Market ! This large indoor venue is full of shops and stalls that sell everything under the sun – and we mean everything!

indoor market place with stalls set up in brighton.

From coffee shops and places to eat to stalls selling soap, honey, old signs, and more – you can find loads of interesting things at the Market.

Eric wandered through the bottom level and it was great to see people hanging out, buying local, and creating a sense of community!

Located just a short walk from the Brighton Train Station, we’d recommend a visit because you never know what you might find!

Check Out artrepublic Brighton Gallery

Address: 13 Bond St, Brighton BN1 1RD, UK

Again, if artwork is your thing, Brighton is the place for you. Located in North Laine, you can find a colourful gallery by artrepublic – a place curated by experts with an eye for art with over 25 years of experience.

The gallery in Brighton is known to have one of the largest collections of limited edition contemporary art prints in Britain!

Just go in and have a wander around – you’ll find some pretty big names up on the wall!

Visit St. Peter’s Church

Address: York Pl, Brighton BN1 4GU, UK

church tower with construction scaffolding around it with blue sky above.

If checking out churches is your thing, Brighton has a few which stand out. You’ll find St. Peter’s Church located just a short walk from the waterfront (on the way to the Open Market).

Built in the 1820s in pre-Victorian Gothic Revival architectural style, the church is unofficially known as “Brighton’s Cathedral” – and it was under renovation when Eric visited!

In any case, you can learn more about visiting the church here .

brown brick church with stain glass window and blue sky behind.

If you’re really into churches, St Bartholomew’s Church is another one that you might want to check out.

The church was built back in the 1870s and Eric stumbled upon this brick marvel while walking back from the Open Market.

He didn’t pop inside but the detail from the outside was unexpected and really something!

There’s a popular Brighton food tour that leaves from nearby to St. Bartholomew’s!

Attend The Brighton Centre

Address:  Kings Rd, Brighton BN1 2GR, UK

If you’re in the mood for a bit of performance fun, then you might want to check out what’s going on at the Brighton Centre .

This massive complex is one of Brighton’s largest venues for music, comedy, and other meetings of national importance.

Located right down along the Brighton waterfront, there’s usually something going on most times of the year so check out the website to see if there’s a show that interests you!

Explore The Brighton Toy And Model Museum

Address: 52-55 Trafalgar St, Brighton BN1 4EB, UK

red signs for toy museum outside on brick wall.

If looking at toys, toys, and more toys is your thing – or you’re travelling to Brighton with kids – then the Brighton Toy & Model Museum is definitely for you!

Located just under the train tracks of Brighton Station, you’ll see the red signs to enter. Inside this first area (where you buy tickets) you will already get a sense of the sheer number of toys they have on display.

It’s so colourful – it’s really sensory overload! Eric ran out of time and didn’t go all the way inside but we will when we return to Brighton. Would be worth it to see over 10,000 items!

Lounge In The Level Gardens

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/P6rkD6DGPuz3ntqg8

Lounging in the green spaces around Brighton is not a difficult feat to accomplish – even if you find yourself north of the water quite a ways!

Located right across the street from the east entrance of the Open Market, The Level is a massive green space with something for everyone.

As one of the oldest public spaces in all of Brighton, The Level has a rich history dating back to the 18th century!

These days, inside the space – quiet and protected from the busy streets – you can find kids’ play areas, a skate park, fountains, and green lawns for lounging.

There’s even a cafe onsite should you get a bit of hunger creeping up! The Level is such an important community space that you can check online to see what’s going on.

Get Locked Away At The Old Police Cells Museum

Address: Town Hall, Brighton BN1 1JA, UK

white palace looking building with sun and sky behind.

Looking to get your fix of Brighton history and crime all in one? Visit the Old Prison Cells Museum !

Located in the basement of Brighton Town Hall, you can wander through the cells used to hold some of the most damned of criminals. Over 200 years of history are written on the cell walls – literally!

To visit, admission is free BUT you have to book a guided tour in advance. So if you know you want to visit (especially in the busy summer months) make sure you book online in advance!

Wander Queen’s Park (And The Other Brighton Parks)

Address: 25 West Dr, Brighton BN2 0QU, UK

If you haven’t had enough of the parks in Brighton yet, there’s one more you might want to check out.

Queen’s Park was conceived around 1825 and has been a public green space ever since. You’ll find features like a pond, a cafe, loads of green space, and something called the “Pepper Pot”.

What’s the Pepper Pot? You will have to go and check it out! The park is located to the east of the Palace Pier and north of the waterfront a few blocks – but definitely walkable.

While we’re here and talking about green spaces in Brighton for the last time, check out Hove Park and Hove Green (two different “Hove” named green spaces) in the city’s west end.

Hove Park has a cafe and the Hove Park Railway – a tiny train for kids!

Enjoy the Hove Museum of Creativity

Address: 19 New Church Rd, Hove BN3 4AB, UK

Located in the west end of the city, The Hove Museum of Creativity is a place to visit if you want to learn about history and have a group with lots of interests.

Housed in an old villa, this museum has many old toys, old films/film equipment, crafts, art, and more. Turns out, Hove was a big film/cinema producing area back in the day!

Check out Regency Square

Address: Regency Square, Brighton BN1 2FG, UK

colourful townhouses with statue in middle of square and cars in front.

If you want to dive into an interesting aspect of Brighton history, then head to Regency Square for a wander about!

Originally built in 1818 as Belle Vue Field, this square (now right across the street from the i360 Tower) took 10 years to complete and was slated as housing for the upper social class.

Over the years, the space transformed due to war and the development of hotels/tourism in Brighton. 

These days, you can wander about the green park and have a look at the iconic townhouses. There’s a war memorial, too.

You might even consider stopping into the Regency Restaurant for seafood or classic pub grub and a drink or stay the night close to the waterfront at beautiful Hotel Una !

Bonus: Take A Day Trip To The Seven Sister Cliffs

Location of Beachy Head: https://goo.gl/maps/gjyTj3aXSwQfHW3M6

white chalk cliffs with red lighthouse and blue ocean below at seven sisters.

If you’ve got some more time to spare while you’re in Brighton or the south coast of the UK, you might want to check out the Seven Sister cliffs!

Just a short drive from Brighton (about an hour), the white chalk cliffs (like the cliffs of Dover) outside of Eastbourne are well worth the trip.

The hiking trails along the cliffs offer stunning views of the English Channel – with peaks like Beachy Head and valleys like the Birling Gap (and its beach) offering visitors places to check out.

As we said, you can drive to the cliffs – to the west of Eastbourne (aim for Cuckmere Haven), you could take the train to Eastbourne from Brighton (but then still have to cab or bus to the cliffs).

Our Tip: Hop on a Seven Sisters cliff tour from Brighton to make the most of your day!

Things to Consider When Visiting Brighton

blue shoreline with beach and buildings along into the distance.

If you are thinking about heading to Brighton when you’re in the south of England, here are some things that you should consider before you go!

General Information About Brighton

Brighton is located on the southern English coast in the United Kingdom. Officially, it’s Brighton + Hove (which is located to the west of central Brighton).

The city is very close to the English Channel about an hour south of London which makes it a great day trip by train or car.

Because of its geographical location on the south coast, Brighton is one of the sunniest places in the whole of the United Kingdom. 

Brighton was originally founded as a fishing village (makes sense) and was turned into a resort/retreat city in the 18th century because of the beautiful beach and numerous sunshine days. This is still a huge draw for the millions of tourists each year!

Over time, the city has grown to one of the largest in the UK. The city is known for its inclusive communities that attract many young people in the arts + creatives as well as older people enjoying their golden years post-retirement.

Because of this “inclusiveness”, Brighton has a very large LGBTIQ+ population – earning it the moniker of “unofficial gay capital of the UK”!

Best Time to Visit Brighton

Given that we’ve talked about how sunny and beautiful the city is, Brighton is best visited in spring, summer, and fall. 

The wettest month is technically January but winter in the UK sucks everywhere – sorry, UK. (Eric lived in Scotland for a year and – yeah – winter was not a happy time weather-wise!)

If you want to avoid the crazy busy summer tourist/holiday season of July and August, consider visiting Brighton in the “shoulder season” of May/June and then September.

Eric was recently there in May and it was HOT. The beach and pier were packed, people were shopping, and the festivals had already started!

Getting Around in Brighton

Once you get to Brighton, walking around is a really good option since most of the top attractions/waterfront are packed together.

That said, the city is actually pretty spread out and has some pretty good elevation changes. This can make walking to attractions or parks difficult.

You could take the Brighton + Hove bus for some of the trips. You might also consider a taxi if you need a lift.

If you are a tourist looking to explore the city, you have a few options available to you. You can definitely get on the hop-on/hop-off Brighton sightseeing bus .

We know these can be “touristy” but as a way to get around freely AND learn about the city – there usually are few better options!

If you want to be a little more active, you should consider hopping on a bike to explore the city. For this check out this top-rated bike tour around Brighton .

This way you get to learn about the city and you also get around to see the sights and make the most of a few hours!

Where to Stay in Brighton

yellow hotel with balconies overlooking waterfront with blue sky above.

Since Brighton is such a popular destination to take in the sunshine, sea air, and nightlife, there are LOTS of accommodation options to choose from – from seaside hotels to quaint and quiet cottages nearby.

Check Here for Hotels and Accommodations in Brighton

If you are looking for hotels in Brighton and want to stay right at the seaside, then check out The Grand Hotel Brighton (shown above) or the Queens Hotel & Spa (shown below).

We walked by them and their place across from the beach is absolutely perfect for a seaside getaway.

yellow and blue hotel on coastline with blue sky in brighton.

If you are passing through Brighton for a night and looking for a cheaper (but still nice) place to stay, there are a few hostels as well. You can  check here for hostels in Brighton . 

white building with people sitting in front at table on sidewalk.

Specifically, check out the YHA Brighton (shown above) – it’s located right at the waterfront (facing the city).

We had a friend who worked there for a few months and she always spoke highly of it (plus YHA is a trustworthy brand from our experience with them).

Related Articles

If you are planning a larger trip to the south of the UK or are travelling to Europe for the first time , here are a few more helpful posts:

  • Top London Attractions   + A London in a Day Itinerary
  • Our Experience Visiting Historic Stonehenge
  • Things to Check Out in Bristol (Told by a Resident)
  • Places to Visit in Cornwall

And there you have it – some of the best things to do in Brighton! The southern English coast is full of awesome things to check out.

You are certainly not limited if you head for Brighton and want to explore more.

We will cover these towns, beaches, hikes, and castles in the south of England in posts coming up real soon! In the meantime, enjoy the sun in Brighton!

As always, Happy Brighton Waddlin’, -L&E

  • Compare flights on Skyscanner
  • Check for Hotel Deals or Book A Hostel
  • Get A Rental Car (depending on the destination)
  • Research plug types and possibly get a travel adapter
  • Go over our packing list

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20 Exciting Things to Do In Brighton in 2023

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Do you want to make the most out of a visit to Brighton? We can’t blame you, there’s so much to see and do in the city that you’re going to want to squeeze a lot in when you come. So, with that in mind, we come up with the best way to see the city and the top 20 attractions that you’ll want to visit while you’re here.

Our top 20 must-visit attractions in Brighton are the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Palace Pier, Brighton Beach, Kemptown, Preston Manor, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton Toy & Model Museum, The Lanes, North Laine, Old Steine Gardens, British Airways i360, The Devil’s Dyke, St. Bartholomew’s Church, Brighton Pride, Brighton Festival, The American Express Community Stadium, Sea Life Centre, Hove Lagoon and The Level.

Brighton Bike Tours

Before we get to the attractions, let’s talk about one of the best ways to see those attractions. It’s on a bike with me to guide you around the city. Our very own Brighton Bike Tours is ranked on Tripadvisor as the number one outdoor activity in Brighton because so many people have enjoyed it and gone back to say so online.

It only takes 2 ½ hours which includes a stop along the way to grab some tea and a cake in the Royal Pavilion Gardens and as you can see – it introduces you to a huge amount of the city.

You’ll also get to spend some time on the beautiful seafront that Brighton is quite rightly famous for and the feel of the sea breeze, the smell of the salty air as you glide by on a bicycle just can’t be beaten. It’s truly exhilarating.

The price is just £19.50 to £22.50 ( Click Here to Book ) and not only does that include a guided tour (with yours truly) but also bikes, optional helmets and somewhere to store luggage (at your own risk) if you need to.

Each tour is unique because you’re free to pursue your interests and ask questions about the things that matter to you – If your vegan, veggie, gay or green, or have a love for Art or kitch shops, do let me know as I have additional info I’d love to share with you. I can also jot down on a map some recommendations of places to go after the tour. This way you are guaranteed to get a local perspective that is completely tailored to you and your needs.

Brighton has been my home for 20 years now, and I love the city and I’ve gotten to know it very well over the years so that I can help you get the same experience of the cities present, past and near past in a much shorter time frame.

The ride is not taxing and most is a very smooth and flat ride that suits people of all riding abilities and ages. Even though Brighton is in a Valley, I can assure you that all the interesting bits are on the flat bit. It appears that even centuries ago, people didn’t want to go up hills.

A Brighton bike tour is the perfect way to get out and see the city, wake your body up to enjoy the rest of the day, bond as a group and to learn a little bit more about the city you will be spending the rest of your trip in.

Now, let’s take a look at the 20 must-visit attractions in Brighton.

The 20 Must Visit Attractions In Brighton

Brighton is simply a fantastic city and there are more than 20 awesome attractions in the city, so narrowing down to a Top 20 was quite a challenge but methinks that we’ve cracked it and we know you’ll enjoy each of the items on our list.

Royal Pavilion

The Royal Pavilion is, without a doubt, the most iconic symbol of Brighton. It was built, originally, as a place for the Prince Regent and would later on become the home of King George IV. As the Prince of Wales, George had picked up a taste for the finer things in life as well as the illicit.

After being given a talking to by parliament for overspending on Carlton House in London, he decided to head to Brighton and rent a modest home while the Royal Pavilion was being built. It was there he would spend much of his free time with his “long-time companion” Maria Fitzherbert.

He couldn’t marry Maria because she was a Catholic, but he did anyway, against the wishes of his father’s leading to the marriage being annulled not that many years later. The Pavilion is built in the Indo-Saracenic style. which was, at that time, one of the jewels of the British Empire.

The royal connection to the buildings came to an abrupt end as Queen Victoria disliked them and some say, Brighton itself, and they were sold to the town of Brighton in 1850. Since the 1950s the city’s leadership has been working on restoring them to their former glories and they have done an admirable job.  You can’t come to Brighton and miss out on the Royal Pavilion.

I also highly recommend the audio tour as well, that really does bring the whole place alive for you. (It will keep the kids quiet for a couple of hours as well).

Brighton Palace Pier

The most strolled on attraction in Brighton and, indeed, England outside of London is the Brighton Palace Pier. More than 4 million people a year arrive to tread the 85 miles of planks that comprise this beautiful traditional seaside pier.

There are amusements galore along the pier, some traditional, some less so and in the summer it’s one of the highlights of the British seaside experience. It might be a little less warm in Winter but it’s still open and the views of a moody sea are superb from the pier. It’s a place where everyone can have fun.

Brighton Beach

Brighton’s beach is famed for its pebbles which are only there because of the “groynes” (the long wooden and concrete structures which stretch out from the shore into the sea. These direct pebbles from the water onto the shore, otherwise instead of beaches – Brighton would have mudflats. And we don’t want that!

Fortunately, while the pebbles may be a little less comfy than sand to lay on, the beach is one of the most popular in England and you can grab a deckchair and soak up some rays in complete comfort most days in high season and in the summer a swim can really help you cool down though in the winter that is pretty much around 18 degrees.

Kemp Town or Kemptown was given its name for Thomas Read Kemp a prominent property developer and politician when it was being built. While most of the housing was actually constructed after the Regency Period it follows that style and the area is very attractive to look at.

It is also the home base to the majority of Brighton’s LGBTQ community. Kemptown of the gay quarter in Brighton and often called the gay capital of Europe. Adorned with many bars, shops, restaurants and sweet little pubs.

Preston Manor

On the grounds of Preston Park, you’ll find the impressive Preston Manor . It’s a beautiful traditional manor house which would once have served the village of Preston (which has long since been absorbed into the city of Brighton & Hove).

The majority of the building was built in 1738 when the then Lord-of-the-Manor Thomas Western decided to completely rebuild the original structure. There is a small part of the original 13 th -century building still inside. It was bequeathed to the city in 1932 and is the centre of “haunted Brighton” according to some.

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

The Brighton Museum & Art Gallery is within the garden grounds of the Royal Pavilion. The museum houses part of the collection from the Royal Pavilions Estate and includes a wealth of art from around the world and much more. They have a great African section and modern furniture as well as 20th-century fashion upstairs.

There are many notable exhibits available within the collection and we’d suggest keeping an eye out for King George’s breeches among other things because he loved them so much, it was illegal to wear trousers to court until 1815 even though the fashion of the time was very much for men to wear trousers.

Booth Museum of Natural History

Edward Thomas Booth was a celebrated naturalist, collector and umm… vivisectionist. His private collection of stuffed birds, as well as other species and a superb collection of insects, is housed in the Booth Museum of Natural History .

When Booth donated the museum to Brighton in 1890, he insisted on just one condition, that they preserve the diorama displays in the way he intended them, and they have done exactly that.

Brighton Toy & Model Museum

The Brighton Toy & Model Museum is a charming collection of toys mainly manufactured before the middle of the 20 th Century. That means that it’s a bit like stepping back in time when you go inside, to a younger more innocent age. There are no Pokemon and toys of the technology age to be found.

This is a good thing. The model railways collection is absolutely unparalleled and if you love trains, you can’t go wrong. There are also excellent collections of stuffed toys such as Steiff bear and there are many others built around specific brand names. Kids will love the museum but so will adults who find themselves taking a walk down memory lane.

For those who enjoy their shopping, Brighton has plenty of modern chain stores but they’re not the main attraction, the best shopping in the city is bright, breezy, independent and thrives on the creativity of local crafts people’s brilliance.

For that kind of shopping, you’ll want to visit The Lanes . An area of the city that brings a Bohemian Brighton to life and where between interesting stores, you’ll find fantastic cafes, restaurants and pubs. It’s one of the biggest draws for travellers to Brighton and deservedly so.

North Laine

Another shopping district that is distinct from “The Lanes” but is a “Laine” is North Laine. This is where the first-ever branch of The Body Shop, Anita Roddick was a local, was born and would go on to conquer the world.

The area is always changing as boutique stores come and go but that just adds to the joy of a visit to the North Laine – you never know precisely what you will find. A visitor might find it like being the retail exploration equivalent of Indiana Jones in the Jungle just without snakes, spiders and angry monkeys and with fantastic coffee shops and pubs, instead.

Old Steine Gardens

The Old Steine Gardens are in a place that was once known as Brighthelmstone before it was absorbed by the city of Brighton. The area would have been used for fishing but when Brighton began to become a tourist draw, Old Steine was one of the first to change.

Now, it’s a beautiful garden you can wander through and explore and there are several monuments of historical significance including the charming Victoria Fountain which was built to celebrate the 27th birthday of Queen Victoria. It was a private commission from the architect Amon Henry Wilds and is now a grade II listed structure of special importance to the national interest.

British Airways i360

The British Airways i360 is the youngest item on our list, it’s the newest addition to the Brighton skyline and the tallest observation tower with a vertical climb in the UK and offers an absolutely unbeatable view of the city and the surrounding areas.

In fact, on a good day, it’s said that you can see as far as the Isle of Wight from the top! It’s reasonably priced too (and we can thoroughly recommend combining a visit with a glass of champagne served at the top – because you’re worth it). If you want to wow your friends on Instagram don’t forget your camera.

The Devil’s Dyke

Everyone who comes to Brighton should spend some time on the South Downs which is Britain’s newest national park. One of the major highlights of The South Downs locally is the Devil’s Dyke which is walkable from Preston Park if you fancy a solid hike to get your fitness levels up.

The Dyke lies upon the South Downs Way an ancient footpath that has been in use for at least 2 millennia. It gets its name from a local rumour that says the devil and his w ife are buried in the two humps of the earth in the valley below.

St. Bartholomew’s Church

St. Bartholomew’s is one of several striking churches in Brighton but its neo-gothic building makes it, by far, the most recognizable and the one that most people want in their Instagram feed. It is considerably taller than the buildings around it and dominates the local landscape. It may if you exclude towers, steeples and spires is, be the “tallest church in England”.

It may look stark from the outside but inside it’s quite opulent and attractively designed. It’s also a superb venue for classical and other concerts thanks to some unique acoustic effects. Finally, it’s a Grade 1 listed building which makes it one of the most important buildings for the national heritage.

Brighton Pride

Brighton is world famous for its welcoming and permissive attitudes to the LGBTQ community and Kemptown is home to many of Brighton’s LGBTQ facilities, it’s also the home of Brighton Pride which is the largest Pride festival event in the United Kingdom.

In fact, it’s so popular that on Pride weekend, there will be more visitors in Brighton than there are citizens of Brighton! It’s a warm, welcoming, inclusive event that celebrates everything that the LGBTQ community has contributed to Brighton and the world. Don’t miss it.

Brighton Festival

The Brighton Festival is an annual event that runs for 3 weeks in May each year that celebrates the arts in Brighton. You’ll find music, dance, films, arts, literature, and even organized debates throughout the time it is on. It’s the South of England’s largest event of this type and it attracts artists and visitors from around the world.

Having said that, it’s worth noting that at least 30% of the exhibitors and artists are drawn from the local community, probably because Brighton has an incredibly active arts community. There’s something for everyone at the Brighton Festival and it’s a great event to explore.

The American Express Community Stadium

The American Express Community Stadium which was formerly known as The Falmer Stadium is the home of Brighton & Hove Albion FC and what could be more British than a day at the football? The team have shot up and down the leagues in the past, but they’re now firmly entrenched in the Premier League and this could be your chance to see some of the world’s best players hit the pitch.

If football’s not really your thing, they also host rugby matches at The American Express Community Stadium in Brighton. The stadium is big and modern and very comfortable to spend time in, it’s a real asset to the city and the community at large.

Sea Life Centre

The Sea Life Centre as it is known today is the country’s oldest aquarium and it opened its doors to the public in 1872. It has been refreshed many times over the years and currently houses over 5,500 different sea creatures and other forms of aquatic life.

You need to book tickets online before you go to get the best deals and make sure you have tickets for the glass-bottomed boat ride at the entrance because you cannot buy them at the ride itself. You’ll have a superb time with some of the most fascinating creatures on earth at The Sea Life Centre.

Hove Lagoon

Hove Lagoon is one of the best places in the country to learn watersports and they offer wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking and more. Even if you don’t intend to learn a sport yourself, it can be a great place to go and watch others go through their paces.

There is also a boating lake if you fancy a more relaxed time on the water and a skateboard park if the water’s just not your thing. The Big Beach Café at Hove Lagoon is very popular too. You can walk directly onto the beach in just a few minutes from the Lagoon.

The Level has won a Green Flag Award for its unique park space in the centre of Brighton. It’s one of the busiest parks in the city and is home to an amazing skate park which really draws in a huge amount of local talent in the skate scene.

There’s also a very pleasant set-up where you can play boules with friends or with other folks waiting to play too. You can chill out on the North Lawns or you can head to the Tomato Café for a bite to eat. It’s a really pleasant way to while away a day in Brighton.

So there you have it, our top 20 must-visit attractions in Brighton and they are all awesome. Brighton is a great place to come whether you’re seeking culture, arts, sports, nature and much more. There’s a reason that Brighton is one of the most popular places for tourists in the country outside of London and it’s because we’re lucky enough to have a huge range of attractions for people to enjoy.

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brighton england tourist attractions

1. Royal Pavilion

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2. The Lanes

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3. North Laine

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4. Brighton Palace Pier

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5. Brighton i360

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6. American Express Community Stadium

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7. Kemptown

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8. Brighton and Hove Museum

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9. St Bartholomews

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10. The Chattri

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11. West Pier

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14. Brighton Buddhist Centre

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15. Saint Paul’s Parish Church

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16. Artists' Quarter

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18. Duke of York's Picturehouse

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19. Foredown Tower

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20. Quadrophenia Alleyway

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21. The Clock Tower

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23. Sussex County Cricket Club

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10 Thing’s to do & Reasons to Visit Brighton in Winter

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brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Brighton Palace Pier

Brighton Landmarks, Sightseeing & Tourist Attractions

Often referred to as London-on-sea, Brighton is situated on the south coast of England and stands out as one of the most popular tourist spots in the UK. From strolling along the infamous beach and pier to partaking in the buzzing nightlife and discovering rich culture and history in a museum. There’s an endless supply of things to do and see in Brighton.

A popular spot for a day by the sea since the invention of the railroad bringing Londoners to Brighton, the city is now renowned for its colourful streets, carefree locals and beautiful scenery. It’s even recognised as the unofficial ‘gay capital’, drawing in thousands of visitors every year for Brighton Pride.

However, instead of visiting this vibrant city in the summer, why not consider a Winter escape instead. While Brighton is a seaside town, the sights and attractions in Brighton can be appreciated any time of year. Not only is the city’s vibrancy felt all year round, but the quieter crowds mean you’ll be able to take in the beautiful surroundings of the city and enjoy unique experiences that can’t be enjoyed during peak season.

Plus, you’ll be supporting a seaside town during the offseason while still having a jam-packed day of visiting a variety of attractions and doing some sightseeing. Many say winter is the best time to visit the city – the day-trippers of summer are long gone, leaving you to peruse along the beach and pier at your own pace while admiring the starlings.

You’ll also find that some of the best hotels in Brighton tend to be cheaper and have more availability at this time of year.

1. Be mesmerised by the Starling murmuration in Brighton

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Starling Murmuration at Brighton Palace Pier

brighton england tourist attractions

By far one of if not the most incredible things you can see in Brighton during winter is the Starling murmuration. Referring to when groups of up to 40,000 starling birds flock together and move across the sky seeking warmth, you can catch this mesmerising sight upon Brighton’s Pier just before sunset. Watch as the huge masses of small black birds swoop above your head and snap a picture of the moment. If you’re fast enough.

The best time to see this happen is towards the autumn and winter months – particularly December to January as the birds fly over from Europe. So, make sure to plan your seaside getaway itinerary to include taking in this sensational moment in nature.

When we visited, we had no idea that this would be taking place. We just happened to be in the pier arcade donating money to the 2p machines at the time. When we stepped outside and came across beautiful birds dancing in the sky at sunset. It was a wonderful sight to experience and the highlight of our visit to Brighton.

2. Get your skating shoes on at the Royal Pavilion Ice Rink

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Royal Pavilion, Brighton

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Royal Pavilion Ice Rink, Brighton

brighton england tourist attractions

The most iconic landmark in the seaside town of Brighton has got to be the Royal Pavilion Building in the heart of the city. The Indo-Saracenic architectural style makes this grand building impossible to miss. Built in the 19th century as a place for some seaside relaxation for King George IV, the building is evocative of the king’s ‘regency dream’, complete with eclectic, colourful interiors and opulent furnishings that are a lovely sight to see.

The brilliance of the Royal Pavilion building doesn’t end there, as you can have a go on the outdoor ice rink. Opening from the end of October and closing mid-way through January, a winter visit to the city can be made even better by putting on your skates and gliding around the twinkling ice rink under the lights of the grand Royal Pavilion.

Make sure to try it out – especially if you’re holidaying with family – and then pay the admission to see the beauty of the building for yourself inside or stroll the landscaped grounds for free.

Priced at £16 per adult and £10 per child. ‘Standard admission tickets include free return visits for a year from the date of issue’. There’s also group family discounts or a ‘Multi Attraction Annual Pass’ where you can visit the ‘Royal Pavilion, Brighton Museum and Preston Manor’ at a bundle price.

3. Have fun at the Brighton Palace Pier

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Brighton Palace Pier Starling Murmuration

brighton england tourist attractions

A trip to Brighton wouldn’t be complete without having a stroll along Brighton Pier. Opening in 1899, the Palace Pier was the third pier to be constructed in the city and immediately became one of the most popular hotspots across Brighton – much like it is now.

It’s sadly the only pier still standing operational today as the others were destroyed through extreme weather and is home to a whole assortment of entertainment.

From firework displays to various exhibitions, there’s always something going on at the pier. And, even in winter, the amusements don’t stop. Walk along the pier and let your inner child lose by trying out the variety of rides, arcade games and attractions before stopping for some delicious chips at the seaside or a crepe while overlooking the water.

4. Check out the view of Brighton from the British Airways i360

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Brighton British Airways I360, Sunset Starling Murmuration

brighton england tourist attractions

Although you can enjoy wonderful views across the water from the Brighton Pier, the best way to truly take in the Brighton skyline is by visiting the British Airways i360 observation tower.

Found on the seafront, prices are from £16.50 for adults, £11.10 for younger adults and £8.35 for children to experience a flight in the pod. The observation tower looms above Brighton’s streets at a height of 4.7 metres and allows you to enjoy panoramic views of the city, from the pier to the English Channel, while also treating yourself to a drink at the Nyetimber Sky Bar.

Plus, the indoor pod means you can enjoy these views rain or shine and is a unique experience to be had.

5. Admire Regency Architecture

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Brighton Regency Townhouses

brighton england tourist attractions

As you stroll along the streets of the city, why not take a minute to spot some beautiful Regency architecture? The expansion of Brighton in the Regency period meant many buildings were built in that style – a white plaster ‘stucco’ façade, long thin windowpanes, Greek columns, and balconies.

The architectural style is beautiful and can be found across the city. Some notable streets that showcase examples of the Regency era are Norfolk Square, Montpelier Crescent and Western Terrace and should be checked out to appreciate the brilliance of 19th-century architecture.

Many of these Regency Terraced townhouses can be found steps away from the seafront along the 5.80 mile Brighton promenade.

6. Capture a sunset in view of the remains of West Pier

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Brighton West Pier at sunset

brighton england tourist attractions

Opened in 1866, Brighton’s West Pier was a hotspot for Victorian day-trippers to the seaside town, featuring a funfair, concert hall and tearoom. Ultimately, however, the pier closed in 1975 and, through extreme weather conditions and two separate fires in recent years.

The pier, unfortunately, collapsed leaving behind its metal framework giving it an eerie skeleton look and creating a new home to birds and aquatic life. Making it a wonderfully scenic spot for nature to reclaim man-made objects.

Although West Pier is in disuse today, it’s one of the best stops to catch the sunset. Walk down to the beach just as the sun is setting and, through the remains of the pier, enjoy the beautiful views of this seaside city.

There has been discussion of building a contemporary West Pier ‘reflecting the brilliance of the original’. So that may be something new to see in Brighton in the future.

7. Stroll along Brighton beach and spot local historic landmarks

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Brighton Bandstand

brighton england tourist attractions

Although Brighton beach is made up of pebbles and not sand, it doesn’t stop it from being one of the best places for tourism in England. Named one of the Top 10 ‘cities with brilliant beaches’ by Lonely Planet, it’s clear that the millions of pebbles along the beach don’t put off tourists.

On a quieter day towards the autumn months, you can enjoy a relaxing stroll along the beach listening to the waves crashing and seagulls calling.

You’ll also spot the little Hove Beach Huts, distinctively painted in vibrant colours that reflect the colourful city itself, and also Brighton’s Bandstand. Initially opened in 1884, the bandstand was incredibly popular among Victorian locals and tourists with its ornate architectural features.

Re-opening in 2009, it’s occasionally used for live performances as well as a backdrop for wedding photographs. So, stroll along the promenade to discover one of the grandest and still surviving examples of a Victorian bandstand in England.

8. Enjoy Brighton’s vibrant art scene

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Brighton beach starling murmuration

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Brighton pebble beach

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Brighton West Pier

The vibrancy of Brighton’s locals is truly felt through the city’s art scene, and the creativity can be seen all over. Take a photo with Bansky’s infamous ‘Kissing Coppers’ artwork on the wall of the Prince Albert Pub, and spot more fantastic graffiti art on North Laine – dotted around unique independent cafes and shops. You’ll find amazing street art from giant murals to smaller pieces that showcase the talent of Brighton’s inhabitants.

Or head to Hannington’s lane and London Road, to discover bright murals immediately catching your eye as you walk along the street. The vibrant examples of creativity don’t stop there, as Oliver’s Brighton, a Harry Potter shop on Trafalgar Street not only supplies magical items from the Wizarding World but also boasts a David Bowie tribute on the outside of the shop.

The Brighton Music Tunnel has got to be one of the best places to appreciate true artistic talent. Located adjacent to the Sea Life Centre, the tunnel is completely covered in tributes to music legends, painted by art students.

If you want to take in some more classical examples of art alongside seeing the new talent of the contemporary art scene, visit the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. Explore collections of fine art, fashion pieces and interactive artworks that will amaze and inspire you, making for a perfect day out.

Ultimately, Brighton is filled with rich artwork, and you should take some time to appreciate it when visiting the city.

9. Shop at unique independents on The Lanes & North Laine

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Brighton sunset from Palace Pier

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Brighton Royal Pavilion

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Brighton beach starlings & British Airways i360

As well as boasting sensational artwork, North Laine and The Lanes is also home to wonderful independent eateries and shops. Immediately enter a new, funky, colourful world on these streets and discover what’s on offer.

Pop into vintage clothing shops and discover a whole array of fashion. Then support a small independent café to grab a coffee and a colourful layered rainbow cake while admiring the creativity of local artists. From retro and boutique shops to vegan eateries and art galleries, there are so many things to do and see in Brighton.

Brighton has a fantastic vegan food scene, so you’ll be spoilt for choice if you eat plant-based. You’ll be in foodie heaven. A few places also deliver, which was perfect for us when we arrived in Brighton on a night and was too tired to go looking for food. Eating delicious and creamy rainbow cake in bed was certainly a highlight too.

10. Go topsy-turvy at the Upside Down House and walk the Rainbow crossing

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Brighton Upside Down House & Rainbow crossing

brighton england tourist attractions

Sian Victoria © - Brighton Upside Down House & British Airways i360

The Upside Down House is a fun and unique attraction that’s sure to entertain all ages. Situated on Kings Road Arches, this house on the seafront is unlike anything else in the city. Created as a street art installation, every room in the house is designed to give the illusion of being upside down, making for a topsy-turvy experience that’s fun for all the family, and the perfect place to take a few funny photos.

Costing £5 for a 20-minute visit to the house, this attraction is worth it and continues to highlight the creativity of Brighton’s art scene.

After you’ve felt like you’ve experienced zero-gravity in the house, you’ll spot the Rainbow Crossing just outside. The crossing was created by Lois O’Hara, to represent the buzzing LGBTQ+ scene of Brighton, and marks the celebrations of pride month.

For more inspiration to visit, watch my video below.

To conclude

So, there we go. A selection of the wonderful things you can get up to and see in the seaside city of Brighton that prove you can have just as much fun visiting in the Autumn and Winter months and have an unforgettable staycation in England during the offseason.

It’s no wonder that the city is referred to as London-on-sea; with such a buzzing atmosphere across the city, there’s something to entertain everyone. If you’re keen to plan a visit to Brighton and need somewhere to stay, why not check out my Mercure Brighton Seafront Hotel review ? It’s another grand example of Regency style architecture in Brighton.

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Wide World Trips

Best 16 Attractions to See and Cool Things to Do in Brighton, England

Brighton is an oceanside resort city in the East Sussex county of England, UK. The city sits 76 km south of London facing the English Channel. People visit Brighton for its fun vibes and chic lifestyle. There are loads of fun things to do in Brighton city as well as the towns surrounding it.

Although Brighton’s history dates back to the Bronze age, the current version you would see of the city began forming in the Gregorian era. It was a quick getaway resort town for trendy Londoners. Some of the best places to visit in Brighton date back to that era. It still retains many of that period’s qualities in its architecture, art, design, tourist attractions, cuisine, activities, and lifestyle. You will see Gregorian palaces, mansions, historical buildings, old entertainment venues, public parks, and vineyards. These are some of the most beautiful places to see in Brighton owing to their ornate architecture, collection of artworks, and posh interiors.

But alongside, the city has also experienced an ultra-modern revamp in all the same aspects. You will witness a blend of classical and contemporary in all the things to see in Brighton . The old narrow-lane neighborhoods have now become trendy hubs for shopping, dining, social hangouts, art, and nightlife. These areas have become Brighton tourist attractions for all kinds of quirky stuff in fashion, jewelry, home decor, artworks, food, desserts, beverages, and so on. In the same lanes, you will find classic Brighton attractions to enjoy English high tea and Sussex’s sparkling wines. Although, if you truly want to experience the Sussex wines you can take a day’s break from Brighton sightseeing and head on a wine-tasting tour of the surrounding vineyards.

There are quite a few places to go in Brighton for entertainment as well. The famous pier is one of the top entertainment venues in the city with a variety of games, rides, and activities for people of all ages. There are also quite of fun activities in Brighton along the beaches and you also have facilities to just chill and enjoy the ocean.

If you are a football fan, you should definitely check out a game at Brighton & Hove Albion stadium, home to the Premier League Club, especially if they are playing against their long-time rivals Crystal Palace or one of the top 4 premier league clubs. The atmosphere is electrifying.

This Blog Post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything from that link then I may earn a small part of the commission and for that, you do not need to pay any extra amount.

Table of Contents

Top 16 Tourist Places to Visit in Brighton in 3 Days (Trip Itinerary)

1. brighton palace pier.

Built-in 1899, this is considered one of the finest piers in the world. It is known for its iconic victorian palace-like structure. It is also popular among locals and tourists alike for a variety of top things to do in Brighton. The pier has food outlets, arcade games, rides, slides, video games, and thrill rides. Plus you get a great view of the ocean. You will need about 2 hours to enjoy the pier when you visit Brighton.

Brighton Palace Pier

2. The Lanes

This historical neighborhood was a part of the Brighthelmstone settlement. It is one of the best places to visit in Brighton if you really want to experience the city. The entire neighbourhood comprises narrow brick-paved lanes. The area feels like a maze. While exploring these lanes you will find famous stores, funky restaurants, antique stores, tearooms, art galleries, historical pubs, specialty shops, cafes, and more. People can also find several historical things to see in Brighton including flint stone walls, 400-year-old fishermen’s cottages, old buildings, and more. You will need a couple of hours to tour this area.

I suggest you should try a Guided Walking Tour of Brighton to gain more information about the history of The Lanes.

The Lanes

3. Royal Pavilion

This building was first built in 1787 as a seaside house for the Prince of Wales. It is one of the most beautiful places to see in Brighton. It was designed by Henry Holland and draws heavily from Russian, Islamic, and Turkish architecture. The Royal Pavilion is known for its white domes, minarets, themed gardens, arches, and carved designs. The palace has opulent vintage interiors filled with period furniture, paintings, sculptures, photographs, and historical artifacts. You will need about 2 hours from Brighton travel to tour this palace.

I suggest you should book your Ticket to The Royal Pavilion in advance.

Royal Pavilion

4. Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

This museum is part of the Royal Pavilion, built in former cavalry barracks. The museum has a variety of different exhibits dedicated to history and culture. World Stories takes you on a tour of different cultures that reside in Brighton. In the Performance Gallery, you can learn about the performing arts of these cultures. You will also see exhibits concerning artworks, artists, fashion, history, social history, and more. It is one of the most interesting Brighton tourist attractions. You will need about 2 hours to tour this museum and gallery.

Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

5. Brighton Toy & Model Museum

This museum exhibits toys dating back 100 years. You will see how people used to play in different eras. The museum has stuffed toys, model trains, cars, aircrafts, lego sets, and more. It is an amazing Brighton attraction to bring out your inner child. You will need about an hour to tour this museum.

Brighton Toy & Model Museum

1. Ditchling Beacon

This chalk hill is popular for its viewpoint and outdoor activities to do in Brighton. Rising to 248 meters above sea level, this is the highest point in East Sussex. People come here for hiking, bicycle trails, horse riding, kite flying, and picnics. You will see grasslands full of wildflowers, especially orchids. You can easily spend a couple of hours on this hill when you visit Brighton.

Ditchling Beacon

2. Preston Manor

This manor house dates back to 1738, but its history goes back to the 13th century. The museum in-house will tell you about the various residents of this manor. You will also get insight into the life of an upper-class family during the Edwardian period. It is a major historical highlight of Brighton sightseeing and you will need about an hour to tour this manor.

Preston Manor

3. Preston Park

Spread over 63 acres, this is one of the largest parks in England. The park has facilities for several sports including basketball, tennis, softball, football, cricket, bowling, and more. It is also known for other best things to do in Brighton for entertainment and leisure including picnics, nature trails, cycling trails, etc. The park also hosts several events and festivals. You can easily spend an hour or so exploring the activities in this park.

Preston Park

4. North Laine

This colorful neighbourhood is one of the best places to go in Brighton for shopping, dining, entertainment, and nightlife. The area has some unique stores selling all kinds of local items in fashion, beverages, food, and drinks. It is a quirky and trendy hotspot for all the cool things to do in Brighton. You will need about an hour or so to explore this area.

North Laine

5. British Airways i360

Designed by the creators of the London Eye and standing 138 meters tall, this is one of the highest observation towers in the world. You can amazing views of the city and the South Coast. You can see many Brighton tourist attractions from this tower and learn about them from an app. You will need about an hour for this activity.

I suggest you should get your Ticket to British Airways i360 Tower in advance.

British Airways i360

1. SEA LIFE Brighton

This aquarium is housed in an 1872 building and is considered the oldest aquarium in the world. You will see sharks, turtles, octopuses, jellyfish, corals, frogs, seahorses, rays, and more. The aquarium is divided into various zone, each with its own fun activities to do in Brighton. You can tour the pools in a glass bottom boat, explore the underwater world through tunnels, and admire the classic victorian architecture. It is one of the best places to visit in Brighton for families. You will need 2 to 3 hours to tour this place.

I suggest you should book your Ticket to SEA LIFE Brighton in advance.

SEA LIFE Brighton

2. Volk’s Railway

Built-in 1883, this is the oldest electrical railway in Britain. The route only runs for 2 km along the city’s beach. While not exactly among the top historical Brighton attractions, it is still a fun activity to enjoy on your way to the beach. You only need 30 to 45 minutes to ride this railway.

Volk’s Railway

3. Booth Museum of Natural History

This museum opened in 1874 with the taxidermy birds collection of Edward Thomas Booth. Not it is a natural history museum that showcases 525,000+ insects, 30,000+ plants, 50,000+ minerals, and more. The museum has skeletons of whales, primates, rhinoceros, dodo bird, and other animals. It also has fossils of dinosaurs discovered in Sussex. You will need about an hour from Brighton travel to tour this museum.

Booth Museum of Natural History

4. Brighton Zipline Experience

Brighton beach has the longest and tallest zipline on the south coast of England. You will start from the tower and zoom towards the beach with the ocean on one side and the city on the other. It is one of the most fun things to do in Brighton and you only need 20 to 30 minutes for this experience. The tower has dual ziplines, so you can even race with your friends, family, or significant others.

I suggest you should get your Ticket for Brighton Zipline Experience in advance.

Brighton Zipline Experience

5. Brighton Beaches

Speaking of beaches, you should head out to the beaches in Brighton for some fun activities. You can come here to just stare at the ocean, relax on the sandy coast, enjoy bicycle tracks, and more. Some of the most popular beaches include Brighton Beach, Ovingdean Beach, Brighton West Beach, Rottingdean Beach, Saltdean Beach, and Hove Beach. These are the best places to go in Brighton for leisure, dining, shopping, and nightlife as well. You can easily spend a couple of hours chilling at any of the beaches when you visit Brighton.

Brighton Beaches

6. Sussex Vineyards

Sussex is well known for its sparkling wines. The region is home to several vineyards. You can take a day from Brighton sightseeing of wine tasting, dining, and exploring how these drinks are made.

I suggest you should book a Tour of Sussex Vineyards on an Iconic Vintage London Bus .

Sussex Vineyards

If you are looking for more interesting things to see in Brighton, check out the sections below. We have compiled an exhaustive list of attractions and activities that you can enjoy in the city and around it.

Things to do in brighton, monuments, museums & historical places to visit in brighton.

  • Royal Pavilion
  • Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
  • Brighton Toy and Model Museum
  • Volk’s Electric Railway
  • Booth Museum of Natural History
  • Preston Manor
  • Phoenix Art Space
  • St. Peters Church
  • Fabrica Contemporary Art Space
  • Brighton Fishing Museum
  • Church of St. Bartholomew
  • Old Police Cells Museum
  • Jubilee Clock Tower
  • Art 5 Gallery
  • The Regency Town House
  • Lewes Castle & Museum
  • Anna’s Museum
  • Monk’s House
  • Brighton Chhatri
  • The Angel of Peace
  • Hove Museum of Creativity
  • Newhaven Fort
  • Anne of Cleves House
  • West Blatchington Windmill
  • Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft
  • Lewes Priory
  • The Roman Catholic Diocese of Arundel & Brighton
  • Friends of Shoreham Fort
  • Jack & Hill Windmills
  • Culture 24 Museum
  • Marlipins Museum

Nature & Wildlife Tourist Spots in Brighton

  • Devil’s Dyke Valley
  • Stanmer Nature Park Reserve
  • Wild Park Local Nature Reserve
  • Whitehawk Hill Local Nature Reserve
  • Saddlecombe Farm and Newtimber Hill
  • Ditchlington Beacon Grassland
  • Mount Caburn
  • Truleigh Hill
  • South Down National Park

Entertainment & Leisure Tourist Spots in Brighton

  • Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club
  • Brighton i360
  • Preston Park
  • Brighton Palace Pier
  • Sea Life Aquarium
  • Brighton Dome
  • Queen’s Park
  • Brighton Racecourse
  • Grosvenor Casino
  • Jungle Rumble Adventure Golf
  • Victoria Gardens
  • St. Ann’s Well Gardens
  • Blakers Park
  • Withdean Park
  • Dyke Road Park
  • Yellowave Beach Sports Venue
  • East Brighton Park
  • Old Steine Gardens
  • One Garden Brighton
  • Valley Gardens
  • Rendezvous Casino
  • Genting Casino
  • Washbrooks Family Farm
  • Sky High Trampoline Park
  • Southover Grange Gardens
  • Centenary Park
  • Plumpton Racecourse
  • Ridgeview Wine Estate
  • Albourne Estate
  • Kinsbrook Vineyard
  • Bluebell Vineyard
  • Upperton Vineyard
  • Trotton Estate
  • Court Gardens Farm
  • Wildwood Vineyard
  • Black Dog Hill Vineyard
  • Drusillas Park

Shopping in Brighton

  • Brighton Open Market
  • North Laine
  • Brighton Marina
  • Enter Gallery
  • Churchill Square Shopping Centre
  • Open Market
  • Kemptown Market
  • Seven Dials

Beaches in Brighton

  • Brighton Beach
  • Brighton West Pier
  • Ovingdean Beach
  • Brighton West Beach
  • Rottingdean Beach
  • Saltdean Beach
  • London Road Viaduct
  • Shoreham Beach
  • Beachy Head Cliff
  • Seven Sisters Cliff

Offbeat Places, Tours, & Adventures in Brighton

  • Bicycle trails
  • Paddleboarding
  • Kitesurfing

Sightseeing in Brighton

  • Upside Down Houses
  • Brighton Beach Bandstand
  • Regency Square
  • Brighton Beach Huts
  • Undercliff Walk
  • Kings Road Arches
  • Foredown Tower

Food, Dining, Restaurants, & Street Food in Brighton

  • Pavilion Gardens Cafe
  • The Black Lion
  • Metrodeco Cafe
  • The Mesmerist
  • Boho Gelato
  • The Cricketers
  • Terre a Terre
  • Ohso Social Beach bar
  • The Painting Pottery Cafe
  • That Little Tea Shop
  • Browns Brighton
  • Ten Green Bottles
  • Metropole Bar
  • Brass Monkey Ice Cream
  • Iydea Vegetarian Kitchen
  • The World Famous Pump Room
  • Lost in the Lanes
  • Rockwater Hove
  • Petit Pois Restaurant
  • Tinto Taperia
  • The Connaught Pub
  • Las Iguanas
  • Indian Summer
  • Artbox Cafe
  • Fourth and Church

Where to Stay in Brighton?

Here we have listed Top Rated Luxurious, Mid-Range, and Budget Hotels in Brighton. You can check the below-listed hotels for your perfect stay in Brighton.

Luxurious Hotels

  • Leonardo Royal Hotel Brighton Waterfront
  • Harbour Hotel Brighton
  • Mercure Brighton Seafront Hotel
  • Artist Residence Brighton
  • Hotel du Vin Brighton
  • Leonardo Hotel Brighton
  • Queens Hotel
  • The Grand Brighton
  • Malmaison Brighton
  • The Twenty One

Mid-Range Hotels

  • Drakes Hotel Brighton
  • The Charm – Brighton Boutique Hotel
  • Hotel Pelirocco
  • A Room With A View
  • Blanch House
  • Premier Inn Brighton City Centre (North Street) hotel
  • Cavalaire Guest House
  • Ibis Brighton City Centre Station
  • The White House

Budget Hotels

  • Strawberry Fields
  • New Steine Hotel
  • Travelodge Brighton
  • Legends Hotel
  • Ei8ht Brighton Apartments
  • Sea Spray Boutique Hotel
  • The Lanes Hotel
  • Westbourne Hotel & Spa
  • Beach Hotel
  • YHA Brighton

TripAdvisor

Custom Tours Package in Brighton

How to reach brighton.

You can reach Brighton through Shoreham Airport, also called Brighton City Airport. It sits just 8 km away from Brighton. It is the oldest airport in the UK and the oldest purpose-built commercial airport in the world that is still operational. As London is not too far from the city, you can also use Heathrow and Gatwick Airports to reach Brighton. These airports are connected to several cities in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Oceania. You can get buses and cabs to get to the city from the airport

England has a well-developed train network. You can get direct trains to visit Brighton from several cities in the UK. It falls on railway routes Southern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express, and Great Western Railway. These routes connect Brighton with London, Bedford, Leicester, Gatwick, Cambridge, and several other cities in England.

You can also get buses from many cities in the country to reach Brighton. Some of the most popular bus services for Brighton travel include National Express, Stagecoach, and Brighton & Hove Buses.

If you are planning to reach Brighton by car, you should head south on route A23. If you are traveling along the southern coast, you can use route A27.

The closest port to visit Brighton is Newhaven. You can get ferries to get here from Dieppe in France

Image Reference

  • Brighton Palace Pier – Will Eames / PixaBay
  • The Lanes – Terekhova / Flickr
  • Royal Pavilion – Gary Stearman / PixaBay
  • Brighton Museum & Art Gallery – Allie_Caulfield / Flickr
  • Brighton Toy and Model Museum – Marko Mrdjenovič / Flickr
  • Ditchling Beacon – grassrootsgroundswell / Flickr
  • Preston Manor – Martin Robson / Flickr
  • Preston Park – Gary Stearman / PixaBay
  • North Laine – Simon / Flickr
  • British Airways i360 – Matt Kieffer / Flickr
  • SEA LIFE Brighton – Hassocks5489 / Wikimedia Commons
  • Volk’s Railway – R~P~M / Flickr
  • Booth Museum of Natural History – Hassocks5489 / Wikimedia Commons
  • Brighton Zipline Experience – C.Suthorn / Wikimedia Commons
  • Brighton Beaches – Martina Bäcker / PixaBay
  • Sussex Vineyards – Steve Gardner / Flickr
  • 30 Wonderful Tourist Places to Visit and Things to Do in Cappadocia, Turkey
  • 50 Awesome Tourist Attractions to Visit and Things to Do in Rotorua

Mustafa Natalwala

Mustafa is a content writer and digital marketing expert at WideWorldTrips.com His mainly interests are into travelling, photography, film-making

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Trending : Amazing Days Out for Teenagers

Best days out in England

11 Best Day Trips from Brighton you NEED to Try

Looking for some great day trips from Brighton to go exploring in the south of England? Here are all the best days out from Brighton to keep you busy.

brighton england tourist attractions

Brighton is a small city with a lot to offer; historical sites, galleries and museums, and a reputation as one of the most eco-friendly cities in England. There’s lots to do in Brighton, and a Brighton day trip is undoubtedly worth your time. The city was even voted for by our readers in the 21 Most Popular England Tourist Attractions !

However, once you have ticked a Brighton day out off your list, there are plenty more nearby spots for adventures in the area. From Hastings to Seven Sisters, you can easily explore the many great places England has to offer on your day trips from Brighton. 

We’ve gathered the 11 best day trips from Brighton you can visit in a day.

Day trips from Brighton, England

Go to Hyde Park though. It’s so nice there and you can wander around the Serpentine Gallery and the coffee shop. If you want to see Hyde Park in a different way, then hire some rollerskates and you’ll cover more ground. 

In or around Hyde Park you can see Kensington Palace, the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Geographical Society and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Jump on the tube (the London Underground) to Notting Hill. Here you’ll find all kinds of antique shops and trinkets, and some great places for brunch. It’s also one of the best places in London for street photography, if that’s what you’re into.

You can easily get the tube from here up to Camden too. Camden Market is world famous – here you can get pierced, pick up some neon studded clothes from cyber punk, and get a tasty bite to eat to enjoy by the canal.

It’s also close to Regent’s Park, where you can just wander and enjoy the green space. Or, you can pay to get into London Zoo (one of the UK’s best zoos ) and enjoy the thousands of animals who call it home. From Regent’s Park you can wander up to Primrose Hill, which offers some of the best views of North London. It’s also a pretty area to pick up a bite to eat. 

4. Bournemouth from Brighton

If you’re looking for ideas for day trips from Brighton but aren’t ready to leave the seaside behind, Bournemouth might be the one for you. Bournemouth is just over 2 hours from Brighton, but despite its seaside town atmosphere it is quite different to Brighton in many ways, starting with the fact it has a sand beach rather than a pebble one. Great for summer outings when you just need to feel the sand in your toes.

Bournemouth, day trips from Brighton, England

Brighton really is a great place to visit with tonnes to do at any time of the year, but there’s also so much to see and do within a couple of hours of this popular tourist spot, with great transport connections so you can get around easily. Whether you live in England or are just visiting, if you’re based in Brighton, these day trips from Brighton are highly recommended and give you a great snapshot of lots of different landscapes and culturally significant spots in the south of England.  

If you happen to be there November / December time, spend some time in the city enjoying all the best things to do in Brighton for Christmas , and go for a Brighton afternoon tea , too.

Quick list: Best Day Trips from Brighton

  • Seven Sisters from Brighton
  • Hever Castle from Brighton
  • Bournemouth from Brighton
  • London from Brighton
  • Hastings from Brighton
  • Stonehenge from Brighton
  • Lewes from Brighton
  • Shere and Newlands Corner from Brighton
  • Arundel Castle from Brighton
  • South Downs National Park from Brighton
  • Camber Sands from Brighton
  • Latest Posts

Caitlin McAllister

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Do you want to see your favourite England attraction, event or activity listed here? Email us at [email protected] !

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  2. 20 Must-Visit Attractions in Brighton

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  3. 15 Best Things to Do in Brighton (East Sussex, England)

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  4. 7 Historic Attractions To See In Brighton » The Traveloid

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  5. Must-Visit Attractions in Brighton

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  6. 14 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Brighton, East Sussex

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  1. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Brighton

    Things to Do in Brighton, Brighton and Hove - Brighton Attractions Things to Do in Brighton Explore popular experiences See what other travelers like to do, based on ratings and number of bookings. See All Bus Tours (24) Walking Tours (43) Art Galleries (39) Day Trips (18) Cultural Tours (14) City Tours (16) Historical Tours (23)

  2. Things to Do in Brighton

    There's no shortage of iconic landmarks in Brighton. The Royal Pavilion is a palace like no other, brimming with decadence and Eastern inspiration, and rich with stories of its former occupant, the party-loving Prince Regent.

  3. Top 50 Things to Do

    Activity Organiser Animal Collection / Zoo Aquarium Arts Centre Beach Beach Sports Botanic Garden Bus / Coach Tour Cinema Concert Hall Conference / Exhibition Centre Corporate Activities Cottage Garden Country / Royal Park Craft Centre Craft Workshop Cultural Organisation Cycle/Vehicle Hire Cycling Dinosaurs Distillery Enviromental Attraction Es...

  4. 14 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Brighton, East Sussex

    1. Royal Pavilion & Garden 2. Brighton Palace Pier 3. Brighton Promenade and Seafront Attractions 4. The Lanes and North Laine 5. British Airways i360 Viewing Tower 6. Brighton Beach 7. Brighton Museum & Art Gallery 8. Regency-era Architecture 9. Brighton Festival 10. Brighton Toy and Model Museum 11. Booth Museum of Natural History

  5. VisitBrighton: Brighton's official tourism site

    With its majestic Regency squares and crescents, iconic Royal Pavilion and famous piers, today Brighton is as well-known for being a welcoming and diverse city with a passion for culture, creativity and sustainability as it is for its historic landmarks. With art, live music and entertainment on tap, plus an ever-growing ... Read More

  6. 28 Best Things to do in Brighton According to Locals

    Best things to do in Brighton Photograph: Shutterstock 1. Take in immense sea views from the British Airways i360 What is it? A futuristic viewing platform on the seafront. Why go? Sure, it might...

  7. Brighton Attractions & Places to Visit

    Explore the Victorian history and modern-day delights of Brighton Palace Pier, search the boho boutiques of its cute shopping street, The Lanes, or experience a bird's eye perspective of the coastline from 450ft above the ground, on Brighton i360.

  8. 22 of the best things to do in Brighton

    1. Uncover Brighton's queer history on a LGBTQ guided tour Unofficially dubbed as the UK's gay capital, Brighton has a long history of inclusivity. Rainbow flags adorn buildings and not just...

  9. 15 of the best things to do in Brighton

    Ashley Owen Mar 27, 2022 • 7 min read Brighton Pier with classic deck chairs on the pebbled beach in summer © Westend61/Getty Images An inimitable blend of cool and kitsch, Brighton is one of the UK's most quirky, vibrant and welcoming cities.

  10. Must-Visit Attractions In Brighton England

    Some of the best watering holes the city has to offer are situated here - as are some of the best venues for an evening of entertainment - the stunning, Grade II-listed Theatre Royal and Komedia. The Lanes Architectural Landmark © Peter Greenhalgh (UKpix.com) / Alamy Stock Photo | © Peter Greenhalgh (UKpix.com) / Alamy Stock Photo

  11. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Brighton

    Top Things to Do in Brighton, Brighton and Hove - Brighton Attractions Things to Do in Brighton Explore popular experiences See what other travellers like to do, based on ratings and number of bookings. See All Bus Tours (24) Walking Tours (42) Art Galleries (39) Day Trips (18) Cultural Tours (14) City Tours (16) Historical Tours (23)

  12. Attractions in Brighton

    The Royal Pavilion You are here: Things to Do > Attractions Attractions Brighton is jam-packed with fun and interesting places to visit - places that will take you up in the sky, down below ground, back in time and flying through the air at a heart-racing pace. Intrigued?

  13. 15 Best Things to Do in Brighton (East Sussex, England)

    1. Royal Pavilion Source: shutterstock Royal Pavilion As a stylish 20-something the Prince Regent first came to Brighton in 1783 and before long he was spending so much of his leisure time at the town that he commissioned a seaside palace. The architect was John Nash, also known for London's Regent Street and Buckingham Palace.

  14. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Brighton (Updated 2024)

    THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Brighton Things to Do in Brighton Explore popular experiences See what other travellers like to do, based on ratings and number of bookings. See All Bus Tours (24) Walking Tours (43) Art Galleries (39) Day Trips (18) Cultural Tours (14) City Tours (16) Historical Tours (23) Private Sightseeing Tours (23) Top Picks

  15. 10 Best Things to Do in Brighton for a Great Day Out

    Brighton is one of the 21 most popular England tourist attractions, as voted for by our readers, and one of the best things to do in Brighton according to them is the famous Brighton Pier. Part amusement park, part restaurant, part walking route, and part sea lookout point, it's got something for everyone.

  16. Places to Visit in Brighton

    See ways to experience (11) 7. Devil's Dyke National Trust. 1,078. Valleys. A legendary beauty spot on the South Downs Devil's Dyke, just five miles north of Brighton, offers stunning panoramas, a record breaking valley, a curious history and England's most colourful habitat.

  17. 23 Charming Things to Do in Brighton, UK

    Top Things to Do: Explore the Famous Palace Pier, visit the Royal Pavilion, ride the Brighton i360 Tower, experience the Brighton Beach Zip Line. Where to Stay: The Grand Hotel Brighton for classic beachfront views, e Queens Hotel & Spa for beach and pier proximity, and lovely Hotel Una for a beautiful hotel overlooking famous Regency Square!

  18. 20 Exciting Things to Do In Brighton in 2023

    Our top 20 must-visit attractions in Brighton are the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Palace Pier, Brighton Beach, Kemptown, Preston Manor, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton Toy & Model Museum, The Lanes, North Laine, Old Steine Gardens, British Airways i360, The Devil's Dyke, St. Bartholomew's Church, Brighton Pr...

  19. THE 10 BEST Brighton Sights & Historical Landmarks

    The statue itself is a lovely centre piece for a photo, especially at sunset. It is on the cycle path along the... 14. Brighton Buddhist Centre. 26. Religious Sites. By Mavis57. Also has the benefit of small Buddhist library for those studying the philosophy and background to yoga and Buddhist...

  20. 10 Thing's to do & Reasons to Visit Brighton in Winter

    Brighton in Winter - Sunset Starlings Murmuration, West Pier & Royal Pavilion Ice Rink. How to spend a day sightseeing in Brighton. Featuring the best things to see and do and the most popular landmarks and tourist attractions. Plus, reasons why you should visit in Winter to experience the Starling murmuration.

  21. 16 Things to Do in Brighton, England

    Top 16 Tourist Places to Visit in Brighton in 3 Days (Trip Itinerary) Day 1 1. Brighton Palace Pier. Built-in 1899, this is considered one of the finest piers in the world.

  22. 11 Best Day Trips from Brighton you NEED to Try

    Brighton is a small city with a lot to offer; historical sites, galleries and museums, and a reputation as one of the most eco-friendly cities in England. There's lots to do in Brighton, and a Brighton day trip is undoubtedly worth your time. The city was even voted for by our readers in the 21 Most Popular England Tourist Attractions!