Brighton

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Royal Pavilion © www.visitbrighton.com

By Emma Gregg, your Brighton expert

I write for National Geographic .... Read more

Why go to Brighton?

Brighton rocks

For many visitors to Brighton, the city’s easy-going, up-for-it atmosphere makes a big impression right from the start. There’s something fantastically invigorating about all that sea air. With a hectic programme of events and the best shops, cafés, pubs and clubs on the south coast, there's plenty to keep you entertained. Friendly and high-spirited, this is above all a place to relax and have fun.

Endless summer

Cradled between the South Downs and the English Channel, Brighton has a climate that Londoners can only envy. It enjoys far more than its fair share of good weather, especially in summer when there's seven hours of sunshine, on average, per day (London can only manage six). Leave the capital behind on a muggy morning in July or August and there’s a good chance that Brighton will greet you with clear skies, dazzling sunshine and a gentle sea breeze.

Coastal cool

Brighton is one of the most inclusive cities in Europe. Between them, Brightonians embrace just about every alternative lifestyle going. The city is home to Britain’s first Green MP, numerous charities and a thriving community of writers, artists and other creatives. Whoever you are (or would like to be), all you need is a positive attitude and you’ll fit right in.

Something to celebrate?

This city knows how to party. Birthday boys and girls come to Brighton for a wild night out with their mates, anniversary couples check into the city’s chic boutique hotels for indulgent mini-breaks and stag and hen parties descend just about every weekend. It’s always been a romantic place for weddings and honeymoons and, since 2005, it’s been one of the UK’s most popular spots for gay and lesbian couples to tie the knot.

Shopping the way it should be

Shopaholics love Brighton – and even confirmed shopaphobics find themselves pleasantly surprised. Yes, the big names are all here, but they’re comfortably outnumbered by fabulously quirky, one-of-a-kind places selling everything from bonsai trees to vintage wedding rings.

Bliss out on the beach

Some find Brighton’s pebbles a little hard to get used to – but it doesn’t take much to make yourself comfortable. Grab a deckchair or fling down a sturdy camping mat, crack open a cool drink or two and you won’t miss the sand a bit. In some parts of the beach, you’re allowed to get a barbie going, too.

Regency grandeur

From its graceful terraces and garden squares to the hilarious excesses of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton is a beautiful and varied city, packed with architectural interest.

Eat, drink, indulge

Brighton’s restaurant, café, bar and pub scene is as fluid and faddish as you’d expect from such a style-conscious city, but one thing never changes – there’s always plenty of choice. For the best places to find celebrity-friendly sushi, the tastiest mojitos or the perfect flat white, see my Restaurants and Nightlife pages (coming soon).

Just the ticket

This entertainment-mad city hosts masses of concerts, plays and comedy gigs, while opera fans are spoilt rotten by Glyndebourne being just 13 miles away. The Brighton Festival, each May, is the UK’s biggest arts festival after Edinburgh. There’s more under Things to do (coming soon).

As fresh as it gets

To make the most of all that lovely sea air, you can set off along Brighton’s many cycle paths, try your hand at beach volleyball or kitesurfing, or breeze up to the South Downs for a gentle stroll in glorious Sussex scenery.

For more expert advice on Brighton, follow these links:

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expert rated...

Brighton Hotels

Price fromRating (out of 5)
1. Drakes of Brighton
£65
4.9
2. Kemp Townhouse
£59
4.9
3. The Grand Hotel
£60
4.8
4. The White House
4.8
5. The Cavalaire
£75
4.8
See all expert-rated Hotels in Brighton

Brighton Restaurants

Price guideRating (out of 5)
1. Terre à Terre
Mid-range
4.9
2. The Restaurant at Drakes
Mid-range
4.9
3. The Meadow
Mid-range
4.8
4. Bill's
Budget
4.7
5. The Chilli Pickle
Mid-range
4.7
See all expert-rated Restaurants in Brighton

Brighton Things to do

Price guideRating (out of 5)
1. Royal Pavilion
Mid-range
4.9
2. Brighton Pier
Free
4.9
3. Brighton Beach
Free
4.9
4. North Laine
Free
4.8
5. The Lanes
Free
4.8
See all expert-rated Things to do in Brighton