Brighton has so many tempting shops, bars and restaurants that keeping your spending under control can be quite a challenge. Try out a few of my suggestions, though, and you may end up saving enough money for one last blowout before you go home.
Eating and drinking
Brighton’s cafés, delis and gastropubs just keep getting better and better. The top ones will fill you up for far less than a restaurant – perfect if you’re in an informal mood (which is, after all, the mood that Brighton does best). There are so many it can be hard to choose, so for some recommendations, see my advice on eating and drinking in Brighton on my Brighton Cafés and Restaurants page.
You’re by the sea, so why not go for that old British favourite - fish and chips? Alternatively, you could tap into the local trend for low-cost contemporary restaurants serving Asian street food. I review a few options on my Brighton Cafés and Restaurants page.
On sunny afternoons, follow the locals’ lead and put together a picnic to enjoy on the shore or in one of the city’s many parks or garden squares. Come the evening, you’re allowed to set up a barbecue on some parts of Brighton and Hove’s beaches (for details, look up barbecues on www.brighton-hove.gov.uk). Brighton’s brilliant delis can provide the makings of a first-class collation, or you could just head for a supermarket: the best in the centre is Waitrose (130-134 Western Road, Brighton BN1 2LA; +44 1273 326549; www.waitrose.com).
Travelling to Brighton by train? Look out for the special offers and advance ticket bargains that Southern Railway (www.southernrailway.com) and First Capital Connect (www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk) advertise from time to time. And if you fancy an off-peak trip to London during your stay, then buy a Southern Saver or First Capital Connect Saver – these tickets are cheaper than the Off Peak Day Returns sold at the station. One Stop Travel (16 Old Steine, Brighton; www.buses.co.uk) sells train-only tickets, Brighton bus drivers sell bus-plus-train ones.
Brighton is very compact. OK, so it’s a bit hilly, but if you’re reasonably fit and able, you can walk or cycle just about anywhere. So bring some comfy shoes, a bike, or both, and save yourself a few cab fares. You can hire a bike in town for a reasonable rate. See Cycling along Brighton seafront for details.
Brighton’s local bus fares are pretty reasonable, especially if you plan ahead and buy one-day passes online at www.buses.co.uk. See my How to get around Brighton page for details.
Sights and attractions
Brighton is such an attractive city that admiring the Regency architecture, window-shopping in The Lanes or the North Laine, nosing around the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, relaxing in the gardens of the Royal Pavilion, strolling on Brighton Pier, chilling out on Brighton Beach and perhaps catching some tunes at Brighton Bandstand could keep you busy for hours. All these simple pleasures come absolutely free. Until you heed the siren call of the fairground rides, cafés, pubs and ice cream shops, that is.
Throughout the year, but particularly from Easter to late October, free public events such as parades, shows, rallies, gigs and food fairs pop up all the time. The Brighton Festival in May always includes some free performances and at weekends local artists all over the city turn their homes and studios into impromptu galleries with free entrance. In the summer months, there’s something happening on Madeira Drive, the Lower Esplanade, Hove Lawns or Jubilee Square just about every weekend, and fireworks explode over Brighton Pier every Saturday night. One of Brighton’s biggest free annual events is Brighton Pride in August. See When to go to Brighton for details.
Brighton’s Sea Life Centre (www.visitsealife.com) offers a generous discount on admission if you book in advance on their website. See Sea Life Centre for details.
Many nightclubs offer free or cut-price entrance at the start of the night. See Nightlife in Brighton: the best clubs and gigs.
Other useful tips
The tourist office, Visit Brighton (www.visitbrighton.com), advertises special offers from time to time – to find out about these, keep an eye on their website and consider signing up for updates.