How to while away 24 hours in one of the UK's sexiest cities
If you’re looking to treat your partner to a sexy break away, look no further than Brighton.
The bohemian city, on England’s sunny South Coast, practically invented the dirty weekend so it comes as no surprise to find that Brighton knows exactly what’s hot and what’s not.
Missing out on some of its other sexy surprises would be almost criminal though, so here’s my pick of the best...
To warm up your weekend, start with a romantic stroll along the seafront and then head to the Royal Pavilion (4-5 Pavilion Buildings, 01273 290900, www.royalpavilion.org.uk) - a must for first-timers.
This Indian-style palace is a real local landmark and was once home to King George IV.
George, who lived here while he was the Prince Regent, was - like many Brighton residents - a huge fan of having a good time. His forward-thinking yet fashionable ideas are reflected in the how the palace looks today, with its sumptuous furnishings and decadent design.
To get a feel for the palace in its heyday, take a slow walk around inside and soak up the lavish interior for yourself. While you’re there, you can also stimulate the biggest erogenous zone in your body - the brain - by imagining how grand the parties once were or how it would have felt to be romanced by Royalty.
Let’s not forget that Brighton is famed for its shops, though – particularly the Lanes. The cobbled streets are home to scores of classy restaurants, designer boutiques and jewellers, not to mention the best of Brighton’s home-grown talent, so it’s easy to splash the cash here.
For more unusual items, head to North Laine where you will find an abundance of second-hand stores, charity shops and handmade goods. It is also here that you’ll find LUST! (43 Gardner Street, 01273 699344, www.lust.co.uk) – three floors of quirky homeware, unusual gifts and a little of what you fancy.
This is a great place to stock up on that special something for after dark, whether it’s some sexy new lingerie or the latest toys. Just think Urban Outfitters meets Ann Summers.
Whether you're in the market for fish and chips on the seafront or a five-course gourmet meal, Brighton will have something to tickle your tastebuds.
As night falls, hundreds of dimly-lit little restaurants come out of the shadows so you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a dark corner to snuggle up.
If you’re a fan of vegetarian food, I recommend Food for Friends (17-18 Prince Albert Street, 01273 202310, www.foodforfriends.com), which is well-priced (around £20 for a three-course meal), has delicious dishes and is perfectly located for people-watching. Share an Indian thali for two, or go for the risotto fritters. These are to die for - but make sure you leave room for the tantalisingly tasty desserts.
If you're more of a meat fan, opt for a romantic meal at Browns (34 Ship Street, 01273 323501, www.browns-restaurants.co.uk). This brasserie is one of Brighton's most popular and once you've tasted its signature dish - the steak, mushroom and guinness pie (£10.50) - you'll certainly understand why!
Anyone with a sweet tooth should also make a beeline for the Choccywoccydoodah café - or Bar du Chocolat (27 Middle Street, 01273 732232, www.choccywoccydoodah.com). If you’re not already familiar with this Brighton brand, it is famed for its deliciously decadent chocolates and fabulous designs.
At its very own café, you can feast on a decadent chocolate lover's banquet for just under £20. This mouth-watering package comes with more chocolate than you can shake a stick at and includes handmade Belgian truffles, mini cupcakes, a slab of cake and some dipping pots - a slice of pure heaven.
If that doesn’t get you groaning with pleasure though (or you’re on a bit of a budget), treat yourself to one of their velvety hot chocolates. It will be the best £1.75 you’ve ever spent.
Exploring Brighton can be thirsty work so you'll be pleased to hear the town has plenty of watering holes. If you're lucky, you might even be able to rub shoulders with Brighton resident, Katie Price, who is a big fan of the local pubs and clubs.
In my opinion, there are several beachfront bars that are worth a look - and they're just as busy on sunny days as they are when the rain lashes down in winter.
The nautical-themed Fortune of War (157 Kings Road Arches, 01273 733597) is my favourite and a great place to visit, come day or night, even if it's generally filled with tourists. The pub's interior is decked out like a pirate ship and although it attracts a diverse crowd, it always has a good atmosphere, especially during the summer months.
Indie fans should head straight to The Royal Pavilion Tavern (7 Castle Square, 01273 735819, www.pavtav.com), or 'Pav Tav' as it's affectionately known to locals. This dark and dingy hangout attracts a cool young crowd and is generally home to the hottest up-and-coming live bands. Whether you choose to cosy up on one of its leather sofas or head upstairs to the club, a good night - or even day - is practically guaranteed here.
For an altogether more upmarket experience though, check out the award-winning Blanch House Bar (17 Atlingworth Street, 01273 603504, www.blanchhouse.co.uk). Located on the ground floor of the Blanch House Hotel, the cocktails here are legendary and have all been created in-house. There are tons of imaginative options to choose from, but I always go for the obvious - the Jennifer Oh Jenny (£8.50) - which is made up of Don Julio Reposado, Chambord, raspberry purée, basil, orgeat, black pepper and pink grapefruit. Delish!
For somewhere saucy to stay, you can’t beat Hotel Pelirocco. Situated right by the seafront in Regency Square, this rock ‘n’ roll retreat has 19 themed bedrooms that will make your dirty weekend a memorable one.
The hotel has suites to suit all tastes, from the minimalistic Ocean Room to the fuchsia pink Pussy Room with palm trees, but the cherry on the cake (and the hotel’s flagship suite) is the enormous Durex Play Room (£230-300 a night).
Dedicated to all things indulgent, this kitsch boudoir comes with an 8ft round bed, a mirrored ceiling, pole dancing area and giant plunge bath, but on my visit, I plumped to stay in Betty's Boudoir, which has been designed in homage to the Queen of pin-up, Betty Page. Priced at around £130 a night (£160 at weekends), this room was sexy in a subtle way.
Packed full of funky accessories, you could tell a lot of thought had gone into the design. My boyfriend and I loved everything about it, from the leopard-print changing screen to the sexy chaise longue overlooking the sea. The bath was big enough for two and there was even a pair of cheekily placed handcuffs by the large wrought-iron bed.
All rooms come with a ‘menu’ for the She Said erotic boutique and, with a funky bar area and open-minded staff, the emphasis is certainly on fun.
What more could you ask for on a dirty weekend away?