You’re going for the eccentric and artistic vibe in this windy seaside town. It’s perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway.
The Train From Victoria or London Bridge, trains run frequently with express rides under an hour (you can get on the Gatwick Express, but the ticket is a bit pricier). Keep in mind that Sundays have bad schedules and will take longer, or there is also a bus. Both options drop you off in the center of town.
Uber and Taxis Both are available, but you can walk most places within town.
Bike shares These are available with outposts around town.
good to know
Brighton It’s technically divided in two parts, Brighton and Hove, with other areas such as The Lanes and Kemptown thrown around. This is how the recs are divided, plus more info on the neighborhoods below.
The beach You’ll find pebbles only. They are smooth, the water chilly, yet it has a certain loveliness to it as well.
Best time to go The summer (the later the better) is the obvious answer, but the weather is unpredictable at best.
eats & drinks
Silo A truly ground-blazing and admirable restaurant that is almost entirely zero waste, from their plates and chairs to how their food is sourced and delivered. Plus, the food is actually delicious and creative, proving that restaurants can be sustainable and a place you want to eat. Stop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner and ask them about what they do and how they do it. We promise that you will be blown away. Read more about Silo’s story here.
The Set Located in the Artist’s Residence, a boutique hotel, it has a more casual dining room with a bar and snacks as well as a set (get it?) menu in the other room. Noisy, vibrant and creative, it’s a fun place to go, especially for drinks as their cocktails are innovative and tasty.
Cafe Coho A cutesy cafe that offers delicious toasts, salads, sandwiches and baked goods, it’s a great place to cozy up inside on a windy day or celebrate the sunshine with their outdoor seating. Go for coffee or a casual lunch.
The Salt Room Located on the water, Salt Room specializes in local seafood and great cocktails. Enjoying the view of the sunset from their patio is a quick way to make a memorable trip, but reservations can be difficult to come by so plan ahead. (Their sister restaurant is The Coal Shed.)
Plateau A wine bar with natural wines and delicious small bites and large plates in a rustic setting. Good for twosomes, small groups or for a glass of wine at the bar.
The Coal Shed The carnivore version of The Salt Room, the restaurant aims to serve locally sourced meats in an upscale yet rustic setting.
Small Batch Coffee Spacious with plenty of seats, it’s a good place to escape the rain and get a delicious cup of third wave coffee.
Boho Gelato The unusual and creative gelato flavors here are worth trying if you happen to be in Brighton on a sunny day.
Friends for Food An upscale hippie vegetarian restaurant, the food is quite good and the setting is lovely. The large windows let in lots of natural light so that it feels very open and airy, even on cloudy days.
Brighton Bier For locally brewed beer, head to the brewery where you’ll find a solid selection of beers and ciders as well as a vast offering of pizzas from local Pizzaface.
Bond St. Coffee A small and delicious third wave coffee shop in the Lanes that’s perfect for a quick caffeine fix or a rest stop between walking and shopping. The Lanes
St James A pub with a solid beer selection and fantastic Thai food. It’s inexpensive, tasty and spicy. Kemptown
Twin Peaks Coffee A bi-level coffee shop with a dark, romantic interior that makes you feel like you’re at a secret library bar. The coffee is also some of the best in Brighton. Kemptown
Black Dove Bar Funky door and great cocktails summarize this casual bar. It’s a solid choice for a night of drinks with friends. Kemptown
Drakes A pub with windows overlooking the water, this is somewhere you can spend an afternoon or early evening with friends for casual drinks and food. Kemptown
Marmalade The cafe that you wish was around the corner from you. The pastries and cakes are out of this world, and sitting down for breakfast or lunch is always a good option. If you’re heading to the beach and want sandwiches or salads to take with you, then this is the place to stop on the way. Kemptown
see & do
The Beach With smooth pebbles instead of sand and chilly water throughout the year, the beach might not be the main draw, but it is definitely an option. The water can feel refreshing, and it’s nice to sit by the sea even if you’re not going to lay out (which you can do in the summer).
The Pier It’s a bit of a tourist trap and that still doesn’t negate the charm of it. Brighton’s piers have an interesting history and are often painted by various artists, including the west pier that burned down.
Saltdean From the center of Brighton, you can run along the water and, you’ll see, past the marina, there is a way to go down to these beautiful cliff like paths that are along the water in this neighborhood called Saltdean. Be careful as you might get sprayed, but it is a gorgeous place to run or walk (if you want to drive there).
The Lanes In town, the lanes are small streets packed with all kinds of stores. From clothing and houseware like Oliver Bonas and Lavender Room to coffee stores and odd knick knacks. Some shops are better than others, but it’s an adorable and colorful part of town to walk through and browse.
Infinity Food A natural and holistic health food supermarket in town that is a great place to stock up on groceries if you’re into this sort of thing.
AirBnB This might be your best bet as there are not a ton of hotels in the area. Keep in mind that Kemptown (depending on where you are) can be within walking distance to the center, while Hove is not. Make sure to Google Map it to somewhere in town, like the Royal Pavilion or one of the restaurants listed below in town, before booking, unless you have a car.
The artist’s residence A 24-room hotel, each one is painted by a different artist who was offered free room and board in exchange for their work (it’s pretty cool). The restaurant tends to be the main draw, but the boutique hotel has a pleasant and welcoming vibe to it.
Drakes hotel In what feels like an old-school English townhouse is this hotel in Kemptown on the water. The bar is great, the food good and it’s a bit removed from the busy city if you’re looking for a more quiet escape.
Lewis carroll For Alice in Wonderland fans, it is said that the park, Lewes Crescent, that has an ivy strewn doorway (pictured right), is what inspired him to write the hole that Alice falls into. In English fashion, only the properties that surround the park have a key to get in. If you can make it inside, there are tons of little nooks surrounded by ivy for small picnics, long stretches of green grass and, of course, the famed tunnel. It used to offer a path to the ocean as it would go under the road that separates the park from the beach.
Royal pavilion There is a massive structure in the center of town that looks like an Indian Palace was imported to this tiny town (because it kind of was). There is a small museum and nice gardens surrounding it, plus a ice skating rink in the winter.
The weather It is unpredictable. While this is true for all of England, it is especially true for Brighton. It will rain for an hour, blow wind like crazy and then be sunny for the next, only to stop and repeat. Always be prepared.
Neighborhoods Brighton center and the lanes are close by to each other. Kemptown is an area of Brighton known for creatives and is very hip and artistic with lots of coffee shops. Hove is more residential and where professionals and commuters live and is very nice with some cute streets and restaurants.