The Royal Pavillion
Of all the things to do in Brighton, The Royal Pavillion is the best known. This wonderfully ostentatious building of minarets, balconies and domes was the hedonistic seaside residence of the Prince Regent, who later became George the IV. Designed in stages from 1783 – 1823, including a stint by John Nash, it’s part, Indian, Indo – Islamic, Gothic and Neo Classical, and that’s just the exterior. The interior has an oriental influence, and is still one of the most decadent and lavish ever attempted.
It amazes some and amuses others, but never fails to provoke a reaction, and has to be seen. Take a tour (Adults £10, Children £5.70, family tickets available), or just wander in the restored gardens for free. Royal Pavilion Website.
The North Laine
When you come out of the station, head down Trafalgar Street to hit the North Laine area. Once a slum area, today it’s mix of wonderful and wacky independent retailers, Café’s and restaurants, as well as being a bohemian and cultural hub. The main streets are Bond Street, Gardner Street, Kensington Gardens and Sydney Street. Try a coffee, or something stronger on Garner Street in the afternoon, it’s the best place for people watching in the city.
Not to be confused with the North Laine, ‘The lanes’ are built on the site of the original fishing village known as ‘Brighthelmstone’ in the Doomsday Book, and it was the first ‘posh’ shopping area of the city. To get there head south from The North Laine towards the sea, and cross over North Street. Then enter the maze of narrow winding streets and tiny almost secret passageways. They are filled with jewellery, antiques, art, furniture and food and drink. Spend an afternoon in this historic quarter, and maybe choose a bespoke perfume, some boutique fashion, or some retro furniture.
Walk the Promenade
Start opposite Adelaide Crescent in Hove, by the lawns and colorful beach huts. This 1.5 mile walk takes in the best of Brighton’s Georgian Squares and houses. At the end of Hove lawns when you come to the Meeting Place Café, look out for the Peace Statue and continue along the seafront past the Alfresco restaurant and bar on the left, and the rusting West Pier in the sea. Pass the Grand Hotel, and the seafront beach bars which will be full with people and Live Music on nice days. Then wander through the Artists Quarter before finishing at the Palace Pier. There is also a cycle lane that runs the length of the seafront, which is always busy with locals cycling, roller blading, long boarding and doing anything else that takes their fancy.
View Brighton Promenade Walk in a larger map
The Palace Pier
Candyfloss, Hot Donuts, Fairground Rides, Fortune Tellers and Amusement arcades. First opened in 1899, the Pier has changed a bit since it’s heyday in the 20’s and 30’s when it was a social centre in the city with big band dance halls. However, it’s still one of the best Victorian Piers in the UK, and an afternoon stroll out to sea gives a fantastic view back across the city and Sussex coastline.
Brighton is haunted and has many dark secrets! See the sights of the city in an entirely different way with a Ghost Walk through the streets. The tours are run by the entertainer and master storyteller Rob Marks, under the guise of Silas the bold Ghost Hunter. The walk features seven different haunted sites and the eight different stories surrounding them, and finishes with raising a glass of ‘Fisherman’s Friend’ at Brighton’s most haunted pub. The walks run Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30 from the Druids Inn pub and 7 days a week during, June, July and August, no need to book. 01273 328 297, www.ghostwalkbrighton.co.uk.
Sea Life Centre
See Sharks, Stingrays and Turtles, as well as many other types of Marine Life. Many of the creatures on display are on the endangered list and have been rescued and cannot be released into the wild. Others have been bred in the sea life centre as part of a conservation project. There’s an interactive rockpool, feeding demonstrations and a glass bottom boat. It’s perfect for the kids and right opposite the Palace Pier. 01273 604234, Marine Parade, Brighton, BN2 1TB, www.visitsealife.com.
This stunning location on the South Downs just outside Brighton has been attracting visitors since the times of the Prince Regent. The views are some of the best in the South of England, and it’s a great place for a walk, run, or just to lose yourself in nature. The number 77 bus runs from the town centre to Devils Dyke between October and April, but remember to bring something warm as it can get chilly out on the Downs even in the Summer time. There is also a pub at the top which has real log fires in winter, and is a great place for a bite to eat, or to watch the sunset with a glass of wine.
Take a Sewer Tour
Take a sewer tour and head into the abyss! Ok, this is different, but it’s also an adventure, and the chance to see a magnificent example of Victorian Engineering. The tours are run by Southern water, and take visitors through 400 yards of the 30 miles of sewers. Avoid Saturday mornings as apparently the smells are a little worse from all of the beer and curry consumed the night before. Book in advance May to September
Brighton Marina and Undercliff Walk
The Brighton Marina is a great place to while away an afternoon watching the boats, or even chartering one yourself for a bit of fishing. There is a row of restaurants facing the moorings, which makes it easy to see the comings and goings. There’s also a Cinema, Casino, Bowling Alley and shops. The Undercliff Walk heads out from the eastern edge of the Marina. The walk is along a sea wall that extends for 4.5KM to the neighbouring village of Saltdean. It was built at the bottom of the Chalk Cliffs that line the Sussex Coast in the 1930’s to stop erosion. Of course you don’t have to go the whole way, just a short walk is rewarded with some some great views, and it’s one of the best places to see the sunset. On windy days at high tide the waves crash over the wall in dramatic fashion.