To tell the truth, despite being only an hour from London by train, Brighton was never really on my travel radar when I lived in London. But to be fair, nothing was on my travel radar at that time. London was just too amazing to leave (and I was too broke).
We finally ended up in Brighton when Dan’s brother decided to move there while on his UK working holiday. Since we were going there to essentially visit family, I didn’t spend any time researching what to do in Brighton. As far as I was concerned, it still wasn’t really on my travel radar. So when we arrived we really were in for a pleasant surprise.
Brighton is a relaxed, bohemian, artsy little seaside city that is so close to London it is also affectionately known as “London by the sea.” The mixture of gay culture (the largest gay community in Britain), bohemian vibes, street art, and oriental architecture create a unique atmosphere that can not be replicated elsewhere. All this – and it has a beach!
24 Hours in Brighton
If you only have one day to spend in Brighton, this guide should help you make the most of your visit and will highlight the main attractions.
Morning: The Royal Pavilion and the Lanes
This palace by the sea was built for King George IV (when we was still Prince Regent) in 1823. It was built during the time that all things oriental were at the height of fashion. The exterior of the building has an extremely Indian feel to it, while the inner rooms as decorated with Chinese elements. Tours of the Royal Pavilion are highly recommended.
If you are like me, then after any lengthy visit to a historical site or museum you will need a good, strong coffee. The two best shopping and eating areas in Brighton are known as “The Lanes” and “North Laine“. The Lanes are easy to get lost in and there appears to be no rhyme and reason to their layout. This is because they still reflect the original streets from back when Brighton was a fishing village. Most of the shops in The Lanes are jewelery stores, but are there several other interesting boutiques, restaurants, and cafes.
The most interesting shopping area in Brighton is by far North Laine. This area is full of anything and everything that would be considered alternative. This is where you will find quirky cafes, and shops for hipsters, goths, punks, and who knows what else. By far – this is the best place for people watching. So grab a coffee and some lunch and refuel for the afternoon.
Afternoon: Brighton Beach and the Palace Pier
Brighton is famous for being a lovely little sea side town, so of course no trip is complete without a trip to the beach. It was winter during our visit, so we didn’t spend heaps of time here. The beach itself is very rocky, which isn’t always the most relaxing to lie on but I guess you won’t have to get sand out of hidden places later.
If the beach isn’t your style, or the weather isn’t cooperating, then there is always the Brighton Pier. The Pier features a massive arcade, fun fair rides, a pub, and all sorts of delicious heart attack food. If you are traveling with kids then a trip to the Pier is a must.
See ya Brighton!
As you head back to the train station, you might want to get the obligatory photo next to one of Banksy’s most famous pieces of street art. It is very impressive under neath its protective plexiglass layer – but did you know it’s actually a replica? The original art work was actually destroyed by vandals and then cleaned up and restored by the barman of the pub where it is located. Then this cleaned up version of the original was sold for a ridiculous sum and shipped to the USA. The one these two fools posed next to is actually a fake.
Getting to Brighton
Getting to Brighton is incredibly easy, and I recommend traveling by rail. Brighton is only an hour from London on the train. There are also direct trains from both Gatwick and Luton airports.
There are also bus services to and from Brighton as well, but when we were traveling we actually found the train to be both cheaper and faster. Book ahead for the best deals.