If you’re planning to visit Sussex, it’s advisable to allow at least one day to visit Brighton. In fact, Brighton is such a vibrant city with a fantastic array of things to do during the day and great nightlife, you could easily spend a week there.
Situated on the south coast of East Sussex about 50 miles south of London, Brighton is a bustling, cosmopolitan city – a far cry from its humble beginnings as the little fishing village of Brighthelmstone.
Don’t go looking for a cathedral, as the city of Brighton and Hove is one of the few cities in England that doesn’t have a cathedral. The towns of Brighton and Hove were given join city status in 2000.
Brighton offers so much to the tourist, from the bustling Lanes, famous for their antique shops, to the heritage of the Royal Pavilion and, of course, Brighton beach.
Here’s a list of some of the attractions to consider when visiting Brighton on holiday:
Churchill Square is an indoor shopping mall covering three floors, sandwiched between West Street and Western Road – which also has plenty of shops.
The North Laine shopping area is a vibrant, colourful mix of one-off shops, cafes and bars. This is a shopping experience not to be missed as the area really does offer a cosmopolitan, eclectic array of shops.
The narrow, mostly pedestrian-only streets form the heart of old Brighton and offer a mix of shops, antique shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. Well worth a walk through.
The downside of Brighton beach is that it’s a pebble beach and not sand – you can just make out the sand at low tide – however, the beach has so much to offer in the way of attractions: bars, cafes, food outlets, amusements, trampolines and, or course, traditional fish and chips.
Brighton has two piers, one a thriving example of how a pier should be – and the other a sad reminder of a council that refused to renovate it when they had the chance!
The Palace Pier
Ok, it’s now known as the Brighton Pier, but it will always be the Palace Pier to me. The pier offers the usual amusement arcades with the traditional fruit machines, grabber games, rides etc; food outlets including fish and chips, waffles and ice creams. There’s also a pub at the end of the pier plus fairground rides including a roller coaster, bumper cars and the ubiquitous ghost train.
Open all year round, 10:00–22:00, except Christmas Day.
The West Pier
You can’t miss this ailing skeleton of a once beautiful pier. This is a public demonstration of how not to treat your heritage and a warning to other towns uncertain of whether or not to preserve their landmarks.
Opened by Magnus Volk in 1883, Volks Railway is a 2ft 8½ins gauge miniature railway and the oldest electric railway in Britain. It runs for one and a quarter miles between The Aquarium Station (close to the Palace Pier), calling at Peter Pan’s play ground (half way along Madeira Drive) to Black Rock Station – five minutes’ walk from Brighton Marina.
Volks Railway is currently closed for the winter and will reopen on 10 April 2009.
Sea Life Centre
Formerly, Brighton Aquarium, the Brighton Sea Life Centre is the World’s oldest operating aquarium. The Sea Life Centre is located on Marine Drive – entrance opposite the Palace Pier – and is home to many marine creatures including Lulu, a massive turtle that has to be seen to be believed!
Open every day except Christmas Day, 10:00-17:00.
Brighton Marina is the UK’s largest marina offering berthing for more than 1,600 boats, and offers shops, a bowling alley, bars, restaurants multiplex cinema, a casino plus much more. Free parking is available to visitors in a 1,500-space multi-storey car park.
A free attraction, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery has recently undergone a £10 million redevelopment and is well worth a visit.
Galleries include 20th Century Art and Design, Images of Brighton and, from 28 March 2009, the New Ancient Egypt gallery.
Entrance to the museum is in the Pavilion Gardens.
Open Tuesday – Saturday throughout the year, except 25 & 26 December and 1 January.
The museum is closed for maintenance 23 – 27 March 2009.
Situated a short walk from the beach and about a 15-minute walk from the railway station, the Royal Pavilion is the former royal residence of The Prince Regent, who later became King George IV.
The Pavilion started life as a farmhouse but over a period of 35 years it was transformed into the building you can see today – a John Nash, Indian-style palace with domes and minarets.
The Pavilion is a stunning building and well worth a visit.
Brighton’s nightlife has great offerings too: the Brighton Centre, the Dome, Theatre Royal plus many more, smaller venues.
There’s far too much to do in Brighton than I can list in one article, however, if you have a favourite place please feel free to add a comment.
images: copyright British-holiday.info