One of the most vibrant, colourful and creative cities in Europe
righton is one of England's most attractive cities, some eight million annual visitors come for the liberal, funky and welcoming vibe, sea air, and sweet sticks of rock. The English seaside town has long been associated with quirky, funny and sometimes saucy weekend visits and none come more risqué, entertaining or as juicy as East Sussex’s veritable melting pot of fun.
History and Heritage
Prince Regent George (later King George IV) put the sleepy, fishing village of Brighton on the map when he commissioned the Indian-inspired Royal Pavilion as the ultimate weekend pad in the late 1700s. But it was the Victorian period when the town really boomed, helped in 1851 by the train link to London. Queen Victoria herself shunned the town (preferring the quieter Isle of Wight), but her subjects couldn't get enough of the fresh air and quirky goings on, and the Palace Pier , Regency squares & Georgian terraces (and some B&Bs) have changed little since.
Must See Attractions
Fish and chips and a few goes on the amusement stalls of the Palace Pier are usually top of the list for day-trippers, followed closely by a meander around The Lanes or the North Laine area. In the autumn, thousands of starlings (and as many photographers) flock to the iconic, but sadly decrepit West Pier , for some of the best sunset views on the planet. Those looking for a great atmosphere should head to the bustling Kemptown area.
Food and Drink
Brighton’s poshest eateries include The Strand, Drakes , Riddle and Finns Oyster Bar and the Hotel du Vin . And then there are the two famous veggie restaurants: Food For Friends , and Terre a Terre , serving awesome meat-free dishes since the 1980s.
Brighton and Hove Albion Football club’s new Falmer Stadium is set to open for the 2011/12 season, and will be the town’s star sporting attraction. For now, horse racing fans can head to the Brighton Racecourse - high on the Downs with a commanding view of the English Channel - or the Coral Brighton and Hove Greyhound Stadium , which does a great line in old-school dog running. Brighton’s seafront Madeira Drive is home to many motorsport ‘meets’, including the world’s oldest motor race the British Speed Trials. Neatly off-setting the petrolheads is August’s Brighton-to-London Eco Rally for electric cars only.
Brighton and Hove’s famous sons and daughters are neatly ranked in order of importance by the city’s bus company, who designate a name to a bus and its route each year. Hence, you can take the Sir Winston Churchill to Saltdean, the Max Miller open top bus up to Devil’s Dyke, or the Dusty Springfield to Hove Lagoon.
Music and Nightlife
With such a vibrant, young crowd of tourists and university students, it’s no wonder that Brighton’s music and nightlife scene is second only to London’s. The Hanover area has a pub virtually at the end of every street, gigs at the Concorde 2 and the Freebutt have seen many huge acts before they broke, and the Brighton Centre , Komedia and the Brighton Dome (where Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974) are where bigger established acts play.
The Palace Pier offers old-school family fun, with Whack-the-rat machines, penny arcades and seaside pictures to put your head through. Just opposite, the Brighton Sealife Centre is the world’s oldest aquarium, and home to black-tipped reef sharks, turtles and sea snakes. Older kids will love the skateparks at the Level and nearby Shoreham’s new concrete bowl, while the younger ones can have a ride on the world’s oldest electric railway (from the Palace Pier to the fishing boats at Brighton Marina ), or splash about in the fantastic kids play area between the West Pier and Hove Lawns.
Or you may like...
Southport is a bustling beachside town, with Britain's second longest pier and seven championship golf courses
A pub right on the sand and winding laneways characterise Whitstable , a town with unrivalled bohemian charm
More about... Brighton
Visit Brighton - official tourist information guide.
Things to do
From events and attractions to fine dining and nights out; discover things to do in Brighton.