The Insider Guide

Only an hour by train from London, Brighton has an enduring reputation for being irreverent and fun – making this southern city a great place to visit. Oh and there’s a bit of history and culture here, too, as well as the obvious attraction of the sea.

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Main Attractions

Wedged between the South Downs and the English Channel, Brighton is a relatively small city of a quarter of a million people, so it’s easy to get around on foot. The famous pebble beach is 10 minutes from the station and there’s all the fun of the fair on the Palace Pier, or, for a high-octane thrill, the Brighton Zip. For a more civilised ride with views and prosecco, head for the British Airways i360. Meanwhile, kids will love Sea Life Brighton, where you can get up close to sharks, rays and turtles. On the prom, in winter, you can see starlings flock to the now derelict West Pier and perform their acrobatic murmuration, where a large black mass dips and weaves in ever-changing shapes around the wrought-iron skeleton of a landmark. For a bit of history, the Royal Pavilion is five minutes away on foot. Built in the late 1700s by the Prince of Wales, before he became King George IV, it helped make the English seaside fashionable, and is worth a visit for its Asian-inspired architecture and lavish interiors. From here it’s a hop to the North Laine with its quirky boutiques and cafes – Brighton is a foodie’s paradise, after all – or head to the more sophisticated Lanes to browse the jewellery shops in its winding alleys. With two huge universities and an art college, Brighton is nothing if not studenty, and the music scene reflects that, with gigs every night of the year. For big-name artists, head to the Brighton Centre, Dome or Corn Exchange; Concorde 2 leads the way among the smaller venues. Brighton Festival and Fringe, each May, is the biggest arts event outside Edinburgh in the UK, and in such an LGBTQ-friendly city, you won’t be surprised to hear that Brighton Pride in August is massive, with Kylie and Grace Jones among previous headline acts. For a jaunt out of town, hop on the 77 bus to Devil’s Dyke, part of the South Downs National Park, where you can enjoy views of the Sussex countryside and the sea on a bracing walk.

Neighborhoods in Brighton