Brilliant Brighton

Follow the (train) tracks of royalty and steam down to the glorious British seaside city of Brighton - just over an hours escape from the capital. Undoubtedly, the city’s central attraction is the Brighton Pavilion with its eccentric, unexpected and extravagant Indian architecture that contrasts dramatically with the surrounding sedate Victorian houses. This quirky building is matched by the quirky ethos of the city. Today, Brighton is perhaps most famous for voting in the UK’s only Green MP, Caroline Lucas, and its status as the ‘Gay Capital of Britain’, culminating in a huge Pride Festival each summer. This liberalism has a long trajectory. The first resident of the Royal Pavilion - the future George IV - used it as a base for dalliances with his ‘companion’ Maria Fitzherbert. From 1841, the railway allowed the middle classes to imitate aristocratic society, developing the city into a fashionable destination in the Regency era. Yet it maintained its rowdy and raunchy reputation. This image is perpetuated by Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; Lydia Bennett and Mr. Wickham eloped in Brighton (as did Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst in the film Wimbledon), making Brighton synonymous with the ‘Dirty Weekend’. This lively party atmosphere has endured, and, in combination with its artsy and cultural atmosphere, contributes to Brighton’s standing as a honeypot destination. The city is a wildly popular tourist destination: an estimated 1.4 million overnight stays occurred in 2012. And that’s not including the London daytrippers. Brighton is a cosmopolitan, modern and fun city whose seaside location makes this city a worthwhile destination.

Top Five Activities in Brighton

1.       Visit the stunning Royal Pavilion. And the adjacent Brighton Museum and Art-Gallery, which is free to enter. If you are visiting the winter, pay a visit to the Ice Rink located in front of the Pavilion.  

2.       Wander around the Laines. Brighton’s premier shopping destination with hundreds of independent shops.

3.       Check out some cool cafes – Choccywoccydoodah, home of the artisan chocolate company and Bills, the perfect brunch destination, are definitely worth a visit.

4.       Visit Brighton Pier – all the fun of the fair – on the sea.

5.       Enjoy the beach. If you are brave, go swimming. For the less foolhardy, either enjoy a classic British deckchair or hunt out some fish and chips/ice cream/hot chocolate on the beach.

6.       Do something cultural. Brighton is abuzz with theatres, street performances, buskers, and is host to the some of the biggest arts festivals in the UK, hosting the Brighton Festival and the Brighton Fringe each May. For more information, see Visit Brighton. Also famous is the Pride festival, one of the biggest in the country, which takes place in early August each year.