Our Favourite Things to Do in Brighton
Always look on the Brighton side of life with this guide to the city.
Brighton has developed a bit of a reputation over the years as a hub of
smug bohemian students. Never mind, you don’t have to engage, and there are plenty of districts where you won’t be lectured on your holiday about your own privilege by your annoying nephew from London who studies in Brighton. Think not of hipster beards, but of Victorian piers. Rummage through the chocolate shops and study the Georgian architecture. Tear your eyes away from the nudists on the stony beach, and embark on hikes through the undulating green meadows in the suburbs. Find a remarkable Plum Guide home in the affluent setting of Hove within a block of the sea and feel the salty breeze in your face. And the best views can be found at the top of the British Airways i360 Viewing Towers – mostly because it’s the only place in central Brighton where you don’t have to look at it.
But before we give too much away in the opening paragraph, time to start our guide to things to do in Brighton.
The Royal Pavilion
This Regency palace is as surprising as it is majestic and…well, a little out of place. The domes and minarets of this 18th-century seaside retreat for George IV are more in line with the architecture of India than the English coast. Sit on the lawn outside and try not to be annoyed by everyone around you, including the street performers and people getting married (eugh, must they?). Grab something to eat at the café and wander through the gardens, which remain close in layout to how they were centuries ago. Snap photos of the building for Instagram and tell your friends you were gallivanting around Goa.
Brighton Palace Pier
Built at the turn of the 20th century, this pier was central to Brighton’s burgeoning position as one of England’s main coastal resorts. Let your kids zoom down the roller coaster of the amusement park and play on the arcade games (them, not you, silly). You can also stop for lunch with views of the water (and hopefully none of those blasted nudists – unless you're all for it, in which case, bring some binoculars). Go for a romantic walk with your partner along the pier, when it’s illuminated by tens of thousands of bulbs. Just make sure not to walk off the edge, as it’s quite a fall and bound to ruin your evening (as well as the rest of this list of things to do in Brighton).
The British Airway i360 Viewing Tower
Boy, this one caused a lot of ruckus when it was constructed by the beach in the city centre. It’s basically a giant steel pole that’d look more at home in Abu Dhabi than quaint ol’ Brighton. Once inside, however, you get to look at everything else from a great height, and people like doing that right? You stand dominion over the city and its humble subjects. The glass viewing pod rises 450 feet (137 meters) in the air and grants views of the sea, the piers and the streets of Brighton below. Take up the sparkling wine experience and eat and drink in the sky bar. Maybe not a great idea to drink alcohol if you suffer from vertigo, because vomit in the sky bar doesn’t make for a cool ambiance and is certainly not a cool thing to do in Brighton.
Just a short walk from the Royal Pavilion lies this affluent alley of boutiques and restaurants. From the vegan cafés and vintage fashion shops to the chocolate shops and galleries, this is what gives Brighton its character and flamboyant flair. Amble through the warehouses for second-hand clothes and antiques and pick up flowers for your Plum home, Curio Corridor and jewellery from the market stalls. Get yourself a leather jacket and pretend you’re young again and raging against the machine.
Swim in the Sea
In summer, the pebbly and sandy swathes of beach are swarming with vacationers and locals sunning up and working on their tans. There is a nudist section with sand dunes that bump up to hide your bits and pieces in quasi-comical fashion. But much of the Brighton Beach is a family-fun retreat filled with all sorts of activities, from the pier and the line of shops to the Volks Railway and the SeaLife Aquarium. Play volleyball on one of the courts and take on the Zipline by the water. Go swimming out in the water with your friends and turn that into a skinny dip at night (we dare you). Disclaimer: Plum Guide takes no responsibility for any loss of belongings (or dignity). We're just here to provide remarkable homes to stay in like Crackle & Stove.
Go to an event
As one of Plum's new holiday destinations, Brighton is a fun and active seaside resort known for its thriving music and comedy scene. Laugh until your side splits at a music event and get your jam on at the comedy clubs. Or is it the other way round? The Brighton Centre is one of the top venues for both music and comedy, so check out schedule and head on down – it's one of our favourite things to do in Brighton. If you get too raucous, you might end up in the Old Police Cells (Museum) the following day. Other fun activities include the Rendezvous Casino Brighton Marina, the LaserZone and the Prince Albert music arena.
Whether you're staying in a Plum home in London and fancy a day trip away from the city, or you're staying in the area itself, there are plenty of things to do in Brighton for the whole family to enjoy. We handpick the best homes across the UK and beyond to make sure that wherever you're staying, you'll always be met with the quality you deserve. Want to keep reading our travel guides? Take a look at our list of the best places to visit in Kent next.