Fun Things to Do in Brighton with Kids (That You'll Enjoy Too)
From the beach to a football match, here's our guide to keep the children entertained during a trip to Brighton
The hipp(y)est city in the world, Brighton sits perched on the southern edge - edge being the operative word - of England. It’s a hub of bohemian and alternative culture, with thriving LGBT and progressive scenes. Colourful flags and art-deco pieces drape from the idiosyncratic boutiques in a city known for its bric-a-brac spirit and activist nature. But don’t worry, we’ll find a way for you to avoid all of that; after all, it’s not much of a children’s holiday getting caught up in a student rally or political event. They'll have plenty of time for all that in their late teens.
We haven’t even mentioned the pride and glory of any kids’ holiday: the beach. And just one or two hours south of London in the car. The city’s coastline is one of the most iconic in the United Kingdom, mixing sand and pebbles with a famous pier adorned with an amusement park, arcade area and the like. A traditional English afternoon might well involve fish and chips on Brighton Pier, and we’re about to set you up with the hows and the wheres. Here at Plum Guide, we've put our expert heads together to come up with the best possible suggestions for you and your kids, so here it is. The much-awaited and totally-acclaimed (in a way) advice on things to do in Brighton with kids.
Ride to the top of the British Airways i360 Viewing Tower
The best thing about this trip into the skies is that it’s one of the few places on Brighton’s coast where the attraction itself - which caused uproar among the locals at its time of construction in 2016 - is not visible. So pay up, climb inside and ride the bubble-like glass disc to the top of this tall steel pole. Back down at the base, there’s a café and a gift shop right by the beach and the former West Pier, which was decimated by fires. Some of its crumbling poles and ashy cinders remain out in the water as an eerie reminder of what once was. Sorry, got side-tracked there…yes, the viewing tower: it’s great. And maybe you can spot your accommodation from here.
Party on the pier
Well, it doesn’t have to be a party as such, but the alliteration worked a treat. Hey, you’re still reading, right? So, it must be alright. The Brighton Palace Pier - which is usually spoken about without its middle name - is the only pier still functioning in the city. It’s a classic part of the British culture, featuring in top movies and albums, and is rightly seen as one of the top bucket list destinations for kids and families in Europe. Bring the little ones to the end of the pier for the amusement park, with its little roller coasters appearing almost to fall off the edge before quickly turning this way and that, until the semi-digested fish and chips you had earlier in the pier restaurant is scattered across the beach. The seagulls will be loving it.
There’s a covered area (for the best, given the above description) of arcade games and machines and things, which is a great place for you to take a bit of a rest while they fight each other with plastic virtual guns. As mentioned, the West Pier burned down in the early 2000s, while the other previous site, the Royal Suspension Chain Pier, fell apart during a storm in 1896. So, best stick with the Brighton Pier for now.
Catch a game of football
Brighton & Hove Albion FC are the local team. They’ve never been one of the biggest or most famous teams in England, but they’re currently (depending on when you read this) in the Premier League (the top tier). So, if you’re lucky, they’ll be hosting the likes of Man Utd, Liverpool and Tottenham when you’re there. See the outside of the modern stadium, known as the American Express Community Stadium (or the AMEX), as evening falls, when it lights up in the team’s colours (blue and white). Get a ticket and see what the Premier League match experience is actually like. Hey, maybe you can really chime with the local fans, and learn the words to their super complex chants. Here’s one: ‘We are Brighton, we are Brighton, super Brighton, from the south.’ It goes on like that. Think you’ve got it?
Head down to the beach
Simply, the beach. You know the drill. Sand, pebbles, ice cream. You can’t go wrong when it comes to things to do in Brighton with kids. Unless you forget the suncream. Or unless it's pouring down with rain. Or...ok, we'll stop there. We're sure you'll have a lovely time.
Check out the children’s sights
It may sound obvious, but kids are known to like…kids stuff. And we wanted to end this blog with a section on the best children’s sights across the city. SEA LIFE Brighton is a fine choice, even if they do insist on capitalising their name for some reason. Not-so-subtle marketing, we think. Delve through the aquarium’s tunnels, which are illuminated in bright lights, and inspect the tanks full of weird and wonderful aquatic creatures. ‘Look, mum/dad, that’s you,’ says your eldest, beaming from ear to ear and pointing at some goblin of the deep.
What else? Go for a picnic at Wakehurst park, do some water sports from the Brighton Marina, and ride the miniature train at Volk’s Electric Railway. There's plenty to keep the little ones entertained (and don't pretend you won't be reliving your youth too). So there we have it, our guide to the best things to do in Brighton with kids.