Brighton is an unique place. It’s a traditional English seaside resort, with influences from the eclectic mix of students and artists that inhabit the town. With it being right on the sea, it’s also reminiscent for many childhoods spent at the beach. Brighton has something for everyone – from the nightlife, to shopping, to the food, to the art scene. Since the railway was built in 1841 (meaning it’s a mere 45 minute train ride), Londoners have been flocking to Brighton and it’s under two hours train journey from Southampton; so perfect for a day trip from Uni! Brighton is undoubtedly a gem not to be missed.
You can’t start exploring a new place on an empty stomach, so first stop is food. Pick up some pastries and coffee from one of the many coffee shops and stroll down to the waterfront to soak up some fresh sea air. I’d recommend The Flower Pot Cafe, where there’s pastries and coffee is to die for.
Now that you’re refuelled with food and refreshed from the sea air, it is time to discover a bit more of Brighton. Stroll along the sea front towards Brighton Pier, taking in the skeleton remains of West Pier and marvel at the new British Airways I360. Some say that the I360 is a bit like marmite – you love it or hate it …I’m in the latter category as it overshadows the historic West Pier; which is a large part of Brighton’s history. But before you reach Brighton Pier, head north into The Lanes.
Brighton is famous for the maze of narrow streets and alleyways known as The Lanes. They are crammed with independent shops, cafes and entertainment venues and great to wander around as you never know what’s around the corner. Be sure to take a pit stop at the gorgeous Cloud 9. This establishment serves an eclectic mix of cakes, cupcakes, bars and really good coffee. To the east of The Lanes is the Royal Pavilion. This exotic pleasure palace was built by King George IV and is like being transported to Asia with the Mughal-inspired architecture – some say it mirrors jelly moulds. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the flying dragons! Afterwards, head over to the North Lianes – known for their funky junk shops and hippy vibe clothing.
Grab a sandwich from one of the many cafes (or bring a packed lunch if you’re super organised) and head back to Brighton Pier. It was built in 1899 and key a tourist attraction in Brighton, so be weary about getting lost in the sea of tourists. There’s also a mixture of food stalls on the Pier to pick something up to eat from. Rain or shine there’s nothing more British than sandwiches on the beach!
Hop in the car, walk or pick up the bus towards Brighton Marina. Here there’s tonnes of restaurants and amusement places as well as traditional fishing boats in the marina. This is a newer addition to the Brighton tourist scene and there’s also a great coastal walk hidden away. Walk through the marina to the west side and then by the ice cream hut, head down the path towards the Undercliff Walk. It’s a 2-mile walk to Rottingdean along the coast that takes around an hour. At Rottingdean, there’s a pebbly beach where you can soak up some rays and a small village centre to explore. Wonder back along the cliff path towards the harbour again.
By now, it is definitely cocktail hour. If you’re a beach lover head down to the sea front for cocktails or if you’re in search of something a little bit more funky head back into The Lanes to an underground bar. Many bars have 2 for 1 offers on between 5-7pm. For dinner, I’d recommend taking a stroll towards Hove and stopping at Morelli Zorelli for some delicious pizzas. It’s a quirky local gem that serves fresh, homemade sourdough pizzas; which you can watch them make in front of you. Prices are reasonable at around £10 a pizza and they’re big! Afterwards, either head into the centre to dance the night away or home to catch some beauty sleep!