They say Brighton is the happiest place in the country, so there is little wonder that it’s one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK. Although there is so much to do and for so many different tastes, you will be richly rewarded with a little insider information to discover the gems that are off the beaten tourist track.
64 Degrees is a restaurant in The Lanes that is really creating waves in the city. The place is tiny but make sure you grab a spot on the pass, where you can see the chefs creating the intricate dishes. The word is out so book well ahead of your visit.
Another of my favourite places at the moment is Plateau, a French small plate restaurant overlooking the Town Hall. Don’t miss their meat platter with homemade boudin noir or their Plateau Gourmand, a selection plate of all their desserts to share, or not.
Terre a Terre is one of the country’s leading vegetarian restaurants. Their food is unique and playful, certainly never boring and so very, very Brighton. The afternoon tea here is kept quirky with Chinese steamed buns, tea soaked sultana scones and Nobbly nougat. Vegan and gluten free options available as well of course.
Brighton is well known for being a party city and there are streets dedicated to mainstream clubs and chain bars. However, if you prefer your drinks served with a tad more sophistication and individuality, then head for cocktails at BYOC. Unusually though, they don’t sell alcohol. You need to bring your own and pre-book a slot for £20pp which buys you a skilled bar team to create drinks exactly to your taste in an exclusive, modern speakeasy environment.
If wine is more your poison, then pop into Ten Green Bottles. Part wine shop, part bar, you can take your bottle to go or drink it in their stylish bar for just £5 corkage fee. There are often unpretentious, yet informative wine tastings and even language classes with food platters and nibbles.
Ok, not exactly off the beaten track, but you have to visit the Royal Pavilion at least once. Although the gardens are wonderful, and you may even be lucky to catch a brass band in the summer, the interior is really worth a look. With dragons on the ceilings, chandeliers the size of spaceships and miles of gold leaf, it’s quite possibly the most opulent, outrageously exotic interior you will ever see.
Go for dinner and a show at Proud Cabaret in Kemptown. This is a beautiful burlesque club in what seems a miniature version of the Royal Pavilion. It was in fact a private family mausoleum built in 1892. Cocktails are served in teapots and cups to add to the speakeasy vibe.
Catch a movie at what is apparently the oldest cinema in continuous use in Britain. Opened in 1910, the Duke of York’s Picture House near Preston Circus is cinema as it should be. Drink fine wines and sit back in sofas while you watch cult and independent films and special screenings, some in fancy dress!
Take a walk along Kensington Street in the North Laine to see some incredible street art. The backs of the buildings along this street have been covered from top to bottom in skilled spray work.
The best view of Brighton is from the sea. It looks great from the end of the Pier, but even better from Brighton Marina. Take a long walk on the marina walls past the people fishing for mackerel and crabs, particularly the wall facing the Pier.
Buy a piece of original art from one of the galleries next to Brighton Pier in the Victorian arches. Approachable and on the whole affordable, you can snag some emerging talent. Each gallery has their own style but I like the work at Castor and Pollux who focus on graphic prints and paintings. They also have some stylish crafts for sale in their shop.
Take a tour of Brighton with a twist. There is a saying “only in Brighton” and now there is a walking tour of the same name that showcases the city in the entertaining and often bizarre light it should be.
To make the most of your staycation, book one of our hotels in Brighton and get comfortable in this rich, diverse and buzzing city.
For more information about Brighton take a look at our Get Up & Go Guide