Imagine a seaside break with amazing shopping, fantastic restaurants, a buzzing café culture and a legendary club scene. Yes, Brighton has it all
Why visit Brighton?
Vibrant, happening and fun, Brighton offers a unique blend of traditional seaside town and cool beachside culture. From the exotic grandeur of the Royal Pavilion to its newest attraction, the British Airways i360, Brighton’s Regency heritage sits perfectly amongst the bustle of the modern city.
Brighton is renowned for being a top shopping destination. The North Laine district and The Lanes are crammed with hip independent shops offering antiques, jewellery, vintage fashion and contemporary design. For big-name stores, check out Churchill Square and Western Road.
Brighton boasts hundreds of places to eat, including vegetarian cafés, seafood and fine-dining restaurants, as well as the popular names and global cuisine available at the one-stop waterfront dining area of Brighton Marina. After dark, the city really comes alive, with concert halls, clubs and theatres offering some of the country’s best music, comedy and entertainment.
Brighton’s beach draws people to its shores all year round and was recently named one of the world’s Top 10 ‘Cities With Brilliant Beaches’ by Lonely Planet. The surrounding coastline and countryside provide endless opportunities for walking, cycling and other outdoor pursuits with the South Downs National Park within easy reach of the city. So whether you’re with a group of friends, family or your partner, Brighton really is the perfect destination for a short break.
A brief history
The Domesday Book contains the first mention of a settlement on the modern site of Brighton. By the 1640s, Brighthelmstone was the largest settlement in Sussex, its economy dominated by the fishing industry. A series of storms in the early 18th century caused considerable damage to the town, however, and proposed sea defences costing £8,000 were described as ‘more than the whole town was worth’.
Brighton’s fortunes began to change in the 1780s when George, Prince of Wales, decided to take up permanent residency in the seaside town – George’s digs were the magnificent Royal Pavilion you see today. George’s presence in Brighton enhanced its popularity with the rich and famous, and the area continued to prosper with the opening of the London to Brighton railway, which marked the beginning of mass tourism and the development of the town into the city we know today.
The best time to visit
There’s always something happening in Brighton, it plays host to festivals and events all year round. However, May is when the festival season really gets going making it a great time for short breaks away. Kicking things off in style is the annual Brighton Festival, billed as the biggest arts festival in England. Events take place throughout the city and feature performances of art, dance, film, literature, music, and theatre. Other events taking place during May include the Brighton Fringe, Artists Open Houses and The Great Escape, a festival of new music featuring some of the best emerging acts around.
Summer is a wonderful time to visit. Who wouldn’t want to be by the sea during the summer? You can enjoy Brighton Pride – the UK’s largest pride festival – in all its vibrant, noisy, colourful glory, and Paddle Round The Pier – the world’s largest free charity beach festival. If you’re planning a Brighton weekend break during the autumn, then look out for the Comedy Festival in October. It showcases some of the best stand-up comedians around, with Lee Mack, Sue Perkins and David Mitchell all having performed here.
Bringing the year to a close in December is the spectacular Burning The Clocks, an event that takes place annually on 21 December to mark the shortest day of the year. Locals make lanterns from paper and willow, and parade them through the city before casting them onto a bonfire on Brighton beach.
Brighton is compact and easy to explore on foot. There are Visitor Information Points across the city to help you with any enquiries. Sightseeing bus tours are available and local bus services link the city with some of its most popular countryside destinations. Bikes are an excellent way to explore the area and are available to hire from the many cycle hire shops. There are traffic-free cycle routes around the city and an official cycle route runs along the beachfront from east to west.
Why not take a look at our hotels in Brighton and see what this East Sussex seaside destination is all about.