Brighton travel guide

Brighton Tourism | Brighton Guide

You're Going to Love Brighton

Brighton was once the favored seaside resort of Georgian kings, and it remains one of the most enjoyable places to spend some time on the English coast.

Reminders of the royal past are everywhere. The stunning Royal Pavilion may be the undisputed star, but Brighton is packed with beautiful buildings. This modern city is also as welcoming as they come, with a lively cultural scene, art galleries, great pubs and bars, and the delights of the pier.

Even better, this hive of cultural attractions, great nightlife, and seaside fun is just a short drive or train journey from London. It's hard to imagine a better coastal English destination than lovable Brighton.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Brighton

1. Seaside Elegance and a Glorious History

Brighton would be nothing without the sea. In fact, it was only when an enterprising local doctor convinced 18th-century Londoners that the city's seawater had medicinal properties that the city really took off. The next 200 years saw Brighton blossom, attracting millions of tourists every year.

2. The South Coast's Best Nightlife

Modern Brighton is famous for its nightlife. Catch up-and-coming artists at the aptly named Latest Music Bar, enjoy a pint at novelist Graham Greene's favorite haunt, the Cricketers, before diving into pulsating clubs like Funfair or the Coalition Brighton.

3. A Creative Vibe and Plenty of Cultural Attractions

Brighton has always attracted artists and architects like John Nash. These days, there are more galleries than ever. Tiny spaces like iO Gallery jostle with larger institutions like the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, while the Theatre Royal regularly hosts major London plays and musicals.

4. Beautiful National Parks a Short Cycle or Drive Away

Brighton is also on the doorstep of the South Downs, some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful countryside in England. With a rental car, you can easily get to the Chattri, a unique monument to Indian casualties in World War II, see gorgeous gardens like Wakehurst, or just walk the footpaths in a quintessentially English setting.

5. Wonderful Food from All Over the World

These days, Brighton is one of southern England's foodie centers. Highlights are all over town, and with great vegetarian spots like Lydea and superb seafood at Riddle and Finns, everyone's tastes should be covered.

What to do in Brighton

1. Royal Pavilion: Exotic England

Once a lavish royal residence for the monarchs of England, this gorgeous building has gone through many changes in recent history - first a palace, then a hospital, it is now a beloved tourist attraction. The Indo-Islamic design is jaw-droppingly beautiful and diverges architecturally from the western styles one would expect to find in Brighton. Minarets and domes beckon visitors closer, and inside, the luxurious decor continues. Brighton Museum and Art Gallery isn't far either.

2. Brighton Palace Pier: Iconic Seaside

This beloved entertainment pier was opened at the turn of the 20th century, and it continues to be a staple attraction for locals and tourists alike. Extending out from the sands of Brighton Beach, this sturdy extension into the waters of the English Channel is host to a slew of entertainment. Bars, restaurants, fairgrounds and more await, with something for visitors of all ages to enjoy. From the traditional carousel rides to new-fangled roller-coasters, a day out on the pier doesn't get old.

3. British Airways i360: It's a Bird, It's a Plane...

It's the ultimate observation tower. Shaped like a UFO, this incredible waterside wonder bears tourists up to new heights over the city. Panoramic views await at the top after a climb to over 400 feet in the air - take in the coastline and Isle of Britain as it extends out before your very eyes. Nyetimber Sky Bar offers drinks and champagne during evening trips, while at the base, high-class dining is available at the Belle Vue restaurant.

4. Brighton Toy and Model Museum: Reawaken your Imagination

Brighton's Railway Station is home to this gem of a museum, housed beneath four of its Victorian arches - as atmospheric as they are historical. Toys of all shapes and sizes are celebrated in these halls, bringing to life the children's world of make-believe for admirer's of any generation. An incredible network of model train sets is also found here, representing collector's items from every trend and period for railroad enthusiasts. Niche yet fascinating, this museum cannot be missed.

5. Kemptown: The Place to Be

Nestled behind Brighton Beach, this neighborhood has been the center of the city's shopping scene since the 18th century. Today, the streets are filled with more than just stores, but also trendy cafés, bars, boutiques, and more. Like an upbeat village, this vibrant neighborhood is full of contrasts and boasts an appealing atmosphere that brings locals and tourists together year-round. So take a stroll and figure out which local dig is the one for you.

1. Royal Pavilion: Exotic England

Once a lavish royal residence for the monarchs of England, this gorgeous building has gone through many changes in recent history - first a palace, then a hospital, it is now a beloved tourist attraction. The Indo-Islamic design is jaw-droppingly beautiful and diverges architecturally from the western styles one would expect to find in Brighton. Minarets and domes beckon visitors closer, and inside, the luxurious decor continues. Brighton Museum and Art Gallery isn't far either.

2. Brighton Palace Pier: Iconic Seaside

This beloved entertainment pier was opened at the turn of the 20th century, and it continues to be a staple attraction for locals and tourists alike. Extending out from the sands of Brighton Beach, this sturdy extension into the waters of the English Channel is host to a slew of entertainment. Bars, restaurants, fairgrounds and more await, with something for visitors of all ages to enjoy. From the traditional carousel rides to new-fangled roller-coasters, a day out on the pier doesn't get old.

3. British Airways i360: It's a Bird, It's a Plane...

It's the ultimate observation tower. Shaped like a UFO, this incredible waterside wonder bears tourists up to new heights over the city. Panoramic views await at the top after a climb to over 400 feet in the air - take in the coastline and Isle of Britain as it extends out before your very eyes. Nyetimber Sky Bar offers drinks and champagne during evening trips, while at the base, high-class dining is available at the Belle Vue restaurant.

4. Brighton Toy and Model Museum: Reawaken your Imagination

Brighton's Railway Station is home to this gem of a museum, housed beneath four of its Victorian arches - as atmospheric as they are historical. Toys of all shapes and sizes are celebrated in these halls, bringing to life the children's world of make-believe for admirer's of any generation. An incredible network of model train sets is also found here, representing collector's items from every trend and period for railroad enthusiasts. Niche yet fascinating, this museum cannot be missed.

5. Kemptown: The Place to Be

Nestled behind Brighton Beach, this neighborhood has been the center of the city's shopping scene since the 18th century. Today, the streets are filled with more than just stores, but also trendy cafés, bars, boutiques, and more. Like an upbeat village, this vibrant neighborhood is full of contrasts and boasts an appealing atmosphere that brings locals and tourists together year-round. So take a stroll and figure out which local dig is the one for you.

Where to Eat in Brighton

Few cities in southern England can match Brighton's gastronomic attractions. Some of the highlights include the European-style brasserie Gingerman, the sophisticated No 32, and vegetarian eateries like Lydea. Try to find time for a cup of tea and a cake at classically English tea rooms like the Mock Turtle, and don't miss the fish and chips at Bardsley's. Dining out varies in price. Fish and chips won't cost more than £6 per head, but meals at high-end brasseries could cost upwards of £40 per person.

When to visit Brighton

Brighton in June
Estimated hotel price
C$ 125
1 night at 3-star hotel
Brighton in June
Estimated hotel price
C$ 125
1 night at 3-star hotel

Most people would say that Brighton is at its best during the English summer, between late June and late August. Well, that's true in part, but the crowds can be a bit much. Try April or May when the weather warms up and the countryside around Brighton is at its most beautiful. You'll find thinner crowds, just as much nightlife, and may even encounter lower room rates.

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How to Get to Brighton

Plane

The best way for visitors from North America to get to Brighton is via London's Gatwick Airport (LGW), which offers plenty of transatlantic flights. From there, you can catch direct trains for £6.40, which take 30 minutes. Alternatively, car rental outlets like Avis, Hertz, or Europcar can be found at the airport, which is around 40 minutes' drive from the city.

Train

Every day, plenty of trains run from London Victoria and St Pancras to Brighton. Most services only take an hour or so to reach Brighton, and express trains take far less, so it's a good way to transfer from Eurostar trains or flights from London Heathrow.

Car

If you are driving from London, the best road to take is the M23, which becomes the A23 after Crawley. If you are driving from Heathrow, take the M25 southbound and leave it at Junction 7. The M23 is also the road to take if you are arriving from Gatwick.

Bus

Brighton is served by both Megabus and National Express, with hourly buses from London Victoria coach station. Buses take around two hours to make the journey but are far cheaper than train travel. There are also regional bus links to Portsmouth, which are provided by Stagecoach and might be handy if you are arriving in the UK by ferry.

Airports near Brighton

Airlines serving Brighton

Lufthansa
Good (1,335 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (2,451 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,893 reviews)
KLM
Good (295 reviews)
Air France
Good (289 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,061 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,643 reviews)
British Airways
Good (917 reviews)
SWISS
Excellent (347 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (914 reviews)
Iberia
Good (639 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (608 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (647 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (195 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (360 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (74 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (297 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (196 reviews)
Finnair
Good (428 reviews)
Vueling
Good (254 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Brighton

The best place to stay in Brighton is as close to the sea as possible. The promenade is probably the city's most attractive street and the English Channel makes for a beautiful sight in the mornings. The De Vere is the only five-star hotel in town and is right on the seafront, but other excellent options include the Mercure and the Queens Hotel.

Popular neighbourhoods in Brighton

The Seafront - Brighton is built around its seafront, which is where you will find most of the tourist attractions. The impressive pier offers family amusements, the Sea Life aquarium will delight children, while Volk's Electric Railway offers a quirky way to soak up the atmosphere.

Brighton City Center - wander up Old Steine, and you'll find the extraordinary Pavilion, the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, and most of the city's bars and clubs. Don't miss North Laine as well, one of the city's most interesting shopping streets.

Hove - technically a town in its own right, Hove is a couple of miles up the coast from Brighton, and is a great base from which to explore the area. More sedate than its lively neighbor, Hove has attractions of its own, like the restaurants on Church Street and Sussex County Cricket Ground.

Where to stay in popular areas of Brighton

Most booked hotels in Brighton

Hotel du Vin Brighton
Excellent (8.2, Excellent reviews)
C$ 240+
Jurys Inn Brighton
Excellent (8, Excellent reviews)
C$ 114+
Malmaison Brighton
Excellent (8, Excellent reviews)
C$ 204+
Jurys Inn Brighton Waterfront
Good (7.9, Good reviews)
C$ 184+
Travelodge Brighton Seafront
Excellent (8.1, Excellent reviews)
C$ 86+
High Beach Guest House
Poor (0, Poor reviews)
C$ 112+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Brighton

Public Transportation

The core of Brighton is walkable, and you can get from the Pavilion to the seafront in around 10 minutes. If you need them, local buses operate all over the city from Brighton Station. The local bus services are mainly operated by Brighton & Hove Buses. Tickets can be purchased on the bus using cash or contactless card payments.

Taxi

Getting back to your hotel after a night at the theater or a meal in Hove is easy thanks to Brighton's large taxi fleet. Expect to pay a meter drop of £2.80 to start with (£3.80 after 9 pm), then around £3 per mile after that. Uber offers an alternative. Their UberX taxis charge £2.80, then £1.80 per mile.

Car

Renting a car is a great option in Brighton (or at Gatwick Airport). Local branches of Europcar, Thrifty, and Hertz will supply a vehicle for as little as £10 per day, and it's worth the expense. With a car, you can head to London in an hour, visit historic cities like Portsmouth or explore the South Downs whenever you feel like it.

Car rental agencies in Brighton

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The Cost of Living in Brighton

Shopping Streets

Brighton is a great place to shop for craft products, particularly jewelry and apparel. If you are after unique, locally made jewelry, the Lanes is the place to go. A warren of alleyways and narrow streets, the area is home to baby boutiques like Loula and Deer, specialist jewelers like House of Hoye, and independent footwear stores like mo Brog. Kensington Gardens hosts an offbeat flea market and a cluster of record shops, which are great places to pick up obscure vinyl.

Groceries and Other

Brighton has plenty of supermarkets to choose from, including Tesco, Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer, and Waitrose, all of which have broad grocery selections. It's also a fairly affordable city. Expect to pay about £3 for a gallon of milk and £0.80 for a pound of apples.

Cheap meal
C$ 21.36
A pair of jeans
C$ 104.18
Single public transport ticket
C$ 4.02
Cappuccino
C$ 3.98