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When in doubt about how to spend an extra day in London, Brighton might be the answer!

Brighton, often dubbed “London-on-Sea” due to its property prices rather than its character, is brimming with originality and independent businesses. This city has a unique personality all its own—grungy, creative, and bohemian—and is celebrated as one of the UK’s top LGBTQIA+ destinations.

It offers a delightful escape from London, blending the vibrancy of city life with the charm of a seaside resort. Whether it’s your first visit or your hundredth, there’s always something new and exciting to discover in this picturesque destination, and this is why I keep going back every few years!

Highlights of Brighton

Begin your adventure in the North Laine neighbourhood, a vibrant area filled with pubs, cafes, and theatres. Just a bit further south, The Lanes offer an exceptional shopping experience with their narrow streets packed with quirky shops and boutiques. Take advantage of the eccentric Royal Pavilion, built by King George IV as a seaside retreat, and stroll along Brighton Pier, enjoying the various amusements on offer.

The Lanes

The Lanes are a series of narrow, pedestrianised streets and alleys in the historic centre of Brighton, packed with unique boutiques, high street brands, art shops, antique stores, cafés, and bars. Wandering these twisty alleyways is a joy, with many cool and quirky shops to explore. Alongside mainstream stores like Ted Baker and Aveda on Dukes Lane, independent spots championing emerging designers, such as Our Daily Edit on Ship Street, can be found.

I’m not really a shopaholic, but I love the mood of this district so much!

The Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

The Royal Pavilion, a pseudo-Oriental pleasure palace initiated by Prince Regent (later King George IV) in the late 1700s, is a must-see. Its gardens, featuring hollyhocks, roses, and foxgloves, exude unbridled humour.

Inside, each room showcases a different style of interior design, from the colossal banqueting hall with a 30-foot-tall chandelier suspended from a silver dragon’s claws to garish yet spacious rooms. Imagining the soirées held by the “party prince” in this madly designed palace is easy.

Discover Brighton: London’s seaside gem

Brighton Pier

Brighton Palace Pier, originally one of three constructed, stands as a historic example of Victorian ingenuity. Stretching 1,722 feet into the sea, the pier’s old-style penny arcades, halls of mirrors, and fairground attractions offer a remarkable throwback to traditional British seaside fun. It’s packed with families and kids during summer, creating a picture of classic British seaside entertainment.

Discover Brighton: London’s seaside gem

I love sitting there, pretending to read a book while I actually muse and lose track of time enjoying the sea.

Plan Your Visit

As I said, Brighton is the perfect day trip destination from London, offering so much to see and do that you might even fancy staying for two days. Fortunately, there are plenty of fine boutique inns. That one time I decided to stay two years ago, I treated myself to a night and a yummy breakfast at the gorgeous Hotel Du Vin.

Brighton also boasts a fantastic array of bars and restaurants. For a delightful lunch, visit Food for Friends, renowned for its superb vegan dishes. The Walrus pub is an excellent choice if you’re in the mood for a pint.

Getting to Brighton

Brighton is conveniently accessible from London, with frequent direct trains departing from London Victoria and London Bridge, taking about an hour. Most of the time, I get there directly by train when landing at Gatwick and then get the train back to London at night or, last November, I left it as my last stop, leaving my luggage at the airport and getting the next train to the sea for one last stroll on a beautiful and neverending pebble beach.

Driving might also be an option and takes around two hours, but parking can be challenging, so taking the train is generally the better option. Plus, it freaks me out to drive on the left!

Did I mention that I love this seaside city?

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.