The ultimate summer guide to Brighton
When the sun is shining, there’s only one place that Brits want to be: by the sea! Since the 1800s, Brighton has been one of England’s top beach destinations.
Brighton is, however, far more than just a seaside town. It’s also a welcoming and lively city that hosts heaps of events and is a renowned hub for independent creators and makers. And it’s just a short train journey from London. What more could you want?
Here’s our ultimate guide to making the most of Brighton’s many awesome elements during the summer.
1. Head for Brighton Beach
We’ve got to start with the beach, right? Brighton boasts a long, beautiful seafront that stretches west to Hove and even to the nearby coastal city of Worthing. This gives beachgoers plenty of options; go for a swim, lie back on the beach, or enjoy a long walk along the coast without having to lose the sea view. It’s also a pebbly beach, so there’s less chance of getting sand in your fish and chips (a deep-fried British dish that you absolutely have to try when you’re by the seaside).
2. Visit the Pier(s)
While at the beach, you simply can’t fail to notice Brighton Palace Pier. Extending from the center of town out into the sea, this huge pier was originally built in 1899 but has been upgraded over the years to now feature restaurants and even a small amusement park with rollercoasters.
Head west along the seafront and you’ll find the iconic remains of West Pier. Only parts of the building’s skeleton are left, rising out of the sea to create a cool spot for a photograph; it looks particularly dramatic at sunset.
3. Get your festival fix
When the city hosts over 60 different festivals celebrating arts and culture each year, from big music stages to smaller community activities, science and comedy nights, and events that celebrate all things weird and wonderful, there’s something for everyone. In May, Brighton Festival (which has been running since 1967) and Brighton Fringe (one of England’s largest multi-art festivals) take over the city and much of the surrounding areas in Sussex.
You’ll find theater shows, live music and dance, art displays, film showings, literary events, and much, much more. Unsigned music artists are showcased at The Great Escape Festival in May, and electronic dance music is celebrated at the Boundary Brighton festival in September. In June, don’t miss Brighton Carnival, now 100 years old.
4. Celebrate Pride
The epic and inspiring Brighton & Hove Pride event celebrates LGBTQ communities and promotes equality and diversity. This music- and arts-filled week has been running for over 50 years and has long been adored as one of the UK’s top Pride events.
In the first week of August every year, crowds gather for a colorful and joyful parade through the city center, and a music festival with world-renowned performers is held in Preston Park. It doesn’t stop there; the incredible atmosphere spills out across the entire city, with many of the event spaces and businesses in Brighton also putting on pride events to celebrate.
5. Shop in The Lanes
The most famous part of Brighton’s town center is a historic area of narrow streets filled with small independent stores, called The Lanes. This area celebrates and showcases the best of Brighton’s creative talent. Here you can (and should) spend whole days exploring little shops, galleries, and boutiques filled to the brim with antiques, local art pieces, bespoke jewelry, homewares, and clothing.
Of course, you’ll need to rest during your expedition through this vibrant labyrinth, so sampling the treats in the pubs, cafes, and restaurants nestled between all of these shops is a must, too.
6. Explore the English countryside
For nature lovers, there’s far more to Brighton than the coastline. Just north of the city and stretching west into the green, rolling hills of Sussex, is the South Downs National Park. This large area of protected land is dotted with quintessential English villages (the perfect place to try a cream tea or to visit a traditional English pub), and the landscape itself offers both adventure and tranquility. Hiking routes and cycle paths crisscross the fields, grasslands, and woodlands, and there are lots of great options for camping or glamping if you want an overnight adventure. Just five miles from Brighton, Devil’s Dyke is an impressive valley known for its beautiful views.