Brighton

Weekend breaks in Brighton for a wonderful seaside stay

Bold and beautiful Brighton. There is so much culture and character in this seaside town, from its tangled backstreets to its bright promenade.

Men dressed in Edwardian gear riding penny-farthings, red-clad Santas rushing into the sea fully clothed and seagulls dive-bombing tourists… yep, normal. Well, in Brighton that is. These are sights I wouldn’t bat an eyelid at while on one of my regular weekend breaks in this eclectic city.

That’s because the UK’s capital of cool (yep, I’m calling it) is quirky to its core – whether you’re sipping cocktails in the lively LGBT district of Kemptown or passing by old-school tattoo parlours on North Laine.

With so many ways to fill a few days in this countercultural seaside city, you’ll need an insider’s guide to help you make the most of your trip. So, here are my favourite places to see, eat and drink at and stay in on a Brighton mini-break.

What to see in Brighton

1/2

From pleasure palaces to horsebox spas, days in Brighton are always entertaining.

Don't miss

The Royal Pavilion

Queen Victoria may have called this dome-topped building ‘strange’, but its offbeat design is what makes it so Brighton. Set foot inside the neoclassical-style pleasure palace for an assault on the senses with opulent wallpapers, striking carpets and glittering chandelier.

The seafront

Striped deckchairs at the ready, the city’s pebble beach is the epitome of all things kitsch. Glimpse the skeleton of the burnt-out West Pier in the distance, then gamble (frugally) on two-penny machines at the old-school Palace Pier.

Drop by

The Lanes

I love strolling these snaking, shop-lined streets when I hunt for souvenirs to take home. Browse Charlie’s Sweet Emporium for striped sticks of Brighton rock candy – it’s the obligatory quintessential sugar fix! iO gallery is ideal for stocking up on ceramics, paintings and glassware made by cool homegrown artists (in my next life, that’s who I’ll aspire to be).

Fabrica

This is usually one of my first stops in the city for the latest in contemporary art. Visit for displays by world-famous names like Anish Kapoor as well as younger creative types cutting their teeth.

Escape the crowds

Beach Box Spa

The last time I was on one of my weekend breaks in Brighton, I booked a session (in advance) at this Finnish-style wellness centre on a serene stretch of the main beach. Get ready to get warm if you make it here: the quirky converted horsebox houses a wood-fired sauna.

 

Brighton cycle tours

In the city on a whirlwind getaway? Pack in the main sights in just a few hours by hopping on the saddle. On a Grand Tour, you’ll pedal towards landmarks like the futuristic, 162-metre-high British Airways i360 observation tower. See the secret gardens of Preston Park and kaleidoscopically coloured streets covered in graffiti, too.

Hotels in Brighton

1800 Hotels
from 36
View Hotels

Where to stay in Brighton

From smart seafront accommodation to artsy boutique hotels.

A weekend break of glamour and glitz

It’s said that when Cate Blanchett and Kylie Minogue come to Brighton, they book in at this art-deco-themed hotel nestled inside two Georgian townhouses. When I stay here, I like to imagine the megastars admiring the sparkling sea views through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The service is as on point as you’d expect for a hotel favoured by celebrities – let the staff know what time you’ll check-in and they’ll draw you a bath in a freestanding tub ready for your arrival. When evening rolls around, sashay down to the in-house restaurant for bottomless prosecco.

Drakes Hotel

Top rated
Brighton, 2.5 km to Booth Museum of Natural History
8.8 Excellent (697 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.3 / 10
View Prices

Drakes Hotel

Top rated
Brighton
8.8 Excellent (697 reviews)
From £114 Double room / night * View Prices

Sea-view rooms and sumptuous interiors

This Italian-influenced hotel is always a winner on a romantic weekend away for its opulent staircases and retro velvet furniture. Sea-view rooms are decorated in ’20s style with plush linens and big bay windows. I especially love the spa: my favourite treatment so far has been the glow-inducing Heaven Skincare bee-venom facial. Indulge here, then take yourself out to the Victoria Terrace for a tantalising Sussex cream tea while watching the waves crash on the beach.

The Grand Brighton

Brighton, 1.8 km to Booth Museum of Natural History
8.4 Very good (3927 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.2 / 10
View Prices

The Grand Brighton

Brighton
8.4 Very good (3927 reviews)
From £85 Double room / night * View Prices

Themed rooms and a plush champagne bar for your weekend break in Brighton

This boutique hotel’s as left-of-field as Brighton itself. Its individually designed rooms are themed after everything from Alice in Wonderland to Perrier Jouet. I stayed at the vintage-inspired Legacia, which is furnished with a cocktail cabinet and shimmering chandelier I wanted to smuggle home with me. Grab a velvet chair at the champagne bar, an upscale spot for an intimate evening, and nibble on smoked salmon sandwiches.

Blanch House

Top rated
Brighton, 2.6 km to Booth Museum of Natural History
9.3 Excellent (758 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.5 / 10
View Prices

Blanch House

Top rated
Brighton
9.3 Excellent (758 reviews)
From £99 Double room / night * View Prices

Quirky and compact stay for your city break

When I’m on one of my quieter hotel breaks in Brighton, I bed down at this hotel beside the marina a 10-minute drive from the centre. The cutting-edge rooms – decorated with collage-style poster art and vibrant neon lights – look on point on my Insta feed. I always giggle at the bath amenities, which are covered in playful slogans like “The best shampoo you will ever steal”. In the evenings, the Chez Mal brasserie serves up dishes like buttery Cornish scallop risotto under glimmering copper lights. Come morning, the seafront conservatory is a dreamy spot for slowly flicking through a magazine.

Hotel Malmaison Brighton

Brighton, 4.5 km to Booth Museum of Natural History
8.2 Very good (2473 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.5 / 10
View Prices

Hotel Malmaison Brighton

Brighton
8.2 Very good (2473 reviews)
From £71 Double room / night * View Prices

Where to eat and drink in Brighton

1/3

From clandestine speakeasies to classic chippies.

Don't miss

Little Jack Fullers

Grab traditional fish ‘n’ chips piping hot from Little Jack Fullers a few streets back from the seaside. Help yourself to a healthy dollop of homemade harissa mayo to give your crispy battered cod an international twist… You can cancel it out with salad for dinner. Yum!

The Queensbury Arms

Brighton’s smallest pub is a convivial pitstop for a pint. Follow in Sir Laurence Olivier’s footsteps with a visit to this cute and compact spot.

Drop by

Riddle & Finns

A step above the local chippie, this cosy, candlelit Brighton staple specialises in fresh oysters. You can eat beneath the famous seafront arches on the main promenade, or snuggle up at the teeny, original location in the Lanes. Chase a plate of mouthwatering Loch Ryan natives with a bubbling glass of champagne for extra decadence.

Escape the crowds

The Gingerman Restaurant

This is my go-to for intimate meals. I love that you can order fail-safe European favourites like melt-on-the-tongue roast pork belly, but there are always curveballs on the menu too. Look out for innovations like beetroot mousse and popcorn pannacotta.

BYOC Brighton

Because this prohibition-inspired South Lanes speakeasy is hidden away behind a faux shopfront, it’s one of the coolest bars in Brighton for secluded drinks. BYOC stands for bring-your-own-cocktail, so you’ll need to turn up with a bottle of something alcoholic. The bartenders then flex their creativity and come up with a drink tailored to you.

Hotels in Brighton

1800 Hotels
from 36
View Hotels

Comments