A cheeky weekend in Brighton is just what you need right now, trust me. There are loads of great places to eat, interesting places to drink, there’s the pebble beach, the pier, unusual museums to see and plenty of cool little shops to spend a few pounds in too.
Brighton is easy to get to from London, takes about an hour on a direct line. I’ve actually been to Brighton loads of times now, loads, but a few weeks ago I went for the first time in ages and remembered just how much I loved it there. In among the street art, al fresco coffee drinking and street markets there’s just a certain vibe that you can’t bottle, or fake, as much as other cities would love to, but Brighton has it in abundance.
It’s just cool y’know.
If you’ve never been before, or even if you have, here’s how I’d recommend you spend a weekend in Brighton to really make the most of it.
How to Have the Best Weekend in Brighton
Best Weekend in Brighton: Day One
11am – coffee break
Arrive by train – you don’t want to be faffing around with parking spaces and Brighton Train Station is right in the heart of where you want to be. Turn left out of the train station, walk a bit, maybe turn on your Google Maps, and you’ll find North Laine, with its coffee shops galore. Join the rest of Brighton and get caffeined up, it’s a favourite past time here. Grab a coffee wherever you can sit outside and watch as the Brightonites go about their day.
If the choices are too much, I’d recommend you try Joliffe’s Coffee Shop or Pelicano. Both serve great roasts and a few little choccy treats too.
Noon – shopping time
Time to shop. In my humble opinion, or IMHO as the internet kids with no time to type it out say, North Laine has the best shops in Brighton. I could spend a fortune here, and almost did on a £400 palm tree lamp. Then I remembered I don’t have that kind of money, and carried on about my day. Woulda looked great in my new living room though.
Instead I just bought some planters from a really cool shop, and a ring from a street market stall. £30 down so far.
North Laine has everything from independent fudge shops, to cake cafes, to vegan bars, charity shops, designer homeware, record shops and of course, the infamous Snooper’s Paradise. This is an independent covered market with floors of old vintage items from magazines, to cameras to kids toys. Try on the clothes, imagine the antiques in your home, reminisce at the overflowing nostalgia, and then move on.
C’mon, we’ve got stuff to do / see / eat / drink.
When you get to junction 3 on North Laine, not it’s official name, look out for the Photomatic shop – here you can get a run of photos like us 90s teenagers used to do ‘down town’. It’s a hark back to the days before selfies and Instagram. Except for the fact most people take photos of their photos to upload to social media, but hey, this is 2017, it’s what we do.
2pm – time for tea
Right, lunch time. That coffee snack has well and truly worn off. I presume you caved and picked up a little treat with your latte earlier, like I did?
Afternoon Tea is kind of a big deal in Brighton, with lots of options. Mock Turtle is one of the most popular tea rooms– all chintzy English with traditional cakes. Or you could try That Little Tea Shop in the Lanes – known for its cream tea.
Or, do as I did and go to Metrodeco for a 1930s art deco setting. Located in Kemptown, it’s about a ten-minute walk from the end of North Laine. The friendly staff will welcome you in to relax on the huge sofas while you make your choice.
The cakes are huge here, Afternoon Tea is available and they also have a lunch menu if you’d just like a straight up delicious sandwich. I also spotted them serving up an interesting-looking gin tasting flight as I was leaving, if you’re that way inclined (definitely me next time).
3pm – let’s get cultural
Right, time for some sightseeing.
Walk back the way you came towards the centre to see the Royal Pavilion. It’s one of the most iconic sights from Brighton. If you’re feeling a bit skint then just look from the outside – the Indian / Chinese style architecture is an incredible sight in itself. It’s £24 to go in and explore the oriental interiors ordered by King George IV. Book onto a guided tour to really get the most from the experience.
6pm – cocktail hour
Let’s move on to a different type of culture: cocktails. It’s sundowner cocktail time – probably, doesn’t matter what time of year it is. In my house 6pm is the socially acceptable time to drink so I like to carry on that tradition around the world.
There’s many an interesting cocktail bar in Brighton but check out Dr Brighton’s on the seafront for the views or try The New Club nearby for more of the same. For somewhere a little different, and maybe some puppetry, film and music too – go to Bom Banes.
8pm – line that stomach
What do you fancy? Head to Moshimo on the beachfront for sushi, La Choza is a popular choice for Mexican, while Stock Burger is great for… burgers. All at mid range prices and great value.
If you’d like something a little fancier to celebrate your weekend in Brighton, try the Salt Room on the seafront. Serving award-winning seafood, on the terrace, it’s a great place to spend the evening. Oysters and mussels galore!
Or, you could try the Channel View Restaurant at the Best Western Princes Marine Hotel. They serve traditional pub fare – think burgers and fish and chips – as well as an a la carte specials menu. Of course, one of the best things about eating there is you don’t have to go far to bed. Just take that lift upstairs and roll right in.
10pm – party time
BYOC is one of the latest and coolest concepts for a night out in Brighton. Nestled in the South Lanes, it’s the ‘gateway to a Narnia of cocktails’ (their words). BYOC stands for Bring Your Own Cocktails, so, you bring along a spirit or two and they’ll mix them together for you in a concoction to suit your tastes.
There’s a great nightlife scene in Brighton if you want to party on. West Street is where the teenagers and twenties hang out – if you fall in that bracket you might enjoy the mega clubs around there. If not, you can go for a nice drink at Latest Music Bar or the Cricketers Pub – Brighton’s oldest pub and featured in the film Brighton Rock.
Brighton is famous for its cabaret. Check out Proud Cabaret Brighton for the most popular one in the city.
Unknown pm – time to sleep
Nestled behind the famous beach huts of Hove the Best Western Princes Marine Hotel is just over 2 miles from Brighton Beach. Simply get a taxi from the centre of town to reach the independently owned, 3-star hotel. With 48 guest rooms, an on site bar and restaurant and a stunning view out to the English Channel over Hove Lawns, it really is in a great location on the seafront.
Make sure to book into the penthouse rooms for the best views along the south coast.
Best Weekend in Brighton: Day Two
9am – break that fast
There’s a great continental breakfast spread at the Best Western Princes Marine Hotel, as well as the opportunity to order off the hot menu. You can choose from eggs any way you like, porridge, or a portion of flaky and succulent kippers on toast. Well, when at the seaside…
11am – get up high
The i360 is Brighton’s newest attraction – the world’s tallest moving observation tower. It’s on the esplanade on the way back into the city from the Best Western hotel, making it the perfect way to start your first full day. As you slowly ascend you’ll see down the miles of beach and across the city’s rooftops.
Brighton is surrounded by the South Downs National Park so you’ll really get to see what a unique placement the city has on the south coast.
The boarding area is right by the Brighton Bandstand. If you time it right over the summer you might even get to watch a band there after too.
Noon – Brighton Beach fun
Head down to Brighton Beach and rent a deck chair for the morning. If you’re feeling adventurous then have a go on the rides at the end of Brighton Pier, well, at least the carousel. If you’ve got a few 2ps to spare the machines in the arcades are good fun, and you might even win that elusive key ring.
Just a note, if you’re going to get an ice cream don’t make do with any seaside ice cream, go to Boho Gelato just on the corner by the pier. They have more than 300 flavours and are well known for serving some of the best in the city.
Any heavy heads can have a nap, while the party people carry on at the picnic benches at some of the outdoor bars lining the beachfront. Try Beachigogo Bar, Lucky Beach Bar or The Tempest for the best views and ambience.
Take a look at the little shops down at The Arches too – the Vivid Palette print shop is a personal favourite.
2pm – time for fish and chips
You can go to the Great British seaside without trying some cockles and mussels. They’re an institution here and not nearly as horrible as they sound, trust me. Get your fix at the Brighton Shellfish and Oyster Bar.
Once you’re done with that little experiment, get some fish and chips for proper lunch.
The tried and tested best places for fish and chips in Brighton are Riddle and Finn’s (upmarket) or Bardsley’s (take out and eat on the beach). Gwaan, cover them in salt and vinegar – makes them all the tastier.
3pm – back to your deck chair
I’d get back to the beach if I was you. If it’s warm enough take a dip in the sea, I mean, you have to be pretty tough for it to ever actually be ‘warm enough’ but you can give it a go.
Otherwise wrap up warm and watch those hardier than you as they frolic in the waters beyond.
6pm – cocktail
You know the drill – 6pm is the time to relax with a cooling / warming drink in my world. Head back into town and take a little visit to somewhere different. How about Lucky Voice for karaoke and cocktails? Or Dead Wax Social to hang out with the hipsters? Or go underground and check out the Speakeasy at The Wick – definitely a good choice for those rainy days.
8pm – dinner
Admittedly I didn’t actually go but the Coal Shed in Brighton looks delightful, especially for the steak lovers among us. On Mondays you can bring your own wine too. At the other end of the spectrum, vegetarians might’ve heard of the famous Terre a Terre – consistently voted one of the best restaurants in Brighton.
For your after dinner entertainment try visiting a few of the places you saw last night in the centre of Brighton, knowing that you’re just a short taxi ride from the comfort of your hotel. Or, if you want a drink within walking distance of the Princes Hotel, Hove Place and The Foragers are a good shout.
Best Weekend in Brighton: Day Three
10am – breakfast time
After another comfy night’s sleep, and a filling breakfast, it’s time to make the most of your last few hours in Brighton. Walk back along the beach and those famous beach huts from Hove. You’ll see everyone out doing their weekend exercises – yoga bunnies, doggies and roller blade enthusiasts unite. If it’s raining, just grab an Uber back into the city.
Shopping in The Lanes is an absolute must when you’re in Brighton. There are so many unique shops to discover, cute places to eat and majestic walkways to amble through. Here you’ll find more jewellery, clothes and gift shops than you could ever need in a lifetime.
End as you started, with an al fresco coffee in among the Lanes shops. There are plenty of places to choose from but personal favourites include Marwood or Cafe Coco.
2pm – chocolatey celebration
The best way to finish off your 24 hours in Brighton is with a trip to Choccywoccydoodah, located right in The Lanes. Downstairs it’s a chocolate themed gift shop and bakers – think Willy Wonka goes alternative – while upstairs there’s a little café where you can enjoy the richest, most chocolatey cakes, hot chocolates or ice cream sundaes you could imagine.
After all that walking around and exploring, you deserve it.
And then it’s just a simple walk back to Brighton Train Station. If you’ve got any money / time / energy left, then check out Churchill’s Shopping Centre, with all your high street favourites as standard.
- Coffee on North Laine
- Shopping on North Laine
- Time for tea, and lunch
- Brighton Pavilion sightseeing
- Cocktail hour
- And then dinner
- Party time
- And then bed
- British Airways i360
- Brighton Beach
- Lunch time fish and chips
- Get back to that deck chair
Hope that gives you some idea of what to do on a weekend in Brighton –