Who says travel needs to be expensive or organised? At the last minute on a Friday I decided to hop in a car with a friend who was driving to Brighton.
I also managed to blag a spot on my cousin Kate’s sofa. She’s studying for a masters degree down in Brighton – which meant my travel and food expenditure for the weekend was a big 0. See, there’s always a way!
Oh, and I got home from work and packed my weekend bag in seven minutes. So that’s the organised bit blown apart, too.
I’d been to Brighton a couple of times before but not in the last couple of years (given my recent globe-trotting I’ve not exactly been anywhere in the UK in a couple of years). I was expecting street art, the beach and great eats – and that’s what I got and a bit more.
Things to do
Brighton has loads of cute corners and hidden gems as well as the main attractions which I don’t recommend you should miss. I made it my mission to find you the best things to do during your trip to Brighton. Here goes:
Tour the street art
Gawd, I love street art! Set against some of the town’s elaborate townhouses, the urban art gives an alternative vibe to the city. Like the best art, much of it tells a story – this urban mural below encourages young women to vote.
LIKE STREET ART? Check out my Cape Town blog here.
Where to find it? Head past the train station onto Trafalgar Street where the street art begins. Turn down Trafalgar Lane (where 90% of the above photos were taken) and end up on Gloucester Street where there’s plenty more urban art. From Gloucester Street, you can connect to Gloucester Passage and Kensington Street for even more. Since my visit I’ve seen loads online that I missed including a whole wall covered in dogs – I’ll be back!
Another spot to tick off is the old Astoria building on London Road where there’s a recreation of Banksy’s Kissing Policemen. You’ll also find loads more designs on Orange Row, off North Road, and on turn-off streets from the North Laine. For a more in detail guide, check out Inspiring City’s street art blog here.
Go to the beach, beach; let’s go get away
I’m so envious of Brighton locals for having a beach on their doorstep (even if it is stony). I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what you can do on a beach, but I would recommend you stay ’til sunset and grab yourself a couple of beers. A good way to end any day (or start any evening!).
There are also a couple of sights worth checking out from the waterfront, like the skeleton of the burnt down old pier, a cute seafront pavilion and of course, Brighton Palace Pier.
The Royal Pavillion
Sometimes called the Taj Mahal of Brighton (why not?) the Royal Pavilion is incredibly ornate. You can pay for a guided tour (£13 per adult) or snap it from outside and relax in the Pavilion Gardens.
Right in the heart of Brighton, the quirky North Laine is the place to be for trinkets, antiques and retro fashion. There are more than 400 independent shops and cafes in this area so I was more than happy to ditch the Starbucks (something I’m always happy to do when local businesses are concerned) and get stuck in.
I visited on a beautiful sunny day so settled myself outside at Kooks Resturant for a G&T and some snacks whilst I read my book and people watched (before having to go inside as I was burning at 22 degrees – how did I make it around Africa?).
Hove Beach Huts
I’m no minimalist; I’m obsessed with anything bright and colourful so I was in heaven in Hove, ten minutes down the road from Brighton city centre. There’s not much to say about these beauties (apart from that some sell for up to £14,000!) so let’s go with a gallery instead:
Brighton Palace Pier
It wouldn’t be a trip to Brighton without eating an ice cream and checking out the arcades at Brighton Palace Pier. There are also fair rides if that’s your cup of tea but I’m a 27-year-old with less capacity for adrenaline than a toddler so I stuck to my Mr Whippy and chocolate flake!
Go and ponder how the other half live at this millionaire square. You’ll walk past it on the way from town to the Hove beach huts. Wow!
Eating is my favourite activity in most destinations and I’m pretty proud that I found such awesome places in just a weekend visit…
My cousin invited me to her tag along to her waitressing shift at Billie’s which was a great coincidence as it had already come up online in my hunt for Brighton’s best brunch.
Billie’s is famous for its hash stacks: huge piles of triple cooked potato topped with every ingredient under the sun (all a bargain at £8.10) so I’ll have to make a return as I couldn’t say no to smoked salmon, avo and cream cheese on toast. I only paid a tenner for brunch and tea.
The best pizza I’ve eaten in possibly forever, Fatto is inspired by Naples and exclusive to Brighton. The freshly-cooked woodfire pizzas come in between £5.50 and £9.50 so it’s a bit of a bargain. The only thing that slightly put me off my food was the annual naked bike ride that sped by!
There’s a branch in the city and one in nearby Hove.
As you can tell, I like brunch – and so does Brighton! Joe’s is a cosy, independent cafe which gets busy on a weekend but is well worth the queue.
Best dish – Lucie’s healthy breakfast with smoked salmon, poached eggs, mushrooms and avocado.
Classic English foods
What better way to enjoy the British seaside than with fish and chips or a Mr Whippy and flake? If there is one I’m yet to hear about it…
I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide to Brighton! Let me know how you get on – I’m sure I’ll be updating this blog with each return trip I make. As I have a few other Brighton snaps that don’t fit into any of the categories above, I’ll finish off with a gallery…
Insider tip: If you’re looking for this fabulous VW and matching wall… Kemp Street 😉