Everyone should experience Brighton once in their lives. It’s an old school seaside town with pebbles instead of sand, colourful beach huts, and a rickety old pier which holds some terrifyingly heavy fairground rides. It’s also picturesque and quirky, with historical lanes full of street art and hipster cafes.
Not only that, but Brighton is the UK’s LGBT+ capital which makes for a fun, vibrant nightlife scene in which everyone is welcome.
Brighton’s full name is ‘Brighton and Hove’ as the two towns of Brighton and Hove were merged in 1997 as part of a local government reform- much to the annoyance of many Hove residents who consider the two to still be separate towns.
I didn’t spend a lot of time in Brighton on my most recent trip there, but I’ve spent enough time there before to know that it’s a place definitely worth exploring.
I love Brighton pier; it gives me such a lovely feeling of nostalgia for childhood trips to the seaside. Brighton is the epitome of the classic British seaside town. The rickety old pier, with its equally as rickety old fairground rides, its Great British pubs, photo boards (you know, the ones where you stick your head through a hole and it comically looks like you’ve become a fat man at the beach), and seaside food stalls are everything that we have come to expect and love about a beach town in the UK.
Although the pebbled beach means that building sand castles are out of the question, the beach is still a lovely place to relax on a hot summers day- if you can find a spot not taken over by other beach goers that is! It’s also a perfect place for a photo opportunity as it is home to the world famous row of colourful beach huts. Not content with just snapping a photo of them? Well, don’t worry, you can rent one for the small sum of £70 a day or £300 a week. Bargain!
Away from the seafront, in the city’s historic quarter, you’ll find the beautifully narrow streets called ‘The Lanes’. They are filled with street art- Banksy’s kissing policemen used to be here but that was sold and a replica was put in its place-, small boutique shops and hipster, vegan cafes. Legend has it that The Lanes in Brighton are also haunted. Why not take a ghost tour and learn more about The Whispering ghost in a Scandinavian bar, The Phantom Nun or experience all of the creepy, ghostly goings on in Brighton’s most haunted location- The Druid’s Head pub?
Hove is where my dad actually lives and is, apparently, the fancier half of ‘Brighton and Hove’. That was confirmed as we drove down a road with some pretty big houses and one with a bright orange Lamborghini parked outside.
Hove is also smaller than Brighton but what it lacks in size it makes up for in history. It has a plethora of old buildings dating back to the Saxon and Norman eras; Portslade Manor, one of the few Norman Manor houses that still exist in England today, St Nicholas Church, which was founded in 1091, and Hangleton manor which is the second most listed building in Brighton (after the Pavillion). It is now a pub but it dates back the the 1500s and still has many of the features that made this domestic secular building so fabulous.
It still has the Tudor ceilings adorned with emblems of the families who lived there, and the commandment room, which doubled up as a private chapel, still has the Tudor version of the ten commandments carved into the wooden panels. The Tudors are my favourite monarchs so this is beyond fascinating for me. It’s such a shame I haven’t made it to this pub yet!
Hove is made up of a few smaller villages, and the link to the Victorian era is still very evident. There are a series of avenues, ending at the seafront, which the Victorians built housing estates on in the 1870s and 1880s. The avenues are numbered, in order, and the houses still remain today (although they are a lot more expensive than they were back then!).
On this visit I stayed in The Ardington Hotel– an old Georgian hotel right on the sea front by Worthing pier. It is in Steyne Gardens, which is a stone’s throw from the sea and a couple of minutes walk from the quaint town centre and its lovely little boutique shops.
Worthing is undoubtedly more expensive that Brighton but it’s also an underrated little gem. Worthing is just as beautiful as it’s cousin down the coast but has far fewer tourists and a more relaxed vibe to it.
Steyne Gardens is quite a small grassy area that is frequented by dog walkers and people of all ages wanting to relax in a quiet park. In the summer months it regularly has market stalls and there’s a food and drink festival in September. In the Winter it is transformed into a winter wonderland with an ice skating rink. I think that ice skating right in front of the ocean is one for the bucket list!
Worthing Pier isn’t as bustling with activity as Brighton pier is but it’s still got plenty to do. There’s a cafe, a bar, a theatre, an arcade and a Grade 2 listed pavillion, which is a great venue for a wedding. The pier was runner up in the 2016 and 2017 Pier of The Year awards (I know, I didn’t know that was a thing either) so you know it’s worth a visit.
The town itself also has plenty to do. You can go shopping in over 400 stores, from chain shops to independent boutiques. You can have a meander around the Worthing museum and art gallery, which is home to the 3rd largest costume collection in the country (entry is free). If you’re feeling like you want something a bit more relaxed why not take a stroll around the Beach House gardens or Liverpool Gardens, or sit and watch the world go by in The Lido.
There really is something for everyone in Brighton so if you want a classic British seaside holiday then look no further than this lovely coastal town!
*The photos that weren’t taken by me are from Pixabay.com
Has anyone been to Brighton? Did you enjoy it? Has anyone got it on their list of places to go? Let me know in the comments!
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