Starter For 10: Brighton Breaks

04/11/2010 07:09 | Updated 22 May 2015

Who doesn't like to be beside the seaside? But if you think heading to the coast is a summer-only activity, Brighton is the perfect destination to prove you wrong.

With shopping and events galore, there's easily enough to fill a weekend and leave you planning a return trip.,feedConfig,localizationConfig,entry&id=942422&pid=942421&uts=1286882679

Starter for 10: Brighton

It's hard to beat a sea view, with the beach just feet from your hotel window. So while the Thistle Brighton might be 60s-style architecture on the outside, the rooms are luxuriously minimalist in shades of black, white and grey, with strokeable throws and comfy leather chairs. Just feet from the seafront, you're also walking distance from the pier, Pavilion and shops. The Time for Romance package, including champagne and chocolates, costs from £105 per night.

Or if you'd prefer a smaller bolthole, the boutique Kemp Townhouse is in a restored Victorian townhouse down a quiet side street, not far from the sea. Double rooms start from £95 – book through and you can get a free bottle of wine.

Starter for 10: Brighton

The building that put Brighton on the map, the Royal Pavilion still has the power to make jaws drop today. Designed for the Prince Regent by architect John Nash, the exterior is famously Indian-inspired, while the oriental interior is decorated with Chinese wallpaper, dragon-covered lamps as well as ultra-ornate chandeliers emerging from a huge palm plant.

Constructed over a smaller building, some of the rooms are currently being restored which lets you see the fascinating techniques used to keep the original 18th and 19th century style. The banqueting room is still laid out for dinner, with a stomach-stretching menu including dozens of dishes, while the then high-tech kitchen is filled with all the utensils and foods the prince demanded. Pick up an audio guide, and don't miss the fabulous ceramic black butterflies dotted around, part of an ongoing exhibition. Entry costs £9.50.

Starter for 10: Brighton

Sharks, giant rays, sea turtles and poison dart frogs – some of the inhabitants of Brighton's Sea Life Centre might not feel so at home in the English Channel outside, but it's a great way to while away an hour, especially if it's raining.

There's over 150 species in total from around the world, but the highlight has to be the underwater tunnel, where you'll stand mesmerised as the marine life glides gently past and around you. There are also regular tours in the glass bottom boat to get as close as possible without actually diving in. Tickets cost £15.50 or £11.50 if you book online. Visit for more information.

Starter for 10: Brighton

With its compact centre, Brighton is perfect for wandering around so start with a walk along the beach and the pier. Head west to the seafront artists' quarter, or stop at the marina for a drink and some retail therapy. And if your feet start to hurt, you can even jump on the Volks railway, the country's oldest electric railway, before wandering a bit further along the sands.

Brighton Visitor Information Centre has walking maps or download an MP3 tour – there's two to choose from at £3 each or £5 for both at

Starter for 10: Brighton

Brighton's home to more than a few celebrity eateries, including Dermot O'Leary's Fishy Fishy, but local foodies in the know suggest heading to new restaurant Mange Tout. Opened just a couple of months ago by a pair of French chefs, the food – including confit of duck and a string of fish dishes – will make you very happy, and the prices will make you happier still.

With tables outside for when the weather's good, there's little touches like an amuse bouche of soup, perfect for cold evenings, as well as mini meringues with your coffee. If you can manage it, the assiette of desserts will satisfy the biggest sweet tooth. Head to 81 Trafalgar Street or call 01273 607 270.

Starter for 10: Brighton

With its ceiling fans and colonial-style decor, Havana begs for sultry temperatures and a Cuba Libre. But even if the rain is lashing down outside, the cocktail menu goes on for pages, the cream leather sofas are comfy and you can forget that you're by a completely different sea, especially with live jazz on a Saturday night.

Come back during the daytime to eat, especially on Sundays where the palm fronds can't hide the fact they make a fantastic roast as well.

Starter for 10: Brighton

Not all comedy clubs are created equal. As well as live stand-up at the Krater Comedy Club, Komedia boasts some of the UK's biggest names, from Chris Addison to Jenny Eclair, plus unexpected shows like How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse, and Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience, where the audience becomes part of the sketch.

There's also regular cabaret with the Ministry of Burlesque High Tease and music most nights, as well as a cafe and nibbles like deep fried baby camembert... Prices for the Krater Comedy Club cost from £6-£31.50.

Starter for 10: Brighton

There's enough shops to keep you happy for a full weekend and beyond in the city's famous Lanes. But the best place for quirky finds is the North Laine. Packed with boutiques selling all kinds of things you never knew you wanted, there's also a string of vintage shops including Beyond Retro on Vine Street.

Don't miss Bond Street for fabulous shoes at Irregular Choice, and clothes and homeware at Velvet, as well as the ultimate retro dresses at Get Cutie on Kensington Gardens.

Starter for 10: Brighton

You won't be short of a club in Brighton, but for something a little bit different, head to the Brighton Ballroom. Every week is different but look out for events like La Bistrotheque, where the Paris-style drinking den transforms into a disco, We Love Pop with Studio 54 classics or Brighton Rouge for a mix of electro swing and burlesque. Prices start from around £5.

Starter for 10: Brighton

Need more excuse to visit? Here's a few extra reasons to tempt you to Brighton. White Night, from 6pm on Saturday October 30 to 6am on Sunday October 31, will be lighting up the city with over 120 events including art installations, late night openings of the Pavilion and Sea Life Centre, as well as a midnight half marathon.

There's also a fashion festival on November 11 plus a winter ice rink in the Pavilion from November 13 to January 16. Go to for more event information.

Starter for 10: Brighton


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