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36 Hours In Brighton: Our Itinerary Of Things To Eat, See And Do

Get the lowdown on the iconic coastal city.
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Brighton is a coastal city like no other. Inclusive and vibrant, it combines all the delights of a British seaside resort with the cosmopolitan attractions of a city, meaning you’re never short of something to do, eat or experience.

You are also never more than a short stroll from the beach, which ensures the city retains a relaxed atmosphere even amidst the bustle of the independent shops, bars and creative hubs of the Lanes and North Laine area.

Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway, heading down for the highly anticipated 30th anniversary of Pride, or scoping out a longer getaway, here’s an itinerary to inspire your trip.

Day One

Arrive at Hotel Pelirocco

A stone’s throw from the seafront, in the iconic Regency Square, lies “the original rock n roll Brighton boutique hotel”: Hotel Pelirocco.

Spend a night (or two) in one of 19 individually themed rooms. Its newest edition is the David Bowie “Rebel Rebel” room with a double spa bath in the bedroom, as well as a dressing-up rail and plenty of Bowie vinyl to play on the complimentary record player. Or if you’d like to feel as though you’ve travelled abroad to a secluded island getaway, book the Tropical Paradise room, which features a hammock where you can lie back and take in the view.

If you’re travelling to Brighton for a special celebration, the hotel also offers packages with indulgent extras for “lovebirds” or birthdays. Book directly via the hotel’s website and you can start the next day with a complimentary cooked breakfast.

Address: 10 Regency Square, Brighton, BN1 2FG
Telephone: 01273 327055

Tropical Paradise room
Ian Wallman
Tropical Paradise room

Enjoy brunch at Wolfox Roastery

A short stroll to Preston Street brings you to Wolfox Bakery, the base of the burgeoning local coffee chain Wolfox Collective. Here you can enjoy a freshly brewed coffee made from organic beans roasted onsite.

Tuck into a hearty cooked breakfast: “Farm” for meat eaters with organic bacon, merguez sausage, crushed new potatoes, wild mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and organic poached egg; or “Field” for vegetarians and vegans with crushed peas, wild mushrooms, crushed new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, hummus and panisse (chickpea chips). Other menu highlights on the menu include the Spring Hash, Wild Mushroom Toast and Poke Bowl.

Address: 27 Preston Street, Brighton BN1 2HP
Telephone number: 01273 030992

Immerse yourself in Brighton’s LGBTQ+ history on a Piers & Queers Tour

If you’d like to learn more about Brighton’s history and how the city earned its reputation as “the LGBTQ capital of Britain,” then local guide Ric Morris is your man.

Meet him at Regency Square, which sits parallel to Preston Street, at 1 p.m. and he’ll guide you on a lovingly curated 90-minute walk along the beach and through the historic city centre. His tour details over 200 years of history, including Regency Dandies, 1950s lesbian and gay life, political activism and the location of England’s first Civil Partnership ceremonies.

Address: Regency Square, Brighton, BN1 2FG

Marvel at the Royal Pavilion

The Piers and Queers walking tour ends at 2:30pm right outside one of the most spectacular and incongruous buildings in Brighton: the Royal Pavilion.

Built as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV, this historic royal residence mixes Regency grandeur with regal architecture and lavish interiors inspired by India and China. Construction of the palace began in 1787 and it took eight years to complete the work on the domes, towers, minarets and the lavish vibrant interiors with elaborate furnishings.

Address: 4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton, BN1 1EE
Telephone number: 03000 290 900

Head to the beach

Take a stroll down to the seafront to people-watch and (hopefully) soak up some rays on the beach. You’ll soon spot two iconic Brighton landmarks: the skeletal remains of the historic West Pier out at sea and the spear-like 162-metre-tall i360 British Airways viewing tower, with its circular pod travelling skywards.

If you’re brave enough to take a trip on the i360, the views truly are spectacular – from the South Downs to the offshore wind farms, and the expansive stretch of coast all the way from Seven Sisters cliffs to the Isle of Wight. If you’d rather stay a little closer to earth check out The Upside Down House – a pretty blue beach house, balanced precariously on its roof as though deposited there by a fairytale tornado. Step inside this topsy-turvy museum to find yourself walking on ceilings while furniture floats above you. Plenty of hilarious photo opportunities await.

Address: British Airways i360, Lower Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2LN
Telephone Number: 03337 720 360

Address: The Upside Down House, King Road Arche, 42-43, Brighton, BN1 2NL
Telephone Number: 07761802281

Brighton beach
Jamie O'gorman / EyeEm via Getty Images
Brighton beach

Feast at Lucky Khao

Next, take a short stroll over to Lucky Khao, a delicious Northern Thai restaurant specialising in charcoal barbeque dishes, curries and sharing plates.

All the dishes are made using seasonal locally sourced Sussex farm produce, organic meat and speciality herbs and salads, which are grown in the company’s nearby hydroponic farm, removing the need to ship from Thailand.

The neon-lit venue itself is sustainably built and powered, and the team trained at top Bangkok restaurant 100 Mahaseth under chef Chalee Kader, who is known for sustainable, nose-to-tail cooking.

Over 40% of the menu is meat and dairy-free and almost all dishes can be made gluten-free. Choose from Charcoal Aubergine, Hammered Steak, or the Dry-Aged Beef Tongue Spam, cooked over coal fires in the open-plan kitchen, which offers plenty to watch.

Address: Lucky Khao, 1d St James’s St, Kemptown, Brighton BN2 1RE
Telephone: 01273 686668

Enjoy a nightcap at The Plotting Parlour

You won’t want to move far after that feast and you won’t need to if you head to The Plotting Parlour, an award-winning bar just two minutes away on Steine Street.

The music at this intimate venue is low enough that you’ll be able to enjoy your companions’ conversations as you sample the cocktails, which are made with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients paired with spirits and liqueurs. There is also an extensive list of natural wines and beers on offer.

Space is limited at this cosy spot, so do make sure you reserve a table to guarantee a space.

Address: 6 Steine Street, Brighton, BN2 1TE
Telephone Number: 01273 621 238

Day Two

Hop on the oldest working electric railway in the world

Once you’ve finished breakfast at the hotel it’s time to head to the beach again. After all of yesterday’s walking, why not take a quick trip on the Volks Electric Railway, which runs along the seafront?

Before boarding at the Aquarium Station, located right next to Brighton Palace Pier, check out the Visitor Centre, which houses an exhibition exploring the history of Magnus Volk and his Railway. Volk decided to build the small line going along the seafront in Brighton in 1883. It opened that August and is still in operation today, making it the oldest working electric railway in the world.

Trains run most days, however sometimes the line may need to close (especially if there is inclement weather), so it’s wise to phone ahead of your visit, to check the plans for the day.

Hop off your carriage at the Halfway Station located next to Peter Pan’s Playground and you’ll find yourself right next to Beach Box Spa.

Address: Eplanade Cottages, 320 Madeira Dr, Brighton BN2 1FY
Phone: 01273 292 718.

Warm up in a sauna at Beach Box Spa

Just behind the Volks Railway Workshop, you’ll find three cosy horse trailers positioned on the beachfront, which have been converted into wood-fired saunas.

Slip into your swimwear and take your seat in one of the steaming hot trailers for 90 minutes (we’d recommend taking a brisk dip in the sea first to really feel the benefit).

Facilities include outdoor sun decks with seating areas, changing rooms, fresh water showers and private loos. Upgrade your experience with handmade in-sauna body treatments, leaf whisks or even an ice bath. Don’t forget to bring two towels (one for the sauna benches and one for drying) and plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated (the owners advise bringing at least one litre per person).

Each trailer can fit up to six people at a time and places are booked individually, although there is the option to book out an entire trailer for parties of six.

Address: 299 Madeira Dr, Brighton BN2 1EN
Telephone: 07399 881274

Beach Box Brighton
Chloe Spence
Beach Box Brighton

Lunch at Munchie’s Craft

Head back west along the beach, past the pier then cut up north along East Street and you’ll find yourself at Munchie’s Craft, a brightly coloured cosy nook that is a feast for the eyes.

Highlights of the “Turkish Tapas” lunch menu include the Patlican Kizartma: Fried aubergine, pepper and potatoes with choice of mozzarella or garlic yoghurt on top (a vegan alternative is also available), and the pretty purple Pancarli Humus topped with peanut and dill, which is served with garlic pita. Finish off your meal with the local brand Craft House Coffee, which excels in ethically sourced speciality beans.

Address: 9 Market Street, South Lanes, Brighton, BN1 1HH
Telephone Number: +44 (0) 1273 227784

Check out Brighton’s vintage and sustainable delights

Before heading home, it would be rude not to indulge in some retail therapy — the vintage, sustainable type, of course.

The intricate maze of twisting alleyways of the Lanes are home to antique stores, jewellers and designer boutiques, as well as an increasing number of shops specialising in sustainable and ethically produced fashion, homeware and furniture. Some highlights include Our Daily Edit (23 Ship St., BN1 1AD), which works with independent and young designers who place importance on sustainability and gender-neutral clothing; and Workshop Brighton (13a Prince Albert St., BN1 1HE), which stocks homeware, furniture and fragrance that “embrace simplicity, slow-living, sustainable practice and connection.”

Next, head up to the North Laine area to peruse some of the many independent boutiques. There are many longtime stalwarts, such as vintage emporium To Be Worn Again (12 Kensington Gardens, BN1 4AL), the treasure trove of Snoopers Paradise flea market (7/8 Kensington Gardens, BN1 4AL), and Wolf + Gypsy Vintage (30 Sydney St, BN1 4EP), for a thoughtfully considered range of handpicked vintage, new clothing and accessories.

Just be sure you’re able to carry all of your new purchases home with you!

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