Destinations

24 Hours in Brighton

By Vicky Philpott, aka Vicky FlipFlop
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As one of the UK’s quirkiest and most instagrammable cities, Brighton is a wonderful place to spend 24 hours. The famous pebble-stoned beach provides the central point, while the quaint, boutique shopping area of The Lanes will open your mind to everything you never knew you needed. Some of the city’s most unique and unusual things to do (and eat) sit side by side with the distinctive historical buildings that give Brighton its character.

Brighton is a great city to navigate on foot as all the star attractions are within a one-mile radius. Here’s our guide to a fun and food-filled 24 hours exploring this wonderfully eccentric city. 

11am: Get in the mood

Grab a coffee. Brighton seems to have an infinite amount of coffee houses; it’d be hard to move more than 100 feet without spotting one. Play up to the city’s hipster vibe and pop into Café Coho just outside the train station, or Pelicano at the top of North Laine. It’ll be tough to refuse the cakes, but just remember there are lots of foodie opportunities to come, but then again, you are on holiday.

Sit at a table out in the sun to watch the locals go by, and to get into that Brighton state of mind.

11:30am: Let’s go shopping

Time to explore North Laine, a bohemian quarter that’s home to vibrant street art. The antidote to all your jewellery, vintage, baby clothes, arty prints, antiques and homewares needs. Honestly, no matter how much you save up for your 24 hours in Brighton – you could spend it all here in a few hours.

Snooper’s Paradise is one of the main shopping highlights here. It’s 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. So little time, so much to see!

Street in Brighton

Next door you’ll find Roly’s Fudge Shop. It’s an institution in Brighton. Have a little peep inside and you can watch them making fudge right there. Might as well buy a bag to show your support, right?  

Further down North Laine you’ll find the infamous Photomatic shop, where you can get a strip of photos for £4, like teenagers used to do before selfies were even a thing. Nowadays you can take the photo, and then capture the photo to upload to your Instagram. Same, but different.  

1pm: Hungry yet?

Afternoon tea is 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, try Metrodeco for a 1930s art deco setting in Kemptown, 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. They also do an interesting gin tasting flight, if you fancy.

2:30pm: Go sightseeing

Time to explore the famous Brighton Pavilion – an Indian and Chinese style palace located right in the heart of the city. It was originally built as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV so the oriental interiors are a definite must see. Or you can just admire from the exterior – up to you!

4pm: Time for a rest, surely?

Head down to Brighton Beach and rent a deck chair for the rest of the afternoon. If you’re feeling adventurous then have a go on the rides at the end of Brighton Pier. The Booster lets experience the force of over 3.6G’s in 2.8 seconds or for a more sedate ride, try 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.

7pm: Dinner

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 mark your 24 hours 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.

best western princes marine hotel dining

9pm: After dinner entertainment

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 continue the celebrations. 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 enjoy live music at Latest Music Bar in a beautiful listed building or the Cricketers Pub – Brighton’s oldest pub and featured in the film Brighton Rock. 

If drinking isn’t your thing then why not see what they have on at the Duke of York’s Picture House – the oldest cinema in continuous use in Britain? Or, find a cabaret show, Brighton is famous for it. The Brighton Dome and Komedia are two of the city’s most popular venues for live music and comedy, check the line up to see if there’s anything interesting for your dates.

11pm: Sleep

Nestled behind the famous beach huts of Hove the Best Western Princes Marine Hotel is a short taxi ride from Brighton Beach. With 48 guest rooms, an on-site bar and restaurant and a stunning view out to the English Channel over Hove Lawns, this three-star hotel is in a prime location on the seafront.

Book into the penthouse rooms for the best views along the south coast.

9am: Breakfast

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…  

10am: Time to 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 hotel, making it the perfect way to start the 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 play there.

Up the i360 Brighton

11am: One last chocolate fix

Shopping in The Lanes is an absolute must. This was the original centre of the fishing village of Brighthelmstone, Brighton’s forerunner. 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.

Till Death Do Us Part Cake

The best way to finish off your 24 hours in Brighton is with a trip to Choccywoccydoodah, located in The Lanes. Downstairs it’s a chocolate themed gift shop and bakers – think Willy Wonka – 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.

By Vicky Philpott, aka Vicky FlipFlop

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