A day on the beach in Brighton – if you are looking for the
Central Beach right in the city center; Kemp Beach if you like sports on the beach or the Gap Beaches along the Undercliff Walks – read more below.
Best Sea View Bars
♦ The Waterhouse Bar and Terrace in the Hilton for probably the best cocktails in Brighton (you’ll never know until you try)
♦ The Tempest Inn – a large beer garden with sea views
♦ Fortune of War is set right on the beach
♦ Lucky Beach, located under one of the beachfront arches
♦ The Patterns is great for clubbing, with a sea view patio
Best Rooftop Terraces
Bohemia Rooftop Garden is worth spending your pounds to enjoy the sun rays whilst keep your cocktail cool under the yellow umbrella’s
Grand Central has a fab roof terrace right in the city centre close to the railway station, it houses a sports bar, a separate gin bar, and the Nightingale theatre
The Lion and Lobster – fighting for the view – roof terrace with great ocean views belonging to an icon in Brighton’s pub culture, for some great beers, ales, or snacks – (reports lately of dinner being not great and service a tad slow even on a hot summers day)
Brighton’s list of venues is endless, the bottle is bottomless, and it possibly is the one venue in the UK where topless on the beach is OK
So… why Brighton?
Million pound question. But not for the sun and sea lovers that have come here ever since the end of the 19th century.
Or for Anita Roddick who started business here, opening her first Body Shop in 1976 in Brighton and for the many employees and entrepreneurs that made Brighton into an important centre of commerce, with American Express headquarters as a major employer (and sponsor of the Amex Stadium), and more recently an increasing number of start-ups in the digital and creative world and a large number of Gatwick Airport employees living in the city.
Or for the actor Laurence Olivier, who lived in Brighton for years.
Brighton is a very popular destination in the tourist world, but it doesn’t depend completely on it, and with 13 kilometers of beaches at its feet it is a great chill beach city.
Once you have seen the light from the North Sea (the English Channel here) reflecting the impressively high white cliffs, you get it.
It is all about the special Southern English atmosphere that gives the feel of being far away from the rest of the country and especially London. There is so much more to Britain than London and the Brexit, take the ever-changing beauty of the islands nature, rough and sweet at the same time, on Brighton’s beaches and its countryside as well.
Courtesy of Diego TorresBrighton was called Brighthelmston at first, in the 16th century a village with 400 fishermen owning around 60 ships. Within a century it grew into the largest town in Sussex with 4000 inhabitants.
Then in the mid-1700’s King George III was the first Royal to believe in the healing nature of seawater, resulting in his son George IV spending lots of time in Brighton and building the fabulous Royal Pavilion fantasy.
That was the start of Brighton’s fame and soon over 2000 visitors per week swarmed the town. In 1841 a railway line was constructed between London and Brighton, initially designed only for the happy few who could afford the astronomical ticket price.
If we think today that some chill beach destinations are overcrowded, try to imagine what happened when these railway ticket prices dropped to 1/3 of the initial fare and suddenly over 360.000 people visited Brighton’s seaside resort within 6 months! Chill!
Brighton’s unbroken 13 kilometers of shingle and sandy beaches are part of the endless strip of beaches on the South coast of Sussex.
The beaches are owned by the city council and are divided by groins into named sections.
Brighton Central Beach or Palace Pier Beach
is right in the city center and remains one of Britains most popular seaside resorts. This Blue Flag beach is a shingle beach at high tide but becomes partially flat and sandy at low tide.
is the next very popular beach to the West, in front of Hove town Hove merged with Brighton in 2001 getting city status and is known to be one of the sunniest places in Britain. Just pick the right days when visiting.
The beach boasts many facilities, including rental of the famous timber beach huts, lots of sporting activities and a yachting club at the lagoon.
The beach is mostly shingle and pebble.
Kemp Town beach
a mix of sand and shingles stretches to the East of Palace Pier Beach and turns out to be less busy than Brighton Central.
The beach has been partially redeveloped into a sports complex with a volleyball court and a court for Ultimate Frisbee (who thought that frisbee sport is quite new will be as surprised as I was to read that it was developed in 1968 Long before that, in 1871 Yale students were tossing empty pie tins from the nearby Frisbie Bakery around, calling it frisbees and a guy called Fred Morrisson started the first frisbee business in 1938, when he was offered money for the cake pan he was tossing at the beach in Los Angeles).
Black Rock Nude Beach
is the beach just before Brighton Marina and claims to be the most popular naturist beach in the whole of Britain. If wearing anything it will be thongs, the shingles are not comfortable to walk on. The beach is popular for fishing and walking at night time.
The Undercliff Walk
The Undercliff Walk starts at Brighton Marina following the (sometimes 30 meters high) cliffs from Brighton to Newhaven connects the 3 small Gap beaches Ovingdon, Rottingdean, and Saltdean.
There is warning that several cliff fall accidents happened recently, so come prepared.
Brighton is Britains most popular seaside destination for overseas tourists, with 7,5 million day tourists per annum and 5 million visitors staying longer than the day.
It has been named the hippest and happiest place to live in in the United Kingdom, it has a large cultural art and music scene, and a large gay community and population, proudly labeled the unofficial Gay Capital of the UK.
Many of Brighton’s famous historical buildings were built in the Georgian and Victorian era, like the Royal Pavilion, the Grand Hotel, the seafront terrace houses and the West and Palace Piers.
The Royal Pavilion is the architecturally highly interesting (some call it somewhere between beautiful and slightly mad, looking at its onion-shaped domes and minarets) former royal palace built for George, Prince of Wales, who became Prince Regent in 1811 and later George IV. The building was started in 1787 and was extended into its current appearance in the so-called Indo-Saracenic style in 1815, the very popular style of architecture in British India at the time, its buildings still dominate the old city centers in India.
The best and most extravagant part of the Royal Pavilion is the inside though, with its gilded Banqueting Room, hand-painted Chinese wallpaper, carpets, and dragons.
The pavilion houses the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, with its two fascinating Egyptian galleries showing items collected by the famous Francis Griffith. (Griffith, a famous Egyptologist was born in Brighton, the Oxford University Griffith Institute is one of the most important institutes on ancient Egypt in the world, it has the original record of the Tutankhamon excavation – should you be interested).
If it is true that George regarded the Pavilion as a discreet location for meeting his lover (he married her in secret too), you can say Brighton’s other major building in the same architectural style that carries a sense of secrecy is the Sassoon Mausoleum, from where the buried bodies of the Sassoon family have been removed, and which today houses the alive members of the chic Hanbury Club, some of which may pity that the original gold leaf cover of the dome has disappeared.
Other landmarks are the two Piers, West Pier (closed since 1975), built in 1866 and Brighton Marine Palace Pier, built in 1899 and the Grand Brighton Hotel, the building wherein 1975 the IRA caused trouble trying to attack and kill the Thatcher cabinet. (This primarily nationalistic conflict in Northern Ireland, with historic Protestant and Catholic elements, was known as The Troubles). Today troubles seem far away if you are indulging in the Grand Brighton’s Spa or having high tea overlooking low tide in the Conservatory.
The British Airways ¡360 observation tower (2016) with 138 meters height definitely is a landmark. It is constructed by the same team as the London Eye but is slightly higher. The owner is West Pier Trust, which is hoping to raise enough funds to be able to rebuild the historic West Pier.
Brighton Marina is the beachfront area to go for food and drinks with cuisines from all regions and quay-side bars, before or after sunset.
Go for an Italian food course, be a conscious shopper at a Fair Trade store, or enjoy the latest movies or win some good cash for next day’s indulgence.
Don’t miss Brighton’s oldest seafood restaurant English’s of Brighton, famous for their oysters and signed photo’s of clientele including Charlie Chaplin – should one of his characters ever had troubles slurping his oysters in one of his films, at least you wouldn’t hear it.
Brighton’s large shopping center is at Churchill Square, only 5 minutes from the beach. Very convenient, if you like big shopping malls with over 80 shops, big brands, and food catering places.
The city is very proud of the fact that young Winston Churchill went to boarding school in Brighton. Well, in Hove, actually, in Brunswick area.
If you are the can’t stop shop type, North Lane area is worth it, with over 300 boutiques the largest selection of independent retailers along Britains South Coast.
Brighton is great at boasting festivals all year round, from the Beer Festival via Vegan Festival to the Science Festival, the Great Escape, Brighton and Hove Pride, “the country’s most popular LGBT event”, according to The Guardian, and many more – see visitbrighton.com/whats-on/festivals.
A special mentioning here for Brunswick Festival as one of the oldest festivals in Brighton, taking place in August in Hove.