Travel In Pictures Summer Season: Top 10 Reasons to Visit Brighton

Here’s my top 10 reasons to visit Brighton, UK!

You can be absolutely anything you want to be in Brighton, and no-one will bat a spangly faux-eyelash.

As Lonely Planet put it: ‘Whatever your flavour, you’ll find it in Brighton’. They said that about the Brighton Pride Festival – but for me, that just sums up all of Brighton all year round.

I’ve been a regular visitor to Brighton all my adult life and I simply adore it! I still always discover delightful new things on every trip.

So, to celebrate just my top 10 ‘flavours’ of this uniquely wonderful, colourful, vibrant, hedonistic, bohemian city – my Travel in Pictures feature is holding a Brighton ‘summer season’ – just like the variety performers and comedians used to do each year in the long-demolished theatre at the end of Brighton Palace Pier.

Brighton Place Pier Theatre Poster for Dick Emery, Brighton Museum, 2017
Brighton Place Pier Theatre poster advertising comedian Dick Emery’s summer season, in the images of Brighton collection at Brighton Museum

For now, here’s just a taster of each of my top 10 reasons to visit Brighton – running the full gamut from the tasteful to the gloriously tacky. Keep a lookout throughout August and beyond for more posts delving into them, with lots more pictures and review info.

1. The Beach & Seafront near West Pier

Brighton Beach and seafront is a long and glorious promenade, especially in the sunshine. My absolute favourite bit is the skeleton of the old West Pier sitting poignantly out to sea, giving just a whisper on the wind of the fun that must have been had there in a bygone age.

The arches along the beach have been converted into cafés, restaurants and arty independent shops. Near the West Pier end of the beach also is the fabulously futuristic new British Airways i360 – the world’s tallest moving observation tower, and Brighton’s take on the London Eye, up which you can take a trip. My post here gives you more details and pictures.

Brighton Beach, West Pier, Deck Chairs, 2017
Brighton Beach and the poignantly derelict West Pier

2. Brighton Pride

The city with the UK’s biggest LGBTQ scene is gearing up this very weekend 4 – 6 August 2017 for Brighton Pride, widely regarded as the best Pride event in the UK, and one of the very best in the world. The main parade, festival and after-party are on Saturday 5th. And I’m going! Hurrah!! (And since writing this originally, I’ve now been! You can see my pictures here of all the fabulously flamboyant goings-on).

Brighton Pride Brochure 2017
Brighton Pride Brochure 2017

3. The Royal Pavilion

In the late 18th century, the naughty Prince Regent, who later became King George IV, started building the extravaganza of over-the-top opulence that is the Royal Pavilion, so he could have top fun and be king of his own castle, without his father, King George III’s, prying gaze. Trust me, the interior is simply jaw-dropping – especially the banqueting hall and the music room – and you need to see it!

The Royal Pavilion on a grey day, Brighton, 2017
You’re not allowed to take photos inside the Royal Pavilion, and this exterior photo on a grisly day doesn’t do it justice. Just trust me and take a trip around it!

4. Street Art

Turn any corner in Brighton and you might encounter one, or several, of its murals or other examples of urban street art, some by individual artists like Minty who are becoming known in their own right as part of the city’s fabric. Tramping the streets to take in just some of this urban culture is worth a whole day tour in itself.

Brighton Street Art, Bill Murray by Minty, 2017
Brighton Street Art by Minty

5. The North Laine

If you’ve heard Brighton being described as London by the sea, then the North Laine is Camden Lock (errr, without the lock bit). Several largely pedestrianised streets offer up tons of one-off bohemian shops and cafés, as well as a great deal of the street art mentioned above. And one of my favourite nights out in Brighton is there, the fantastic Komedia and its Krater comedy club. There’s more pics and info about the North Laine in my post here.

Gardner Street, North Laine, Brighton, 2017
Gardner Street is one of the main happening streets in the North Laine

6. Brighton Palace Pier

Brighton Palace Pier conjures up and offers everything that a traditional day at the British seaside used to be – fish and chips, a pint of beer, a stick of rock, the helter skelter, ice cream, and the amusement arcade. And if you’re into looking at fish at the seaside rather than eating them with chips, then right beside it is the Brighton Sea Life Centre.

Carousel, Foot of Brighton Palace Pier, 2017
Carousel at the foot of Brighton Pier

7. The Lanes

The Lanes are a network of atmospheric, historic, twisting streets and alleys that once formed the original fishing village of Brighthelmstone. With their antique jewellery shops and some more mainstream restaurants, the Lanes have a more sedate and olde worlde, gentrified feel than the shopping area of the North Laine. Don’t miss at least a gawp, if not a purchase, at the truly astounding chocolate art at Choccywoccydoodah.
I’ve put more pics and info about the Lanes here.

The Lanes, Brighton, 2017
The Brighton Lanes

8. The Hotels

Hotel-wise in Brighton, your options range from scuzzy hostels, to elegant but faded grandeur, to cutting edge boutique, and everything in between. Brighton’s catering for all walks of life, remember?

A handful of the best hotels are a unique experience and a reason to visit Brighton on their own. My current favourite by far is the gloriously kitsch and decadent Hotel Pelirocco. Watch out for my review and more pictures coming soon.

Gold Legs, Bathroom, Hotel Pelirocco, Brighton, 2017
A little bit of kitsch decadence at Hotel Pelirocco

9. The Food Scene

You definitely get the full range of restaurants in Brighton. When I was there last month, I was delighted to revisit my old favourite Terre à Terre, which for me is a destination in its own right, ‘where vegetarianism is more about indulgence than abstinence’ – so my kind of place! And I finally tried for the first time Food for Friends, plus the seafood restaurant Riddle & Finns at the Beach, kooky Kooks in the North Laine, and a couple of the very many restaurants offering global cuisine on Preston Street. My reviews of all these restaurants and more are in my post on 6 must-try food experiences in Brighton.

Seriously good seafood by the beach at Riddle & Finns, 2017
Seriously good seafood by the beach at Riddle and Finns

10. Iconic History & Notoriety

As well as the iconic landmarks I’ve mentioned above that you can still see on a visit to Brighton, the city evokes so many other iconic images from British history, since George IV made it such a fashionable place to visit more than two centuries ago.

Famous in the sixties for clashes between mods and rockers, and furtive unmarried couples on illicit weekends, Brighton’s iconography has been immortalised in books like Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock (made into films in 1947 and 2010) and the film Quadrophenia. In 1980 Brighton opened the UK’s first naturist (nudist) beach (but I’m not going to be posting photos of that, in case you were getting your hopes up). And in 2010, the Brighton Pavilion constituency elected the UK’s first Green Party Member of Parliament. In your imagination you can immerse yourself in of all of this history and nostalgia as you walk Brighton’s streets.

Mods & Rockers, Brighton, 1964
Mods and rockers clash at Brighton Beach, 1964 (photo origin unknown – found on

Visiting Brighton: Basic Information

Where is Brighton?:  The City of Brighton & Hove is in East Sussex, in South-East England, UK. It was formed in 2001 when Queen Elizabeth II granted the neighbouring towns of Brighton and Hove city status as one city.

Getting there: Frequent trains to Brighton take just under an hour from London Victoria; half an hour from Gatwick Airport; and there is a direct rail link from the Eurostar terminal at London St Pancras. The VisitBrighton website has more detailed rail information, plus instructions for reaching Brighton easily by road, including when travelling from the nearest ferry terminals on England’s South Coast.

Getting around: Once you get there, Brighton is a city far better done on foot to get the full experience. It’s well served for very central car parks with some, like this one, being bookable in advance.

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15 thoughts on “Travel In Pictures Summer Season: Top 10 Reasons to Visit Brighton

  1. The first time I heard about Brighton is from the crimes series of Peter Jame’s Roy Grace. Your photos showed how I perfectly imagine Brighton. I can’t wait to visit it one day! x

  2. I love Brighton. We often go at the weekends as it’s so easy and fast to get to from London. Next time we go we will try kayaking! 🙂

  3. Interesting highlights about Brighton, you mentioned here. I have only been to London and nowhere else in the U.K. I’ll add Brighton to my list the next time I come around.

  4. Brighton seems to be underestimated, I don’t get to read much about it and yet there’s so much to do and see! We’d definitely dig a visit to the Royal Pavillion and maybe at the Palace pier, but I’m in love with street art and the fact that there’s so much over there makes it a destination I need to hit! Bucketlisted it!

    1. Oh fabulous Dany I’m delighted you’re inspired to visit, you won’t regret it! Later in August I’ll be doing one or two posts completely dedicated to the street art of Brighton, so watch this space…

  5. Love it! The first time I heard about Brighton was actually from the book “Pride and Prejudice.” Just like Lydia, I too want to go to Brighton! I had no idea there was a street art scene here!

  6. Brighton has two wonderful universities. My D Phil at Sussex started before Leo Abse’s bill was passed in parliament. The gay community was large, but underground. Gay Pride is so much better.

    1. Yes Pride is great. And it was heartwarming when I was there, and another quirky bit of Brighton life, to happen to see new graduates taking photos of each other in their caps and gowns along Brighton beach, before attending their graduation ceremony at the University of Brighton that afternoon

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