I’ve lived in Brighton for four months and I do believe that the city is one of the best places for tourists to visit and locals to explore their hometown. I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I loved showing my visitors around much to their surprise how much they experienced this coastal English resort place.
Now, that I have left the city and moved back up north, I think it’s high time to show you what I believe are the 10 best places in Brighton that you MUST absolutely see.
1. Brighton Pier
You haven’t visited Brighton properly if you didn’t set one foot on its very own grand Brighton Pier. Full of tacky stalls, Brighton Pier does exude a certain charm as you stroll down upon the wooden planks that keeps all the attractions above water in the refreshing sea air. Don’t forget to play the amusements in good old British fashion and if you dare, take a rollercoaster ride above water! The best attraction for me was definitely taking use of the deck chairs that are supplied free of charge for use on the Pier. Slurping with an ice cream, you can sit and watch the tourists and locals marvel at the games on show.
2. The Gay Bars
Along the sea front west of the Brighton Pier lies a host of the best gay bars to be found in Brighton. Charles Street, R Bar and Legends are the most popular and you are guaranteed a good night out with cheesy and pop music blaring out its doors. For a drag queen show, definitely head on over to Legends to tickle your fancy. For a chilled out and classy vibe, Charles Street has an outdoor seating area coupled with the best cocktails to be found. For cheap drinks and a good dance, R Bar will have your raving until dawn especially their Revenge Nightclub. I’ve taken many visitors, whether straight or gay, to these bars and all had a brilliant time especially when they gained the mobile phone numbers of both men and women a like!
3. Sawadee Restaurant
For me, Sawadee is arguably Brighton’s best restaurant. I have never been disappointed and the food is truly delicious! My signature dish there has to be the Red Thai Curry with Pork and I always ask for their truly scrumptious Sticky Rice. The service is attentive and the red wine is a huge hit. I always bring my visitors here and we go away full to the brim appreciating the finest food on offer. They can be found in Kemp Town on St James Street.
4. North Laines Pub
This quirky and busy pub has its own singular attraction. It’s actually a brewery as well continuing a heritage in Brighton. Barrels of Ale line the walls of the North Laines Pub creating a stylish and ambient vibe that could easily make this as the best social hub in town. Food is readily served here and the staff are extremely friendly wanting you to try on their special beers including Porter and IPA. If you want to start your night out, this is the place to go.
5. Brighton Royal Pavilion
You can’t miss the Brighton Royal Pavilion if you are walking through town. (Don’t drive, the Green Party in Brighton hates this). Built for the Prince Regent in Georgian times, this royal palace was home to the finest collections of art and extravagance as you will see when you walk through different themed rooms. Just remember to catch your mouth as it falls open when you visit the Banquet Room, it’s grandness scale is off the charts! Now, a public museum, it’s a great way to see Brighton at its glamorous best. Don’t forget to take a spot of cream tea in its sun-lit balcony observing the beautiful botanical gardens below.
6. West Pier
A far cry from a derelict condemned building, the West Pier stands as a proud symbol for many of Brighton’s residents. Once, Britain’s most famous pier for a century and a half, its structural remains still stand after a fire that gutted and ripped apart the architectural beauty. The West Pier looks like a ghost on the sea but today, it is Brighton’s most photographed building. Since 1975, it has been declared unsafe and recent batterings from storms has damaged it further still. A wonderful experience to sightsee a landmark from its pillars on the beach.
7. The Kissing Policemen
Banksy has hit Brighton. On the side of the Prince Albert Pub on Trafalgar Street under the Brighton Train station, his street art graffiti has brought many of the world’s attention to this English coastal city. The pub landlord agreed to have a Banksy on his building but did not expect how popular it would be. He thought he would get into utmost trouble when a car full of uniformed officers pulled up in front of the pub but was amazed when they started taking pictures with it and joking about it. It’s quirky and really adds to the fact that Brighton is arguably Britain’s most gay-friendly city.
8. Preston Park
If you are looking for somewhere to relax, enjoy an event or do exercise, Preston Park is the place to be. This park remains green throughout winter due to Brighton’s ‘lost’ river that runs underneath and offers a haven for the residential areas surrounding it. On a hot summer’s day, the park is taken over by picnickers, dog walkers and families all looking to share the community spirit. Preston Park does play host to various key events that takes place throughout the year whether they are Brighton Pride, Brighton Festival or sporting events including the Brighton Marathon. However, if exercise is your thing then many paths criss cross the park offering a refuge for joggers. But for cyclists, there is a large velodrome with a lap of half a kilometre. To get there, head north from Brighton or jump on a train, which takes a minute from Brighton Train Station.
9. North Laines
Walking through the North Laines is a delight on your senses. As Brighton’s cultural and bohemian quarter full of quirky independent boutique shops and stalls, North Laines has become Brighton’s popular place to hang out on a weekend for tourists and locals alike. All sorts of characters can be found here at the many colourful bars and cafes serving tasty cuisine and independent drinks. It’s a delightful way to spend an afternoon giggling with your friends and the smell of aromatherapy hangs about creating a very chilled out atmosphere within. Bargain prices for fashionable clothes can be found here. The North Laines can be found behind the Brighton Pavilion, underneath the Brighton Train Station and within the roads adjacent to North Road.
10. Brighton Beach
Now, this you have to see. Brighton’s beach is different to that of other beaches around the UK as rather than sand lining the beach, it’s actually in fact pebbles broken off from the cliffs further to the west. But it doesn’t stop many locals and tourists from settling on the very comfy setting before going in for a dip in the water. Quaint art galleries, souvenir shops, ice cream stands and plenty of bars and restaurants line the beach front. The best way I find is to grab a newspaper full of fish and chips, an ice cream (with flake of course) and a bundle of enthusiasm to enjoy the sights of what Brighton has to offer for you.
So what do you think? What are your favourite places in Brighton?
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- Piers and Queers Tour of Brighton
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