We all love the sea and a day out in Brighton, East Sussex, is the best place to be, especially when the sun is shining. With just an hour by train, a day trip from London to Brighton is the perfect place to relax by the sea, especially if you’re only enjoying a day off the coast. With its winding streets, rainbow shops and trendy cafes, 3.5 miles of waterfront and a selection of award-winning restaurants, Brighton has something for everyone. It can be difficult to plan a day trip to Brighton if you don’t know how to do it. That’s why we’ve put together the perfect day trip for Brighton as your guide. Don’t forget to bring the Stone Stick of Brighton before you go home!
(cover photo: Harry Knight)
How to plan a perfect day in Brighton:
How to arrange a daytrip to Brighton (Photo: paspoortstempels.nl)
Day in Brighton: From London
It’s easy to get from London to Brighton. The train leaves London in an hour and London Gatwick airport in just half an hour. Trains depart from St Pancras, Blackfriars, London Bridge and Victoria. Special offers are available upon reservation. By car, the door-to-door journey from London to Brighton takes about 2.5 hours.
Once arrived, the beach and the main tourist areas are just a few steps from the train station (ground floor).
Brighton Food: Breakfast of champions
Best breakfast Eet Alles serves the perfect breakfast in Brighton (Photo: paspoortstempels.nl)
One of my favourite places (perhaps my favourite) is the breakfast café, which is just a five-minute drive from the train station and serves the best breakfast in Brighton. Mange Tout is an independent bistro that serves breakfast/brunch, lunch and dinner using high quality ingredients from local production. It’s really small, so booking is recommended, but it’s the perfect place to party during the breaks for your day in Brighton.
One day in Brighton: Input strips
Start the day with an early morning walk on the famous Brighton Lane. Eat All is located at the top of North Lane and is therefore (and also offers a good start of the day) the perfect place to start your Brighton tour. The alleys usually form a maze of colorful streets with a mix of fashion boutiques, somewhat tired shops with strange clothes, hippies, sticky bastards and cafes. The atmosphere is pleasant, but gets very tense as the day progresses. So the morning is ideal when the shops are (usually) open – around 10.30am.
The potter is mainly there to observe people and curiosities, but I have a few favorites, including Powell Craft (a vintage clothing store), Pussy Home Boutique (an art nouveau clothing store), Toby Tiger (a children’s store), and Snooper’s Paradise (a vintage bric-a-brac store with hidden treasures). Also, if you couldn’t make breakfast or if you just want a treat, do you have a good excuse to go to the Gelato Gusto for an ice cream cake?
Brighton strange and colourful (Photo: Harry Knight)
Brighton Daytrip: Travelling to platform
Let’s face it, if you don’t live on the coast, the promenade is the biggest attraction in a place like Brighton. The slightly windy stone beach stretches 3.5 miles from Brighton Marina to Hove and embodies this classic British maritime personality. Think of striped deckchairs, Mr. Vans, fish and chips stands and open kiosks overflowing with inflatable neon ribbons. A closer look, however, will reveal more of the city’s character and personality.
Brighton is an undervalued place to relive the glory days of Victorian maritime culture and design. Madeira Drive and Terrace, which leads to the water and turns left, is a beautiful listed arcade designed by Philip Causton Lockwood. There is currently a major restoration project with 151 quay arches, which is considered to be the longest cast iron structure in the United Kingdom. From there you take the Volkselectric railway. Founded in 1883, the beautiful little train that runs along the beach is the oldest electric train in the world. (return journey, £5 per journey, summer season from April to October)
Historic Railroad near Brighton Beach (Photo: Lindsey Bridge)
On the way back to the dock you can’t miss the historic Brighton Palace Wharf. The attraction is open all year round for traditional British entertainment (more on this later). Continue your walk and you’ll see the dramatic, charred remains of the unfortunate West Pier. Built in 1866, closed in 1975, damaged by a storm in 1987 and then destroyed by a fire in 2003 (fortunately not?), the ghostly shell of Western Quay is currently the most photographed building in Brighton.
Most photographed place in Brighton (El gran sueño)
Walking along Kings Road, you’ll also find the recently restored The Grand in Brighton, with its glamorous wrought iron balconies. Then check out the charming Brighton Variety Ensemble, which was restored in 2009 in Victorian style. In fact, you can get married at a music tent, and it has also become a very popular Instagram venue for those who like to pose.
Victorian Pop Stand – Instagram Hotspot Photo: pasortstamps.de)
Day in Brighton: Lunch
Brighton Food: Best Fish and Frisian Brighton Beach
A day in Brighton isn’t official until you’ve tasted good old British fish and chips on the water. It’s fundamental, but it’s true. The freshly caught fish, pickled fries and sea breeze remind me of the rest we had as children. Maybe it’s all in my head, maybe it’s Brighton food, but fish and chips just taste better on the coast!
Bright Red Fish and Chips Melrose Brighton – Winner in the category Best Fish and Chips! (Photo: Heycatter)
There are many competitions, but the winner of the Best Fish and Chips Brighton category is Melrose Brighton, who won two years in a row against the British Airways i360 and the former West Pier. We have to come to an agreement. The location is perfect, you can choose to sit inside or outside, or order something to take with you to laugh on the beach. Cod and chips, £8.75, a bottle of white wine, £25, prosecco, £24, beer, £4.95, and if you feel good, half a dozen oysters cost £8.75 (all this plus 10% catering).
Cultlarve in Brighton (Photo: Chris Dickinson)
If fish and chips isn’t your thing, a quick search for the best food in Brighton will lead you to a discreet burger shop called Grubbs Burgers (no apostrophe…). Brighton’s iconic burger bar is very popular with locals, especially students. For £3.75 a burger and fries, I can see why. On the menu are many typical Brighton gourmets, such as the Malaysian hamburger (with peanut sauce and chili sauce) and mango curry, but the classic hamburger is also a delicious lunch. This independent network has several branches, but no locations. In Kempetown you will find a branch at 89 St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. James Street, on the hill above Volks Electric Rail Station.
per day in Brighton Beach
Finding a sandy beach in Brighton Beach (Photo: Helen Wright)
Brighton Beach is 3.5 miles from Brighton Marina at Hove Beach. Usually, however, everyone is on the same piece of land, which means that a wide pebble beach can be crowded on sunny days. The area around the Brighton Palace Pier, the Sealife Centre and the British Airways i360 is the busiest as it is closest to the shops, cafes and bars on the waterfront. The whole beach is predominantly rocky, but at low tide there are also sand plains. We try to avoid the large crowds gathering at the pier, where young drug addicts or groups of drunks often smoke, and walk for 10 to 15 minutes along the promenade to the slightly less crowded, more family-friendly beaches on the lawns of Houvah. As these are mainly residential areas, the intention is to prepare a picnic or store the necessary stuff before the descent. However, there are several beach bars and ice cream vendors along the way to the beach in case you need refreshing drinks.
Finding a good spot on the beach (Photos:Helen Wright)
Brighton can be windy, so even on the hottest days it never seems to cook. Beware of the deceptive breeze or you’ll get a sunburn for sure! The sea is cold, but people don’t seem to care, there are always people rowing, body surfing or swimming – even in winter! Nice boards and kayaks can be rented in the shops along the beach path, but this is not cheap (£17 per hour or £70 per day). At low tide, young children can row safely on the water. A day at the beach in Brighton is therefore cheap and family friendly. The sand gets bigger with the tide, but even then the stones can be sharp. So bring beach shoes or jam for adults and children.
Do you dare to swim? (Photo: Helen Wright)
If you want to swim to remove the cobwebs, I advise you to just jump or run into the sea. I’m warning you: Once you’ve soaked your toe, cold water can make you run away! For obvious reasons, everyone plans a trip to Brighton for the day when the sun shines, but even if the weather isn’t perfect, you can still enjoy the beach. Walking by the water’s edge, throwing stones into the sea and building a pebble castle – it’s all part of the fun – and it’s only for adults! Bring your own blanket and enjoy the view.
Pleasant to be, rain or shine (Photo: passport.uk)
Brighton Pier – Cool down in the wind
A day trip to Brighton wouldn’t be the same without a short walk along the jetty of the world-famous Brighton Palace! Class II pier, classified as a historical monument, was opened in 1899 and represents a return to family fun. A walk through the signs will take you past toffees and caramels, donut shops and local shopkeepers, a selection of flashy arcades and even a board game. There is a slightly worn out carnival with skids, wobbly roller coasters and Helter Skelters. For those who just want to relax, the sun loungers are set up in a decorative railing (£5 per hour) and offer stunning views of the coast.
sticky but nice berth (pictures: paspoort.uk stamps)
What else can you do in Brighton during the day:
British Airlines i360 Observation tower
British Airlines i360 seems a bit out of place at the front (Photo: Helen Wright)
Confession: I haven’t been on the i360 yet (Finn wants to ride it, so we’ll visit him next time). However, those I know who made the trip to the top have said that a 25 minute drive is fun and the view can be breathtaking. On a clear day some saw the Isle of Wight (64 miles!). The mobile observation tower, the tallest in the UK, reaches up to 450 feet and has a pole inside – that sounds great! Cheaper tickets are available if you book in advance online at britishairwaysi360.com (adults – £14.95. Children 4-15 years – £7.40).
Brighton ice cream and coffee
Another reason to go on British Airways flight i360 is to buy ice cream. I know, I know, you can buy ice cream anywhere. …but here’s the best part. The blue and white i360 Beach Level Van serves sweet ice cream from Callestick Farm in Cornwall and is delicious. You can’t miss it. Usually there’s a line. The cones cost £2 per large portion of chocolate chips and are supplied by licensed babies.
Fin knows where the ice cream is delicious! (Photo: Helen Wright)
Nearby is also the flour kitchen, a nice cafe built in the arches opposite the west pier. My picture (below) was taken during the pandemic when they were only open to carry, but they usually have outdoor tables in the sun and shade. The bakery offers pastries, brunch and handmade pizzas if you’re hungry, but I prefer the delicious coffee and banana bread. Get caffeine from your local coffee blend (a mixture of Colombian, Rwandan and Brazilian beans). Very, very good. For adults, at sunset, they serve wine and aperitifs…
Flower decanter on the beach – nice spot (Photo: passport stamps.uk)
Children’s rowing bath at the Brighton Quay
Summer fun on the beach of Brighton (Photo: paspoortstempels.nl)
If you are here with children, the last place to see on your trip to Brighton is the Kings Road Wading Pool. On the way to the beach, just behind the i360, there is a large playground with a huge shallow children’s pool, ideal for children to cool off if you don’t want them to relax by the sea. Fully equipped with fountains and nozzles, parents can sit on one of the nearby benches and enjoy a cappuccino from the flower tube while the children (big and small) enjoy themselves.
Day in Brighton: What are you doing tonight?
Where the sunset is visible in Brighton
(sunset on the coast Photo: Pass stamp.de)
On a clear day in Brighton you can enjoy the perfect view of the sunset from any point on the sunny beach. Because of the unique marking on the horizon it is the most popular spot opposite the west quay. This is a good starting point, because there are some nice spots along this road and you can walk along the promenade looking for different perspectives. The Art Deco building that houses Brighton’s Beach Club and Grand Tribune is also beautiful in the purple sky.
Evening meals and drinks in Brighton
Even if you’re only in Brighton for one day, the last train to London leaves around midnight. So you still have time to sample the best food and drink in one of Brighton’s top bars. With my three favorites, I’m gonna have it easier:
Brighton Pub: Mesmerist
(Photo: Laine Pub Co. Ellen Richardson)
This pub is a kind of cocktail bar / senior pub / concert hall / trendy decor in one, but I really like the atmosphere. In the afternoon you can have a quiet drink (the cocktails are delicious) and read the newspaper while a group of NCT mothers shiver in the corner with their babies. But it’s also likely you’ll meet a noisy chicken on the weekend, with pink tutus and an inflatable penis? At night, the atmosphere becomes denser and more fashionable as Brighton’s bar scene grows. You can even listen to live music anytime of the day. mesmerist.pub
Brighton Food: Dinner at Chilly Pickle
This place is a personal favorite. A contemporary vision of Indian street cooking: The varied pan-Indian menu includes several excellent common dishes, including kale and kurnet pacoras (6 pounds), cashmere sheep curry with Byrian rice and turnip riata (15 pounds) and crispy Vindaloo wings (8 pounds). The colourful dining room-style restaurant is usually very busy and the cocktails (£8) are also quite decent. If you’re in a hurry, a dining car in the street sells delicious Tajik railway boxes, which can be picked up from 16 pounds.
This Indian street restaurant is the trendy place for gourmets in Brighton (pictures: passports.uk).
Brighton Bar: Mixture
Sit on wooden crates, surrounded by beautiful lights and control your music with your own phone in this nice Brighton Bar. The vibrations are nice (watch out for chickens and deer!), and the drinks are cheap. Be careful, when you are in your thirties, aim for a small glass before you enter, otherwise you may feel very uncomfortable in the beginning.
Modern version of an old jukebox (Photo: paspoortstempels.nl)
Last train home:
Come back soon! Photo mrmole/Flickr)
Don’t miss the last train home! From the promenade and Camptown it’s a 15-minute walk to the train station. Times change, but the last train from London usually arrives around midnight. If you miss it, go back to the bar for a few hours, first train of the day at 3:30… Otherwise you should be able to find a cheap hotel for the night.
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