South London has most things that anyone could want, but something we haven’t got is the seaside. For as long as chilling out on the beach has been popular, Brighton has been the go-to destination for south Londoners. Here we give you our personal insights into how you can have fun in London-by-the-Sea.
Getting There and Getting Around Parking can be a nightmare and very expensive too, so book in advance and take the train – regular services go from Blackfriars, London Bridge, Clapham Junction or East Croydon. Brighton is very walkable, but if you’ve got bikes, take them with you as you can ride for miles along the coast and elsewhere on dedicated cycle paths. One favourite route is eastwards via the marina and the spectacular ‘Undercliff’ finishing at Saltdean with it’s newly refurbished Art Deco lido. Brighton also has its own bike hire scheme.
The Sights An absolute must is the Royal Pavilion. It’s official description as an ‘exotic palace’ doesn’t come close – the exterior is impressive enough but take the tour and you’ll be utterly gobsmacked by the unlikely but glorious collision of styles and colours you’ll find inside. Other well-known sights include the Palace Pier and the BA i360 for the best view in town.
Shopping The Lanes, the dense network of alleyways near the centre, offer major browsing opportunities, particularly for jewellery and fashion, while the North Laine is the place to go for lovers of all things vintage and retro along with original art and photography. One favourite of ours with top quality photos of Brighton and the South Downs is Brighton Photography Gallery near the i360.
Eating and Drinking Try these favourites of ours. For the best coffee in town as well as very decent food go to Red Roaster on St. James St. If you can get an outside table it’s also one of the best places anywhere for people-watching. In the Lanes, try Cafe Coho on Ship St. – a sunny spot with plenty of outdoor tables. For small plate dining with an open kitchen providing the cabaret, go to chef Michael Bremner’s 64 Degrees (booking essential), while if fish and seafood is your thing there’s nowhere better than Riddle & Finns.
Nightlife There’s something for every taste, but one place we’d like to highlight is Komedia, a brilliant venue for comedy, music and club nights. With table service for drinking and dining for many events, its top rating is fully deserved.
Finally, awaydays are great, but away weekends are even better! For a really special occasion, you can’t beat the magnificent Grand Hotel, now newly restored to its former glory.
Enjoy your stay!