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Brighton City Guide
Located on England's scenic south coast, the city of Brighton is best known for its quirky vibe, lively entertainment scene and inspired dining. More polished today than it was just a few years ago but still boasting an edge, modern Brighton is a melting pot of vibrant cultures, unique experiences and picturesque sights.
From pub hopping to strolling the promenade at sunset to taking in ground-breaking installations at upscale galleries, Brighton offers a wide selection of itinerary-filling ideas for an unforgettable getaway that finds the middle ground between a laid-back beach break and an exciting city holiday.
While its roots as a permanent settlement date back to ancient times, Brighton as it's known today began to take shape when it was given a charter in the early 14th century. New markets were set up to trade local goods, and Brighton eventually grew from a tiny fishing village to a bustling commercial centre.
Despite a series of setbacks — military conflicts, coastal erosion and the decline of the fishing industry that threatened to decimate the area's dwindling population — by the early 18th century, Brighton was growing again. Believing that seaside living could cure illness, wealthy visitors began to arrive in large numbers, bringing along new industries and turning the sleepy village into a booming resort town. Today, Brighton rates as Britain's leading seaside destination and one of the country's most progressive cities.
Things to Do
While the city's diverse shopping choices and growing number of innovative restaurants are major draws, Brighton is at heart a beach town. For a first-hand look at Brighton's eccentric beach scene, walk the famous waterfront stretch situated between the ruins of the historic West Pier and the energetic Brighton Pier.
You'll find plenty of sights worth stopping for along the way, including unobstructed views of the water, food kiosks serving the legendary fish and chips, bars, photo boards, games and thrill rides.
The Royal Pavilion
The Royal Pavilion gets top billing as the best attractions off the beach. Before being crowned King George IV, the Prince of Wales completed the magnificent Indian-inspired residence in 1823. To tour the palace interior during the busy summer months, booking a reservation in advance is mandatory.
For fans of shopping, a side trip to the Lanes area of Brighton is a must. Here, the charming winding streets are jam-packed with shops ranging from exclusive boutiques to designer outlets, delicious cafes and thirst-quenching pubs. At the end of the day, enjoy a fantastic sunset back on the promenade.
Outdoor Events and Festivals
Brighton is an all-season destination, hosting over 400 special events every year. In the winter, the highlight is the Brighton & Hove Half Marathon, one of the country's oldest and most popular races. As the weather warms up, the city's event schedule picks up speed.
In the summer months, Brighton hosts a variety of outdoor concerts, fairs and activities, including the annual Children's Parade in May, the two-week Take Part Festival in June and the Brighton Pride Party in August. While many events take place every year, dozens are added on an ongoing basis.
Where to Stay
The neighbouring towns of Brighton and Hove were joined together when they received city status in 2000, and they are home to a variety of accommodation ranging from luxury hotels to budget inns.
Stay in Brighton for an action-packed holiday and crowded streets that stay busy well into the night. Brighton is also a popular choice with business travellers who come here for exceptional conference facilities and corporate-friendly venues.
Hove is on the quieter side, which makes it a perfect pick for guests who want to have a relaxing break with easy access to the hustle and bustle of the city centre. No matter where you settle, getting around is a breeze.
Old Steine, a major thoroughfare that cuts through Brighton's Royal Pavilion Gardens, quaint shops and several public transportation hubs, connects the interior of the city with waterfront hotels and the vibrant Brighton pier.
In addition to local Brighton and Hove buses, the area is serviced by London's National Express bus service, frequent trains and multiple airports. While you can't fly directly into Brighton, travelling by rail from Crawley's Gatwick Airport, the UK's second largest airport, can get you into the city in about half an hour.
If you plan on travelling by car, keep in mind that traffic can be a problem, especially in the summer and during citywide events. To take advantage of free day parking, go to the local Park and Ride service site at Withdean Sports Complex Car Park.
Local buses run every 15 minutes from the adjacent Tongdean Lane. Overnight parking is available all year long in paid car lots, and taxis are easy to spot, especially near the Lanes. Because traffic can be a problem, exploring the city by bus or on foot is highly recommended.
Ready to book your dream Brighton holiday? Browse our selection of top hotels in the area to find your perfect match.
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Brighton hotels: zoom on the map to update the list
Featured Hotels in Brighton
Free WIFI & Leisure Club Access
Well located but quite pricey
Change of ownership, still good
17 Jubilee Street
Stay 3 nights, SAVE 20%
Great room, view of a brick wall
Nice weekend break
101 Stroudley Road
Book in advance and SAVE
No. 1 Kings Road
Winter Promotion Stay 2 nights and Save 10%
60-64 Kings Road
Stay 3 nights save 15%
Great Customer Service
35 Old Steine
Not too bad
139-141 Kings Road
Just below average
OK budget Hotel
2 night mid-week break
FREE Wireless Internet
Fabulous stay . Worth the extra cost .
143-145 Kings Road
Stay 3 save 15%
Good stop over. Needs refurbishing very worn.
Aweful Basement Room
10 Regency Square
2 Ship Street
149 Kings Road
Save 30% on your stay
Kings Road 137
Comfortable and excellent value
31-34 Marine Parade
Stay & SAVE!
Great stay - would stay again!
135 Kings road
The Kingsway Hotel
The Street, Bramber
Save 10% on your stay
12a New Steine
FREE Wireless Internet
22 White Horse
12-15 Kings Street
PLEASE CHECK VOUCHER FOR CHECK IN PROCEDURE
13 Upper Rock Gardens
10-11 New Steine
FREE Wireless Internet