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Reasons you should go to Brighton, England
January 3, 2023
A favorite seaside resort of Londoners, Brighton is worth a stop for a day or two. Only an hour by train from the capital, “London-by-the-Sea” embodies the legendary British eccentricity.
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To believe you are in India and China
The Royal Pavilion is an architectural curiosity. From the outside, it looks like an Indian palace with its dome, bulbs and minarets. But once inside, you feel transported to the China of the past. Bamboo stairs, dragons wrapped around golden columns, tapestries representing Chinese myths… So many “chinoiseries” that reflect the legendary eccentricity of the British, in particular that of King George IV who established his seaside residence here in the early 19th century. Throughout its two centuries of existence, the building has served many functions, including as a hospital for Indian casualties during World War I.
For its waterfront and pier
One of Brighton’s most iconic landmarks is not quite on land and not quite at sea. It’s the Brighton Palace Pier. Opened in 1899 at the height of the sea bathing craze, this pier is a place of fun for young and old. It hosts a casino, arcade games, an amusement park and many stalls where you can taste the traditional fish & chips.
A few hundred meters to the west is another pier… but “vertical”. This is where the British Airways i360, the world’s tallest moving observation tower (162 m), designed by the architects of the London Eye, was imagined. The circular, all-glass observation platform rises to an altitude of 138 meters like an elevator in five minutes. On a clear day, you can see the cliffs of the Sussex coast and even the Isle of Wight, 60 km away. In spring and summer, a steam train, the Volk’s Electric Railway, runs along the shingle beach for 1.6 km between the aquarium and the marina (Brighton Marina).
Brighton is known for its pebble beach, which is a popular place for swimming, sunbathing and other beach activities.
For its chic and bohemian streets
Between the waterfront and the city center, you can enjoy getting lost in the Lanes area, Brighton’s historic heart. Here you will find a succession of antique shops, jewelry stores, fashion boutiques and traditional pubs known to be haunted by ghosts. Not far from there, change of scene with North Laine. This is Brighton’s bohemian neighborhood, the equivalent of Camden Town in London. Tea rooms, organic restaurants and contemporary art galleries rub shoulders with record shops, vintage clothing boutiques and recycling workshops. Most of the facades and urban equipment are covered with colorful frescos. And for good reason, North Laine is also a mecca for street art.
For its countless festivals
Whatever the month of the year, Brighton lives to the rhythm of festivals. The seaside resort celebrates science (Brighton Science Festival in February), beer (Sussex Bier & Cider Festival in March) and the arts. Paddles and kites even get their 15 minutes of fame in July. The Brighton Festival is the most popular event: in May, the seaside resort welcomes more than half a million festival-goers who come to enjoy theater, music, literature and performing arts. In August, Brighton Pride is held, the largest LGBT Pride march in the UK. The complete list of festivals is available on the Brighton tourist office website.
To walk on the chalk cliffs
The chalk cliffs, true symbols of the coastline of southern England, start at the eastern exit of Brighton. But to admire the most beautiful and famous of them, the best is to go to Seaford, accessible in 45 minutes with the bus n°12, nicknamed “The Coaster”. This is where the Seven Sisters Natural Park begins, a succession of seven white chalk cliffs caressed by the waves of the English Channel. A hiking trail (South Downs Way) runs along the cliffs between Seaford and Eastbourne (10 km). These cliffs remind, in France, those of Étretat in Normandy or those of Cap Blanc-Nez in the Pas-de-Calais.
For the various activities
Brighton is located near the South Downs, a beautiful area with many hiking and cycling trails. The city is also close to Brighton Marina, which is a popular place for water sports. The South Downs are a range of chalk hills located in the south of England that stretch from Winchester in the west to Eastbourne in the east. They are a popular destination for outdoor activities such as walking, cycling, and horse riding, and offer beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. The South Downs are also home to a number of small towns and villages, as well as stately homes and gardens. The South Downs National Park, which was established in 2011, covers a large part of the hills and is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including rare species of butterflies and birds. The South Downs are a popular destination for tourists, who come to enjoy the area’s natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities.
Going out and partying
Brighton has a thriving food and nightlife scene, with a wide variety of restaurants, bars and clubs. The city is known for its diverse food options, including seafood, vegetarian and international cuisine. Popular clubs include:
The Coalition: This is a popular club that has several rooms featuring different styles of music, including hip-hop, house and techno. It is known for its lively atmosphere and regular DJ nights.
The Funky Fish: This legendary club has been around for decades and is known for its reggae and ska music. It is a popular venue for live music and DJs.
The Arch: This club has several rooms with different styles of music, including techno, house and hip-hop. It is known for its state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems.
The Haunt: This is a popular club that features a variety of music styles, including indie, rock and electronic. It is known for its live music and DJ nights.
Patterns: This is a club and concert hall that offers different styles of music, including electronic, hip-hop and indie. It is known for its intimate atmosphere and regular DJ nights.
Where to stay in Brighton:
Brighton has a developed hotel offering for all budgets. The Grand Brighton Hotel embodies the spirit of the seaside resort. Located on the seafront, this four-star hotel has 201 rooms and suites spread over seven floors. Opened in 1864, the Italian-Victorian style hotel has a spa, a gym and a restaurant with terrace. From £70/€80 for a single room, £100/€113 for a double room, including breakfast.