04 April 2024

How To Spend a Perfect Weekend in Brighton & Hove

Brighton and Hove makes for an ideal weekend getaway in the UK. Located on the Sussex coast 55 miles south of London, this seaside gem has it all: a bustling beachfront, labyrinthine lanes filled with independent shops and eateries, a thriving art and cultural scene and a bohemian, inclusive spirit. You can easily take a day trip but to make the most of all Brighton has to offer, why not spend the weekend there? Read on for my perfect Brighton and Hove weekend itinerary, filled with things to do and places to eat, drink, shop and stay. And scroll to the end for a map of everywhere featured in this guide.


10:00 — Coffee and breakfast

Brighton has a thriving speciality coffee scene and there is a whole host of excellent coffee shops within a short walk of the train station. Bond St CoffeeDandyPelicano and Triple Point are some of my favourites. Check out my Brighton speciality coffee guide for even more recommendations. You can pick up a pastry or other sweet treat at any of them, but for a bigger choice of breakfast bites and baked goods, try Flint Owl or The Flour Pot.

11:00 — History and culture on a walking tour

For a local's perspective and insights into Brighton's history and vibrant art and culture, consider joining a walking tour. Real Brighton Tours and Only in Brighton run informative and entertaining walking tours. Check out their websites for their latest schedules. If you prefer to explore by yourself, check out Brighton Museum & Art Gallery or the grand Royal Pavilion, completed in the early 19th century for the future King George IV. Don't miss the murals, street art and colourful houses in North Laine, especially in and around Trafalgar Street and Kemp Street.

13:30 — A taste of the sea

Head to the seafront for a bite to eat — I always find that seafood tastes better in the exhilarating sea air and with a sea vie (so does most food). When the weather is kind, it's a pleasure to get fish and chips from Regency and eat it on the beach. For a little more shelter, try Shelter Hall, which hosts a regularly changing selection of local street food vendors. For fancier seafood fare, check out Riddle & Finns' beachfront restaurant (they also have a branch in The Lanes). If you're seeking thrills or feeling lucky, head to the Brighton Palace Pier for a ride or to try your hand at one of the arcade games, respectively.

15:00 — Shopping and La(i)ne-hopping

Some of Brighton's best independent boutiques can be found in the maze-like collection of historic, brick-paved streets known as The Lanes. The nearby North Laine neighbourhood is less labyrinthine but just as enjoyable for a stroll and some shopping (or window shopping, at least). Together, these areas make for one of my favourite places to shop in the UK. I've listed some of my favourite shops below but these are just a few of the many highlights. 

DowseAbodeHOLD, WorkshopDormitory and &halt (gorgeous homewares); Posh Totty and Breakout Jewellery (jewellery); Covet , Tidy Street General StoreLucy & Yak and Sugarhill (women's fashion); Papersmiths (stationery); Era and Snoopers Paradise (vintage); PussyBert's Homestore and Toby Tiger (beautiful and/or useful gift ideas); and Resident Music (records).

19:00 — A delectable downtown dinner

Brighton has a diverse range of excellent restaurants. Whatever cuisine you feel like eating, Brighton is your oyster. Recently, I've enjoyed superb suppers at Embers (for wood-fired cooking and top-notch cocktails) and Tutto (for pasta and seasonal Italian sharing plates), while Dishoom Permit Room is a great choice for all-day dining inspired by the Irani cafés of Bombay. The menu features some Dishoom favourites and some unique to the Permit Room; for the best experience, go in a group and order a big selection of dishes to share. There are more restaurant recommendations listed on my Brighton map.

21:00 — Anyone for a nightcap?

Brighton is not short of drinking establishments. From historic pubs, to intimate cocktail spots and lively bars and clubs that keep the hen and stag parties dancing, there's something for every taste. The Golden Pineapple in The Lanes claims to have Britain's biggest selection of tequila and mezcal and it has a fantastic cocktail menu too. I also like the creative cocktails at The Plotting Parlour, which has locations in Kemptown and



9:00 — Morning swim by (or in) the sea

Lovely as Brighton's beaches are, the *glorious* English weather often means that the sea is less appealing for a swim. Sea Lanes, an outdoor pool and leisure complex a short walk east along the seafront from the Palace Pier, offers a more appealing alternative. Take a dip in the heated 50-metre pool (don't forget your swimming cap) or warm up in one of the sauna pods. Either way, you'll have worked up an appetite for breakfast.

10:30 — Brunch o'clock

17 GRAMS in The Lanes is one of my favourite Brighton brunch spots, with its extensive menu (including various veggie and vegan options) and great coffee, which they roast locally. Look for the giant Alice in Wonderland mural. Alternatively, head to Redroaster, which has several cafés with menus that offer more breakfasty brunch dishes as well as lunchier options. They also roast their own coffee, which is very good indeed. 

11:30 — Rove to Hove

Spurred on by your brunch, it's time to head back down to the seafront and stroll west to Hove. If it's a nice day, visit the i360, a 138-metre observation tower that offers excellent aerial views over Brighton and the surrounding Sussex countryside. Pay your respects to the remains of the ill-fated West Pier and take in the colourful beach huts in Hove. 

13:30 — Lazy lunch on Church Road

A couple of blocks in from the seafront, Church Road is the main drag in bohemian Hove, with its myriad eateries and boutiques. Scout out your perfect lunch venue, from Neapolitan pizza at Fatto a Mano and refined plant-based cuisine at Botanique, to shellfish and craft beer at The UrchinWild Flor isn't always open on Sundays, but their monthly Sunday Lunch Club — £50 for four courses — is very popular.

15:00 — Indulge your creative side

Continue west to the small but lovely Hove Museum of Creativity where art meets craft, and film meets fun for all the family. There are often activities for younger visitors and the gift shop is also a good place to pick up gifts or souvenirs.

16:00 — Coffee stop and final shop

Stop for coffee at Dharma, Wolfox or Small Batch, and drop by some of Hove's independent shops like VelvetImi LoaCity Books and Capsule Records. On the way back to central Brighton, don't miss Atelier Beside the Sea — one of my favourite boutiques — which sells jewellery, art, homewares and other lifestyle goods.

Getting there & around

Trains from London Victoria (Southern) and London Bridge/St Pancras (ThamesLink) usually take about an hour to reach Brighton's main station, although engineering works at weekends can add to this. The station is a short walk from the city centre but depending on where you are staying, London Road, Hove and Preston Park, among other stations, may work better. Central Brighton and Hove is small enough that it's easy to explore on foot but there's also a good network of local buses.

Where to stay

Artist Residence is a quirky, arty boutique hotel on Regency Square, one block from the seafront near the i360. The eclectic rooms are cosy and comfortable — I was in the attic and although my room was small, it had a lovely sea view. There's also a fab bar and restaurant on the ground floor.

I stayed most recently at the Hotel du Vin, on Ship Street in The Lanes — a pebble's throw from the sea, as they put it. I've been to various Hotel du Vins over the years and they are one of my favourite boutique hotel brands. Instead of a number, each room is named for a different wine and is tastefully decorated and very well appointed. Although I stayed in the smallest room type ('cosy'), I had a little private terrace area, which was a nice touch. The restored 19th century building also features a great French bistro and bar.

My Brighton & Hove map

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