Only an hour-long train from London via Thameslink, Brighton is the ultimate go-to seaside destination. On the glorious Southern coast of England, Brighton has sunny weather, gorgeous beaches but more importantly, an incredible food and drinks scene.
Attractions & Things to see in Brighton
Brighton Palace Pier is probably the most famous attraction; it is both an iconic landmark and a centre for entertainment. Opened in 1899, the pier is over 500 metres long and home to fairgrounds ride, bars and restaurants as well as deck chairs to enjoy the seaside views.
For those who love pretty historical landmarks, I also recommend checking out the Royal Pavilion. A Grade I listed building and formal Royal residence, built as a seaside retreat for King George IV. It has an exotic style of architecture with its unique Indo-Islamic exterior.
The Lanes and North Laine are a must-see for anyone visiting Brighton. The pretty and charming, narrow streets of the Lanes are packed with upmarket restaurants, quaint tea rooms and traditional pubs. At the centre lies a warren of narrow, twisting alleyways filled with independent jewellers and tiny, high-end antique shops. The North Laine also has some fantastic restaurants, bars as well as quirky alternative shops.
Food & Drink
Brighton is my favourite city outside of London for food and drink. There are so many fantastic restaurants and bars in Brighton offering all sorts of different cuisines at a high quality. You can get London quality cocktails which is vital for me! I also really love the street food and craft beer scene in Brighton.
One of the key reasons we return to Brighton so often is to visit The Pond. An independent pub in the North Laine serving up the best selection of craft beer from all over the planet including their very own Pondwater Pale Ale. Food-wise, they do delicious Taiwanese steamed buns from the highly-rated Baby Bao. I am obsessed with their karaage fried chicken bao however their pork belly classic bao, grilled shrimp and roasted cod bao are also insane. The mac & cheese side is to die for! Their buns are especially good as they are so big and with a huge amount of filling.
Riddle & Finn
Being on the seaside, you have to have some oysters! I am a huge oyster fan, and you don’t get them fresher than on the beachfront. Riddle & Finn is one of the best champagne and oyster bars, located in the Lanes and on the beach. Riddle & Finn is a household name in honest, quality and local seafood. I recommend making a reservation in advance as they get busy and booked up fast, especially in peak season.
The Copper Clam
The Copper Clam, located next door to Riddle & Finn on the beach, is also a great one for oysters. We enjoyed fresh Jersey oysters at The Copper Clam with a Kilpatrick flavour; bacon, Worcestershire sauce and parmesan. We also really liked the Rockefeller with spinach, parmesan, Pernod and bread crumbs. Both places are beautiful on the beach for a picturesque setting.
The Olive Garden
Lastly, for those like me, who love Mediterranean food, The Olive Garden is another favourite of mine. Not only do they serve fantastic wine and food, but the outside seating in the yard is beautiful. On a sunny day, sipping wine and small plates, it is easy to forget where you are. The menu has flavours ranging from as far west as Portugal, moving through Spain, South of France, Italy and reaching the eastern coast of Greece. I particularly enjoyed the courgette and feta dumplings, the soutzoukakia and the tiger prawns. The staff were also very friendly and made the whole experience effortless and enjoyable.
Places to Stay
For Londoners, it is super easy to do Brighton as a day trip with the travel time less than around an hour and the cost of a day return train ticket being from £5 (Trainline). However, for those who want more than just a day in this glorious seaside paradise, I have a couple of great hotel recommendations. I am quite particular about hotels. I like arty, modern hotel room decor with lots of character.
The Harbour Hotel
The Harbour Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel and spa located at the bottom of West Street, which is basically down the road from the station. The hotel has a very quirky, stylish design with sizeable retro artwork, colourful walls and with all the small touches just being on point. I loved that they have gin and sherry in all their rooms so you can pour yourself a lovely welcome drink on arrival or enjoy a nice little nightcap before bed. The rooms are excellent with fantastic sea views and large beds.
The subterranean spa was super relaxing, built within an old smugglers’ tunnel beneath the seafront. The spa featured a heated indoor pool, sauna, steam room, Scandinavian hot tubs, hydrotherapy pool, and gym. I had a full body massage during my stay, which I highly recommend!
The hotel bar and restaurant – Harby’s – also did great cocktails, great burgers and a fantastic breakfast in the morning. I recommend booking direct and checking their offers page as you can get some incredible deals.
Another favourite hotel of mine is Artists Residence. Centrally located on Regency Square, Artist Residence is a boutique hotel with stylish rooms, sea views and a buzzing cocktail bar. Creative, bohemian and downright eccentric is the best way to describe the decor of the interiors. I love that there is so much artwork in all the rooms. This is as a result of artists being offered a free stay in exchange for services. The Clubhouse is a neighbourly restaurant and bar. Light and airy cafe-style serving long lazy brunches, excellent coffee and great cocktails. Complete with quirky neon lights and gorgeous sea views.
For more travel recommendations by The Very Hungry Charlotte, See here.