50 things you must do in Brighton

Published On July 17, 2014 | By Celia Mullins | Best of Brighton, Things to do features

If you’re just visiting and want to make the most of your trip or if you’re a local who’s never quite “done Brighton”: Here is your official Brighton bucket list – the 50 things you MUST DO while you’re in this glorious city. Visiting with family? Check out our guide to Brighton’s best family activities. Strapped for cash? There’s plenty of activities that won’t break the bank in our Free Things to do in Brighton guide. Enjoy!

1. Take a stroll down Brighton Pier

Take a stroll down the legendary Brighton Pier! Ride on the death defying super booster, visit the horror hotel or win a giant cuddly toy on the Hook a Duck. Or just relax in a deckchair and enjoy the view with some fish and chips.

Things you must do in Brighton2. Delve through Snoopers Paradise

Snoopers Paradise is one of England’s best loved flea markets. It’s a heaving warehouse of antiques, bric- a brac, vintage and retro curiosities boasting 7000 square feet over two floors. Upstairs, Snoopers Attic is a vintage lover’s dream. The boutique sells everything from vintage clothing to home wares to hand- crafted jewellery.

3. View Brighton’s best Street Art

Brighton’s street art scene is second to none and the city is the canvas for some pretty special pieces. Huge murals adorn buildings for example Kensington Street’s  famous Run DMC Mural which features Jam Master Jay playing chess over two facades. Brighton was also the setting of an original Bansky: “The Kissing Policemen”. It’s now been sold but has been recreated in it’s original position – the side of the Prince Albert pub in Trafalgar Street.

4. Shop in The North Laine

Much of Brighton’s hippy-fied culture is concentrated in North Laine – the nerve centre of Brighton’s colourful character. It’s Made up of over 400 unique and independent shops, eateries and entertainment venues.  It’s also great for people watching, window shopping and general meandering.

5. Get lost in The Lanes

Get lost in the twisting maze of quaint shops and independent boutiques that is The Lanes. Squeeze down a skinny alleyway to find a blend of antiques and jewellery shops nestled alongside specialist contemporary and designer boutique fashion as well as coffee shops and restaurants. Best explored aimlessly.

 Things you must do in Brighton6. Browse the chocolatey delights at Choccywoccydoodah
Chocolate meets art in this world famous cathedral of  chocolate. A dedicated team of artists, designers and chocolatiers specialise in creating decadent, bespoke wedding cakes, chocolate birthday cakes and unique chocolate gifts. Visit the Brighton branch on Meeting House Lane to buy, eat or just window shop these beautiful creations.
7. Catch a show at Komedia
Brighton’s comedy HQ, Komedia is the one of the south’s most popular comedy clubs and the place to go for live music, spoken word or a trip to the cinema. The premier show is Krater Comedy Club where you can eat, drink and watch four quality stand-ups.
8. Go kayaking in the sea

Or try scuba diving, wakeboarding and paddleboarding! Make the most of the beautiful briny sea and hire a kayak for an hour with Brighton watersports or book a scuba diving course with fully qualified instructors at Brighton Scuba Diving

9. Visit the ruins of the Old Pier

The skeletal silhouette of the shabby West Pier has become an attraction in it’s own right. Built in 1866 by Euginius Birch, it has been closed and deteriorating since 1975, battling through several devastating fires and storms.

10. Go veggie

It comes as no surprise that Brighton has a thriving veggie scene. Go to VegFest or Sample the cuisine at one of Brighton’s top restaurants: Terre a Terre, Food for Friends and Iydea are some of the best in the veggie genre.

11. Go for breakfast at Breakfast at Tiffany’s

This greasy spoon is a Brighton classic. With branches in The North Lane, York Place and Hove, Breakfast at Tiffany’s offers a wide range of cheap and cheerful fodder. This is one of the most famous breakfast joints but it certainly isn’t the only one! Find the best places for breakfast in Brighton HERE

12. Visit Brighton Dome

This is the south coast’s premier multi- arts venue! Brighton Dome brings arts alive presenting and producing over 600 events with the local as well as nationally and internationally acclaimed acts in music, theatre, dance, comedy, literature, spoken word, visual arts, film, digital and more.

Things you must do in Brighton13. Do Pride

Brighton Pride has risen to become one of the most fabulous Pride Festivals in the UK. It’s a celebration of all that’s great about the city and its vibrant LGBT community. Pride returns for 2014 with The World’s A Disco Parade, the Pride Festival in Preston Park and many other events throughout the weekend.

14. Run or watch the Brighton Marathon

The Brighton Marathon is one of the UK’s favourite 26.2 milers. Running against a stunning seaside backdrop the race gets bigger and better every year. If you can’t be dealing with all that exercise nonsense, join the spectacular crowd – this race is renown for its buzzing atmosphere!

15. Take a date to Big Screen on the Beach

Every summer Brighton Big Screen brings a huge 100 square ft LED screen to the beach showing top sporting events, blockbusters and old school classic films. It’s a free outdoor cinema in a gorgeous seaside setting offering a diverse line up to suit all tastes.

16. Get your kit off for The Naked Bike Ride

Part of the World Naked Bike Ride, the Brighton event celebrates bikes and bodies, protests against car culture and demonstrates cyclists’ power and vulnerability. It’s also great fun! The event incorporates a naked lunch, a seaside bike ride in the buff, a paddle in the sea and a naturist beach picnic!

17. Great Escape

A major three day music festival held across the city of Brighton and Hove every year in May showcasing new music from a variety of genres. The festival was founded in 2006 and hosts around 300 bands across 30 venues.

18. Brighton Fringe Festival

Brighton Fringe is the largest arts festival in England and one of the largest fringe festivals in the world. This is an open – access festival which means anyone can put on an event and be included in the festival programme while enjoying  a friendly and supportive environment where any art form can be included.

Things you must do in Brighton19. Burn a lantern at Burning of the Clocks

Burning the Clocks is a unique community event where the shortest day of the year is celebrated. Make your own paper and willow lantern, parade them through the city and then pass them into a blazing bonfire on Brighton Beach.

20. Pet a starfish at the Sea Life Centre

Situated right on the sea front, Sea Life Brighton is the world’s oldest operating aquarium: complete with octopuses, seahorses, turtles, clownfish and sharks. Pet a crab or starfish in the interactive rockpool and watch the feeding demonstrations.

21. Catch a movie at the Duke of York’s Picture house

Situated on London Road, the Duke of York’s Picturehouse is a stunning building who’s auditorium seats 283  people. Opened on 22 September it claims to be the oldest cinema in continuous use in Britain. The building remains largely unaltered, it even retains one of it’s boxes in the balcony area. The picture house plays one offs, all nighters, blockbusters, cult classics and more.

22. Get a history lesson at the Royal Pavillion

This historical architectural gem that was built in the Indo- Saracenic style as a royal seaside retreat for George Prince of Wales who became Prince Regent in 1811. Lounge in the lush gardens or explore it’s palacial interiors.

23. Welcome in The London to Brighton Veteran Car run

Taking place on the first Sunday in November, the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run ends in the largest gathering of veteran cars. With a spectacular show of cars built before 1905 at Madeira Drive.

24. Go on a tour

Brighton has a cracking selection of walks and tours including ghost walks, a tour of the old police cells and tour of Brighton’s sewers! Read our guide to the Brighton’s best tours HERE

Things you must do in Brighton25. Get naked at the nudist beach

Brighton made a little bit of seaside history in 1980 when it opened  the UK’s first public naturist beach. The strip of beach is situated just before black rock at Duke’s mound and is officially known as the Cliff Bathing Beach. At the landward end of the beach the shingle is banked up to form a screen between the beach and the road.

26. Go to the beach!

There’s absolutely heaps to do on Brighton’s pebbly shores! Go for a swim and a sunbathe or visit some of the sea front’s main attractions from seafood bars to beach sports to a sand sculpture museum. Read our guide to the best things to do on Brighton Beach HERE

27. Visit The Booth Museum of Natural History

Founded by Edward Booth in 1874 the Booth Museum is all about birds, butterflies, fossils, bones and skeletons. Natural history is brought to life with interactive displays and ‘hands on’ activities.

28. Support The Seagulls at Brighton and Hove Albion FC

The 93m construction saw the 30,750 Falmer stadium officially opening in 2011. In May 2012 the stadium won the New Venue Award at the Stadium Business Awards. Get down there and cheer on Brighton!

29. Shop at the New Open Market

The regenerated Open Market has at its heart fresh, nutritious, local and quality goods and reflects current concerns over health and environmental sustainability. It’s all about supporting local producers and working with products that are ethically beneficial.

30. Fill your face at Street Diner

Brighton’s hottest weekly street food market offers a sumptuous range of the world’s tastiest dishes. Street Diner comes to Queens Road BN1 1YD on Fridays/Saturdays and Hove Town Hall BN3 4AH  on Wednesdays. Open from 11am to 3pm.

Things you must do in Brighton31. Go for dinner and a show at Proud Cabaret

Proud have reopened the historic venue as a retro supper club offering a sumptuous 3 course menu with cabaret and burlesque performances before, during and after dinner. Get dressed up and enjoy the glamour of yesteryear in this den of vintagey decadence!

32. Shop for art at the Artist Quarter on the sea front

The Artist Quarter can be found on Brighton seafront just west of Brighton Pier on the lower promenade. Here, more than a dozen artists produce and sell from their studios, (formerly fishermen’s arches)

33. Take a trip down the seafront on The Volks Railway

Volks railway is the world’s oldest operating electric railway, opened on 4th August 1883. It takes up to eighty passengers along the beach from the Palace Pier to Black Rock and Brighton Marina.

34. Go for a day at the races

Brighton Racecourse is one of the most vibrant tracks in the South of England- home to 21 exciting flat racing fixtures between April and October. Keep an eye out for the tracks most popular dates, John Smith’s Raceday and the glamorous Ladies Day.

35. Paddle Round the Pier

Paddle Round The Pier (or ‘Paddle’) is The world’s biggest FREE beach and water-sports festival. It runs every year on the beautiful venue of Hove Lawns and features the very best in water, street & urban sports, live music, kids’ entertainment, ‘have a go’ opportunities and much, much more.

36. Visit Brighton Fishing Museum

Uncover the history and heritage of Brighton’s fishing industry through a wealth of photographs, remarkable artefacts and restored traditional Sussex clinker fishing boats. The museum is situated in the Fishing Quarter where locally caught fish and shellfish arrive every day for you to snap up.

 

Things you must do in Brighton37. Sip champagne and gulp oysters at Riddle and Finns

With branches in The Lanes and overlooking the beach, Riddle and Finns has become a household name in quality seafood, oyster and Champagne dining. Their dishes feature the freshest seasonal seafood, crustacea, meat and vegetables, as well as wines and Champagnes from the extensive menu.

38.Take a pleasure flight over Brighton

Brighton Scenic runs pleasure flights over Sussex and the South Coast. Relax and Enjoy a Scenic Tour from £46 each in a comfy four seat Cessna. The tours are unique – discover Brighton from above with a pilot as your guide!

39. Experience LGBT Brighton

From seafront clubs to Big Bear weekenders to the mammoth annual Pride event, Brighton’s famous LGBT scene is thriving. Go on a night out to Revenge, Brighton’s gay club in chief. Make sure you check out nationally acclaimed Brighton Pride, a celebration of all that is fabulous about Brighton and Hove!

40. Brighton Art Gallery and Museum

Set in the heart of the city’s cultural quarter, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery is a free to view municipally owned pubic museum and art gallery in the city. It’s rich collections and exciting exhibits are dynamically displayed in stimulating surroundings.

41. Ride on Brighton Wheel

Enjoy the best views of Brighton from Brighton Wheel as your sky voyage takes you 50 metres above sea level in a fully air conditioned capsule. The cultural and heritage commentary is supplied by comedy legend Steve Coogan.

42. Enjoy a sit down meal at 4 in the morning at Buddies

Stumble out of a club and into Buddies 24 hour restaurant, serving delicious food all day and night. A friendly Brighton icon for affordable and satisfying food to put into your drunken face.

Things you must do in Brighton43. Get a shake at JB’s American Diner

Spend the following day in JB’s American Diner- one of Brighton’s unique eccentricities. It’s a nod to the classic American Diner from the 50’s rock n’ roll to the dining booths and the stars n’ stripes flying proud as you eat your way through the delicious USA themed menu including shakes, burgers and steaks. Yay!

44. Spend a sunny day in a beer garden

There’s nothing better than a sunny day spent in a beer garden. Lounge in The Hobgoblin’s massive terrace or join sun worshippers in The Fortune of War’s beach side beer garden. Read our picks of Brighton’s beer gardens HERE

45. Go to Shakedown Festival

Shakedown Festival is Brighton’s massive one day festival that is renowned ffor bringing the hottest headline acts to its stages. Previous line ups have included Basement Jaxx, Duke Dumont, Groove Armada, Gorgon City, Jaguar Skills, DJ EZ, Zane Lowe, Wilkinson, Foreign Beggars, DJ Zinc, Disclosure, Friction, Primitive People, Hannah Wants etc. etc. etc. Read more information HERE

46. Stay in Hotel Peliroco

Stay in Brighton’s original themed boutique hotel. Hotel Peliroco boasts 19 themed bedrooms inspired by the best of pop’s subculture, maverick musicians and inspiring individuals. Hotel Peiroco is guaranteed to tickle those quirky taste buds of any pleasure seeker looking to try something new.

47. Gamble at The Casino

Feel like losing, winning and then ultimately losing some money? For a premier gaming and entertainment experience, Grosvenor G Casino Brighton has everything you need….

48. See some Live Music

Brighton’s live music scene is positively thriving! Venues like Green Door Store, Concorde 2,  The Brighton centre and Brighton Dome are among those consistently presenting both the best local talent and huge internationally acclaimed acts. Check out our monthly articles on Brighton’s best gigs to stay up to date with the best live music around!

Things you must do in Brighton49. Play beach volleyball at Yellowave

Yellowave is the UK’s only permanent beach venue of its kind, offering beach sports and activities to all ages and abilities! Try your hand at volleyball, yoga, beach soccer, foot volley, beach rugby and ultimate frisby.

50. And finally… find somewhere to crash

After working your way through this list of Brighton essentials you must be knackered. If you’re not from round here and need a bed for the night, stay in one of Brighton’s super stylish Hotels and hostels. Here’s our guide to Brighton’s best budget places to stay

Want the best content from We Love Brighton every week in your inbox? 
Sign up for our newsletter HERE

About The Writer

I grew up in Cambridge but after studying History at Sussex University, I couldn't bring myself to leave Brighton! As well as writing for We Love Brighton I study Journalism and hope to one day make it as a features writer. Brighton is the perfect place to get inspired!