When lockdown is over, the first place you should visit is Brighton! It’s best known for being a seaside resort, particularly in Victorian times, and is now a colourful, bustling, fabulous city to visit for a day (or a weekend)! And luckily enough for LSE students, Brighton is only an hour’s train away. For delicious food, fun activities, excellent shopping, theatre and culture, or a free day, Brighton is the place for you.
How to get to Brighton:
Take a train from either London Bridge or Victoria. Book in advance and get your return ticket (with a railcard) for as little as £15, or even cheaper on a bus.
When to go:
Try and pick a sunny day for the full bright-in-Brighton experience. If you want to avoid crowds, go on a weekday. Don’t fret if it’s a bit grey and grizzly, just wrap up warm! The lovely thing about Brighton is that you can still enjoy it no matter the weather.
From the station, just walk downhill! And you’ll see the sea. There are some lovely little shops under the promenade, and a pebbly beach where you can sit and watch kayakers and swimmers, and on a clear day you can just about see the wind turbines from the beach. You could rent a paddleboard or a bicycle and get to see more of Brighton.
Brighton Pier is great fun if you’re into games or rollercoasters or just enjoy walking along brightly coloured shops. There’s a fun, relaxed atmosphere on the pier. From the promenade, you could go to the BA i360 attraction where you can get a fantastic view of Brighton, and if you’re feeling decadent, opt for a drink at 450 feet high.
There is no better place to people-watch than Brighton. The North Laine is excellent for this activity – just turn left from the Brighton station and you’ll find your way! There are some cosy cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating where you can enjoy a meal or a drink and admire people wearing authentic seventeenth-century attire or vintage clothing from the 80s.
The Lanes are the best place for a variety of wonderful products, from recycled clothes to vegan leather, and Brighton prints to beautifully crafted fountain pens. If you head towards the South Lanes, closer to the sea, you will meet the gorgeous assortment of vintage jewellery as well as interior design stores. Even if you just fancy perusing, there are loads of wonderful shops to enjoy.
There are so many places in Brighton to eat, and as a diverse and inclusive city, if you’re a vegan or have allergies, you will definitely find somewhere to eat that caters to your preferences! Don’t go to the first place you find, peruse and look at all the options! There are some chains that you find in London, but try and find some independent restaurants, such as the Bok Shop (for fried chicken), Beelzebab (American vegan delights), or the Chilli Pickle (delicious Indian food). Bring food onto the beach at your own peril – the Brighton seagulls are ruthless, particularly with ice cream!
Devil’s Dyke is part of the South Downs National Park. Just take the 77 bus from a number of stops in Brighton and enjoy the views on your way! There are some beautiful walks, an ice cream truck, as well as fabulous pubs at the top of Devil’s Dyke, at the bottom of the hill in Poynings, or in Fulking. Download a map if you need or just follow the signposts and bring some water!
Because of the pandemic, it’s difficult to predict what will happen in terms of Brighton’s usual festivals such as Brighton & Hove Pride or the Brighton Fringe. Both are wonderful, colourful celebrations of diversity, culture, and the arts. If the pandemic is over, or you’re reading this after the pandemic, then I hope you will be able to experience this part of Brighton!
Brighton is a wonderful day trip away if you want to walk through lanes upon lanes of pastel painted homes, try on vintage jeans, and drink beautifully crafted coffee. You can do the whole day entirely for free (other than transport) if you bring a packed lunch and snacks and fancy eating opposite the Brighton Pavilion, and it’s a great opportunity to get to see more of the UK if you’re an international student! This blog hasn’t covered everything, such as the theatres or Brighton marina, however I hope that for a first-trip to Brighton blog, I’ve covered enough to get you started. Overall, I couldn’t recommend Brighton highly enough!
This was written in early March 2021. Please consult the UK government website for the latest coronavirus guidance.