The thriving city of Brighton is the ideal base for both urban dwellers and lovers of the great outdoors. Situated on the South Coast, just one and a half hours from London by train, Brighton attracts a diverse crowd – from history enthusiasts to partygoers to those wanting to explore the beautiful South Downs countryside. The city has many attractions, making it one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations. For those that have time to spare in Brighton, the following activities are usually top of most visitors’ wish lists.
Ideally placed on the outskirts of Brighton, Stanmer Park offers an oasis of calm after a day in the lively city centre. One of many vast green spaces in Brighton, the park is popular for family picnics, outdoor pursuits or just a leisurely stroll. And conveniently located next to Sussex University, this is the ideal spot for an easy day out.
Just a short ride outside of Brighton is the infamous Seven Sisters Country Park. Made up of more than 280 hectares of striking chalk cliffs, the protected area also boasts a beautiful meandering river, open chalk grassland and stunning beaches. The area is popular for a range of outdoor pursuits, including nature walks and bird watching, cycling and canoeing. A photographer’s dream, it is arguably one of the country’s most outstanding areas of natural beauty.
This distinctive Asian-style palace is literally fit for a king. Built for King George IV in the 18th Century, it is now fully restored and much of it is open to the public. The Grade I listed building is located in the city centre and stands out against Brighton’s traditional Victorian and Edwardian architecture. This gothic building is sure to turn heads of anyone who’s not familiar with is and is, as a result, one of the city’s most popular attractions.
Another iconic attraction is Brighton Palace Pier. The Grade II listed pier stretches more than 500 metres out into the sea and features a range of entertainment attractions. Now managed by the Eclectic Bar Group, it boasts fairground rides, a roller coaster, amusement arcades and several bars and restaurants.
One of Brighton’s more modern attractions, the 162-metre observation tower offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding South Downs area. Designed by the team same team that built the London Eye, this new addition to the cityscape features a fully enclosed viewing pod that ascends and descends, taking viewers on a vertical journey up and down its spire. Visitors can enjoy dramatic ocean and coastline views while sipping a cocktail from the glass pod’s built-in bar.
This upmarket marina is built around the bustling Brighton yacht harbour. Visitors come from far and wide to view sailboats moored at the quay, as well as sample some chic shopping at the area’s upmarket fashion boutiques, craft shops and art galleries. The pretty area also features some popular bars and restaurants overlooking the sea. You can also take a variety of fishing and diving trips from the marina.
Devil’s Dyke is a scenic V-shaped valley situated to the north of Brighton. The pretty area features a range of walking trails and nature watching expeditions. There are also a wide range of outdoor pursuits on offer, including hang gliding, paragliding and cycling expeditions.
Just a short drive from Brighton city centre is the popular Breaky Bottom vineyard, a must-visit for any sparkling wine enthusiast. With the recent surge in popularity of English sparkling wine – which has been hailed as serious competition to champagne – this tourist attraction is a vinophile’s paradise. And with wine tasting on offer for those that book in advance, this vineyard is fast becoming one of the Brighton area’s top attractions.
Another South Downs attraction that is only a short drive away from Brighton, Chanctonbury Ring is something of a phenomenon. It appears to be just a circle of trees on a hill close to the village of Washington. However, these beech trees are said to have been planted in the Iron Age, and was thought to have been a religious site used for worship by the Romans.
Goodwood is one of the racing industry’s most infamous spots and every year is home to some of the calendar’s most prestigious events – including the popular Goodwood Festival of Speed. Many visitors to the festival opt to stay in Brighton due to its proximity to the racecourse, as well as the local entertainment the city offers. The Glorious Goodwood festival also runs from July 28th to August 1st and draws crowds from all over the country that come to experience its garden party vibe and exciting racing events.
South Downs way runs from Winchester to Eastbourne, offering more than 100 miles of rolling countryside. Popular beauty spots on this vast trail include Ditchling Beacon and Devil’s Dyke, and the nearby market towns of Petersfield and Lewes offer a great day out in quintessentially English surroundings. The South Downs Way is also known for its unrivalled selection of country pubs. Walkers in the area will find some of the best pubs in the country dotted along popular hiking trails.
Whatever you are into doing on holiday, Brighton is one of the few places in the country that really does offer something for everyone. In fact, there is so much on offer, you may just find yourself wanting to extend your stay! Whatever the weather, you are sure to find something fun to do for the whole family in this diverse city and its beautiful surroundings.