Looking for the top Brighton Activities? In this post, we provide you with the best things to do in Brighton UK, including plenty of insider tips.
Brighton is a beautiful costal city in southern England and is the perfect addition to any UK itinerary. Brighton is just a short train or bus ride from London, and there are so many cool things to do in Brighton that you have no excuse not to visit!
This post will guide you through the very best attractions Brighton has to offer, so you make the most out of your time. It covers a range of different activities and experiences, so there is something on the list for everybody!
Brighton has a really cool vibe, and with the number of things to do in Brighton, you can easily spend two or three days in the city and still not feel like you’ve experienced it all.
Table of Contents (skip directly to the info you're looking for)
- 1 What to do in Brighton, UK
- 1.1 1. Explore the Royal Pavilion
- 1.2 2. Bike Along the Seafront
- 1.3 3. Get a Bird’s Eye View at the British Airways i360
- 1.4 4. Indulge in Sea Food
- 1.5 5. Wander Through the Lanes
- 1.6 6. Visit Sea Life Brighton
- 1.7 7. Spend Time at the Brighton History & Art Museum
- 1.8 8. Learn about Fishing at the Fishing Museum
- 1.9 9. Stroll through Queen’s Park
- 1.10 10. Hang Out at the Brighton Palace Pier
What to do in Brighton, UK
1. Explore the Royal Pavilion
The Royal Pavilion is the highlight of Brighton.
It is King George IV’s former palace and seaside home. He always wanted to travel to what used to be referred to as the far east, so he used China and India as his design inspiration.
King George IV imported most of the interior decorations but added his flare to them by adding gold embellishments. The interior decorations are truly astonishing and unique. There is nothing else like it- especially not in the UK!
Queen Victoria didn’t care for Brighton, so she sold the Royal Pavilion to the City of Brighton near the beginning of her reign. The pavilion has been used for a number of things since it was sold to the city (including being a war hospital).
It is now open for the public to tour, and it should be at the top of your list of things to do in Brighton. It is truly spectacular and well worth the small entrance fee.
Your entrance fee includes the use of an audioguide that takes you through the history of the Royal Pavilion and gives you insight into what life was like for King George IV. It is a very well curated audioguide and really adds to the experience.
2. Bike Along the Seafront
The Brighton seafront is one of the most beautiful areas in all of Brighton. There are tons of different things you can do along the seafront, but biking is one of the best things to do.
It gives you the opportunity to see more of the seafront than you could by simply walking. I recommend this 2.5 hour guided tour, where you can explore the artistic back streets of North Laine, the flamboyant architecture of the Royal Pavilion, quaint Fishing Quarter, Georgian architecture of Brunswick Square, and more.
You can also cycle on your own all the way to a nearby village called Rottingdean. Rottingdean is a lovely English village with lots of shops and restaurants to visit.
There are a number of easy, flat cycling routes you can follow, so you don’t have to be in particularly good physical shape to enjoy biking along the Brighton seafront.
You can rent bikes all year around. There is a bike rental shop right at the seafront on the lower level.
Renting a bike varies in cost depending on how long you want to bike and what type of bike you rent.
Biking along the Brighton seafront is one of my favourite things to do in Brighton. I love getting a little light exercise and being able to see more of the English countryside. The scenery is breathtaking.
If you enjoy riding along the coastline, you can also take this fun e-bike tour. You will peddle from Seven Dials up to Devils Dyke through a disused railway line and take in spectacular panoramic ocean views.
Even if you only make it a little ways outside of Brighton, you’ll get some stunning views that are worth the effort!
3. Get a Bird’s Eye View at the British Airways i360
The British Airways i360 opened in 2016 and is a great new addition to the seafront area. It was designed and created by the same company behind the London Eye, so you know it is good!
The British Airways i360 is a large needle-like structure that stands over 500 feet tall! There is an oval-shaped viewing platform that moves up and down the centre needle.
Everything except the floor on the view platform is made of glass, so you get the best view of Brighton from the British Airways i360.
The “flight” as it is called lasts 25 minutes, so you have enough time to take in the view from all the different angles and take as many photos as you want.
There is also a bar if you want to have a drink while taking in the views.
You need to go through security before boarding the British Airways i360, so you’ll need to arrive at least 20 minutes early to ensure you have ample time to pass through the airport-style security.
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4. Indulge in Sea Food
Brighton is located right along the water, so you need to indulge in a nice sea food meal while you’re there.
The sea food is incredibly fresh and delicious.
There are restaurants everywhere along the Brighton seafront and in the tourist areas that serve locally-sourced sea food. All the restaurants that serve sea food offer great food, so you can’t go wrong with any restaurant you choose!
Fish and chips is by far the most popular sea food offering in Brighton. It is a staple in every British pub and worth indulging on when in Brighton.
You can find nearly every other kind of sea food you could imagine in Brighton as well. Whether you love shrimp, scallops, oysters, or clams, you’ll be able to indulge in your favourite sea food!
It is hard to find sea food as fresh as the sea food in Brighton so indulge while you can!
5. Wander Through the Lanes
The Lanes are one of the most charming things to do in Brighton. They are located near the Royal Pavilion and seafront, so you have no excuse not to visit them!
The Lanes are a series of small, winding streets filled with local shops, cafes, and restaurants.
It is the perfect place to stop and grab lunch on your day out in Brighton. The majority of the restaurants are local mom-and-pop places, so you know you’ll get an amazing meal.
This is the place to pick up any souvenirs you want. Most of the stores are also locally-owned, so you’ll find lots of unique items and support local business owners. It doesn’t get any better than that!
The Lanes are frequented by both locals and tourists, so it is the perfect place to get a feel of Brighton’s atmosphere and what a great vibe the city has.
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6. Visit Sea Life Brighton
Sea Life Brighton is one of the top things to do in Brighton. It is an aquarium right along the seafront near the pier.
It is the second oldest operating aquarium in the world. Sea Life Brighton opened its doors in 1872, and the oldest aquarium (in France) opened in 1867. Pretty impressive right!
The aquarium was bombed and damaged in WWI, but, thankfully, it was reconstructed and has been open ever since!
Sea Life Brighton has most of the aquatic animals you would hope to find in an aquarium. Most of the animals are on the smaller side, but it does have sharks you can visit.
The aquarium also has turtles, rays, octopi, seahorses, big fish species, and lots, lots more!
It is the perfect activity if you are travelling with children. They will love getting to see all the animals, and you’ll be happy because they’re learning things and using their minds.
7. Spend Time at the Brighton History & Art Museum
The Brighton History & Art Museum is located right next door to the Royal Pavilion. The museum is actually in the building that used to be the stables when King George IV lived in the palace.
It has a number of permanent and temporary exhibits that cover a wide range of topics. You can learn about art, ancient Egypt, Brighton’s LBGTQA+ history and community, and so much more.
The museum is fairly small, so it isn’t a huge time commitment. You’ll need at least an hour if you want to breeze through all of the exhibits without reading all the fine details.
I suggest planning to spend about 90 minutes at the museum. This allows you to spend some extra time in the exhibits you really enjoy.
There is an entrance fee to visit the museum. Click here for booking your ticket in advance.
You’re able to get a combination ticket, so you’ll save some money if you purchase your ticket for the museum and the Royal Pavilion at the same time.
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8. Learn about Fishing at the Fishing Museum
The fishing industry has been and still is an important industry in Brighton. It is a huge part of the Brighton economy, so you may as well learn about it while you’re exploring the city!
The Brighton Fishing Museum is located right along the seafront. It brings the history of the fishing industry to life.
The museum has fishing artifacts and boats as well as audio and visual information. It includes a short video, which really helps you get a better understanding of fishing and Brighton.
The museum is quite small and doesn’t take very long to visit. You don’t need more than half an hour to see everything in the museum.
It is free to enter but donations are welcome.
This is one of the more unique educational things to do in Brighton, but it is still worth visiting. It is well curated and run by local volunteers, so it is another opportunity to support a local business in Brighton!
9. Stroll through Queen’s Park
Queen’s Park is one of the most beautiful places in Brighton. It is also one of the most relaxing things to do in Brighton, so it is the perfect place to go if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of central Brighton.
It is a short 20 minute walk from the Royal Pavilion.
You simply follow Carlton Hill away from the seafront, and you’ll arrive at Queen’s Park. Carlton Hill is a main road, so it is easy to find and navigate.
Queen’s Park is a huge park full of greenery and a manmade lake in the middle of it. It is truly breathtaking and well worth visiting while in Brighton. It is the perfect place to have a picnic, read a book, or just stroll through.
The design of the park was inspired by Regent’s Park in London, and the original plan intended for the park to be surrounding by detached Victorian villa.
The plan was never fully realized, and a number of the surrounding homes were built in the 20th Century, but Queen’s Park is still absolutely gorgeous even if the original design was never fully realized.
The park has a lot of character and charm. You really feel like you’re walking in an entirely different fantasy world while there.
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10. Hang Out at the Brighton Palace Pier
The Brighton Palace Pier is the most iconic sight in Brighton. It should be at the top of everybody’s list of things to do in Brighton.
The Brighton Pier is unlike any other pier you’ve ever seen before!
There is so much to see and do along that pier that you can easily spend hours there. Some of the highlights of the pier include:
- An amusement park. You read that right! There is a full amusement park at the end of the Brighton Pier. It has a rollercoaster, bumper cars, a haunted house, and a number of other rides geared more towards small children than adults.
- An arcade. There is a huge arcade in the main building on the pier. It has all the classic arcade games and all the new games kids enjoy. It can get fairly busy inside the arcade, but there are enough games that you always have something to play.
- A Casino. At the end of the main building behind the arcade is a casino. It is, obviously, adults only and separated from the arcade with a wall. The casino is much smaller than arcade, but it has enough games to satisfy the adults in your group.
There are also a few food stands and one larger restaurant along the pier, so there is something for everybody!
No trip to Brighton would be complete without visiting the pier so be sure you don’t miss it!
In adittion, you can take day trips from Brighton. For example:
- Spend a day discovering English history and heritage with an excursion that takes you to the mystical Stonehenge, as well as the city of Bath.
- Discover some of the finest university buildings, museums, and churches in Cambridge on a full-day bus tour from Brighton.
Brighton is a popular city for British residents to visit and is becoming more and more popular amongst international tourists. And for good reason!
There are so many different things to do in Brighton that it is impossible not to fall in love with the city.
The best part about Brighton is that its attractions are extremely varied, so you’ll find something to do in Brighton no matter what you’re interest are.
There are water sports for adventure-seekers, boutique clothing stores for the fashionista, and the city is a foodie’s dream.
Brighton is also in the perfect location. It is just a 90-minute train ride from London, so you can visit as a day trip if you don’t have time to commit to a multi-day trip.
You should definitely consider spending two or three days in Brighton if you have the time though.
There are so many things to do in Brighton that you’ll find yourself wishing you had more time in the city if you’re only there for a day.
This is a guest post by: Erica Riley Travels with Erica
Erica is an avid solo traveler who has been to over 40 countries. She loves spending long periods of time in each country to get a sense of the country and culture. Erica’s favourite travel activities include attending local theatre and dance performances, wandering through museums, eating way too much food, and riding every roller coaster she comes across.
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