If you’re looking for ideas for a day trip near London, consider visiting Brighton. The seaside town is one of the best known coastal towns in the United Kingdom, and for a good reason. It’s a perfect choice for a one day trip, with just the perfect number of must-see tourist attractions, all of them packed in the town centre. I visited Brighton in the summer and now want to take you there on a virtual trip.
I started my trip on London Blackfriars station. The train journey to Brighton takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes. If you’re travelling on a summer weekend, do make sure to arrive at the station early if you want to grab a seat! Especially if it’s one of those rare heatwave weekends that happen once or twice per summer, if lucky. The train I took was packed with Londoners heading to the seaside.
From Brighton Station, I headed straight towards one of Brighton’s most popular landmarks, the Royal Pavilion. The adult entry ticket covering The Pavilion and the adjacent Brighton Museum, as well as Preston Manor – a third landmark, which I unfortunately didn’t have time to visit – is just over £30. It’s definitely not the cheapest of tourist attractions. The good thing about those tickets, however, is that they are valid for unlimited entries for a year from the original visit. I first went to Brighton in July 2021 and then revisited it in July 2022, when I was able to enter the Royal Pavilion and the museum using the ticket from the previous year.
The Royal Pavilion is a former royal residence. It was built as a seaside retreat for King George IV at the end of 18th century. It is styled in the Indo-Saracenic style, typical in India in the 19th century. Half a century after it was erected, Queen Victoria sold the Palace to the city of Brighton.
The Pavilion boasts a blend of architecture styles: Indian, European, Mughal and Chinese. The exterior is close to the Indian style, while the interior is heavily influenced by Chinese decor.
You can see the oriental inspiration everywhere in the Brighton Royal Pavilion, and the closer you look, the more intricate designs you can spot. There are gilded Chinese dragons on the ceilings and on the chandeliers, Chinese vases in every corner and even stained glass windows with oriental scenes.
The Brighton Palace is truly unique. I knew what it looked like from the outside before I went to Brighton, but I had no idea what I would see inside. Chinese-style interiors certainly aren’t what you would expect to see in England. The extravagant design proves rather controversial too. Personally, I was in awe and thought the inside of the Brighton Royal Pavilion was beautiful. My dad, on the other hand – who only saw it in my pictures – described it as a cheap, ugly and tasteless abomination. Ouch! Which side are you on?
The Brighton Museum (located in a building just outside the Royal Pavilion) is really hard to categorise. It was a mixture of everything, from the history of Brighton to oriental artifacts from all over the world and abstract, modern art and design.
After leaving the museum, I walked towards the beach through the small town centre. You’ll find plenty of cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops there – exactly what you’d expect to see in the tourist part of a seaside resort.
Along the beach runs a wide promenade with even more cafes and takeaway restaurants. On a summer day, the promenade and the beach are bustling with life.
The beach itself is made of small pebbles, so it’s not the most comfortable to sit on. It’s not too bad either though. For example, beaches in Croatia are like a free acupuncture session when you sit down!
In between the cafes on the beach, you’ll find the Brighton Fishing Museum. It’s free to enter, so there’s no excuse for skipping it. It covers just two small rooms and the visit won’t cost you much time, and you can learn something about fishing in Brighton. Or, just enjoy some miniature models of ships and a variety of seashells.
If you follow the promenade towards the west of the town, you’ll quickly reach another popular Brighton landmark, the British Airways i360 tower. It’s a rotating viewing platform from which you can enjoy the views of Brighton. The experience lasts about 25 minutes and costs around £18 (as of summer 2022). I wasn’t convinced that the view would be particularly interesting and decided to save some time (and money) and give it a pass. Maybe next time?
Walking back towards the town centre down the promenade, you’ll reach the iconic Brighton Pier. Aside from fantastic views, it offers a variety of restaurants and snack bars, souvenir shops, a huge arcade game arena and – if that wasn’t enough – a fun fair with a monster roller coaster and a few other frightening attractions I wouldn’t want to get myself on. But for the adrenaline lovers, it seems like a great place!
I chose one of the restaurants on the Brighton Pier for my dinner location. I was craving the traditional fish & chips (and being in a seaside town it feels like a must anyway!) and decided to treat myself to an overpriced meal. It cost me £19.99 for the food and a pint of beer, but after a full day of sightseeing, it was just what I needed. The meal defeated me, which doesn’t happen very often! But it was delicious, 10/10.
After the filling meal, I
walked rolled down the promenade further towards the east. There isn’t much tourist-wise on that side of the town. The landscape quickly becomes industrial, but the beach and the sea are still there. It’s a much quieter and less packed part of the coastline, good if you want to enjoy some peaceful time by the sea. If you walk far enough (~20 mins away from the pier), you’ll reach the beautiful cliffs. You can have a picturesque stroll along the cliffline, or opt to cycle down to the nearby village – Saltdean.
And that concluded my stay in Brighton. Afterwards, I walked back to the station to catch a train back to London, tired but content!
2 thoughts on “A Day in Brighton”
I wish that I could visit Brighton, Alphe! Cool things to see, and real fish-and-chips too. 🇬🇧❤️
Interesting photos of Brighton. It looked like you had really nice weather.