Ideal for something a little different in everyone’s favourite London-by-the-Sea.
A stroll along Brighton seafront, skimming pebbles and checking out cheesy souvenir shops, fish and chips in one hand, plastic pint of flat lager in the other…heady, halcyon days, indeed.
Or, how about some time spent wandering around Brighton’s Lanes, perusing antiques, checking out the vintage and thrift shops in the North Laine Bazaar and perhaps even unearthing a gem or two?
Been there, done that, got the cheesy ‘I ♡ BTN’ T-shirt to prove it.
Once upon a time, we wouldn’t have had it any other way. And don’t get us wrong, we adore Brighton, but the same old routine is starting to feel a little stale.
If you, too, are already conversant in the standard Brighton day trip, and the itinerary above feels all too familiar, then fear not; Brighton and Hove still has so much to offer beyond the stereotypical, quintessential day out. With that in mind, here are 6 alternative things to do in Brighton and Hove post-lockdown, IDEAL for something a little different in everyone’s favourite London-by-the-Sea.
Just an hour on the train from Victoria or Clapham Junction or just under a two hour drive from Central London, Brighton is perhaps a Londoner’s favourite (and most convenient) day trip or weekend away.
It’s also easily accessible from anywhere south of London; from Crawley, you can take the train from Three Bridges to Brighton and be there in half an hour. That said, the vast majority of places north of the capital will have to change in London to access the south coast.
Be aware that if you’re driving to Brighton and Hove, parking in the city is notoriously difficult and prohibitively expensive; the city has the country’s only Green MP and an environmentally conscious soul, so public transport is hugely encouraged. We’re on board with that.
BEACH BOX BRIGHTON
Anyway, let’s get down to business and step off the beaten pebbled beach…
Recent years have seen the emergence of a handful of seaside saunas across the UK, some of which have been inspired by the success of Beach Box in Brighton, a hugely influential player in a burgeoning scene.
Right on the beach just south of the lively neighbourhood of Kemptown, on Madeira Drive, Beach Box is an all year round, wood fired public beach, sauna and wellness centre. Once lockdown is lifted, we could all do with a bit of downtime in such a picturesque setting, don’t you think?
There are three saunas available which all offer a fabulous view of the beach, sea and Brighton’s pier. The Loyly Sauna (medium sauna) and the Leil Sauna (small sauna) are both made from converted horse trailers, and the Big Banya, which seats up to 6, is made from upcycled packing crates. Guests can pick up some gorgeous homemade salt body scrubs at the venue, and there are also a number of treatments available on site, such as face masks and even salt inhalations. Bliss!
A 90 minute session will set you back £20 per person, though you have to fill the sauna to complete the booking. If you’re looking for something unique to do in Brighton, then Beach Box is where it’s at.
HEAD TO BRIGHTON MARINA
Britain’s largest marina, this busy and bustling yacht harbour, just beyond the city’s Kemptown neighbourhood, feels like its own little village on the water.
There are lots of chain restaurants here – Cafe Rouge, Prezzo and Bella Marina, to name but a few – which are ideal for a spot of lunch as you look out over the shimmering sea. These sit alongside a couple of independent eateries unique to Brighton, including Waterfront grill, where you can dine al fresco on the decking and watch the boats. We’re also fans of the Master Mariner, an independent pub housed in a low-beamed building right on the waterfront serving homecooked British classics.
If you want to stay in the marina area, the Malmaison Hotel has oceanfront rooms and is walking distance from Brighton proper when you do fancy exploring dry land. That said and whilst you’re here, it would be rude not to explore the waters; charter boats offer fishing and diving trips to visitors. Some of the fish you can catch here include bream, pollack and mullet, and come summer, keen fishers will tell you that catching mackerel or bass is pretty guaranteed. You can also rent a boat for a party. If you can find enough friends, that is.
Check out what’s happening at the marina here: www.brightonmarina.co.uk
THE UNDERCLIFF WALK
From your launchpad of the marina, and if you’re keen to explore some of the famous countryside which surrounds Brighton and Hove, then the Undercliff Walk is one gorgeous stroll, indeed. Running from Brighton Marina to Rottingdean, then onwards to the boundary at Saltdean and ending at the final rock groyne on the path, the walk is 3 miles long and should take around two hours to complete.
Many Brightonians swear by this walk as the quickest way to get amongst nature and away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and during summertime, the path is lined with wildflowers; Sussex Life says that these include sea lavender, ragwort, field bindweed, red valerian, wild carrot, common thistle, common mallow and common vetch.
Alternatively, you can rent some bikes and cycle the route!
HONE IN ON HOVE ART GALLERY & MUSEUM
Neighbouring Hove, actually, has something very different to offer visitors, away from the Pier, Teddy Pickers, Rock and the rest. Here, the vibe is more laid back, with some superb cafes, eateries, and a gorgeous seafront promenade and lawns.
Housed in a grand Victorian villa, and set back just a ten minute walk from the seafront, Hove Art Gallery and Museum boasts one of the country’s finest contemporary craft collections, alongside an extensive display of toys in the ‘Wizard’s Attic’, making it a wonderful place to take the kids.
There’s also a gallery for local artists to display their work and a fascinating look at Hove’s history as a hub for early film-makers in the UK. And best of all, entrance is free.
WATERSPORTS ON HOVE LAGOON
Sitting just off Hove beach and part of the area’s Western Lawns, Hove Lagoon offers the chance for watersports enthusiasts to wakeboard, windsurf, kayak and standup paddleboard within the safety of the basin, separated from the ocean by a large footpath.
The lagoon is actually an old Victorian boating lake, and as such, the water is only waist-deep, making it the perfect setting to get comfortable on whichever board or vessel you choose!
Here, you can take classes to prepare you for the sea’s more unpredictable conditions, or simply have a blast within the relative safety of the lagoon. Regular taster days are held here, offering the chance for newcomers to dip their toes in the water and get acquainted with these hugely popular watersports.
What’s more, Hove Lagoon’s surrounding park boasts a cafe, skatepark, paddle pool and playground, making it a great place for the entire family to let their hair down.
Entry into the park is free, with lessons on the lagoon starting at £70.
HAVE A FISH BBQ ON THE BEACH
Close to the lagoon is Brighton & Newhaven Fish Sales, a comfortable and picturesque 45 minute walk from the border between Brighton and Hove (marked by the King Edward Peace Statue) and taking you along the seafront.
At the end of your stroll you’ll find one of the finest fishmongers in the south of England, and see dayboats moored in the adjoining harbour. When the sun is glistening off the water just so, it’s one hell of a romantic sight.
What’s more, Brighton & Newhaven Fish Sales is a supplier to many of the region’s best restaurants and a great place to visit only if you’re picking up a couple of smoked kippers for dinner, too. All of this feeds into one of the city’s most beloved pastimes; an evening spent grilling on the beach. Just pick up some freshly caught fish, a portable BBQ and have a seafood barbie on the beach, complete with a couple of cold pints, which are sold at various points along the front.
Beach barbeques in the city are permitted after 6pm daily, though there are some restrictions regarding where you can light up; check them out here on the Brighton and Hove council’s website.
Brighton and Newhaven Fish Sales is open every day except Sundays, 8 am to 4 pm, with the vast selection of fish and shellfish changing daily according to the morning’s catch. Heaven!
Before travelling please make sure to check government guidelines and you should visit Brighton when it’s safe to do so. What’s on your Brighton bucket list?
You thought we’d leave you out in the cold without any Brighton and Hove restaurant recommendations, did you? Fear not; here’s 7 of our favourite seafood restaurants in Brighton. Or, for something a little different, why not check out this rundown of the top noodle slingers in the city? Enjoy!