Brighton is one of the UK's favourite seaside holiday resorts and one of the South's main cultural centres. Offering a choice of acclaimed theatres, clubs, independent shops around the Lanes and North Laine, a bustling Pier and seafront, a marina crammed with attractions and a year round programme of Festivals, Brighton is where to head for fun packed short breaks or holidays. A historic seaside resort which grew from a small fishing village to a seaside resort mecca from the mid 18th century when crowds began to pour into the town to taste and bath in the therapeutic sea waters, Brighton has a real bohemian edge with some stunning regency architecture culminating in the town's jewel - the Royal Pavilion.
Brighton is an accessible town, easily reached by air, rail and road for both international and internal UK visitors. Attractions are tightly compacted in the centre and near the seafront and pier, making Brighton an on-foot friendly holiday resort where you've no need of a car. For a combined discount entrance ticket to the Royal Pavilion and Sea Life Centre Brighton visit the Brighton Visitor Information Centre next to the Pavilion.
Brighton is one of the UK's premier seaside city breaks and was recently voted as amongst the best in the world for beach cities. Boosted by its Regency architecture with spectacular centrepiece the Royal Pavilion, Brighton's history as a seaside mecca really took off from the mid 1700s alongside the developing popularity of sea bathing. From 1750 theatres, new houses and the development of the Lanes culminated in a royal visit by the Prince of Wales in 1783 which guaranteed Brighton's increasing popularity. The Royal Pavilion, favoured residence of George IV and visited frequently later by Queen Victoria, dates originally from 1787 but was famously remodelled by John Nash for George IV between 1815 and 1823.
Situated less than an hour from London by train and road, Brighton today has a bohemian edge and is popular with Londoners for shopping day trips. Brighton's cultural scene is second to none and one of the best in the UK. Numerous art galleries are here alongside the acclaimed Theatre Royal and a huge choice of restaurants including plenty of organic and vegetarian fare. Brighton is famed for its choice of independent shops around the historic Brighton Lanes and North Laine and also offers one of the UK's best nightlife scenes including its world famous gay scene. Big live music venues are here including the Brighton Centre and Brighton Dome alongside the best of the UK's gay and dance clubs. Famous resident Fat Boy Slim's annual Brighton Beach party sells out early! Add to this a choice of cinemas including the Duke of York Picturehouse, main host for the annual Brighton Film Festival, plus a year round calendar of Festivals including Brighton Pride, the Brighton Festival and Fringe Festival, Brighton Comedy Festival and Brighton Food and Drink Festival and you have a superb mix of entertainment which sees Brighton as one of the UK's most popular holiday destinations.
In high Summer Brighton is a beach resort to rank with the best and is blessed with one of the warmest climates in the UK, situated as it is on the warm South East coast. Families will find plenty to please in Brighton including Brighton Pier, the Sealife Centre, a choice of family fun fair amusements along the beach near the pier and Madeira Drive plus a host of family entertainment including family restaurants, bowling and a cinema at Brighton Marina.
Brighton Visitor Information Centre, Royal Pavilion Shop, Royal Pavilion, 4-5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton, BN1 1EE. Tel.03003 000088 (All calls made to a 0300 number from a landline are charged at standard rate. Calls from some mobiles may be higher). The visitor centre is fully accessible inclusive of easy-open doors, ramped access and low level counters plus induction loops, minicom text phone and information available on audio or in Braille.
Much like many cultural city hotspots Brighton has a mix of themed areas each offering their own particular delights. Brighton Seafront is distinct for its stunning Regency architecture and squares and is where to head for much of Brighton's family fun offerings including Brighton Pier, Sealife Centre, Amusements on the Beach and Volks Electric Railway.
Cultural and top shopping quarters include The Lanes, the North Laine area and nestled between the two the Cultural Quarter, site for some of Brighton's top theatre venues including the Theatre Royal and the Brighton Dome Venues. Slightly east of the city centre sits historic Kemptown which also boasts a host of elegant architecture, some Regency, and is the hub of Brighton's Gay village along St James's Street. Kemp Town offers a superb choice of restaurants, boutique character hotels, second hand bookshops and a great choice of pubs and bars.
North of Queens Park will see you in Brighton's pretty Hanover district, distinct for its narrow streets and Victorian cottages and sitting elevated on a steep hill. Hanover's annual September Beer Festival is a popular event and you'll find a good choice of character pubs in this area. Other Brighton Districts and areas include the central Churchill Square and Western Road Shopping centre area where you'll find all your well known high street stores and a good choice of restaurants. North West of the city centre sits the Seven Dials area, so named after the seven roads forking out of the roundabout in the district's hub. Find trendy wine bars, fine dining restaurants, delicatessens and chic shops in the Seven Dials area. To the West of Brighton you begin to push into Hove and the famous Regency architectural areas of Brunswick Square. Don't miss a tour of Brunswick Square, hub for the best of Brighton's Regency townhouses, mews and mansions.
East of Brighton Seafront towards Rottingdean you arrive at the entertainment rich Brighton Marina. Here you'll find a host of attractions including a wide choice of restaurants and cafes, budget factory designer outlets, a bowling centre, cinema and a dive centre and Brighton Boat Trips. Brighton Marina is also a hub for family friendly and free outdoor events and entertainment especially during the Brighton Festivals. Ample accommodation is in and around the Marina and in all of Brighton's choice of districts. The best Brighton centre maps clearly showing all the Brighton districts are to be found on the Visit Brighton webguide.
Two great ways to get your bearings in historic Brighton are to book yourself on guided walks and open top bus tours. Recommended by Visit Brighton, Glenda Clarke has been a tour guide for many years and offers a choice of guided walks around Brighton including a Ghost Walk, Lanes Tour, Murder Walk and Rich & Famous Tour.
See the Brighton Walks weblink right for more information. The walking tours are ideal both for groups and tourist visitors. Tel. 01273 888596 for details.
City Sightseeing offer open top bus tours around Brighton covering all the major attractions including Brighton Pier, North Laine, Brighton Marina, Royal Crescent and the Sea Life Centre. Tours run regularly and daily during the summer season from late May to late September. For a map of the Brighton route and details on how to book see the City Sightseeing webguide right.
Tuk Tuk Limos also offer novelty Tuk Tuk tours around Brighton and Hove during the summer season taking in the city's main attractions. The Tuk Tuk tours last for around 35 to 40 minutes, with en-route commentary on attractions from your guide. For details see the Tuk Tuk Brighton weblink right.
As befitting one of Europe's top beach cities, Brighton is highly accessible for both international and UK visitors. The city is also just under one hour from London by train and Southern Railway run regular trains from both London Victoria and London Bridge to Brighton Station. (see Southern's weblink right for timetables). First Capital Connect offer direct trains from Bedford and Luton to Brighton and connector services along the Great Northern route from King's Lynn. From elsewhere in the UK travel by train direct to main stations Euston, St Pancras and Kings Cross and connect to London Victoria or London Bridge for Brighton via the London Underground.
Some superb deals combining buses, ferry travel and train travel are available, as well as the mega saver Downlander offering unlimited train travel across the South Downs inclusive of Brighton. Virgin Trains offer services direct from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester to London Euston where you can connect on to Brighton. Newhaven Ferry Port is situated just to the east of Brighton (20 minute drive) and regular services are offered by Transmanche and Southern Ferries from Dieppe and Le Havre. Other options for international visitors from the continent include Eurostar trains to St Pancras, Folkestone Eurotunnel and Dover Ferries. Kent transport links are an easy drive from Brighton. Direct trains are now available from St Pancras to Brighton which is good news for Eurostar travellers.
Direct Trains run regularly from Gatwick Airport to Brighton and for city breaks in Brighton train travel is highly recommended, leaving the car behind. Parking in Brighton Centre is limited and expensive and major attractions are clustered together within easy walking distance of each other. The value Downlander train ticket offers a further incentive to leave the car behind. See the Brighton Transport webguide link right for comprehensive advise on real-time bus information, cycling and walking around Brighton, taxi services and further details on trains. Brighton and neighbouring Hove are ideal for touring on foot or by cycle. The long seafront promenade runs the full stretch of Brighton and Hove beach. Download free Brighton city cycle and walking maps via the Transport webguide link right. Find travel information for disabled visitors via the Accessible Brighton weblink right.
Checkout the PlusBus weblinks right for tickets combining train and bus travel to Brighton. National Express offer direct coach services from London Heathrow and Gatwick Airports to Brighton and the journey takes around 2 hours. International visitors wishing to hire a car from London airports and travel by road to Brighton can expect excellent transport links via the M23/A23 main motorway into Brighton which is a mere 30 minutes by road from Gatwick and around 90 minutes from Heathrow.