Brighton Up Your Summer
May 01, 2014 03:11PM ● Published by 16560
Why this English coastal town should be on your radar
The seaside resort town made famous when it was described in novelist Jane Austen’s well-known tome “Pride and Prejudice” has evolved over the years into a cosmopolitan city while simultaneously retaining many of its quaint and enchanting qualities. Brighton is often recognized in pictures featuring its pebble beach (comprised of more than 614 million stones) dotted with colorful striped chairs and tourists and townies alike catching some rays on the shore. Travelers often opt to visit London, Cambridge, Bath and Oxford when they head to England (and rightfully so — these cities are brimming with history, architectural grandeur and British charm), but Brighton’s colorful landscape, museums and nightlife hotspots make it a unique cultural destination worth checking out.
Sights to See
Brighton beach will undoubtedly be your first stop during your trip. It truly comes alive in the summer, buzzing with activities like sailing, swimming and volleyball. Originally built in 1823, the city’s famous Victorian-style pier now combines its old-world charm with modern facilities like a Ferris wheel, The Booster thrill ride, Palm Court Restaurant (where you can dive into the classic British dish of fish and chips) and arcade center perfect for capturing the attention of little ones.
Sneak some education into your vacation with a visit to the Brighton Sea Life Centre, situated near the iconic pier. The aquarium — the world’s oldest in operation — houses more than 1,500 sea creatures like giant turtles, sharks, crabs and starfish. Also get up close and personal with stingrays, octopi, seahorses and clownfish (we know your kids will love finding Nemo). After you’ve had the chance to interact with some of these fascinating animals, head over to the Royal Pavilion Gardens. The Royal Pavilion, known for being the palace of George IV, is home to magnificent furniture and works of art. The lush green gardens reflect their original Regency splendor and, in the summertime, are replete with beautiful peonies, poppies, daisies, rosemary, roses, larkspurs and more.
Additionally, a trip to Brighton wouldn’t be complete without a stop over in the East Sussex countryside — comprised of more than 14,000 acres in and around Brighton and the surrounding areas. Continue your outdoor exploration by setting foot on one of the many walking trails in the South Downs National Park, Brighton’s Undercliff Walk or Stanmer Park. Be sure to take a guided tour with So Sussex if you’d like an expert to accompany you.
Another not-to-be-missed Brighton treasure is the Theatre Royal Brighton, which presents first-rate, star-studded West End productions throughout the year. From drama to comedy to musicals plus ballet, opera and superb family entertainment, the theatre’s programs are always hits with out-of-town visitors. VisitBrighton.com, BrightonPier.co.uk, VisitSeaLife.com, RoyalPavilionGardens.co.uk, ATGTickets.com
Spend a Day in North Laine
This neighborhood of more than 400 shops, restaurants and entertainment venues is often referred to as Brighton’s best-kept secret. Reminiscent of London’s Notting Hill, North Laine is also known for being Brighton’s relaxed, eclectic quarter. Conveniently located near the Brighton train station, North Laine literally has anything and everything, from tattoo parlors and vintage clothing shops to pubs and arts and crafts stores, and you can easily spend a full day browsing the district. Grab an ice cream at Gelato Gusto, create a masterpiece at the Painting Pottery Café, browse the Brighton Toy and Model Museum, and comb through the collection of home products at InHouse Space — we bet you’ll find some unique finds to take home with you. NorthLaine.co.uk
Put Your Feet Up
Less than a minute from the beach is One Broad Street, a boutique bed and breakfast offering bright, airy rooms and cooked-to-order breakfasts made with fresh ingredients found in the Sussex area. All guest rooms are ensuite and feature five-star luxury hotel beds, wireless Internet, coffee and tea services and flatscreen TVs. Nestled on the seafront just opposite the Brighton Pier is The Granville hotel, Brighton’s original boutique establishment. Its 24 individually themed rooms, waterfront location and famous basement restaurant Smokeys (known for its American-style brunch) make it a destination unto itself.If you prefer something a little more upscale, try the Hotel du Vin, located a stone’s throw away from the water. A uniquely sophisticated hotel, it features 49 rooms with eccentric Gothic and modern Tudor touches. Or, if you truly yearn for a bit of home-away-from-home familiarity, check into the Hilton Brighton Metropole, a stunningly picturesque building with a plethora of high-end rooms. Family rooms feature both a double and single bed, great for those with younger children. An expansive swimming pool, spa and sauna, in-hotel salon and fitness center make it an ideal place to relax after a day exploring the city. OneBroadStreet.com, GranvilleHotel.co.uk, HotelduVin.com, Hilton.com