I love living by the sea. From the blissful breeze that runs through your hair on a windy day to wandering up and down the tourist filled pier, to knowing all of the go-to tourist-free spots to dine and drink at, Brighton is the seaside city I’ve gladly called home for eight years. As we head into the autumn – my favourite season alongside spring to be in the city – I’ve put together a complete guide to doing Brighton like a true local.
Here’s where to head for the ultimate weekend getaway to Brighton, from places to stay to things to do.
Where to stay
Brighton’s flagship hotel that’s as iconic as the seaside itself, The Grand is home to the best sea vistas in the city. It boasts stunning views overlooking the two piers, stretching out beyond the sea and wind farm, providing the perfect space to while away your afternoon looking out at sea.
From its luxurious rooms to its traditional afternoon tea that’s not to be missed, The Grand plays host to the best hotel experience in the seaside city. For a stay that’ll last a lifetime, book in for one of their deluxe sea view rooms – these are spacious, filled with neutral interiors and a cosy balcony looking out to sea.
The seaside views from the rooms are worth visiting for alone.
Brighton is home to some great independent eateries, but for a date night, look to the hotel’s restaurant, Cyan. There’s an extra side room that’s in the style of a greenhouse, looking out to the sea, and come night provides the ultimate space for sipping cocktails and intimate conversations. Led by executive chef Alan White, the restaurant champions the best of seasonally-inspired dishes, from Sussex white pork belly with burnt Kent apples and pickled young leeks, to Cod with asparagus, potato and piquant onion dressing.
97-99 KING’S ROAD, BRIGHTON, BN1 2FW
Artist Residence has taken the best aspects of Brighton – its eccentricity, creativeness and boho vibes – and brought them to life through its interiors.
From the outside, you could mistake Artist Residence as any other townhouse on Regency Square, but inside it brings the city to play through its art and hipster design. Home to 24 rooms, all are filled with original artist murals, vintage and reclaimed furniture, with some even boasting views out over the West Pier (the burnt down structure for those who aren’t locals or regular Brighton frequenters).
The hotel’s onsite restaurant and cocktail bar is the perfect place to start your morning or cosy into one of the chairs and wind down for the evening with a nightcap. The Tropic Thunder cocktail, made with spiced rum, orgeat, mango puree and lime, is a personal favourite.
Anyone who knows anything about Brighton’s rock ‘n’ roll scene, will know that Regency Square’s Hotel Pelirocco is the place to go for a night to remember.
Just a short stroll to the seaside, the rooms here are unlike any you’ll have ever seen before, each having their own specific theme and design. From a room inspired by Dolly Parton to rebel rebel, a room playing homage to David Bowie, a lovers lair to a twist on a traditional Japanese room, there’s something for everyone.
10 REGENCY SQUARE, BRIGHTON, BN1 2FG
Where to eat
For a sustainable eatery done well, Kindling is the perfect place to dine by the sea. Located just off the seafront on East Street, it’s a restaurant that champions the best of seasonal British produce through three elements: land, sea and fire.
The fish they use is sustainably and locally caught, their plant-based dishes bring out the best of local ingredients and their natural flavours, and the majority of their food is cooked over natural charcoal. The result is simply sublime.
69 East Street, Brighton, BN1 1HQ
The Ginger Pig
Traditional grub done fancy. The Ginger Pig in Hove is renowned for its refined fare, sourced from Sussex’s finest suppliers. Expect classically British ingredients, from sirloin steak with cafe de Paris butter, caramelised shallot and duck fat chips to lemon sole with tomato butter, pickled lemon, chard, dressed cucumber and confit potato.
Upstairs the restaurant is also home to 11 en-suite double rooms spread across two floors. This boutique inn-turned-hotel is understated yet stylish, equipped with everything you could need.
3 Hove Street, Hove, BN3 2TR
The Salt Room
Is a trip to the seaside complete without a splash of seafood? We think not. Which is why Brighton’s The Salt Room is so popular.
Home to views of the burnt down West Pier and seafront, the restaurant serves up modern British seafood, celebrating cooking over coal. Expect dishes such as scallop crudo with tomato and peach sorbet and toasted almonds; chalk stream trout with pak choi, broad beans and Champagne sauce; and barbecued stone base with charred Romano pepper, kalamata olives and pancetta.
106 King’s Road, Brighton, BN1 2FU
Want to experience Sussex on a plate? Now you can thanks to modern British restaurant, Isaac At.
Sourcing ingredients from the local and surrounding area, the restaurant may be small but it offers Brighton’s best tasting menu option. Regularly changing with the season, expect dishes such as plaice with foraged sea herbs and seaweed hollandaise; trenchmore braised beef cheek with heritage grains, pickled red onion and coriander; Pimm’s sorbet; and malt and milk. As well as a brilliant gluten-free and vegan ‘alternative menu’.
2 Gloucester Street, Brighton, BN1 4EW
One for a celebration, Wild Flor is a relaxed neighbourhood restaurant that serves up some of the best food in the seaside city. Home to rustic interiors, a brilliant wine list and delicious food, it’s hard to beat – and it’s a restaurant that’s well on its way to nabbing itself a Michelin star.
Look forward to dishes such as grilled ox heart with fried green tomatoes and bagna vert; poached ray wing with bisque, fennel, courgette and salt cod raviolo; treacle cured pork rib eye with sweetcorn, golden oyster mushroom and hay baked shoulder; and hibiscus granita with raspberry and fig leaf ice cream.
42 Church Road, Hove, BN3 2FN
Levelling up what it means to be ‘pub grub’, The Pond is my port of call for a casual night date night or catch-up with friends. Hands down you’ll find the best bao in Brighton here, from thai coconut chicken stuffed in with som tam, satay sauce, peanut and coriander to mushroom bulgogi, sweet and sticky sauce, miso mayo, crispy fried shallots, pickles and spring onion.
As well as sweet bao including the mega donut PBJ with vanilla ice cream, jam and coconut condensed milk – so good you won’t even know it’s vegan.
49 Gloucester Road, Brighton, BN1 4AQ
Burnt Orange’s description of ‘wood-fired flavours and well-made drinks’ just about sums this restaurant-cum-intimate-bar perfectly. Hidden on Middle Street, the restaurant is home to stunning interiors, great cocktails and a cosy plant-lined outdoor terrace.
Head here for an intimate date night packed with flavours such as fire-roasted chermoula monkfish with sumac and mint tzatziki and spiced raisin; charred hispi cabbage with harissa and cider butter; and baharat lamb chops with muhammara and marinated feta. Pair it with cocktails and you’re set.
59 Middle Street, Brighton, BN1 1AL
The Flint House
Part of the Gingerman Restaurant Group, The Flint House can be found nuzzled inside Brighton’s newest south lane. It specialises in small plates and counter-side dining, as well as serves up brilliant cocktails from its cocktail bar and rooftop terrace. Grab your friends and venture down to sample a little bit of everything or opt for the chefs menu with wine pairing for a taste of the chef’s favourites.
13 Hanningtons Lane, Brighton, BN1 1GS
Riddle & Finns
Brighton’s best seafood restaurant, Riddle & Finns has been serving up Champagne and oysters since opening its first restaurant in 2006. Now boasting three locations across the city, it’s become a restaurant renowned for its fine cuisine, fruits de mer platters and sustainably sourced fish dishes.
65 Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 1NA
12B Meeting House Lane, Brighton, BN1 1HB
139 Kings Roach Arches, Brighton, BN1 2FN
Terre à Terre
Brighton is renowned for its vegan and vegetarian options, and at the top of the tier is fine dining restaurant, Terre a Terre. Forget bland salads and endless seitan options, they’ve been serving up refined vegan and vegetarian options since opening in 1993.
Expect dishes such as Griddled rocket pesto bread topped with minted grilled feta, served with kalamata tapenade, thick minty tzatziki and a salad of heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, rocket, and capers; potato rostis with sautéed buttered spinach, finished with cream, garlic, parsley and nutmeg, topped with a soft poached egg and toasted mustard rarebit topping; and a sweet tapas sharing platter filled with their desserts. The vegan afternoon tea is also brilliant.
71 East Street, Brighton, BN1 1HQ
Where to drink
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For a cocktail haunt off the beaten track, Twisted Lemon is the hotspot every Brightonion will know but daytrippers might not. Situated just off Middle Street, the award-winning bar serves up expertly mixed cocktails, from your classics through to bespoke, signature cocktails.
If you can’t find a seat, down the road you’ll also find their sister company, Twisted Lime.
41 Middle Street, Brighton, BN1 1AL
The Black Dove
One of my favourite pubs, The Black Dove is the perfect spot for an intimate date night, a midweek catch-up with friends or channelling your creativity in one of their weekly Life Drawing sessions. Quirky and quaint, the interiors are enough to draw you in – everywhere you look you’ll notice something different hanging on the walls. Plus their cocktail menu is second to none.
74 St James’s Street, Brighton, BN2 1PA
From boozy brunch to cocktails at sunset, Six is the sundowner spot to know. Home to dreamy interiors and road-side seating, head here for cocktails. The ‘Six Sours’, made with lemon juice, sugar syrup, aqua faba, smoke and oak bitters, and your choice of spirit from their selection, is a personal favourite.
Six is part of a wider group, home to coffee shops, restaurants and bars across the capital, so if you like this you’ll love those too.
102-104 Western Road, Brighton, BN3 1FA
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Brighton Beach House
Soho House’s first Brighton location, Brighton Beach House is the place to head to for sea views with a side of luxury – only if you’re lucky enough to have a membership or know someone who has of course. Expect the usual Soho House style, complete with a wraparound terrace sea-facing, with palm trees, stylish parasols and an outdoor pool.
The Terraces, Madeira Drive, brighton, BN2 1AY
This one isn’t booze related but if you’re in need of a caffeine hit or fancy somewhere trendy to hang and work, Pelicano is at the top of my list. There’s two venues in the city, and both sum Brighton up in a coffee shop – think great specialty coffee, tasty cakes and a cosmopolitan vibe.
28 Queens Road, BN1 3XA | The Level, BN1 4SB
28 Sydney Street, BN1 4EP | 15 Lewes Road, BN2 3HP
Things to do
Beach Box Sauna Spa
Fancy taking your spa experience to the next level? Beach Box Sauna Spa is located literally on the beach. This year-round experience will see you relaxing in the open air. Made from converted horse trailers, the saunas use wood-fired stoves to build up the heat. When the heat gets too much, there’s an icy plunge pool or they recommend running into the sea to cool off.
Banjo Groyne, Madeira Drive, Brighton
The epitome of Brighton thrifting, Snoopers Paradise is an emporium filled with mayhem, mischievous and the miscellaneous. You can honestly spend a whole day in here and you won’t have spotted all of the weird and wonderful things lining every inch of the walls, shelves and floor.
It’s worth mentioning here that it’s located in the heart of The Lanes that Brighton are so renowned for. Spend the afternoon wandering up and down the mazes, perusing the shops, stopping for coffee and pondering life.
7-8 Kensington Gardens, Brighton, BN1 4AL
Add some culture to your visit and book in for a tour around the Royal Pavilion & Garden. Brighton’s pride and joy, the epic palace is the former seaside escape for King George IV. The exteriors are reminiscent of the Taj Mahal, while inside the interiors are inspired by oriental designs.
4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton BN1 1EE
Duke of York’s
One for the film fanatics… Duke of York’s is one of the oldest cinemas in the world, home to one giant screen. Regularly showing a mix of old classics and new releases, fall back in love with the art of cinema with a screening here. Plus, grab a drink out on their tiny outdoor terrace for views over Brighton – it’s a hidden secret that only a few know about!
Preston Road, Brighton, BN1 4NA
Some love it, some hate it- but a whizz up the 162m tower and you’ll capture some of the best views over Brighton, Sussex and beyond.
Lower Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2LN
Brighton’s festival season
Brighton is best enjoyed during the festival season, from the Brighton Fringe – think Edinburgh Fringe by the sea – and Brighton Festival to Great Escape, the independent music festival taking place in venues around the city. And of course Brighton Pride is renowned world over for its community spirit and blast of fun.