What to Do in Brighton

Brimming with nostalgia, tongue-in-cheek kitsch and idealistic scenery, the British seaside town has been a staple of the British summer since the Victorian ages. Whilst many are now relegated to spectres of summer, only resurging in popularity when the weather turns a little warmer, one English coastal resort remains at the top of tourist agendas and a relocation hot spot year round.

The city of Brighton, attracting over 7.5 million day and 4.9 overnight visitors annually, is the most popular British seaside destination for overseas tourists. And, after being awarded the titles of the UK’s hippest city and the happiest place to live in the UK, is a similar attraction for young professionals looking to move outside of London.

A hub of creative and technological industries, Brighton’s unique cultural landscape is sustained by two large universities, a thriving arts scene and an independent start-up culture that saw it crowned as the best place to start up a new business, and the city with the greatest concentration of restaurants per head of population, other than London, in the UK.

So it’s unsurprising then, that Brighton is a city with a lot going on.

Host to the biggest arts festival in England, hundreds of beautiful listed buildings constructed over a long period of time as one of Britain’s most favoured seaside resorts, art galleries, theatres, a famously inclusive nightclub scene - earning it the accolade of the “gay capital of the UK” and of course, the Brighton Pier. Brighton is far more expansive than your traditional seaside resort.

If you’re planning a visit, looking to relocate, or a local like us looking for a few fresh ideas, we’ve gathered together a quick guide of our favourite things to do in Brighton.

Check Out the Local Art

Art Republic

After a multi-million pound investment and refurbishment, the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery acts as a nexus for the vibrant cultural and arts scene that characterises Brighton. Tying in traditional establishments like the Booth Museum of National History and Hove Museum & Art Gallery with the numerous independent galleries artist studios and workshops that line North Laine.

Soak up some eclectic contemporary art in the Art Republic, a young, street art and mixed media focused gallery on Bond Street, before showing support for emerging artists in the intimate Gallery40 on Gloucester Road, in the centre of North Laines, hosting exhibits from students from the art department at nearby Brighton University. 

Or if you’re planning in advance, try and attend one of the amazing festivals that happen in Brighton every year, combining fine art with music, lectures and spoken word performances. The Brighton Festival, Beach Down Festival and of course, Pride, transform the south downs into a virtual Mecca for film, music and comedy fans.

Visit the Royal Pavilion

Royal Pavilion

The Royal Pavilion is the cultural lynchpin of the Brighton landscape. Despite humble beginnings as a farmhouse in 1784, the house was transformed into the beautiful fusion of colonial Indian and Oriental architectural features after the then Prince Regent, George IV, rented it out on the advice of his physician. 

Informed by his love of the orient, George IV furnished his now seaside palace with lavish exported Chinese furniture, hiring two architects, Henry Holland and John Nash, to construct fantastical rooms and extensions on the original structure.

After a brief stint as a hospital throughout WWII, the Royal Pavilion was refurbished and renovated to its former glory and has remained a beautiful cultural site ever since.

Eat Fish & Chips on Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach

It would be wrong to visit any British seaside without enjoying its staple fish and chips, especially when said beach is one of Enjoy England’s Top 10 Beach Destinations. Stretching from Southwick to Rottingdean, along 5 miles of the South coast, Brighton beach is ideal to take in some idyllic views when eating, and walking off, Britain’s traditional dish. 

Head to the pier afterwards to take try your luck in the penny arcades and enjoy some good old British kitsch.

Go Shopping in North Laine

North Laine, Brighton

Brighton is chock full of independent boutiques, selling everything from homemade craft goods, upcycled home ware and locally sourced and designed clothing, especially in the bohemian hub, the North Laines.

Wearing its legacy on its sleeve, the home of the infamous mods and rockers clash of the 60’s has a natural affinity for vintage clothing, and the city is literally doused in boutiques selling antique wares. 

Check out Jump the Gun on Gardner Street. Selling mohair suits, mod stalwart parkas and pointed shirts, this homage to the 60’s stocks all the staples of the mod uniform, year round, decade to decade. 

For a more thrifty clothing rummage, head to Beyond Retro on Vine Street to lose yourself in the largest vintage clothing store in North Laines. WIth clothing spanning the last half a century, from hippy flares to 90’s combats, Beyond Retro is sure to have something to suit every vintage taste.

If you’re looking to match your decor to your groovy outfit, man, then head to Snoopers Paradise in Kensington Gardens. The reigning King of Brighton’s antique stores, Snoopers Paradise cluttered displays are full of hidden gems and old trinkets and is definitely worth a look, even if only for nostalgia’s sake.

With a multitude of vegetarian, vegan and ethically sourced restaurants and holistic lifestyle centres, it’s no secret that part of Brighton’s progressive nature is an inclusive, hippy core. This extends even to Brighton’s shopping, with Vegetarian Shoes on Gardner Street. Unsurprisingly, Vegetarian Shoes aims to provide a wide range of leather and cruelty-free boots, shoes and sandals, for the principled shopper.

Although we can’t class ourselves as a tourist honeypot, our accountancy firm is as entrenched within the landscape of Brighton as many of the sites we’ve listed. Subscribing to the same fair and ethical views as our home city, we aim to serve all our clients with a level of service, professionalism and expertise that places us above the rest.

Plummer Parsons Guides To Brighton