If you’re planning a UK break-away this year then Brighton may very well be on your list. In 2016, my girlfriend Helen and I spent a couple of days in Brighton and had a wonderful time.
I never really believed in holidaying in the UK (I blame my parents for spoiling me with trips abroad as a child). However, Brighton was the first place where I actually felt as though I was truly on holiday.
If you’re looking for a UK getaway this year then let me share with you this fantastic list of free things to do in Brighton.
Feel free to use the interactive embedded map above to plan your trip’s itinerary. I’ve highlighted every location I talk about in this post to try and make it as simple and straight forward as possible.
1. Brighton Pier
Brighton Pier opened in 1899 and up until 2000 was known as Palace Pier (only renamed after being purchased by the Noble organisation). This victorian pier is packed with various food and drink outlets, fairground attractions, bars, restaurants and even an arcade.
At 1,760 foot long the pier plays host to 85 miles of wooden planking. With impressive statistics like that it’s no wonder it won an award for being ‘pier of the year’. Over the years the pier has played host to many TV shows and movie sets including Doctor Who and The Carry On series. Open all year round and only closing on Christmas Day it’s the one location you can count on being open regardless of the season.
During our time in Brighton Helen and I went to the pier to watch the sunset. We sat on the free to rent deckchairs for hours. It was a fantastic place to take photographs, and chat about life (and everything in-between)
2. The Royal Pavilion Garden
The Royal Pavilion Garden is one of only a few fully restored regency gardens in the country. Having been restored in 1820 by John Nash. Since then it’s been maintained under organic guidelines. With garden volunteers use natural planting techniques and organic compost to encourage the return of wildlife to the centre of Brighton. The beauty of the Royal Pavilion Garden is how it changes with the seasons. In early spring you can expect to see snowdrops and wild daffodils. Whilst in Autumn, strawberry trees and sunflowers.
If you’re looking to save money on food during your trip then the Royal Pavilion Gardens is the perfect spot for a picnic. You can also listen to live music being played most Monday afternoons.
3. Hove Museum & Art Gallery
Brighton plays host to many museums, both free and paid. However, my personal favourite has to be the family friendly Hove Museum & Art Gallery. Regardless of your age, you’ll find something for everyone at this free to enter interactive toy gallery. Designed with the theme of a wizard’s attic, highlights include a mock up of the Wizard’s workshop for broken toys and a bedroom split by time (half modern-day and half victorian).
The museum also includes two contemporary craft galleries. The main craft gallery showcases start objects from the museums collection and introduces some of the key craft pioneers of the 20th century. The second gallery explores the process of craft making. The role in which Brighton played in the birth of cinema here in the UK is celebrated in the film gallery with working optical toys, magic lanterns and cameras.
The gallery features the pioneering Hove film-makers of the 1890s and 1900s including footage of their films. The museum is open through-out the week, however it’s closed on Wednesdays and only opens for a couple of hours in the afternoon on a Sunday. For more detailed visiting hours be sure to check the website before you travel.
4. The Lanes
The Lanes, are known as a collection of narrow lanes within the city centre of Brighton. Famous for their small often independent shops including several antique boutiques with narrow alleyways. Just because The Lanes are made up of shops and restaurants doesn’t mean this has to cost you money.
Helen and I spent many hours simply taking in the architectural sights, rummaging around independent stores and getting lost. You’ll often find buskers and live performers livening up the streets, making The Lanes a fantastic place to experience the most of Brighton’s atmosphere. It’s no wonder it made it number three on Trip Advisors list of top things to do in Brighton, as voted for by the public.
The Lanes is also home to the flagship Choccywoccydoodah store and cafe. This was part of a fly-the-wall TV show and is renounced for it’s super creative window displays attracting crowds of visitors along with their amazing cakes which are apiece of art in themselves. You’ll find Choccywoccydoodah’s second store in Carnaby, London.
5. Devil’s Dyke
Devil’s Dyke is last on my list of the top five free things to do in Brighton. However, that doesn’t mean to say it’s last all together. In fact for many of the adventurous type this is likely to be number one. To experience Devil’s Dyke you’re going to be leaving the city centre of Brighton. If you have a car then parking is £2 all day and free for national trust members.
If you’re looking to use public transport then bus number 77 leaves the Pier multiple times a day, seven days a week. This short journey is certainly going to be worth your time. That’s because Devil’s Dyke is home to some of the most stunning views of the British landscape and home to the deepest and widest dry valley in Britain. You don’t just have to enjoy Devil’s Dyke on foot. A network of bridleways criss-cross the estate offering great cycling for both notice and more experienced cyclists.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little different Devil’s Dyke is also fantastic for kite flying and is known as one of Europe’s finest sites for paragliding and hand gliding.
There we have it, my top five free things to do in Brighton. Visit my other travel post to learn more about how we had a budget trip to Brighton. Be sure to leave me a comment with you’re favourite free things to do whilst in Brighton.