With pebbled beaches, cutesy cafes, an old-school pier, classic architecture, a gorgey promenade, adorable shops and boutiques wherever you look as well as a plethora of restaurants, it’s easy to see why Brighton is loved by so many people. I have wanted to visit this seaside city for years, so I was so excited that we got to spend a whole day there at the end of December.
In a lot of ways Brighton really surprised me. It was even more artsy and hip than I imagined – which I loved – but it was also SO much bigger and busier than I expected! In my head it was a quaint seaside town, but in reality it’s a proper big city. While I was under the impression that one day would be more than enough time to explore Brighton, it really wasn’t… there’s so much to see and do there that I think you’d need a good few days to do it properly. It’s definitely a place I’d love to spend a few days getting to know – probably during the summer months though!
Despite being pretty chilly and a little pushed for time (sunset at 4pm is no joke) we had such a fun day in Brighton. It’s the ideal spot for a day trip as there’s soo much to do and see. Here’s how we chose to spend our day at the British seaside…
1. The pier and the beach
Brighton pier is pretty legendary, so we decided to start there. I have a bit of a thing for piers, so this was a real highlight for me. The whole structure is very old school and vibey with lots of food stalls, rides and an arcade. I guess it’s kinda kitch, but definitely in a good way. I assume that the pier would be buzzing in summer – it’s the ideal warm day spot! Although it was cold on the day we visited, the sun was out so we were able to enjoy a lovely walk around the pier, soaking in all the views and goggling at the pebble-filled beach. As a Capetonian, the word beach is synonymous with soft white sand… so walking along Brighton’s pebbly beach was quite an experience! I wouldn’t say this beach is my favourite, but it’s great for a walk and for a few photos. Cape Town has definitely made me a beach snob!
2. Coffee and doughnuts… cause duh
After wandering along the pier and breathing in the crisp sea air for an hour or two the cold became a bit much and the need for coffee too strong. I was gutted to discover that the doughnut shop I was a little too excited to go to – Dum Dum Doughnuts – was closed until the new year, so we headed to Krispy Kreme instead (because once you get your heart set on doughnuts, nothing else will suffice). We walked across town, weaving in and out of gorgeous streets lined with Christmas lights and alleyways home to dozens of antique shops and adorable cafes – Brighton’s renowned Lanes really are special. Eventually warm coffee filled our tummies and we sank our teeth into freshly iced doughnuts – the raspberry jam is definitely a winner.
3. The Lanes
After a much needed break from the cold, we ventured out again to browse through the plethora of shops in the Lanes. This is an area of Brighton that you just can’t miss. Dozens of teeny streets and alleys – all lined with an assortment of boutiques, beautiful shops, restaurants and bakeries – criss cross over one another, forming a chaotic yet instantly loveable nest. I could have spent hours browsing and window shopping, although I do think it would be hugely beneficial if you had someone to show you around as it was a little overwhelming.
4. Fish and chips at Bankers
How could we not go for fish and chips while at the British seaside? Besides, we had to see whether Brighton’s fish had anything on Cape Town’s. After narrowly avoiding ordering cod roe (essentially fish eggs and definitely not what we had in mind) we all went for battered cod and chips. Partially because we wanted to take advantage of the sunshine and largely because we didn’t want to pay extra to eat inside, we headed over the road to a nearby set of steps to enjoy our hot lunch. Wow – it was sooo good and very, very welcome. The Brits definitely know how to do fish and chips right!
5. An afternoon promenade walk
In order to beat the full stomach laziness, we decided to head back down to the sea for a walk. We didn’t realise just how far away from the car we had ventured, so we enjoyed a long and leisurely stroll all the way across the Brighton promenade – which had become absolutely buzzing as mid afternoon arrived – reminding me a lot of the Sea Point promenade back home. Kids were skateboarding and playing, dogs were enjoying an afternoon out and beach-front restaurants and cafes were bursting with visitors. I guess everyone was just as excited about the sunshine as we were!
Being in Brighton for the day was such a wonderful taster of that side of the world. I can’t wait to spend more time there!
Thanks for reading,