Exciting Things to Do in Brighton for the Best Visit Ever in 2021


If you’re coming to Brighton for the first time (or the first time in a long time) then you might be wondering how to make the most of a day in the city, well the good news is that we have you completely covered and we’ve come up with an action-packed day that takes in all of the best bits of the city and which will leave you wanting even more.

Brighton UK, What to do in a day? Well, our itinerary has you finding parking (if you didn’t arrive by train), jumping on an exciting bike tour of the city, grabbing lunch (vegan, if you’d like), enjoying the beach, doing some water sports, strolling down the pier, gambling on the penny slots, sipping coffee at Pelicano, having a fine dinner, taking in a show, seeing some of the city’s best pubs, enjoying an elegant cocktail and if you wish, taking lodgings in Brighton for the night.

Beginning The Day: Finding Parking?

If you want a great start to your day in Brighton, let’s be blunt about this – you’ll catch a train. It will drop you off in the centre of the city and you’ll be able to walk (or cycle) to pretty much anywhere you want to go.

Or you can go the hard way and drive a car and then go look for parking; fortunately, we can make this easier for you because we have a great list of free parking in the city along with Google directions on how to get to them.

Take A Bike Tour of The City

I am proud of Brighton Bike Tours because I run it and I am the lead guide too. But you don’t have to take my word for it that it’s the best thing you can do outdoors in Brighton because Brighton Bike Tours is rated Number 1 on TripAdvisor for the city and it has been for a long time.

I started the tours because I believe Brighton is an amazing city and that the only way you can get the best from the city, as a visitor, is to jump on a bike and have someone with local knowledge help you put it all together.

Learn Your Way Around Brighton

Firstly, you get to see the majority of the best sights in Brighton and you can put together your own internal map between them. This can really help when it comes to deciding what to do with your time in Brighton and for getting around the city in general.

Get The Best Recommendations of What Do From Your Guide

I know Brighton and I love Brighton and because we get time to chat on a Brighton Bike Tour, I can get to know you a little and help you get the best out of your short visit. No online service can match that level of personal touch when it comes to exploring Brighton.

See The Best That Brighton Has To Offer

As one of Britain’s most visited cities, there’s a lot to see and do in Brighton and this tour, The Grand Brighton Bike Tour, takes you to all the highlights in a short 2 ½ hour trip. It’s very cost-effective too at only £19.50 to £22.50 per person.

There’s a break for cake and tea at the Pavilion Garden and then we take in some of Brighton’s justifiably famous seafront to round things off.

The Major Highlights Of This Tour Are:

  • Brighton Dome
  • Brighton Pier
  • Brighton Rock Garden
  • British Airways i360
  • Eagle – Great Eastern Pub Stop
  • East Street- Brighton’s oldest street
  • Fishing Quarter
  • Graffiti Adorned back streets
  • Graffiti adorned Kensington street
  • Grand Hotel
  • Grand Parade
  • Icons Wall – Banksy
  • Little St Peters church
  • Pavilion Gardens
  • Pavilion Gardens Cafe
  • Pet cemetery
  • Poppy Filled Wild meadows
  • Preston Manor House
  • Preston Park
  • Preston Twins
  • Royal Pavilion Palace
  • Secret Garden
  • St Bartholomew’s church
  • St Peters church
  • Sydney Street
  • The Lanes
  • The Level
  • The North Laine – Bohemian Quarter
  • The Railway Viaduct

Enjoy A Stunning Coast Ride To Hove

If you’d like to get as much time down by the sea as possible then you might want to go for The Grand Coastal Bike Tour which still touches on some of the city’s highlights but focuses its efforts on the coastline.

You’ll enjoy lunch at Fat Boy Slim’s Café in Hove before taking in the i360 on the way back which is the most striking addition to Brighton’s skyline in recent history.

The Major Highlights Of This Tour Are:

  • Beach Huts
  • Big Beach Café – Fat Boy Slim’s place
  • Brighton Dome
  • Brighton Pier
  • Brighton/Hove boundary
  • British Airways i360
  • Eagle – Great Eastern Pub Stop
  • East Street- Brighton’s oldest street
  • Fishing Quarter
  • Graffiti Adorned back streets
  • Graffiti adorned Kensington street
  • Grand Hotel
  • Grand Parade
  • Hove Lagoon
  • Hove Lawns
  • Hove Promenade
  • Icons Wall – Banksy
  • Pavilion Gardens
  • Pavilion Gardens Cafe
  • Peace statue
  • Queen Victoria Statue
  • Royal Pavilion Palace
  • St Bartholomew’s church
  • St Peters church
  • Sydney Street
  • The Lanes
  • The Level
  • The North Laine – Bohemian Quarter
  • Victorian Birdcage Band Stand

Get Some Special Food Recommendations

If you’re looking to pick out the best food from the stuff that they sell to tourists, I’d be happy to walk you through your options and give you some recommendations based on your tastes. After all, that’s one of the best reasons to go on a Brighton Bike Tour – the personal guide service.

Lunch: To Go Vegan or Not?

Brighton is home to plenty of great restaurants and it’s also home to some of the best vegan places on the planet. This is good news if you want to maintain your healthy glow from your cycle round Brighton and we’ve got a great recommendation for lunch for you that’s totally vegan.

Vegan Choice: Purezza

12 St. Jame’s Street

We’d recommend that you grab a nice modern pizza at Purezza. They have one of the largest and most diverse sets of vegan choices you’re likely to encounter anywhere in the world, including Brighton. Everything on the menu is excellent but we’d say their Season 4 Pizza 1 is the best!

Not convinced by the meat-free options? Then how about a light lunch to set you up for the afternoon?

The Vegan Optional Choice: Goemon Ramen Bar

12 Preston Street

This hidden gem isn’t without its vegan options, mind you, but most people are going to end up diving into a hearty bowl of ramen with both meat and egg as part of the deal. To be fair, the food is delicious, budget-friendly and the perfect thing to give you a boost before you get out and see some more of the city.

Time For Ice Cream! Gelato Gusto

Once you’ve had lunch, hopefully you’ll have some room left for something really tasty. Gelato Gusto is the old school ice cream brought right up to date. Gelato has about half the fat of ice cream but still manages to taste creamier. This is due to the whipping process which is used to make it.

There are two branches of Gelato Gusto in Brighton, one on Gardner Street in the North Laine area and the other is under the Kings Road Arches by Brighton Beach. They make the best and tastiest gelato in town and yes, there are vegan options.

Get Down On The Beach

Brighton beach is famously covered in pebbles rather than sand and while it may not be ideal for laying on, it’s perfect for grabbing a deckchair and kicking back in the sun. That’s probably why it’s the most popular beachfront in the country with more visitors than any other. However, chilling out isn’t all there is to do.

Enjoy Some Water Sports

Brighton Watersports is the surf shop on Brighton beach and there’s a huge array of sports that they offer from there. You could get a kayak and go for a lazy paddle around the pier. You could try wakeboarding which is always popular but does require certain weather conditions to get the most out of it.

Or you could always try paddleboarding which is definitely the biggest growing water sport in the world at the moment. Don’t worry if you don’t have any equipment or haven’t done it before, they can rent you some and teach you how to use it too.

For the more experienced surfer, they have some local champions on hand to teach you how to get even more out of your board.

Clean Up Your Litter!

Just one last thing on the subject of the beach, please take any litter you have home with you – Brighton remains a lovely place to visit because everyone works so hard to keep it that way.

Take A Stroll Along Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier is one of the things that makes Brighton truly special and it is the most visited destination in Britain outside of London and more than 4 million people a year spend some time wandering its length.

It is over a mile long and it takes nearly 3 months each year to repaint it! When the sun goes down there are over 67,000 bulbs used to illuminate it. The pier has also starred in several movies from Brighton Rock to Quadrophenia.

Spend A Penny (or Maybe A Bit More) In The Arcade Penny Slot Machines

There are quite a few attractions on Brighton Pier but without a doubt, the best is the arcade penny slot machines that are in the “Palace of Fun”. So, when you’re done with the trampolines and roller coasters, why not head down to put some pennies in the old school machines or pounds in some of the new-fangled ones.

There are some tasty prizes for those with real talent at the machines including PlayStations! They say that the reason Guitar Hero is so popular in Great Britain is that it was heavily featured at Brighton Pier when it was launched!

Quench Your Thirst With A Trendy Coffee At Pelicano

If you’ve been having fun on Brighton Pier, then you’ve almost certainly worked up a bit of a thirst. A great place to quench that thirst is at Pelicano, one of Brighton’s more innovative coffee shops. There are advantages to being a “hipster” town and this is definitely one of them.

The coffee is all single-origin, fair trade and ground and roasted on the premises. If Starbucks is equivalent to the McDonald’s of the coffee world, sipping coffee at Pelicano is more like a 7-course meal at El Bulli. Everyone raves about it and for good reason.

Dinner Time: To Go Vegan Or Not?

Brighton has over 825 restaurants as we go to press which means that you have plenty of choice of where to go for a superbly tasty dinner. However, if you don’t want to wade through a thousand reviews and get overwhelmed by all that choice, we’d like to recommend two places that ought to keep pretty much everyone happy. As you’d expect one is vegan and the other is not even in the slightest bit vegan.

The Best Vegan Option: The Roundhill

Brighton’s best vegan restaurant for an evening meal is probably The Roundhill, though we admit there’s some stiff competition, they went fully vegan in September of 2019 after a long period as a vegetarian restaurant. It’s the perfect place to try some tasty Asian or British dishes and they’ve got some excellent beer too. All these delights will be greatly welcomed after the short sprint up Ditchling Road, one of the top 10 steepest roads in Brighton.

The Best Non-Vegan Option: Baqueano

They may be vegetarian-friendly but they are very much lacking on vegan choices but to be fair Baqueano is an Argentinian steakhouse and we are quite impressed that they sell vegetables at all but they are the best-rated restaurant in the city at the moment on TripAdvisor and our carnivore chums tell us that this is because their steaks are to die for. They are also surprisingly good value when you consider how expensive Brighton can be.

Time For A Show

In much of Britain the high art of drama is dying. The cinema is cheaper and blockbusters are ten a penny but in Brighton, some of the magic remains and whether you want to see some of tomorrow’s stars treading the boards or you want to enjoy a good old fashioned art-house movie in an appropriate setting, Brighton has you covered. Why not take in a show?

The Theatre Royal

This Grade II listed building is one of the country’s oldest theatres and it’s as much an experience sitting inside it as it is watching a play there. Many of the nations’ finest actors and actresses have appeared at The Theatre Royal and it won the Muddy Stilettos Award in 2016 as Best Theatre. You can book tickets online here.

Brighton Dome

Young and hip, the Brighton Dome is the South Coast’s leading arts venue and you can find shows of all kinds within its walls. Comedy, live music, theatre, dance and much, much more. Of course, this means you’ll have to plan your night carefully to see something you really want to see but it’s worth it.

Duke Of York’s Picturehouse

The country’s oldest picture house and one of the oldest in the world is a traditional art-house cinema and we think there’s no finer experience than settling in to see a great movie in great surroundings like the Duke of York’s Picturehouse.

3 Pubs In The Lanes That Everyone Must See

Brighton is a brilliant place to go for a pint of real ale and conversation. Most of its pubs are excellent and the best of them are found in the city’s Lanes district which is full of arty venues and serving affordable beers and food.

Cricketers

The Cricketers is the city’s oldest pub and boasts that it has connections with both Graham Greene (the novelist) and Jack the Ripper (yes, the serial killer). Inside offers you a very classic British pub experience with décor to match. The drinks menu is excellent and the food’s not half bad either.

Druid’s Head

This is managed by the Greene King brewery now, but they’ve kept enough of the original vibe of The Druid’s Head that it remains one of the city’s best watering holes. There are regular drinks deals if you’re trying to watch your pennies and the place is famed for its friendly vibe.

Black Lion

It’s a bit of a Brighton institution and the Black Lion can be found on many lists of the city’s greatest pubs. You’ll find some beautiful local artwork inside and the craft beers and cocktails are superb. There are also regular and varied entertainment options live inside.

Revolutionary Cocktails AT Revolution Brighton

If you fancy something a little more “upper crust” for your drinking in Brighton, then you might want to consider Revolution. It’s the perfect place to grab a nightcap in the city, it’s all about the cocktails and it’s considered to really know how to mix.  You should wear smart casual or better if you want to get past the door staff though.

Four Seasonal One Day Itineraries For Brighton (300)

If you want to mix and match this itinerary with other great options based on the seasons we’ve got a set of ideas for you:

Winter

  • Pavilion Ice Rink because skating never gets old in the Winter.
  • A Brighton bike tour because it will warm you up and there are fewer crowds to get in the way of your cycling.
  • The Burning of the Clocks which is an annual lantern festival held in Brighton and absolutely unforgettable to all those who take part in it.

Spring

  • The Fringe Festival because funny is always good and quirky is even better. You don’t have to go Edinburgh for a fringe festival when Brighton’s is just as good.
  • The Art Festival – Brighton is one of the most Bohemian places on earth and the arts festival makes everything exciting and attractive.
  • A Brighton Bike Tour – because Spring is when everything starts to come to life and who would want to miss the dawn of a new Brighton for a New Year?
  • An Artist’s Open House – seeing art is awesome, taking part is even better that’s what an open house is for.

Summer

  • Zipwire. It’s an exhilarating and thrilling experience based done in the summer.
  • A Bike Tour because it’s the best way to see the city and because the breeze will cool you down as you ride.
  • Water sports. It’s probably too cold for much of the year to go in the water but not in Summer.
  • The festivals. So many to choose from but don’t miss out on Pride if you can only enjoy one.
  • Picnics on the South Downs. It’s Britain’s newest country park. Enjoy it!

Autumn

  • Brighton Museum. Really get under the skin of Brighton as a city.
  • The Royal Pavilion. The colours are best at this time of year.
  • The Booth Museum. Stuffed birds and wonderful natural oddness abound. Don’t miss it.
  • A Ghost Walk. Seeing Brighton’s haunted side is best done in the dark and before it gets too cold.
  • A Brighton Bike Tour. As the leaves begin to fall and the days slowly get shorter what could be better than a bicycle tour of Brighton?

Spend The Night: Two Super Places To Stay

Once the day is done, you won’t want to leave Brighton and, indeed, it may even be later than you’d really feel comfortable leaving. So why not consider staying at:

The Grand Brighton, Brighton’s Most Iconic Hotel

It’s not cheap but it is amazing. For the ultimate British seaside experience why not stay where the elite do when they visit Brighton? And that’s The Grand Brighton.

Drakes Hotel, Elegant Luxury

If The Grand is too much of a statement for you, think about heading to Drakes, instead. This is classic elegance that everyone can appreciate.

Conclusion

So, as you can see. When someone asks What’s to do in a day in Brighton, UK? It’s a hard question to answer straight off, but only because there are so many splendid options for you to choose from in the city. We’re positive that if you use our itinerary to get you started, you’ll have a fantastic time which will leave you wanting to come back to Brighton over and over again.

Book a Grand Brighton bike tour with us today, and we look forward to riding with you soon.

Carlo

Local Tour guide of Brighton and blogger

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