A haven of hidden vintage gems and artisan coffee shops ideal for an afternoon of cake-filled blogging, there’s plenty of things to do in Brighton that prove it’s the ultimate alternative seaside getaway.
It’s almost impossible to start your day in Brighton without stepping foot in the fairly new addition to Brighton’s Laines, The Breakfast Club. An institution in Hoxton and Spitalfields, it’s now made its name on the South Coast as ‘the’ place to go for a morning treat. A blend of Hawaiian interior and cheesy 70s décor, it’s an Instagrammer’s dream – but wait until you get to the food! You’ll be hard pushed to pick a dish in under 5 minutes as the menu is bursting with delicious options. If I were you, I’d try the Avocado and Poached Egg on Rye, if you’re feeling a little naughty – go on, add some chorizo too, couple this with an organic Flat White and you’re good to go!
Just a short walk from The Breakfast Club, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Brighton along its seafront. As a kid, I used to spend hours here, playing crazy golf with the family on Madeira Drive then later, sharing bags of freshly baked doughnuts with friends in my teenage years as we made our way through the endless fairground rides and arcades. Not much has changed since, in all honesty, all I’d say is save your pennies (apart from a ride on the Ghost Train) and your tummy for something a little tastier back in the Laines. On a sunny day though, this city’s pebbled beach is a glorious place to sit down, relax and order a fruity cider.
Leaving the seafront behind, it’s time to discover Brighton’s quirkier side. Head back along Bond Street and you’ll find one of the latest kitsch boutiques to appear. This Is Not A Butchers is a great spot for finding cheap but very colourful gifts for friends and family’s birthdays or failing that, if you want something to sit on your desk to keep you amused. One of my best buys in here has to be either my Moomin Cookbook or my pink spoon shaped as an aeroplane – yeah, it’s for kids but it makes me giggle every time I use it!
Next up, you’ll need another caffeine hit before hitting the other alternative things to do in Brighton. Just a minute or two away, on Jubliee Street, and you’ll find The Flour Pot Bakery take-out. Now, I know this is controversial, but walk past Small Batch Coffee – in my opinion, there’s much better places in Brighton to get your caffeine hit. This little gem is one of them. Grab a milky latte and you won’t regret it. The Flour Pot Bakery is just one of those places where you can taste the passion that goes into an independent business. Each mouthful of coffee I’ve ever had here has been immaculate – you can trust me, I used to be a barista.
Another controversial decision, leave behind Snooper’s Paradise – this bootsale-esque market is a massive hit with tourists and because of that has succumb to putting up its prices. It’s no longer the bargain basement it used to be. Also, I know this is an even tougher one but ignore the lure of Beyond Retro too. If you’re looking for vintage finds at a great price, you need to head to To Be Worn Again in Kensington Gardens, again, just a couple of minutes walk away. In here, I’ve found at least half of my wardrobe – that’s no lie. From floral skater skirts to candy-striper dresses and denim dungarees, I’ve found so many one-offs here that often fit perfectly, are a great quality in comparison to other vintage stores in the city and are priced well. The staff in here are also super friendly and know about the pieces they’re selling – they make each visit feel like you’ve found a piece of fashionable history. I can’t recommend this place highly enough.
On the same street, you’ll find Resident, one of Brighton’s last remaining indie record stores. I always pop in here for a browse among the many other things to do in Brighton. Back before Spotify, I used to spend hundreds in this store and for good reason; they always had amazing recommendations (and still do). Literally, anything recommended in here, often goes on to become big hits – I’m looking at you, Royal Blood and Gabrielle Aplin. What’s more, they also sell local gig tickets here – so take a peek when you head on in, listings are in the window.
Finally – lunchtime and I hope you love a delicious Mexican. When this place first opened, you couldn’t get in for love nor money. Now the hype has died down a little, La Choza has become a little more accessible. You’ll spot it from its bright pink walls and vibrant blue front door, specializing in Mexican Street food – I’ve had some of my favourite meals in here. I won’t give too much away but have a Mandarin Jarritos (a bright orange Mexican soft drink) and the Pulled Pork Burrito – you won’t forget or regret it.
Time to walk off that Mexican bad-boy and explore more things to do in Brighton. Head over to the beautiful domed Royal Pavilion. Once built as a seaside pleasure house for King George IV, once you step inside, you’re instantly transported to regal palaces of India and China. The sheer opulence inside is outstanding; chandeliers in every room and so much gold, it’s a little bit blinding at times. With tickets at around £10, it’s well worth the visit. But if you’d rather not spend, then a trip to the free Brighton Museum and Art Gallery next door is more than worth your time. From the mummies of Ancient Egypt to popular 20th Century graphic designers, it’s one of this city’s cultural hotspots.
Now to venture to one of Brighton’s latest additions, Magazine, on London Road. This is where you can pick up a number of indie magazines for a more than fair price, including Betty, Kinfolk and Oh Comely. Once you’ve picked up your favourite titles, with an hour of two of walking behind you, you’ll want a sweet treat no doubt. Take a short stroll up the road to York Place and you’ll happen upon Icelandic Nordic Coffee Collective, opened by Edda Margrét Halldórsdóttir. Opt for a Liquorice Coffee and a traditional Cinnamon Bun – all made from Scandinavian recipes – and while away an hour or two, off your feet, in minimalist Scandi surroundings.
As it comes to the evening, walk a little back into the centre of town to Dukes at Komedia on Gardner Street. One of two Picturehouse cinemas in Brighton, book yourself in for whatever takes your fancy at the time and curl up in one of their sofas – this is one of the best evenings I’ve had of late watching Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha! It’s almost too cozy in this traditional red velvet seated cinema, complete with local craft beer and freshly made popcorn by the tub. The perfect way to finish a perfect day by the seaside.
What would be among your recommendations for things to do in Brighton?