Brighton is packed with fun things to do, but if you read this blog regularly, you’ll know by now I like to escape the crowds and find twists on the classic adventures. Here are a few we’ve discovered over the years…
1. Walk around a new neighbourhood. One of my favourite things to do in Brighton – and any place I visit – is just to walk, especially around the side streets and into the residential neighbourhoods away from the crowds. This way I spot details I wouldn’t spot if I was riding a bike or sat in a car. It’s just a nice way to get to know a place and slow down. Here are some places in Brighton to explore, and an idea for a romantic walk.
2. Go sea swimming. So you’ve walked along the seafront so many times. But how about a refreshing dip in the sea? Nothing gets your happy endorphins going quite like it. You could brave the icy water on your own, or if you need some encouragement, you could join the Salty Seabirds, a friendly community of swimmers who swim in the sea off Brighton and Hove beaches every single day! They post on Facebook when and where they’ll be swimming and for others to join them. There are usually early morning, daytime and evening swims.
3. Beach box sauna. With its secluded setting and a distant view of the Palace Pier, this traditional Finnish sauna experience is like walking into another world. It’s where you’ll find hardy locals and visitors in the know hanging out in all weathers. It’s amazing, invigorating and will refresh you in sunny months or warm the chilly cockles in winter. Dan and I have been to the sauna many times; it’s always exhilarating and exciting, whatever the weather. It’s actually really romantic in the rain! There’s also a bar and coffee shop next door.
4. Go gallery hopping. Put on a fancy dress, some comfy shoes and hop around the galleries of Brighton. Ones to check out are Phoenix Art Gallery, Fabrica, Onca, Cameron Contemporary and of course Brighton Museum, to name a few. The websites Art Rabbit and Visit Brighton list what exhibits are on when.
5. Cycle along the seafront (especially at sunset). Hopping on a bike and cycling by the sea makes me happy every time. Especially now there’s a new cycle lane which makes it much easier and safer. If you cycle west, you’ll adore the view of the West Pier over to Worthing, the sparkling sea, boats and the sunset which on the right weather day, looking intense! Pick up a bike near the Palace Pier, and make your way to the new seaview cafe-bar, Rockwater, for an impromptu glass of wine and some lunch or dinner.
6. Brunswick Square. This small hidden square in Hove is a lovely spot for the picnic lunch if the beach is crowded. It’s a block back from the seafront, so the view is lovely. Pick up an impromptu picnic from this local-favourite French patisserie on nearby Western Road, find a bench, and kick back away from the seafront crowds.
7. Watch a movie at the Duke’s. One of my favourite things to do on a free afternoon, is take myself off on a date to this vintage cinema, the Duke of York’s at Preston Circus. You can also drink coffee or wine while you watch!
9. Sunset boat trip. Feel the crisp wind on your face while sailing on the sea just off Brighton in a yacht. The captain passes out wool blankets and serves wine and you can bring snacks, if you’d like. (Think: lobster rolls from the Brighton Shellfish Company.) You sail right along the coast of Brighton past the i360 – such a fun way to see the city and gaze at it while the sun dips away.
10. Valley Gardens. This new park runs from St Peter’s Church near London Road (and this amazing chip shop I’ve written about a lot on here as it’s a big part of my life!), to the Steine a few metres from the Palace Pier. It’s been completely remodelled and you feel like you’re in Amsterdam when the flower beds bloom with tulips and people on bikes cycle past. You can sit back on the benches, walk the paths or ride your bike. It’s such a nice place to slow down.