Today I have exciting news! I want to bring you Ellie & Co’s Local’s Guide to Brighton, the first in a new series of ‘Local guides to…’ I’ll be publishing in the next months. I’ve spent a good few years writing about Brighton now and have lots of posts on my blog, so I thought it would be good to put them in one place. This will make it easy for you refer back to them when you’re planning your weekend in Brighton and help you find inspiration and tips on experiencing Brighton like a local.
Local Guide to Brighton
This Local’s Guide to Brighton is where you can find my favourite places to sleep, eat and play – like a local – in the city to help you plan your next trip to Brighton. Instead of an overarching round-up, this guide features my regular hang-outs, personal favourites and Brighton discoveries, as well as off-the-beaten-path things to do in the city, and ideas for escaping the crowds. It also offers advice on where to stay, and inspiration for the best day trips from Brighton if you’re in the city long enough to want to explore further afield. Let’s go!
WHERE TO EAT In Brighton
There are so many cafes in Brighton, but I’d start off with a delicious breakfast at Café Rust (I talk about here), a stylish, photo-worthy place near Preston Park. It has an excellent little menu of comforting food, I like their granola, yogurt and fruits or the smoked salmon and eggs. Everything is beautifully presented and delicious.
I’ve also written about the city’s prettiest cafes and restaurants that will get your inner photographer excited, a guide to Brighton tea rooms. If you want a proper Full English breakfast, this secret Brighton builders’ café in Hove is your place.
When it comes to dinner in Brighton, there are so many great Brighton restaurants, but lots of bad ones. You want to have one of those memorable occasions you’ll remember for years. To help you choose, I’ve written about the city’s most romantic restaurants, 6 hidden restaurants, my 10 all-time local favourite Brighton restaurants, and the best no-frills places.
I cannot live without Bincho Yakitori, a postage-stamp sized Japanese place I talk about here and always have a great time at. Local tip: it’s always busy, so book ahead. I’m also recently loving Wild Flor, a new neighbourhood place in Hove with a cosy atmosphere, good for lunch or dinner. For something more splurgy, I’d recommend The Little Fish Market hidden along a Hove backstreet or The Gingerman in a similar area.
We can’t talk about a trip to Brighton without mentioning fish and chips. Where to get the best is obviously a hot debate. There are a few I recommend not far from the centre of town: one called Bardsley’s hidden up a side street in the eclectic London Road area. They have a little restaurant and serve wine! Bankers on Western Road is also good, the portions huge and has seats inside. For take-away, I like Wolfies in Hove, and my local: the ‘accidentally Twin Peaks’ fish bar.
WHERE TO SHOP IN BRIGHTON
I’m not a massive shopper, but when I do need to get things, I tend to use local independent retailers rather than big chains where I can. I’ve written about my 20 favourite independent shops in Brighton, which covers all kinds of things to buy from stationery and books and, to kitsch souvenirs, to handmade chocolates.
For a treat, I love a trip to this chocolate shop in Hove which most people don’t know is there, let alone that it’s home to a hidden chocolate factory which makes sweets for Fortum and Mason in London!
Brighton is awash with vintage shops, but here are the best vintage boutiques I’d recommend heading for, including this secret vintage shop, tucked up an alleyway in central Brighton, great for escaping the crowds.
Where to hang out in Brighton
A good way to get your bearings in Brighton is to discover the city on one of these 5 hidden walks. These self-guided tours take you wandering and weaving around the backstreets of the beautiful Brighton neighbourhoods of Seven Dials, Hanover, Brunswick Town in Hove and Preston Park.
Culture-wise, Brighton Museum and the Royal Pavilion are well known, but the city is also home to various under-the-radar museums to explore. One I like to recommend is Anna’s Museum, a collection of curiosities displayed in an old shop window started by a young girl a few years ago which she adds to. It’s fun to discover it on a walk and stop and stare at all the curious finds.
I also love discovering Brighton’s smallest art gallery set inside two gleaming red London phone boxes on a leafy residential square which once stood abandoned and is fun to stumble on.
My latest absolute favourite activity is to have an outdoor sauna session at my secret Brighton beach club! It’s amazing, and a great thing to do after you’ve had your fix of shopping and pounding the pavements. You’ll leave feeling invigorated and refreshed. It’s surprisingly nice to go when the weather is cold when they light fires. I cannot recommend it enough.
DISCOVER SECRET BRIGHTON
Hunting for hidden treasures in Brighton is how my blog began, so my Secret Brighton archives are a good place to start if you want to go off-the-beaten path, away from the tourist crowds. I’ve also written posts on the Brighton’s pretty hidden streets, ghost signs along the way and this mysterious waterfall.
There’s a high chance you’ll want to spend some time at the beach. Although the atmosphere on Brighton seafront is fun in summer, the crowds can be seriously overwhelming. So here’s an alternative Brighton city beach to hang out at that you’ll only have to share with a handful of other people in the know.
WHERE TO STAY IN BRIGHTON
Once you’ve chosen a location, you’ll have to choose accommodation. Brighton has no shortage of great hotels for every budget, so the hardest part is picking which one is right for you.
This is the Brighton hotel I recommend the most for its seafront location, style and price which is incredibly good value considering how great it is. I also have posts on unique AirBnBs in Brighton for all budgets and this cool houseboat just outside Brighton if you want somewhere different stay.
DAY TRIPS FROM BRIGHTON
If you’re visiting for more than a few days, you might want to get out and about so here are 6 day trips I highly recommend. I’ve also written about hidden beaches close to Brighton, places to visit in Sussex not far from Brighton, such as little-known wineries, under-the-radar villages to hop around and off-the-beaten path country pubs to discover with incredible gardens.
I also put together a list of my favourite campsites closest to Brighton if you fancy tagging on a little outdoors trip but don’t want to go too far. All tried and tested by the Ellie & Co team (of two).
Brighton and Hove together make a small and walkable city, so pack comfortable shoes and don’t be afraid to explore on foot. That’s my favourite way to see the city, as it’s the best way to appreciate the architecture and smaller details you may miss in a car. However, it’s also easy to get around by bike or cab. I recommend visiting in spring before the summer holiday crowds take over, or early autumn when the leaves are changing but it’s not too cold yet.
So there you have Ellie & Co Local’s Guide to Brighton. If you want more inspiration, these books will get you excited. Happy travels!
What would you include in a Brighton guide? Any top tips for visitors?
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