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Brighton is such a cool place to visit and thanks to its location and good train links Brighton is a great place to visit on a day trip from London by train, and a good weekend break destination too.
In fact, the best way to get to Brighton from London is by train. On my day trip to Brighton, I took the London Thameslink as it was closer to me, it goes through many central London stations like St Pancras, Farringdon, Blackfriars and London Bridge. Alternatively, you can take a Southern Railway Train from London Victoria. I always use The Train Line to compare times and prices so I’d suggest having a look on there to book your ticket.
The best thing about visiting Brighton on a day trip from London is that it’s not that big, Brighton is actually a City and one of the best cities in England in my opinion but it’s easy to see in just one day which is perfect if you’re visiting London for just a few days or you live in London and only have the weekends free to explore!
The problem of course with day trips in the UK is the weather. There are plenty of things to do in Brighton and I have noted in my opinion, the top things to do in Brighton below in this Brighton Travel Blog.
However, I have also noted the things that will be good to do on a rainy day in Brighton as well as a summer’s day in Brighton.
If this is your second or third visit to Brighton, you’ll also find some slightly unique things to do in Brighton and unique ways to see Brighton that you may have not done the first time around. So let’s go!
You can’t visit Brighton and not walk along the pier. The Pier is a pretty typical British Seaside pier, it’s full of stalls selling ice creams, doughnuts and candy floss perfect for your London to Brighton day trip.
It has rides at the end for the brave people amongst us, it has deck chairs on it to enjoy the views from, and on that point, it does have awesome views of the beach, the i360, and even some white coastal cliffs (more on those later). Brighton Pier even has some arcade games inside the Palace of Fun, this is even more perfect if you happen to be in Brighton on a rainy day as you could easily pass an hour playing old-school seaside arcade games!
Brighton Beach isn’t the best beach in the UK and a lot of non-British people don’t like it because it’s not sand, whereas us Brits are used to non-sand beaches. However it is a huge beach and the best thing about it, in my opinion, is that it has a huge promenade that goes all the way to the nearby town of Hove.
It also has a promenade walkway right on the beach and if you get on it by the pier it takes you past so many bars, pubs, shops, restaurants and cafes that are all based underneath the main, top promenade. On a nice day, this area is full of people sitting outside enjoying their food and drink in the sunshine.
If the weathers nice you can sunbathe and get in the ocean, if the weather isn’t good you can walk along side the beach and take in the views.
Hove Beach Huts
You’ve probably seen photos of colourful beach huts in Brighton, these are well worth a visit especially if you’ve never seen any before or you just want a nice photo. The colourful beach huts are in fact in Hove and not Brighton though. Hove is just a 20-30 minute, 2km walk down the promenade from the centre of Brighton. When you get to them, you’ll know! They can’t be missed.
Another advantage of walking down to Hove is that the beach is a lot less busy there so if you did want to lie on the beach for a while on your day trip to Brighton from London and feel like it’s too busy by the pier then head towards Hove!
For something a bit different and for a unique way to see Brighton you can take a Bike Tour! These tours take you to all the popular places- North Laines, the Royal Pavilion, the Beachfront and the pier, but depending on the tour they also take you to some unique places in Brighton like the Fishing Quarter, Brunswick Square and Preston Manor.
Not only is a bike tour a quick and easy way to see the city, especially if it’s cold and you don’t fancy walking, but having a tour guide will give you a much better understanding of the City, its history, its architecture and some interesting facts!
I’d recommend booking a tour in advance for your Brighton day trip from London and I recommend checking out the tours that Get Your Guide offer as they offer a really high quality of service, the tours they offer are:
The i360 is quite a new addition to Brighton’s skyline. It opened in the Summer of 2016 and has been a pretty big hit. It gives incredible views over the ocean, the coastline, the countryside and of course, Brighton and Hove.
This is a really good thing to do in Brighton on a rainy day so if you’ve booked a train ticket to Brighton and now it looks like it might rain, definitely book a ticket for the i360! I would recommend booking a ticket in advance here for £16.50 pp.
The Royal Pavilion, also known as Brighton Pavilion is a must-see too because it’s totally unique and not what you expect to see in Brighton.
The building is incredibly beautiful, it was first built in 1787 but it was built in three stages as a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales. It’s really nice to see it from the outside and if it’s nice weather there’s lots of greenery around it and people are always lying on the grass as it’s a nice relaxing part of Brighton.
It does have a museum though and you can also go into the Pavilion when you purchase a ticket.
Hop-on Hop-off bus
If the weather is terrible on your trip to Brighton, you don’t fancy walking or you’re on a tight timeframe, Brighton does have a sightseeing hop-on, hop-off bus and it actually visits so many places that you probably wouldn’t walk to meaning you’ll get to see a lot of Brighton on it. The other benefit is, of course, having a commentary whilst travelling around to get a better understanding of Brighton and the local area.
For example one of the routes stops at: Palace Pier, British Airways i360, Grand Avenue, Sussex County Cricket, Hove, Palmeira Square, St Anns Well Gardens, Brighton Station, Imperial Arcade, Brighton Pavilion/Old Steine, Royal Crescent/Bedford Street, Brighton Marina/Seattle Hotel and Maderia Terrace.
See Brighton’s White Cliffs
England’s Southern coastline is popular for its White Cliffs and like me, you may have heard of the White Cliffs of Dover or the Seven Sisters Cliffs (BTW if you want to visit these at some point, check out my post on how to visit the White Cliffs of Dover from London! & how to visit the Seven Sister Cliffs from London) but did you know that Brighton has White Cliffs too?
To be honest, I didn’t until I saw them at a distance whilst standing on Brighton pier, I later saw that you can visit them on a bike tour from Brighton which I think sounds really cool, you can look out for tours there or hire a bike yourself to see them!
No trip to the seaside is complete without ice cream right?? Boho Gelato has been in Brighton for a few years now, it has 2 stores and it’s popular due to its many unique flavours! Think Jam Donut, Cheesecake, Gin and Tonic, Lager and Lime etc. Their flavours change on a daily basis and I was pleased to see when I visited Brighton recently that they had some Vegan Sorbet options! Rain or Shine, get your ice cream fix from Boho Gelato in Brighton!
Explore Brighton Lanes & Brighton North Laine
Another thing Brighton is famous for is its Laneways and they are a must-visit on a trip to Brighton. Brighton is home to ‘The Lanes’ and ‘North Laine’ which are in fact different things although they are quite close together.
The Lanes are a collection of narrow laneways located in the Historic Quarter of Brighton. The Brighton Lanes are full of independent shops like antiques and jewellery shops alongside designer boutique fashion shops. There are also plenty of cafes, pubs and restaurants in this small area of the city.
Brighton North Laine, however, has a slightly different feel to it. It’s located in the Cultural Quarter and the streets are wider. It’s home to independent shops as well but shops that are more exotic and funky. Think vintage fashion, vegetarian-friendly shoes, locally made jewellery!
I hope this post helps plan your day trip to Brighton from London and gives you ideas of things to do!
If you want to stay the night, here are some accommodation options in Brighton for all budgets:
Budget – YHA Brighton Hostel
Mid Range – Ibis Brighton City Centre
Splurge – Artist Residence Brighton
Remember to check out train times and prices on The Train Line so you can get the best price. Try to avoid peak time as a lot of people commute in and out of Brighton so it makes train tickets more expensive.
If you need any other London Day Trip idea’s check out these posts: