48 Hours in Brighton
Brighton is an eclectic and vibrant city on the south coast of England in East Sussex. Just 47 miles south of London and easily accessible by rail (60 minutes from London and 30 minutes from Gatwick Airport), Brighton is also the perfect base for exploring the Sussex countryside and the rolling chalk hills of South Downs National Park.
Cute, vibrant and quirky, Brighton may look like a typical British seaside resort, but under the surface you’ll discover vintage shopping, fantastic nightlife, mouth-watering cuisine and Bohemia in abundance.
Here’s some of my favourite places that are not to be missed as you start planning your visit to the colourful city dubbed ‘London-by-the-Sea’.
Friday afternoon in Brighton
Arrive in Brighton and have lunch at JB’s American Diner, a unique Brighton eccentricity that people travel from all over the world to visit. If you decide to pre-book, ask for a booth to add to the Americana experience. Personally, I always go for the Buffalo Chicken Wings, but there are plenty of veggie and vegan options too.
After lunch, enjoy panoramic views of Brighton, and even France and the Isle of Wight on a clear day, from the British Airways i360 on the seafront. I’ve been up a few times and I love spotting the art murals on top of the buildings. If you are going for a special occasion, be sure to include the glass of champagne in your ticket. Cost from £16.50 per adult.
Friday evening in Brighton
If you’re by the British seaside, then you have to try the fresh local seafood. Regularly recognised as Brighton’s best seafood restaurant, The Salt Room specialises in cooking over coal. The modern dining hot spot offers a seasonal a la carte menu using sustainable and local produce. There are also sharing platters ‘cooked over fire’ including the Surfboard – grilled and steamed shellfish aioli with herb fries – as well as daily fish market specials. Popular dishes include barbecued Sussex monkfish, The Salt Room Fish Stew and the pan fried hake. Boasting unparalleled views of Brighton seafront, the i360 and the historic West Pier, it is an ideal location to soak up the sun to the sound of the waves, whilst satisfying your taste buds.
Saturday morning in Brighton
Spend the morning at your leisure in Brighton shopping in the historic lanes and strolling along the world-renowned Brighton Pier. Savour the delicious all-day brunch available at Lost in the Lanes, an Antipodean inspired adventure offering exclusive coffees and freshly made food in elegant surroundings. All food is cooked to order and made with locally-sourced ingredients including Rookery Farm free-range, organic eggs and meat sourced from the award-winning Steyning Butchers. The Lost (full English) Breakfast costs £13.
Saturday lunchtime in Brighton
Meet the makers of female owned and run Brighton Gin and enjoy a 90-minute behind-the-scenes tour of the craft gin distillery. On the tour you will learn how Brighton Gin started on a kitchen table by the seaside and the processes and botanicals they use to create Brighton’s favourite tipple today.
The distillery tour is a hands on experience of Brighton Gin’s production process, and you can wax your own bottle top, design and apply your own label and take home your own customised Brighton Gin 50ml miniature. The tour costs £30 per person.
Saturday afternoon in Brighton
Soak up the premium handmade gin by sampling the sweet and savoury delights of the Grand Hotel Brighton’s renowned Afternoon Tea. Set in the beautiful surroundings of the classical Victorian building, the award-winning Afternoon Tea was voted Brighton’s Best Afternoon Tea in the Brighton Restaurant Awards 2020. The menu is not only a celebration of tea and scones, but of the glorious traditions that form part of this famous ritual. ‘Afternoon Tea by the Sea’ is served every day in the opulent Victoria Terrace & Lounge and costs from £32 per person. Moet and G’n’T Afternoon Teas are also available.
Saturday evening in Brighton
The Mesmerist is a lounge bar in the heart of Brighton’s Lanes that spans three floors and offers a choice of individually styled rooms and a lush roof garden to enjoy a quality food offering or an expertly mixed cocktail or two. This Brighton institution is stylish and sophisticated without being pretentious, so you’ll feel right at home. It is not just the décor that brings The Mesmerist to life, they also host some of the best events ranging from themed nights and parties.
Sunday morning in Brighton
Enjoy a lay in and grab coffee and breakfast to go before heading a short drive to the South Downs National Park. Enjoy a walk on the South Downs Way and take in the views that found Virginia Woolf “overcome by beauty more extravagantly than one could expect.”
Photo credit: Mischa Haller