THE WEEKEND: The boho city by the sea where anything goes, Brighton is a hassle free getaway for summer. Full of colour, creativity and fun, the city is as famous for its nightlife as it is for its independent shops and Victorian architecture.
WHERE? Stay at the Victorian 1864 built Grand Hotel Brighton in the centre of town. From its unrivaled seafront position, no hotel in Brighton can offer more luxurious sea views. Spacious rooms look out across the English channel and are accessible by lift, or by the eight floor sweeping staircase that’s luminated by the ornate glass domed roof. Grab a sea view seat at the historic Cyan bar which still features the original 155-year-old marble pillars and offers a selection of award-winning must-try sparkling wines from different Sussex vineyards.
THE SIGHTS: Step out of the hotel’s historic doors onto Brighton’s famous seafront for an invigorating dip in the sea, or rent a stand up paddle board for closer views of the haunting skeleton of the derelict West Pier from Brighton Water Sports. Stroll along the promenade lined with little art galleries and get yourself a pot of freshly caught shell fish from one of the seafood shacks. After a mandatory bag of sugared hot donuts and a competitive game or two on the 525m long Palace Pier, shop among the bustling, Dickensian Lanes, full of independent shops and jewelers. Also visit the North Laine for great shopping. Kensington Gardens also has a great retro flea market. If you want tips from the king of indulgence, take a tour of the Brighton Pavilion, a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV, a historic house that mixes Regency grandeur with the visual styles of India and China. If with a gang of friends, why not hire out a court at Yellowave Beach Sports volleyball court? Soothe away any post-match muscle aches at the Beach Box Spa – mobile saunas housed in converted horse boxes right on the pebbles.
THE FOOD: Wash down lunch at the new Ivy Asia restaurant with a tour and tasting of Sussex sparkling wine producer Ridgeview, a short drive inland. With vines nestled in The South Downs National Park, you can literally drink the Sussex countryside. Back in town, if on the go, grab some posh fish and chips or choose from a wide variety of other cuisine options from Shelter Hall indoor food market and devour on the beach – but watch out for chip pinching diving seagulls. You have been warned!
AND AFTER THAT? Flop on a lounger for a sun soaked snooze or a few pages of whatever you’re reading with a sundowner cocktail at the newly opened Brighton Soho Beach House. With a restaurant, two bars, a co working space and dipping pool, there’s no better venue to catch up on emails or relax to the sound of the waves and often spectacular sunset. If you’re seeking a lively night, check out what comedy, music or cabaret show is on at the Komedia. Wake feeling energetic and want to gulp in the sea air? Start your day with a beach work out at Brighton Outdoor Fitness before heading back to the hotel for breakfast.
NEED TO KNOW: The fastest direct trains run from London St Pancras and Victoria to Brighton station in 1 hour 9 minutes. A double sea view room for two at the Grand hotel starts from £229 with breakfast. Tours and tastings at Ridgeview vineyard are £35. And don’t forget my warning about the seagulls – they’ll have your dinner.