After spending a week and a half house sitting near the South Downs, my wonderful hosts offered to drive me down to Brighton, a lovely little city on the south coast of England.
While Brighton is quite the popular tourist area during the peak summer months, it was a bit more subdued in October (though there were still plenty of people about). I was only there for 2 nights, but this great city had a lot to offer.
Now, being the budget traveler that I am, I try and only shell out money for things I really want to see/experience. There wasn’t a whole lot of that for me in Brighton (though there are many opportunities to open your wallet for sure!), so I’ve compiled a list of my 5 favorite free things to do in Brighton.
Reminiscent of the Santa Monica Pier in California, the Brighton Pier boasts lots of carnival type foods, amusement rides, arcade games, restaurants, and pubs. Now if you’re into that sort of thing, go to town. But amusement parks have never been my jam, so I was happy to just walk up and down the pier, watching the people go by and the sea gulls stealing their chips (french fries).
While the Royal Pavilion looks like it belongs in India more so than southern England, it used to be a residence for royalty during the 18th and 19th centuries. During WWI it also served as a military hospital, mostly for the Indian Army. You can take a tour of the Pavilion (at a cost of course), or you can simply admire it from the outside as I did! You can basically walk a full 360 around the building, as there is a park located behind it, and take in its splendor from many different angles. I recommend early morning as the light is the best then!
The Lanes are a collection of narrow passage and alleyways that hold many small boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a bit of a maze, as the lanes twist and turn, but it can be fun to get lost and uncover a new hidden gem!
Though maybe you should leave your wallet at home to explore this one, as window shopping in this area is a dangerous and risky endeavor.
After you enjoy perusing the colors of Brighton Pier, keep on walking down the beach towards the city centre, and you’ll find all sorts of fun things.
There are interesting sculptures
Very colorful beach huts
And if you need to use the bathroom while you’re on your outing, they’ve got you covered there in style as well.
I think this was one of my favorite free things to do in Brighton, because there was always something fun and different going on. It was a great place to go for a morning run, grab a lunch to go and eat it on the steps or benches dotted along the boardwalk, and watch the world go by.
Brighton might not boast the level of street art that East London possesses, but if you look closely, you’ll find a few gems. Take a walk, get lost in the local neighborhoods, and just explore. And make sure to look behind you every once in a while, or you might miss something great on that wall you just walked past.
If you only have a short while in Brighton, and you’re traveling on the cheap, I hope this list has given you a few ideas! It’s clearly not an exhaustive list, but it’s something to get you started.