Stretched out along the nearest south-facing beach to London, Brighton is a complex mix of kiss-me-quick fun and bohemian style. It is London-by-the-sea, and as such has always boasted charm and sleaze in almost equal abundance. But the city has style too, from the elegant Regency architecture of its central core (and that of its conjoined sister Hove), to its top-notch restaurants and the thriving creative community that they serve. Above all it’s a positive place, with a famously free and non-judgmental vibe – no more than you would expect, perhaps, from the original home of the ‘dirty weekend’. Perhaps partly because of that, it’s thronged with visitors throughout the summer, and has plenty of accommodation. Of Brighton hotels, the iconic Grand is easily the most recognisable hotel on the seafront, in the last few years Brighton has seen an explosion of some wonderfully idiosyncratic boutique hotels and also has one of the coolest hostels in the country, the very elegant YHA Brighton.
Best Places to Stay in Hotels, B&Bs & Self-Catering in Brighton - Cool Places to Stay in the UK
Best Places to Stay in Brighton
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Eat and Drink
With an enviable abundance of Sussex produce, Brighton has no shortage of sustainably-minded cafes and restaurants. The city offers an eclectic mix of international cuisines and some of the finest fish restaurants in the land. As something of a pioneer city for the organic movement, Brighton’s green culinary credentials are evident in the notable number of boho vegetarian and vegan eateries- the most significant of which is undoubtedly Terre A Terre.
Brighton’s reputation as the UK’s hedonistic heartland is well earned with the infamous Kemptown attracting the crazy and curious in equal measures. But for those more inclined to a quiet pint of local brew, The Basketmaker’s Arms down the North Laine is the very definition of cosy.
Brighton’s shops are a pleasing mix of vintage cool, boutique fashion and tacky seaside kitsch. The antique shops and jewelers of Brighton’s famously beguiling Lanes are brimming with one-of-a-kind treasures. It may also surprise you to find high end specialists like Warren Evans and Apple. As befitting its Mod heritage, Brighton has some excellent retro furniture and clothes stores with the excellent Nanadobbie down the North Laine selling everything from Warhol prints to chrome light fixtures straight out of Blow Up. If art is your thing, we recommend a visit in September to the Brighton Art fair where shoppers can indulge their inner Saatchi in any of the city’s many independent galleries selling unique and affordable pieces.
Things to Do
Not many places can boast the vibrant energy of city life with the postcard merriment of the seaside. But these two facets of Brighton’s character sit in perfect synergy, making the city the huge draw that it is. The aesthetes among you can while away the hours marveling at Brighton’s Regency-era charms, the crowning jewel of which is undoubtedly the Xanadu-like Royal Pavillion. For those enthralled by Brighton’s Victorian grandeur, head down the pier or follow in the footsteps of Graham Greene with a cocktail in The Grand. Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant arts scene from street murals to the artist’s studios which pepper Brighton’s famous pebble beach. Or simply lose yourself in Brighton’s famous meandering lanes.
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