Firstly, I highly recommend a trip to Brighton for anyone. It is my favourite city in the UK, mostly for its relaxed, laidback feel. This chilled out vibe is largely due to its location right beside the sea. It is therefore a real advantage to get a good hotel right by the beach when visiting Brighton; but this can be hard to get at a good price. The West Beach Hotel overlooks the sea and the beach as well as Brighton's famous promenade. The rooms are really clean and spacious. We stayed in a twin room with views of the sea, it was very reasonably priced compared to everything else we saw. The beds were comfortable and we had an en-suite bathroom that was a good size, and clean more importantly. The hotel is not only located along the seafront but is also just close enough to the city centre so that it is walking distance but not crazy noisy at night time. I found the staff really friendly with directions and stuff too.
Brighton marina is a great place to visit for a family day out. There's Sun, Sea and good ole' fish 'n' chips. The marine has a great selection of pubs, restaurants and shops and there's always something suitable for everyone.
The beaches are great for dogs, whether they like running along the beach after a ball, or going for a refreshing dip in the sea. There is a concrete path which runs between the top of the beaches and the cliffs which is perfect for a nice family cycle to Rottingdean where they do the most fantastic fish and cheerful chips!
All in all it's the perfect destination for a superb family day out, all day any day!
Start off at Bill's Produce Store on North Road, where you can enjoy colourful platefuls of homemade pizza, quiche and salad in a huge room lined with delicious-looking preserves, pickles and other goodies. You'll be near North Laine now, so go for a post-lunch potter amongst the shops selling anything from vegetarian shoes to kooky sex toys.
If you have any space left after Bill's, a visit to the Bar du Chocolat on Middle Street is a must. Run by the iconic Brighton confectioners Choccywoccydoodah (Duke Street), the hot chocolate is top rate. For one last gastronomic treat, make sure you book a table at Terre a Terre, one of the top vegetarian restaurants in the country, and one of the few to serve up 'haute cuisine' vegetarian food. After all that indulgence, Sunday morning can be a bracing walk along the seafront towards Hove, past the dejected looking West Pier and towards the ice-cream coloured beach huts.
Excellent B&B just near the seafront and pier. Modern and stylish rooms and run by an interesting ex-academic who was friendly and welcoming.
13 Madeira Place
To avoid the crowds in Brighton, head further west along the coast to Shoreham-by-Sea. Shoreham beach is lovely and rarely crowded. The Seafood Experience, just back from the beach, is great for tapas and seafood platters.
Regular buses and trains from Brighton to Shoreham-by-Sea. Journey time is around 10 minutes;
The Seafood Experience: 29 Ferry Road, Shoreham Beach;
tel: 01273 464768;
Walk away from Brighton towards Hove along the seafront, the Meeting Place Cafe is on the border between the two. Great on a Sunday morning for watching everyone bike, blade and walk by and much better breakfasts than most of the overpriced fish restaurants along the front between here and the Pier. It's not that sophisticated (not a bad thing in Brighton) but the location's perfect.
Brighton & Hove Boundary, Kings Road, Brighton;
tel: 01273 206417;
Every evening around dusk thousands of starlings congregate and swarm in an amazing display over what was once the West Pier. Simply an incredible natural phenomenon. Best seen at sunset with a cold pint.
West Pier - the burnt out one on the beach;
Great hotel located on the front with a good view out to sea. Friendly staff, nice cocktails, comfortable beds and nice touches in the rooms.
Close proximity to the centre, Lanes, etc.
44 Marine Parade, Brighton;
tel: 01273 696934;
Best pub in Brighton. Perched on the end of the pier with portholes for windows, all manner of life is here: hardened drinkers and shell-suited daytrippers mingle with pale-ale drinking OAPs, fashion students and clubbers who haven't made it home yet. For sheer entertainment value (it's Brighton's only karaoke bar) it can't be beaten.
At the end of the Palace Pier.
Sit on the beach and look at the sun setting - (my favoured spot is in between the two piers, looking just over the burnt out one ...) call me a freak but if it's a good day for weather - you could almost be anywhere in the world.
The beach at Brighton
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