I recently went on a impromptu mini break to Brighton with my sister and my two girls.  We booked at the last minute on a whim, after seeing we were getting some last minute September sunshine and we were so lucky with the weather.  We ended up only having two full days there but still managed to squeeze a lot in so here are some suggestions for things to try if you only have a short time in this fantastic city.

Brighton really is an amazing city.  For me, it has everything.  It’s traditional seaside, mixed with the urban coolness of a city much larger than itself.  It’s got a bustling nightlife, some brilliant eateries, yet it also really child friendly too.  We ended up booking a last minute room at the Queens Hotel which is right on the seafront.  Indeed our family sea view room overlooked the iconic pier and watching the sun rise in the mornings was beautiful.  The hotel itself is a bit ‘traditional seaside’, with some old fashioned elements mixed in with more modern decor and it was a little tired in places, but for two nights at a last minute rate of £100 a night you can’t really go wrong.  Our room was big and spacious and the breakfast was adequate, but what made the hotel so great was the location.

Here are our must see parts of Brighton if you are only there for a short time…


The Lanes Area.

Chances are even if you haven’t been to Brighton, you will have heard of The Lanes.   The Lanes is a fabulous maze of narrow stress, twisting alleyways and cobbled streets offering a really eclectic mix of shops, funky restaurants and cafes.   There’s always lots of creative, fashionable and unique people wandering around and I could sit in a cafe and people watch out the window for hours.  It’s definitely worth checking out Choccywoccydoodah, home to the most amazing and quite frankly bizarre chocolate creations. (There’s also a cafe there too.)

We loved looking at all the interior shops, some featuring one of pieces and brands we hadn’t heard of before.  Another place definitely worth a mention is the Cloud 9 Cake Shop, where we were served by the most lovely and helpful lady, and treated ourselves to delicious cupcakes and cakes.  It also has a very cute interior too.  I feasted down on an Oreo cupcake, while my eldest daughter was actually beaten by the largest piece of rainbow cake we have ever seen.

The Lanes is beautiful, inspiring and fun and a visit to Brighton isn’t the same without a wander round.  Prepare to pack your credit card though.


The Pier.

Of course no trip to Brighton is complete without at least a quick walk down the iconic pier. Gloriously tacky, perfectly traditional British seaside and quite frankly so much fun, the Pier is perfect for children of all ages. My daughters are three and one and were in their element walking up and down taking in the sights and sounds- the flashing lights, the eclectic mix of Brighton locals and obvious tourists, the smell of sweet donuts and the tunes coming from all different fairground rides.  And of course there are the arcades, where it is actually against the law (in my opinion anyway) not to have a go on at least a few of the 2p machines.

Hove Beach

While there is a gorgeous pebbly beach in Brighton just near the pier, it can get busy especially in the Summer months.  If you are prepared to walk or jump in a car or taxi, just a short way down is Hove Beach and in my opinion it is a lot prettier.  While you are there you can snap a few photos of the gorgeous Hove Beach huts, some have been painted in gloriously bright and happy colours and they definitely brighten up the horizon.  What is it about a beach hut that just screams British seaside?  Brighton is made up of a pebbly beach so sandcastles may be tricky but it’s definitely worth a visit.


The Iconic Brighton Deckchairs.

Speaking of beaches, look at any photos of Brighton and time and time again you will see photos of the iconic Brighton deck chairs.   If you have some spare change you can hire them, either down on the beach itself, or for free up on the Pier, and it is definitely worth grabbing some fish and chips,  some donuts or an ice cream from one of the numerous stalls around the Pier area, and chilling out and watching the sea from your deckchair.  Even though you are in the middle of the city, it feels so peaceful and like your in another world.    While you are there check out some of the independent shops and have a go on the famous Brighton carousel.

Brighton Wheel

On a whim we decided to the ultimate tourist thing and go on the Brighton wheel as my eldest daughter kept talking about how fun it would be.  Indeed it was good fun and we would definitely recommend a trip on it for children of all ages.  The commentary playing from your pod was actually really interesting and you got to see some great views of the city and sea.  Plus you can just turn up (we did go out of peak season so the queues weren’t long at all) and the price is pretty reasonable. (£8 for an adult ticket)

We actually managed to pack a lot into our two days, but there was so much more we wanted to do so will definitely be back again.

We made a video of our trip there so do check it out for more inspiration.

Have you been to Brighton?  Is there anywhere you would recommend for us to go next time?