How To Spend A Weekend In: Brighton
If you're dreaming of a weekend away by the sea, it doesn't get any better than Brighton. Perfectly positioned for those of you in London and for the rest of us further afield, Brighton's just an hour's train ride from London Bridge, and under half an hour from Gatwick Airport. The ideal place to head for a dreamy weekend away from the norm - here's my favourite things to do and see beside the seaside...
Whether you're flying or training it, you'll likely arrive at Brighton's main train station. Jump in one of the taxis outside and head down to my hotel of choice, the gorgeous Drakes, right on the seafront. If you can book the room with the gigantic bathtub overlooking the beach - DO IT.
After you've dumped your bags, head just a few minutes' walk down the seafront into Kemptown, for delicious South Indian food, craft beer and cocktails at The Curry Leaf Cafe - is there a better way to spend a Friday night?
When you manage to drag yourself out of bed, it's time to head to one of Brighton's best-loved brunch destinations. There are a couple of branches of Cafe Coho, so you can choose which destination suits you best - here you'll enjoy a delicious cooked breakfast (and I mean seriously delicious!), with friendly service and plentiful tea or coffee. Plus, their pastries make a divine brunch-dessert (I'm making it a thing).
Once you've indulged yourself to the hilt, it's time to walk it off. Brighton is famous for its Laines - small, winding little streets rammed with quirky shops and high-end boutiques alike. It's a gorgeous way to while away the hours for a lazy Saturday morning, and of course you'll need to find yourself a souvenir!
In my experience, you'll probably still be full from the delights of Cafe Coho, so take in a light lunch from another Brighton institution - Bagelman. Again, there are various branches dotted throughout the city so you should find a store easily enough - the real trouble begins when you have to try and decide one option from their extensive menu!
The afternoon can be spent continuing to explore Brighton's myriad shops - there are dozens of gorgeous interiors shops such as Abode or Workshop Living, and for vintage fiends, you'll find gems to treasure in places like Beyond Retro or Snoopers Attic.
Saturday night on the town is always an occasion, and you'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to settling on a dinner-and-drinks destination in Brighton. The Coal Shed is a must-visit, offering a menu filled with dry aged Scotch beef steaks or fresh fish, plus an extensive cocktail menu. It's a fabulous place to get (not too) dressed up and enjoy a date night with incredible food and lovely service too. The Coal Shed gets busy quickly so it's definitely one to book if you fancy it!
If you indulged in a few too many cocktails the night before, you'll need a decent breakfast to settle back into normal life! Billies is a cosy, family-run spot that offers breakfast all day, so no need to haul yourself out from under the duvet too early. Expect traditional fare, but all homemade and cooked with care - and in pretty damn generous portions too...
You're at the seaside, so there's only one thing for it - head to Brighton's infamous Pier. It can be pretty busy at the weekends so prepare yourself, but there's not much that's more fun than spending a few hours indulging your inner child with arcade games and 2p machines. Plus, when you've exhausted the indoor arcade, you can head out to the external area for rides on rollercoasters and, of course, the dodgems!
If you're feeling peckish, the only acceptable option for lunch near the beach is a bag of chips - and a bag of fresh doughnuts to follow. You haven't really visited Brighton until you've filled yourself with chips and doughnuts whilst strolling along the beach and taking in the views; a perfect Sunday afternoon in my opinion.
To finish off your weekend by the sea, take a wander back up to the main area of the city, and around the pavilion and winter gardens. It's a really lovely, calm way to spend a couple of hours and this area is really beautiful. If the weather takes a turn, you can go in to the Royal Pavilion too - it's fascinating, incredibly beautiful and absolutely worth the entrance fee (around £13, but you can get a discount if you book online in advance). And if you're still hankering after something sweet on your way back to the train station, there's nothing quite like Boho Gelato for a delicious treat!
How would you spend a weekend in Brighton?