Often called London on Sea, Brighton in East Sussex, UK has been voted one of the best city with beach destinations in the world. Whatever the weather there’s plenty to do on a family trip to Brighton. Choose from funfair games on the pier to beach and water sports, cycling, shopping or exploring its beautiful Regency squares and Pavilion. Brighton is a cool enough city to satisfy teenage visitors too. Read on for Tara’s tips for things to do in Brighton with teens.
- Trad British seaside fun with a fashionable twist
- Iconic seaside piers and promenade
- Blue flag pebble beach
- Quaint, cool independent shopping streets
- Excellent cafes, bars and restaurants
Who went where and when: Tara, Mark, their daughter Maddie 14 and her friend Eliza spent a weekend in Brighton, East Sussex in April 2018.
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Things to do in Brighton with teens
Vintage shops in Brighton
BARCELONA, SPAIN IS ANOTHER VIBRANT CITY WITH A BEACH that’s a great destination for families with teens. Click here to read more
In the evening we walked along the seafront and Maddie took some lovely photos of the sunset. The skeleton of the old West Pier is striking and there’s a feature of its original iron supports on the promenade beside the British Airways i360 which stands on the site of the pier.
We went onto the Palace Pier and lost too many pennies in the slot machines. As well as amusement arcades the pier offers fish and chips and funfair rides including waltzers, dodgems, and a traditional helter skelter and carousel. On the seafront by the Pier is the Brighton Beach Big Air, a reverse bungee ride. Eliza did this. Bonkers!
Swim in the sea
We got up early the next morning and went down to the beach. It was very quiet – just the two girls in the sea and a man with a dog asking us if they were crazy! After a quick dip we went to The Breakfast Club for breakfast.
Bike hire Brighton
This was the girls’ idea. They chose it in preference to the i360 so we hired bikes and had a really lovely morning. We followed the cycle path around the Marina and along the undercliff towards the village of Rottingdean.
The bikes we rented were lovely, an upright Dutch style in gorgeous colours and very easy to pedal. The cycle path is more or less on the level all the way. We stopped at a really good ice-cream shop, next to a tiny antique shop in Rottingdean, before we turned back. The wind had been against us so what took us 45 minutes on the way out took 10 minutes getting back! We hired four cruisers at £6.00 each, with map. For bike hire Brighton Beach Bikes, Kings Road Arches, 250E Kings Road. A guided bike trail would have been fun too.
There are so many things to do in Brighton we could have easily filled another day. We could have visited the Sea Life aquarium, the Regency Pavilion, or sampled many more gelato and ice cream shops! We could have spent much longer at the fair at the end of Palace Pier, or ventured along the coast to see the brightly coloured beach huts at Hove. But the girls were having a good time and anyway, it would be impossible to do everything that Brighton has to offer in just one visit.
Fun things to do in Brighton to book ahead
Visit an exotic summer palace. The glamorous pile that is the Royal Pavilion in the centre of Brighton is a treat inside and out. This Regency pleasure palace with Indian and Chinese influences was built by King George IV for holidays by the sea. You can book admission tickets here.
If you’re planning ahead, here’s a selection of tickets and tours from Get Your Guide
Places to eat in Brighton
The Regency Restaurant – We all had fish and chips at this traditional seafront restaurant, but there is a huge menu with lots of specials. It has been there for decades and has a fantastic feel about it. The food was great and very reasonably priced and the service was exceptional. I loved the Regency as it reminded me of restaurants I used to visit with my parents. It appears that generations of one big Greek family work there. Photographs of staff and customers line the stairs with just about every famous person you could name over the last 30 years. 131 Kings Road
Coho Cafe – We ate lunch here. It’s a great café with avo on toast, salads, sarnies and lots of cake and brownie options. Good quality food, efficient service and always busy. There are three branches in Brighton: 53 Ship Street, 83a Queens Road and Lower Mall, Churchill Square
The Breakfast Club, Brighton – After the girls’ early morning swim we came here for breakfast. It was a fantastic experience: huge menu, lots to instagram with décor including pink flamingoes and golden pineapples. All in all the girls loved it! Eliza had the Cabbies Breakfast while Maddie made up her own which was no problem for the staff even though it was a complicated order with avocados, hash browns and different eggs. Mark was beaten by the Full Monty! 16-17 Market Street
The Coal Shed Restaurant – We didn’t have time to go with the girls but Mark and I had fabulous steaks here in the summer. 8 Boyce’s Street
Artist Residence, Boutique hotel Brighton
Mark and I stayed at the Artist Residence last summer in a sea-view double room. It’s a great place to stay in Brighton with interiors to die for and a view of the beach and the British Airways i360. On this visit we took their brand new Sea View apartment, run by the hotel but located in a Regency townhouse next door. We were only the second people to stay in it! It was ideal for a visit with teens as it has an open plan living room, galley kitchen and two bedrooms: a huge bed in our room and adult sized bunks in the second bedroom for the girls. There’s free wi fi, a big flatscreen tv and a lovely roll top bath in the bathroom.
The apartment is beautiful and decorated and furnished to the same standard as the hotel although the communal areas of the building are not since that’s a private residence. It’s worth noting that you need to take the stairs (there’s no lift) to the apartment on the third floor. This did feel rather a trek after hours of vintage shopping.
The apartment worked well for us with two teens and I liked the option of being able to eat in and make snacks and drinks. However the main hotel can also offer room combinations including adjacent and bunk bed rooms. Artist Residence, 34 Regency Square.
Please note that all visitor information here is for guidance only. Please check the venues’ websites for the most up to date information on tickets, entrance requirements, opening times etc.
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All photos, except for Pinterest image of deckchairs, are by Tara Stuart. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce these photos without prior written permission