The United Kingdom is the first place you think of for a perfect place to take a beach holiday right?
Even when planning our three day getaway to Brighton, I was sceptical myself. Let’s be honest, when most people think of a beach holiday the U.K. does not immediately jump to mind. The foremost reason is likely the weather. To be frank, after being in the U.K. for over a year, the weather is abysmal and/or dreary approximately 95% of the time (note: this may be a slight exaggeration). The other reason you may not consider a U.K. beach holiday is that the U.K. is notoriously expensive to visit.
We found the weather during our visit was descent, though cool, but for the price, Brighton was a real bargain.
If you and your family are puritans, Brighton may not be for you. Brighton has long been home to a vibrant, artistic, and bohemian populace. Walking on the main drag you will see sex shops, and if you are there the week after Pride like us, the displays can be interesting and entertaining, at least for the adults, to say the least. If you do not want to explain that sort of thing to your kids, keep an eye out and strategically cross the road. Our eight year old didn’t ask a single question, though he did ask why there was an app called squirt but we deflected that one nicely.
When we visited in early August, my son and I got all day wristbands for £29 total for the entire day. I challenge you to go to a theme park or fair anywhere and get all day passes for two people for £29. The rides were more of the fair variety and not the giant roller coasters at huge theme parks, but when you have an eight year old and two toddlers, they don’t mind at all. In fact our son has asked to go back about 10 times in the last month. We also spent £20 on carnival games and this lasted a couple hours and my son had enough tickets to get a couple descent souvenirs.
A foodie paradise the pier was not. The food however was not as expensive as one would expect at a busy tourist location, and it was descent. Fish and chips, hot dogs, ice cream etc. are the types of food you can expect around the pier, it is fun and lively. If you want something more adventurous, venture further into town.
Where to Stay
This one is easy, within walking distance of the beach and pier at a place with parking. As we drove into town I quickly realized why the AirBnB we rented kept saying it was a big deal that they had parking. Parking was sparse and it was busy. When we looked there were several very reasonably priced flats available to rent in that area. If a hotel is more your style, they are plentiful as well, but location is key in Bright and you want to stay close to the heart of the action.
The beach was almost an afterthought, with daily highs of 19C when we were there, only the eight year old was brave enough to venture into the water. The beach was rocky but passable for a place to hop in and play around for a couple hours on a hot day. Take care if you have kids that are weak swimmers, the currents can be strong in this area.
A Bit of History
The cultural and historic sight in Brighton is The Royal Pavilion. Photography in the pavilion is prohibited but it is an enjoyable, if a little dated, way to pass a couple hours. It also served as a hospital following WWI and shares many stories of soldiers returning from the continent and their convalescence period in Brighton. The supplementary audio guide was well worth the £2.
Brighton was a great way to pass three days in the summer. The highlight of any trip is undoubtedly the Brighton Pier. Whether you venture to Brighton as part of a bigger holiday in the U.K. or whether you and your family want to escape the bustle of London for a few days, Brighton should be near the top of your list. We will be heading back next summer; possibly sooner if my son gets his way.
Safe and happy travels!