With the October half-term just round the corner, why not consider a day trip to Brighton with the family?
I’ve always enjoyed Brighton's creative feel when I've visited, with plenty of things to grab your imagination– and a buzzing atmosphere of course.
So I decided on a recent visit with VIP and the kids to find out just how much we could squeeze into a day.
1. A visit to the i360
If you’re heading to Brighton, there’s literally nowhere better to get some perspective on the city than by taking a flight on the British Airways i360. As the name suggests, the 162m observational tower offers 360° views – you can even see the Isle of Wight 49 miles away on a clear day.
We thoroughly enjoyed our flight (with drinks at the top) and it was great to see another side to this bustling city, with vibrantly decorated rooftops featuring murals and messages.
The pod itself (which offered a smooth ride despite the windy weather on the day), is ten times the size of a London Eye capsule, meaning that I didn’t feel my usual claustrophic self. I was too busy noticing the views and scenery anyway to notice I was in a glass bubble.
I was concerned about the pod being chilly (given that I’ve got no hair), but I needn’t have worried – it’s heated in winter to make for a comfortable flight and features viewing maps dotted around the pod that show landmarks so you can see what’s what 450ft up in the air.
Prices start from £14.85 and there are curriculum based worksheets (designed by a teacher) available to download and print, which makes the whole experience much more fun and interactive for the kids.
- Leave some time to enjoy the construction exhibition at the base of the tower. It’s really fascinating to read all about how the i360 was built.
2. Brighton Beach!
If you’re heading to Brighton, a walk along the beach is a must-do – even on a windy day!
Brighton has a pebble beach, so rather than juggling with sand in your shoes, you’ll only have to contend with walking on the pebbles – fine if you’ve got appropriate footwear – worth bearing in mind!
Spotting smooth flat pebbles was a nice activity to do with my daughter and we then watched the boys skimming the pebbles into the sea.
On the day we visited, the wind was up and the waves were crashing, so the kids had an absolute hoot daring to go as close as they could and then running away from the waves at the last minute. It was funny to see them get caught out a couple of times and run away with dripping wet shoes!
The beach goes on for miles, so it’s never usually crowded – even on a decent, warm summer’s day, they’ll be somewhere to sit for all visitors.
- Bring appropriate footwear – and some spare socks for the kids in case they get wet.
3. A bite to eat
When it’s time for lunch Brighton certainly isn’t short of eateries – there’s everything from the quirky, one-off finds to the usual family-friendly restaurants.
We decided to try a place called Waffelmeister – it sounded German, so VIP was up for it.
You could get all day breakfast (and brunch) wrapped in savoury crepes which was an interesting concept. I opted for the brunch option – it tasted like nothing I’d had before, so it was great to get an alternative gastronomy experience.
The café serves all day brunch, along with generous desserts including American waffles, crepes and milkshakes.
- The kids enjoyed the triple chocolate waffle and the Dream team waffle which they polished off quick sharp. Make sure you’ve worked up an appetite!
4. A visit to the Lanes
Oh I do love the Lanes in Brighton. They remind me of the Shambles in York – lots of narrow, cobbled streets lined with pretty little shops. It’s an Instagrammer’s dream, although I struggled to take some decent shots because of the sheer number of people. If you’ve got this in mind, go early when the shops first open.
If you’re wondering why the kids will like the Lanes, they’ll love the twisting alleyways – plenty of hide and seek opportunities – plus it’s not all designer boutiques – my son came across the Armoury shop where he delighted in picking up a WW2 Russian pin badge, which he wore with pride the rest of the day.
And I delighted in finding an “olde sweet job” where I could indulge my sweet tooth and pick up some pick ‘n’ mix classics.
- Don’t rush a visit – the Lanes are there to be enjoyed at your leisure. Check out the myriad of shops – they’ll be something for the kids too.
5. An afternoon stroll on Brighton Palace Pier
To end a great day in Brighton with the family, head to Brighton Palace Pier where you can grab a coffee or two and enjoy a spot of people watching.
There are free deckchairs to enjoy and the kids will enjoy watching the seagulls as they try to steal people’s chips!
With shops, arcades, rides and plenty of eating and snacking options, there’s something for all the family – plus it’s a nice wind down experience away from the main shopping area to top off a great day out.
- A few gos on the 2p machines will bring back childhood memories of seaside holidays!
Other Brighton family activities to consider include…
- If it’s raining, Sea Life Brighton is a good bet, or if you’re watching the pennies try the free Booth Museum, where history comes to life through interactive displays and hands-on activities featuring birds, butterflies and bones!
- Alternatively, try a walk along Brighton marina. There’s a working harbour where you can spot boats of all shapes and sizes, play table tennis for free (or the giant chess boards) and enjoy a more unrushed experience.
- If it’s adrenaline you’re looking for, the Brighton Zip will thrill the kids – but it’s not a great activity to do when it’s wet or windy. The zip runs along Brighton Beach and offers a 300-metre dual zip wire.
Have you been to Brighton? If so, what activities do you like doing while there? And do you have a favourite place to shop, eat or drink?