Solo Travel in Brighton
Brighton, England is a fantastic place for solo travellers. It is quite small so it is very easy to get around. You can walk to most places and it feels quite safe. If you want to meet others there are lots of bars and cafes or you can just hang out by the beach and start chatting to locals. If you are planning on traveling to Brighton, discover places to go in Brighton as a solo, where to stay and things to do in Brighton at night with our travel guide.
Is Brighton safe for solos? Yes, but with anywhere you do need to be careful at night. Avoid the lower promenade in the evening when by yourself. Choose accommodation as close as you can to the Lanes and North Laines, one of the famous places in Brighton. This is the area where you will most likely be in the evening so make sure it is easy to get back to where you are staying and that any walking will be done in a busy area.
Stay For: Is Brighton worth visiting? Yes, stay for 2 or 3 nights if you would like to explore the South Downs and/or do some of the more adventurous activities listed in the guide. Brighton is a perfect day trip from London. Plan to arrive about 10am and leave around 4pm.
Did You Know? That Brighton is the unofficial LGBTQ capital of the UK? It holds one of the biggest Pride festivals in the UK, often attracting more than 160,000 people.
Situated in Easy Sussex, Brighton in the United Kingdom is the quintessential English sea side town. It is only one hour by train from central London making it one of the easiest and loveliest day trips you can take from London. The city centres around the seafront and the shopping and dining area known as The Lanes and North Laine. Brighton is known for its slightly alternative and innovative independent restaurants and shops.
Brighton and nearby Hove merged to become one city in 2000. Hove is one of the places to visit near Brighton and is Brighton’s slightly quieter neighbour. It is here that you will see the famous beach huts and the best collection of Regency Architecture. Nearby Rottingdean is also worth a visit.
The city is quite compact and can easily be explored on foot. The key tourism sights of the Brighton Pavilion, Brighton Pier and the British Airways i360 are an easy stroll from each other. You will also find fish and chips restaurants at least every 500 metres as well as extremely appealing bakeries!
There are any activities available for those seeking something more active. From the many local yoga studios to sea kayaking to walking the lovely South Downs you can work off the calories of those delicious meals during the day!
You can get through the main sights in Brighton in a day trip from London. But to explore a bit more and experience the real Brighton look to stay 1-2 nights – you won’t regret it! Brighton has a great tourism website that is well worth checking out before you go.
48 hours in Brighton
If you're looking for a Brighton one day itinerary, I have covered a 48 hour Brighton itinerary here. Just choose which day you prefer for 24 hours in Brighton. Hop on a train down to Brighton out of London Victoria. Once you arrive head to Grow 40 for a late morning coffee and some brunch.
Wander over to the stunning Royal Pavilion and marvel at the eastern style stunning architecture in this typical British seaside town. Enjoy the garden in front of the main entrance, which is great in the foreground of photos! Make sure you walk around the back of the Pavilion as well for some different styles of photographs, at one of the most popular attractions at Brighton UK.
Once you have had your fill head to the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery which is conveniently located nearly next door to the Pavilion. After exploring the museum and its great gift shop walk down to the seafront and grab some fish and chips at The Regency for a late lunch.
Walk off your fish and chips by strolling down the seafront to Hove and checking out the famous beach huts and some of the Regency architecture on Brunswick Square.
Walk back to Brighton Pier. Wander down the pier and try your hand at some of the amusement parlours and get some old fashioned photos, one of the Brighton fun things to do. If you have any room grab some cotton candy. Discover Brighton Pier history here
If you are only in Brighton for the day, head to the nearby Tempest Inn to watch the sunset with a drink. Grab an Indian after at the modern Indian Summer restaurant in the Lanes.
The Following Day
The next morning head to The Flour Pot for some great coffee and breakfast. Then spend the next couple of hours exploring the Lanes and North Laines. Don’t miss Snoopers Paradise for every type of vintage article you could imagine. Combine this with checking out some of Brighton’s street art – most of which is located in the Lanes.
There are lots of places to visit in Brighton, but there are activities near Brighton too! Hire a bike and cycle down to Rottingdean. Have a wander around Rudyard Kipling’s home town then grab some authentic fish and chips at Smuggler’s and eat it sitting on the beach. Cycle back to Brighton and hire a stripy deck chair and have a well earned rest in the sun whilst contemplating your Brighton visit.
Once rested join a Brighton Bar Crawl or head to one of Brighton’s wine bars for a tasting. If you’re not much of a drinker finish off with a lovely dinner sitting outside at Brighton’s newest restaurant Pascere. If it is a big night I’ll leave you to find some late night snacks in the Lanes!
Top 5 Sightseeing For Solos
This stunning building looks like someone went to Istanbul and cut and pasted one of its buildings into Brighton! If you're wondering ‘what is Brighton famous for?' Architect John Nash turned this seaside palace into one of Britains’ most famous buildings. There are furnishings and works of art inside – as well as some lovely tea rooms. However the building itself is the star so this is one place you could save some money on (eg don’t go inside) and still capture the essence of the experience. The Royal Pavilion is a Brighton must see.
Cost = Entry fee – £13 – 10% reduction if purchased online ahead of time.
Time = 2 hours
2. The Lanes and North Laine
Things to do in the Lanes Brighton – These lovely little streets are the heart of Brighton. They are populated with shops, galleries, markets, pop ups, restaurants, bars, vintage shops etc. They do tend towards more independent owners in the heart of the Lanes which makes for lots of interesting shops and food experiences.
Cost = Free.
Time = 2-3 hours depending on how much of a shopper you are!
You cannot leave Brighton without having a walk down the iconic Brighton Pier! Every sense will be assaulted by the smell of the sea, the sound of the fair, the many amusements – all served at high volume! Have a game of Dolphin Derby and/or try one of the rides. Don’t forget to get a photo where you stick your head through one of the classic beachside frames. If you're wondering what to do in Brighton on a rainy day, you can take cover at the pier, one of the attractions at Brighton.
Cost = Free.
Time = depending on whether or not you purchase amusements! 1-2 hours.
4. Clifftop walk between Brighton pier and Rottingdean
There are two options on how to walk along this beautiful path. You can take the clifftop walk for more spectacular scenery or you can walk along the beachfront to savour the smells and sounds of the sea and the Brighton beaches. The white cliffs are very photogenic and one of the things to do in Brighton England if you love hiking.
Cost = Free.
Time = 90 minutes to walk or hire a bike and cycle there in 30 minutes.
5. Brighton Beach
Having said you cannot leave Brighton without walking down the pier, one of the best things to do in Brighton beach. I am going to have to add in the same for the Beach! The first thing to know about Brighton Beach is that even though it is called a beach it does not have any sand; it has pebbles so you definitely want shoes! It also means there is a booming business in renting out deck chairs etc as lying on pebbles is not a comfortable experience!
You can either walk along the beach – there is an easy path that is dotted with bars, museums and restaurants – or stop and enjoy the beach.
Cost = Free to enjoy, Item hire starts at £2.50.
Time = Minimum is 30 minutes if you’re in a rush – could be all afternoon if it’s a nice day!
Escape the crowds – by visiting Brighton mid week or by spending some time in nearby Hove. Head towards Church Road for shopping and some great cafes and restaurants in Hove.
Lose yourself – in the Lanes and North Laine. These lovely streets can be explored for hours and are one of the Brighton places to see. Or once you’ve visited the Pavilion and the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery have a wander and a relax in the beautifully tended Royal Pavilion Gardens.
Get a Great View
- On the clifftop walk between Brighton Pier and Rottingdean
- Visit one of the pubs along the seafront for sunset views over the Pier and the burnt down Pier. The aptly named The Setting Sun is a good option!
- Head up the British Airways i360 for amazing views over Brighton and the English Channel
- Rottingdean Hill provides great views of the Brighton City Scape.
Interact with the locals – by having a drink! Head to one of the many wine bars in the Lanes – locals and tourists alike all frequent the many restaurants and bars in the area.
Places to enjoy the sun – Brighton Beach and a deck chair is the most obvious option. However, it does get crowded so jump on a bike or have a big walk and head to Rottingdean or to Hove for some more beach room.
Pubs line the seafront particularly near Brighton Pier. Most have outdoor drinking areas that are perfect for enjoying the sun.
Solo Tips: As a solo traveler you could easily give Brighton Marina a miss. It has a lot of restaurants but they are all chain restaurants you could find anywhere in the UK. There isn’t a lot there. It is probably a good spot if you have kids but as a solo traveler I would spend my time around the Laines.
The Volks Railway is a small railway that runs along the seafront from Brighton Pier to Rottingdean. It is currently closed for repairs but due to reopen August 2017.
- Try some sea kayaking and/or canoeing with BK Kayaking from 40 pounds
- Enjoy the beach with some beach volleyball. Yellowave beach sports has 6 courts and a café! Prices start with a one hour lesson for £5.50.
- Or why not try some stand up paddle boarding with Brighton water sports?
- Brighton UK, is a fantastic spot for the arty GatG! Let’s start with its vibrant Street Art scene. You can do a guided tour – but why not use the fantastic guide that Brighton Tourism has done to find the best street art and explore Brighton at the same time?
- Galleries are everywhere in Brighton – particularly in the Lanes and North Laine and along the sea front.
- Visit the Brighton Dome, the city's arts venue. Inside is a theatre, a concert hall and the Corn Exchange.
- The Brighton Museum and Art Gallery cover an eclectic mix of art.
- The Booth Museum of Natural History is for museum lovers with more than hals a million specimens under its roof.
- For photographers head down to the Hove beach hut for some shots.
Things to do in Brighton for free:
- Brighton Pier is free to stroll.
- Walk from Brighton Pier to Rottingdean
- Wander the Lanes
- Visit the Street Art using the Brighton Tourism guide.
Brighton is famous for its wonderful examples of Regency Architecture. The streets around Brunswick Square, Hove have some of the best examples as does the Royal Crescent in Brighton.
Check out the Duke of York Picture House, an art house cinema where you can enjoy a glass of wine with your movie in a beautiful art deco style building. It lays claim to being the oldest continuously running cinema in Britain. The cinema is in the Lanes and easy to spot as it has a pair of Can Can legs jutting out from the building!
The Theatre Royal in the Lanes has many big theatrical productions. Many west end shows have a run down here. Make sure you check online ahead of your trip to get the best tickets and deals.
Brighton loves a festival! Here are some of the key ones:
- Brighton Festival – 3 weeks in May.
- Brighton Fringe – May.
- Kemp Town Carnival – June and free.
- St Ann’s Well Gardens Spring Festival – May and free.
- Brighton Naked Bike Ride!
- The Beach of the zombies zombie march – October.
- Gay Pride – August.
- The Royal Pavilion is the key history must see in Brighton. Brighton also has other historic buildings such as Preston Manor, a typical Edwardian Country House where collections are on show
- A little further from Brighton in distance is the Bloomsbury style home Charleston. The house also has a permanent collection as well as hosting exhibitions relevant to the era
- Brighton also has several churches with St Joseph’s being perhaps the most impressive from an architectural point of view.
South Downs National Park is a bus ride away and one of the popular days out in Brighton. This beautiful area is perfect for a long walk or off road cycling. For solo GATGs local company So Sussex runs guided activities in the countryside. You can do anything from fishing to cycling to walking – all of which can be combined with some delicious local food!
If you’re after something a bit different why not give Mackerel Fishing a shot?
The Lanes and North Laines are a shopper’s paradise! They are particularly good if you like to find new and interesting independent shops.
Snoopers Paradise is a treasure trove of vintage goodies. You could get lost in here! It is quite a big store and take a watch as you could easily lose all track of time! https://snoopers-paradise.com/
Or try one of the UK’s last standing fragrance houses the wonderfully named Pecksniffs Fragrance House. https://www.pecksniffs.com/brighton-boutique
The area is also known for its selection of adult shops! She said Erotic Boutique is on the more female end of the spectrum here. https://www.shesaidboutique.com/
Finally Brighton has such a sweet tooth and some fantastic store that are all about treats. The two best to try are Roly’s Fudge Pantry and the fabulously named ChoccyWoccyDoodah.
There are many many yoga studios in Brighton and most allow drop ins. Wander the lanes and you will come across loads of them – and you won’t go wrong with Yoga Haven.
The 2 best wine bars in town are: Ten Green Bottles and Fourth and Church. Both hold regular wine tastings and are another great way to meet people. There are also several wineries near Brighton: Court Garden, Albourne Estate, Rathfinny wine estates, Bluebell Vineyard estates, Ridgeview Wine estates
Have a Tourist Moment – on the British Airways i360 to get some great photos. It's one of the best Brighton attractions. Or visit the Brighton Toy and Model Museum, one of the World's best toy museums. There are plenty of tourist attractions in Brighton to see.
Don’t have much time? Head to the beach and see Brighton Pier, one of the fun things to do in Brighton UK, walk to the Pavilion and circle it but don’t go inside and then grab a quick bite in the Lanes. The Brighton Pier attractions are open from 11:00 to 17:00 between October to March, and 10:00 to 22:00 April to October.
Where to wear your heels – Brighton doesn’t have many occasions where you need to wear your heels. You could pretty much wear flip flops anywhere! But heading to a nice wine bar in the Lanes or to one of Brighton’s top restaurants will let you justify packing them!
Tours in Brighton
From heritage & culture tours Brighton Blue Badge Guides is a good option for a walking tour in Brighton. They conform to a national standard and offer different tours. For something more relaxed try one of the many Brighton Walking Tours on Offer. Check out the Secrets of the Lanes walking tour.
Day Tours – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated Brighton activities and Brighton tours. Choose from an admission ticket to the Royal Pavillion Brighton, a visit to the British Airways i360, or a Grand Brighton bike tour. They also offer full day tours from Brighton UK to Stonehenge and Bath, Cambridge, and London, or you could book a Brighton to Seven Sisters tour including the South Downs.
Where to Meet Others
Brighton is filled with opportunities to meet others! Here are a few options:
- Head to the St James pub which runs the Brighton Rum Club. They hold tastings which are a great way to meet people. And they have a Thai restaurant on the premises!
- The Office has 40 different gins to try and a pub quiz.
- If you’re looking to combine wellness and meeting people Brighton has its own wellness meet up group.
- Take one of the walking or cycling tours mentioned above – a great way to meet other tourists and even locals sometimes!
Things To Do in The Evening in Brighton
- Cocktails at The Shuffle Bar. Not only can you get a fantastic cocktail here you can also play your own music! You can access the Shuffle jukebox through your smart phone.
- Head down to the beach and hit some a couple of pubs where you can watch the sunset. The Tempest Inn and the Fortune of War are next to each other bar a fish and chip shop in the middle! Both have great views of the sea front and channel. For solo travellers The Tempest Inn is the nicer option of the two and probably the best place to start.
- Surprisingly Brighton does not have many rooftop bars! If you’re after that kind of view then head to Bohemia.
- If you are after somewhere Quirkier try Dead Wax Social.
- Or for something a bit more upmarket try out a wine tasting at the wonderfully named Ten Green Bottles.
If you're a party solo, places to go in Brighton are night are: the Green Door Store under the train station. This late night venue features live music so check and book ahead.
Try the On the Rocks Bar crawl if you are looking for a big night out and to meet other people. You’ll go to 5 bars and get 5 shots. The crawl runs Friday and Saturday nights. Pre book online for the best deal – only 10 pounds.
Where to Eat and Drink
Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch:
Most of the accommodation options in the area will have breakfast included in their overnight price. But you may need a top up and you will definitely need a spot of lunch!
The Lanes and North Laine are heaven for cute coffee and cake shops. So many great looking places! Here are 3 of my favourites:
1. Pelicano – the cakes are AMAZING! Oozing salted caramel and so many good things going on. They don’t do any savoury items on the menu so this is a cake and coffee specific location!
2. Grow 40 – a fantastic breakfast and in my view the best coffee in Brighton! I highly recommend the sausage sandwich! They also do lunch and dinner and the restaurant is very atmospheric – there is even a wine snug upstairs which could be a good solo spot!
3. Flour Pot Bakery – another super cute spot for breakfast, lunch and cake.
For great vegetarian food head into the Lanes and Terre a Terre. Next to Terre a Terre is a fabulous Indian restaurant Indian Summer. Indian Summer does fantastic meal deals for lunch and early dinner that are worth checking out.
Treat yourself at:
The Sunday roast is another British classic and food and Brighton is a fantastic place to tuck in to one! Two of the best pubs for a great roast dinner are the Earth and Stars and Lion and Lobster. Make sure you ask for a Yorkshire pudding – they are often served only with roast beef which I completely don’t understand as I believe they go with absolutely everything!
Fish and Chips
You can't holiday in Brighton without eating fish and chips! It is quite hard to have a bad fish and chip experience in brighton – a bit like bad pizza in Italy – it just doesn’t happen! Whilst there are several options in the Lanes and North Laines they really are best enjoyed sitting on the pebbly beach and purchased from one of the many fish and chip shops on Brighton seafront.
The classic and best option is The Regency which has been open since the 1930s. It also has a fantastic location which provides views of the i360, the burnt down pier (West Pier), and the English Channel.
For something a bit different if you choose to head to Rottingdean pop into Smugglers for the classic English chippy experience! You can purchase and take them down to the beach or eat in if it is a bad day. The servings are huge and I highly recommend the haddock and chips. However perhaps bring your own wine or give it a miss as this does not seem to be their specialty!
Accommodation in Brighton
In terms of Brighton accommodation there is a huge variety to choose from – upmarket youth hostels, typical British bed & breakfasts, a Brighton boutique hotel, rock n roll hotels or a traditional Brighton hotel. You can also find a nice cosy guest house, or if you prefer self catering, you could book a Brighton apartment. You name it Brighton has it!
Kipps Backpackers is a consistently well reviewed more upmarket youth hostel with a fantastic location near Brighton town centre. There are a mix of rooms from private to dormitories and all are quite attractive.
This is a great place to stay if you are keen to meet people or a great one if you are in need of a bit of privacy but don’t want to have to pay a lot for it. There is a lounge, a kitchen for self catering, an outside terrace and even a licensed bar plus free WiFi. Prices range from £15 to £44.
If you can’t get into Kipps give Home Brighton a shot. It is a similar set up of everything from private rooms to dormitories and has a shared kitchen etc. It also offers pancakes for breakfast which is always a good thing! Prices begin at £18 per person per night
The Oriental is one of the original boutique hotels in Brighton and is a bit more upmarket than a hostel. This quirky hotel in Brighton offers the opposite of a chain hotel experience and has a great location. Prices start from £55 a night.
Brighton loves a themed hotel! From the hotel itself to each of the rooms you can have a very personalized accommodation experience. Treat yourself at Pelirocco Hotel. Hotel Pelirocco contends that it is Brighton’s sauciest boutique hotel! And it’s a Rock and Roll hotel too. Some big claims! There are 19 themed rooms to choose between – from Dollywould to Modrophenia! Prices from £159 per night.
For a little less you can try Seaspray, one of the theme hotels in Brighton. They have 15 different themed rooms from Elvis to Venice and also offer an insider’s guide to Brighton once you have made a booking. Prices from £125 per night.
You don't really need to take any public transport in Brighton as Brighton city centre is walkable. Most of the key areas such as the Lanes, the Pavilion and the seafront are all very short walks. You can also hire a bike to get to the slightly further distances of Rottingdean.
There are local buses that can take you around Brighton and Hove and to areas such as the South Downs. The actual buses are often named after some of the city’s most famous residents! And of course you can use Uber and local taxis.
From the Airport
If you are travelling to Brighton, Brighton is located quite close to Gatwick Airport, about 45 minutes in a car. Heathrow is about 90 minutes away.
How to Travel From London to Brighton – The easiest way to get to Brighton from London is on the train. You can pick up a train to Brighton from Kings Cross Station, Victoria Station or Clapham Junction station depending on where you are based in London. Clapham Junction station is the closest to Brighton. If you book in advance you can sometimes get cheap train fares from London to Brighton. * Check train times and prices here
How far is Brighton from London? Getting to Brighton from Kings Cross will take about 90 minutes and about 65 minutes from Clapham Junction. The train to London from Brighton runs regularly.
You can drive but parking is not easy and not cheap. If you do decide to go for car hire, Brighton does have a park and ride but the train in and out is definitely the best option for a day trip to Brighton.
About the Author
Amanda O’Brien runs the travel blog www.theboutiqueadventurer.com. After 20 years in marketing and visiting over 80 countries in her 5 weeks off each year she decided to combine her skills with what she loved and start a travel blog. The blog focuses on adventurous activities and destinations but usually ends up in a hotel with a high thread count on the sheets. The blog is designed for travellers who are over 35 and is often focused on solo travel.