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View to Brighton Pier from the New Steine, Brighton

Archive for the ‘Brighton For Families’ Category

Spring weekend in Brighton: Damn it’s hot!

Hey, if you haven’t noticed, the first spring weekend in Brighton was more like summer! So, what’s happening with our weather – and the million dollar question: Is it going to last?

I can pretty much guarantee it’s not going to last – this is England. Saying that, if you’re coming here from abroad after a cheap bed and breakfast in Brighton, you’d probably be disappointed if it didn’t rain heavily for at least some of your stay.

Pimms o'clock was early this year

Pimms o'clock was early this year

However, it is glorious and the town has again been transformed into seafront playground, complete with the first successful BBQs of the year – in March! And even a few very brave skinny-dipping attempts – in March!

As surreal as it might be, we were sat on the beach having our first BBQ of the year, drinking Pimms – as you do – and heard the ‘Beach Boys’ drifting along the shimmering airwaves.

The group next to us were so inspired they got their kit off and got in for a dip. Well, the girl did. The two guys bottled it!

So where is all this unseasonably good weather coming from? Apparently it’s the Mediterranean and North African wind – had that on holiday once, very nasty.

And while we can’t guarantee every spring weekend in Brighton will be as warm, we can promise the beach is great in all weathers, the pier is open all year, and there’s fun to be had in this town, sun up or sun down.

If you are feeling like a dip, first take a read of our beach safety guide. Maybe get your head examined, then take a read of our…

Or check out what’s on in Brighton this month

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Cycling Breaks in Brighton

We don’t wait till summer to cycle. Cycling breaks in Brighton are popular from early spring. And to prove just how much this town is into/onto two wheels, there’s the Brighton Bike Fest running from April 16-22.

So true, so bring your bike to Brighton!

So true, so bring your bike to Brighton!

And in true Brighton style, it’s not just about the bike: There will be DIY bike maintenence, a 12V bicycle sound-system building workshop, cheap vegan meals laid on and a celebration of bike films.

If you’re beginning to think cycling is all too commercial, you’ll be pleased with a sewing workshop set up to help people make their own high-viz vests and there’s the critical mass rides too – although we’re not sure that riding all over the road to prove a point helps drivers understand – if anything it makes things worse.

Footy fans should forget the train for a day and join in on the Bike Train up to Falmer stadium, perhaps decorate their bikes in blue and white – made a lot easier if they attend the ‘beautify your bike workshop’ running the night before.

And if it’s action you want, there’s also the ‘bike jousting’ on The Level, and a cycle treasure hunt also on the Saturday afternoon. A bike polo taster session as well as a session from mega-mechanic Dr Bike on the Sunday, more bike jousting and ‘Awkward Races’ help close the event, before some solar powered cinema by ‘One Way Theatre’.

So, if you fancy bringing a bike or two we can help you with a cheap Brighon B&B. Or, if you want to hire some over the weekend of the 21-22 April here’s a few links for you to try.

And if you are coming down the week before and end up cycling through Hove, watch out for a Naked Bike Ride Skinny Dip – and some very small cranks.

Bike Hire in Brighton

Cycle Training in Brighton

Cycling for Women in Brighton & Hove

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Visiting Brighton? You should visit Hove, too

Planning on visiting Brighton, you really should make the effort to get yourself along the coast to Hove. The two overlap somewhere and it’s pretty difficult to tell them apart.

Get this far and you're in Hove

Get this far and you're in Hove

That is until you get further into Hove, where you’ll notice fewer large stores and shops, and more residential buildings. Top Tip: Walk along the seafront until you get to an Italian café/ ice-cream shop called Morrocco’s. You’re in Hove.

Hove actually makes for an excellent visit, with all sorts of cultural events going on. This month is a great example. Here’s the main events going in Hove this month.

Sussex Beer and Cider Festival (8-10 March)

A regular on the calendar, this will be the 22nd Sussex Beer and Cider Festival. Look of for some top independent brewers, and you’ll need to be quick with tickets as this is one festival that you can guarantee will sell out! As well as beers and ciders, there are perries and country wines to be sampled. And there’s one bar set aside just for local ales. There’s also live entertainment planned and hot food!

And walk back to Brighton

And walk back to Brighton

My Favourite Toy (From 10 March)

My Favourite Toy (not an adult show) opens at the Hove Museum and Art Gallery on 10 March. You’ll be able to look at our fascination with toys and enjoy work created by children and young people in Brighton & Hove. Great one for the family enjoying a long weekend in Brighton – especially after you blagged your way free to get into the beer festival…

And the following weekend it’s the vege festival.

Vegfest UK ( 17-18 March)

If you think you need meat to make a meal tasty, thing again. Get your primitive urges in check and check out the piles of food products all laid out around Hove Town Hall. As always there will be bits and bobs to try, and special offers to tempt the eye and wallet.

Then finish your weekend visiting Brighton with a long walk back to town along the seafront. It’s not far, and let’s face it tofu doesn’t weigh anything anyway!

For more family friendly events in Brighton look up this great resource ChildfriendlyBrighton

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Sports Weekends in Sussex: Visit Brighton

With the weather ever improving there’s plenty of sports weekends in Sussex coming up. So instead of booking a Brighton B&B and just visiting Brighton for its shopping and clubbing, make it a base for more active weekends.

Summer activities, and Brighton play all year round

In Brighton we play all year round Photo: Flickr/garynight

Here’s a look ahead to what the county has on offer:

Brighton and Hove is hosting the annual Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile Event. So get the family involved, get a cheap weekend in Brighton booked and do your bit by the seaside. The run takes place on Sunday 24th March on Madeira Drive and you can register at sportrelief.com

In April there’ll be thousands of people putting in the miles in the Brighton Marathon. Places are still available – if you’ve a last minute fancy for 26 and a bit miles…

Cyclists not prepared to wait till the London to Brighton can get their wheels spinning through the night on the BHF Night Ride. It’s an over-nighter, so you can either book a Brighton B&B and make a weekend of it or go back on the train after a full English to finish. You could always cycle back – you may laugh, someone will do it!

Third week in June is the main London to Brighton bike ride. Expect there to be 27,000 other riders taking part. If you’ve not done it before, you really should.

And to get the summer of sport going there’s the annual Take Part Festival in Preston Park where you can try out all sorts of new sports.

That’s the main sports weekends in Sussex, but there are hundreds more activities you could do on a weekend in Brighton: Zorbing on the South Downs, sailing classes off the beach and at the Marina, and some wakeboarding and kitesurfing at Hove Lagoon.

And you’ll still get to go shopping in Brighton – I don’t care how fit you say you are, or how tight your cycling pants are. Once it’s all over you’re still wanting to get away from work, get a weekend break and get to the beach. And if you can’t fit in any sport, so what. Come down anyway. Brighton is just waking up from its winter hybernation and it’s definitly the place to be when the sun’s shining

And we’ve got two sets of beach volleyball courts. People were playing on them over the weekend – in February!

So we’ll see you soon!

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Visiting Brighton and its ‘Greeters’

Many cities claim to offer a warm welcome, but to put out teams of ‘Greeters’ for people visiting Brighton is unheard off. What do these people do? Is it free? And will they just drag you off to a pub for a pint and some midday drag act?

Let your Greeter take you there Photo: Flickr/OliverN5

Let your 'Greeter' take you there Photo: Flickr/OliverN5

Well, we’ve been looking into it. And sadly there’s no boozing or man-serenades – bit early in the day.

But, you can ‘Book your Greet’ and get matched up with a Brighton resident who will guide you towards the best things to see in Brighton.

Each session last up to six hours and you can get as many as five friends to come along with you. So for people visiting Brighton it’s perfect. Hop of the train and get a guided tour. How good is that!

Not just for Brighton virgins; if you’ve visited before you can still get in on the initiative – run by Visit Brighton.

You book online, giving details of the hotel in Brighton or the Brighton B&B you’re staying in, and the preferred date and time of your Greet.

Although not guaranteed – visits are ’subject to Greeter availability’ – if you book in advance and schedule it for the first part of your trip to Brighton, there’s a good chance you’ll get one.

And if you don’t, not to worry: there are lots of day trips near Brighton to see and do in Brighton – and there’s always somewhere you can grab a pint – drag act might have to wait till later, mind.

And if you’re Scottish, this whole blog post could mean something completely different. But don’t greet about it…

Book your Greeter

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Walks in Sussex from your Brighton B&B

It’s all too easy to just step outside of your Brighton B&B and only ever walk up and down the seafront. Ok, when it’s really cold you probably aren’t going to venture much further than the edge of town.

Seven Sisters from Cuckmere Photo : Flickr/marcberryreid

Seven Sisters from Cuckmere Photo : Flickr/marcberryreid

But with the weather set to warm up soon (ish), it’s time you checked out the walks in Sussex and walks near Brighton, and got yourselves out into the countryside proper.

So wrap up warm, carry some warm clothes and some food, and pack a flask. Tell the kids it’ll be good for them, and before you know it you’ll be having a great family day out.

To help you get underway and leave behind the Brighton hotels, clubs, bars and shops, here are five routes to suit.

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Brighton UK: 5 very British Brighton attractions

Planning on visiting Brighton UK this year, you’ll be looking for those traditional British attractions. And as much as we like to avoid stereotypes around these parts, there’s no doubting the south coast has its fair share of Britishness for visitors from Europe to enjoy.

Brighton Rock, crunchy not movie Image Flickr/lilvanili

Brighton Rock: crunchy, not movie Image Flickr/lilvanili

Here’s our 5 favourite British attractions proving we’ve still got it.

Brighton Architecture

A weekend in Brighton is just enough time to pass some of the finest English houses and architectural styles you can find. There was a surge in house building during the reign of George IV and these regency styles continued to be popular long after he died. Local firm Wilds & Busby built much of Kemp Town and Brunswick Town. And all around these are lesser streets copying the familiar regency style terraces and squares. Check out Brunswick Square and walk east from our Brighton B&B towards the marina – you’ll find many others.

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Brighton UK : Why our friends from Europe start and finish in Brighton

Brighton UK is not just a weekend favourite, it’s also traditionally where many visitors from Europe start off and finish their whirlwind tours of the UK.

Europe's coming to Brighton

Europe's coming to Brighton

Now, you’d think they’d just jump off the plane and rush into overpriced London digs. Well, they don’t; they get a weekend in Brighton, chill out and plan their route from here.

And, often they also finish their trip with a night here, too.

So, why would you choose to stay your first weekend in Brighton?

Here are five good reasons:

Close to the airport

Flights into Gatwick drop off passengers from all over Europe, and it’s just around the corner. Well, Brighton UK is just 30 mins by train, but it’s still better than heading the other way into London.

To help prepare

If you’ve arrived after hours of connections and faffing around, the last thing you need is to be chucked in the middle of it all, when really you should be taking the time to chill and prepare for the next 7, 10 days of holiday.

Brighton’s a special place

You know it, we all know it, and by the time they leave, they’ll know it too: Brighton UK is unlike any other town. And if you make the effort to come here, you’ll enjoy special offers on Brighton Accommodation and soon see why.

It’s the beach, stoopid!

Yes, everyone loves a beach. And given the chance, most people would rather wake up next to the sea than between two tower blocks. So what if it’s not summer! Get a bit of sunlight going and Brighton brightens, regardless of the temperature.

To wind down

Yes, not only do tourists spend their first few nights in Brighton, they also book a weekend at the end to check out the things to do in Brighton before they leave. It’s a bit of a treat and a time to relax and reflect on their holiday – most tourists stick to the south, but often roam all the way to Cornwall and back, so resting up at the end often helps finish their trip to Brighton UK in style.

And of course they come for the nudist beach! But probably just to laugh at the 10 or so Brits brave enough to put their crown jewels on display.

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New Year’s Eve in Brighton : swimming anyone?

Well, we’ve been looking for alternatives to going out clubbing on New Year’s Eve in Brighton and we may have found something a little more hardcore than the dance floor: Swimming in Arundel Lido!

Arundel Lido: colder than a witch's xxx - or is it?

Arundel Lido: colder than a witch's xxx - or is it?

Now, while it’s not Brighton proper, it is only a short bus trip away and as one of the few remaining lidos in the country is worth a visit.

But swimming out doors on New Year’s Eve? Barking! So, if it’s all a little too hardcore, you could always come back next year – yes folks, it’s open on New Year’s Day as well!

New Year Hotel breaks in Brighton don’t have to be all-nighters, there’s always activities for families on hand.  So take a trip to the only open-air Lido in West Sussex ( it has recently celebrated its 50th Birthday).

I’d love to promise you it had warmed up over those years, but it probably hasn’t! (Actually, the manager has assured would-be swimmers that the water temperature is up.) And there will be mulled wine and hot drinks to warm the cockles.

And it’s not free, either. But what is on New Year’s Eve in Brighton? And anyway it’s only £4 for adults, £2 for under-18s and free if you are under 5 or over 80.

You could always try nearer to home with the Saltdean Lido. You can take the bus there and enjoy the walk back along the under cliff walk to the Marina and back into town – perfect start to New Year.

And for the proper mental ones, you could meet up with the curious tribe of bearded creatures who swim everyday in the sea off Brighton. Beautiful people – little crazy – but beautiful!

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Xmas Shopping in Brighton and the South Lanes

Staying for the weekend you can guarantee you’ll be tempted to get your Xmas shopping in Brighton, and if you only get as far as Churchill square you’ll have missed out!

On the same side of town, just down the hill towards the pier is one of the country’s best shopping areas: the South Lanes – or is it Brighton Lanes, or is it upper case at all? Commonly described as more ‘upmarket’ than its northern contemporaries – although we’d debate this – it’s a place where wandering and speculating will unearth a mini treasure trove of gifts.

Some of the smaller shops are truly independent, while through Duke’s Lane you’ll find more of the boutiques brimful of brands.

Xmas shopping in Brighton you’ll never be short of choice, but here’s 5 of our favourite retailers to help you with your last minute shopping.

Lush - East Street

Not independent in anyway as it’s a chain, but still a delight. Smells pour from its door, drawing in the passing unwashed and stink obsessed bath and soap lovers – stocking filler specialist.

England at Home 22B, Ship ST/ 59, Ship St

Fun and fashionable collections of gifts and home wares, mainly designer gear but still, it’s Xmas! And if you look out of the door of one shop, you’ll see the other straight opposite – and over you trot.

Custard, tasty.

Custard, tasty.

Custard 3, Union St

Gift and card shop Brighton style – so expect some adult humour and interesting interpretations of the regular Xmas card. If you are new to these shores and have a liking for British humour, check out the sufferable Modern Toss, as stocked here – offence guaranteed.

Peggs & Son 39, Duke St

Contemporary and casual gents wear, cool and well-collected Peggs & Son recently moved up the road and into a bigger store on Duke St. If I had to pick one men’s shop in the south Lanes on style alone it would be this one

C& H Westons 12, East Street

But it’s full of guns we hear you say, but look past to next door and you’ll find the only Barbour shop in town – (not barber shop, Barbour – the timeless British outfitter who’s designs are proper country style and all over fashion at the moment). Take a look at the real stuff – and if you really want a gun…

And there’s always Xmas shopping in Brighton North Laine style if you can’t till your boots here/ bags with boots and presents here.

Full them up, stay over in one of our Xmas hotel rooms in Brighton and head off once the weekend is finished.

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