24 Hours in Brighton

Our 24 hour guide to London by the Sea

Known for its fierce independent spirit as much as its impressive Regency-era architecture, Brighton is one of Britain’s most vibrant cities. Nestled on the coast, get dressed in our latest spring collection, then stroll along the picturesque pier, explore the historic streets and sample a coffee in the most unexpected of places.

Check out our guide to 24 hours in Brighton:

Wake up at 7am to watch the sunrise

Mornings are something special in Brighton, so it’s worth an early start. Take some time to witness the sun turning the skies gorgeous shades of red, pink and orange over the ocean at Brighton Beach – there’s no better way to start your day here.

Photo by Andrew Newson

Breakfast at The New Club

Honest food with a creative edge is what’s served up at The New Club. In the three years since it opened, the owners have converted a virtually derelict building into one of Britain’s favorite breakfast and brunch spots. With high ceilings, enormous windows and views of the sea, it’s easy to understand why. The cafe uses only Fairtrade, organic, seasonal and local produce, and everything on offer is made on-site and from scratch.

Address: 133-134 Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2HH

Tour the city with Brighton Historicycles

Bicycles are big business in Brighton, so why not explore the city’s history on two wheels? Brighton Historicycles provide California-style Electra beach cruiser bikes (lauded as the most comfortable bikes you’ll ever ride) and working actors as tour guides (complete with historical costumes). Their two-hour tours cover Brighton’s most interesting stories, events and characters throughout history.

Address: Arch 250E, Kings Road Arches, Brighton BN2 1TD

Stop for artisan ice cream at Gelato Gusto

This decadent gelateria offers an inventive twist on the long-held British tradition of ice cream at the seaside. With freshly-cut lilies on every table, exposed brickwork and white-washed floors, Gelato Gusto is styled like a traditional ice cream parlor but pushes boundaries with its unique flavor combinations. Smoky bacon with maple waffle, sea salt caramel and pear with parmesan are among the options on its always-evolving menu of ice cream, gelato and sorbet.

Address: 2 Gardner Street, Brighton, BN1 1UP

Pop into urban art gallery and tattoo parlor Chapter XIII

Equal parts urban art gallery, tattoo parlor and coffee shop, Chapter XIII is nothing if not distinctive as a space. Set in one of Brighton’s oldest historic buildings, the multi-purpose venue is brimming with art, coffee and alternative culture. An enormous custom mural by the award-winning urban artist Dan Kitchener covers one wall, while the gallery also houses work by notable names such as Banksy, Dan Gold and Cassandra Yap.

Address: The Old Coach House, 11-12 Pool Valley, Brighton BN1 1NJ

Visit Brighton Sea Life Centre, the world’s oldest aquarium

First opened in 1872, this landmark tourist attraction features original Victorian architecture and is the oldest aquarium in the world still in operation. It’s also home to the UK’s first glass-bottom boat and can be found next to Brighton’s iconic pier. The center features more than 5,000 sea creatures and some of its most exotic residents include giant turtles, sharp-toothed sharks, piranhas and poisonous dart frogs.

Address: Marine Parade, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 1TB

Go chocolate shopping at Choccywoccydoodah

This design-focused chocolate shop specializes in bespoke gifts including pet sculptures made from chocolate and some truly extravagant celebration cakes. Like most places in Brighton, Choccywoccydoodah also has its own vibrant café. Velvety hot chocolates and thick ice cream milkshakes are on the menu, while decor highlights include mismatched tables and chairs, fake tigers and a selection of colorful artwork.

Address: 30-32 Fouberts Place, Carnaby, Brighton, W1F 7PS

Have dinner at 64 Degrees

This cozy restaurant is decorated in contemporary, warehouse-chic style – and with just 27 seats available, you’ll definitely need to book ahead. All produce is sourced locally and the evolving menu offers small but flavorsome plates prepared in an open kitchen in front of you. While many of the dishes are inspired by traditional British cuisine, some very welcome international twists give them a bit of flair. Be sure to try the pressed pig cheeks and the potato knödel.

Address: 53 Meeting House Lane, Brighton, BN1 1HB

Settle in for cocktails at The Shuffle Bar

Over 100 cocktails are listed on the menu at Shuffle, which is no surprise given that owner Paul Mason was a finalist in the 1996 World Cocktail Flair Championships. Iced tea cocktails are the bar’s specialty, though a good selection of champagnes, wines and bottled beers are available too. While the mixologist creates your perfect drink, take a moment to select some tracks on the jukebox using nothing but your phone.

Address: 27 York Place, Brighton, BN1 4GU

There’s plenty to do away from Brighton’s well-trodden tourist paths, even if you’re only planning on a brief visit. Come summer 2016, a brand new observation tower (brought to life by the team behind the London Eye) called Brighton i360 will be opening along the seafront – yet another reason to plan a visit to the city.

Not sure what to pack for Brighton? Our style editor shows you how to upgrade your look this spring.