Planning a day trip from Brighton to London is one of the best things you could do with a sunny day in the UK, or even a rainy one! Brighton has an incredibly fun and carefree vibe to it and there is tonnes to see and do there, making it the perfect way to escape the busy London scene. Great transport links make it a really easy day trip from London too!
Having lived half an hour outside of London for my whole life I’ve taken numerous day trips from Brighton to London so I know what an amazing place to visit it really is. I’ve tried to include all the top Brighton highlights in this guide, along with top tips about how to get there and where to stay if you decide to extend your visit – which I thoroughly recommend you do if you have the time!
How To Get To Brighton From London
Getting to Brighton from London is super easy, which is why it’s such a great place to head to for a day trip.
Train: Train is the best way to get to Brighton from London. The train from London Victoria or London Blackfriars goes directly to Brighton in just over an hour. Make sure you don’t travel during peak times and you’ll only pay about £20 for the train ticket. Brighton train station is just a short walk from the town centre and the beach front.
Coach: The cheapest way to get to Brighton from London is by coach. The National Express coach departs from London Victoria Coach Station (just across from the tube station) and runs ever hour from early till late, and only takes about an hour to get there. If you’re lucky you can pick up a one way ticket for £5!
Car: Obviously if you’re coming from the South of London your journey is going to be a whole lot easier. Coming from central London will take a few hours, perhaps even longer in rush hour traffic. If you do decide to drive then there is plenty of parking in Brighton that’s clearly signposted. If you park along a residential street then always check the parking restrictions to make sure you don’t come back to a nasty surprise!
Things To Do On Your Day Trip To Brighton From London
Take A Stroll Along Brighton Pier
A walk along Brighton pier is a must do on your day trip from Brighton to London. It’s a typical English seaside pier with all the traditional features. There are plenty of stalls selling ice cream and candy floss, and of course some sheltered benches to sit on and enjoy the views.
At the end of the pier you’ll find the Palace of Fun, an arcade with all the favourite slot machines and games. This is a great way to spend a rainy hour or two, my favourite is the 2p machine! Venture on further and you’ll find some good old fashioned fair ground rides (and some newer, scarier looking rides too!) Have a go if you think you’re brave enough!
Picnic On Brighton Beach
If you haven’t been lured by the tempting smell of fish and chips from the seafront restaurants then the best way to lunch in Brighton is to bring your own picnic. Even better if you remember a rug! Brighton beach is a pebble beach, so you might want a cushion or two as well.
In the UK I wouldn’t say it’s ever warm enough to truly enjoy a dip in the sea, but on hot days it can be a good place to dip your toes! Bring your swimming gear if you’re feeling brave.
There is a long promenade that leads all the way over to the neighbouring town of Hove if you’re out for some exercise. In the morning before it starts getting busy this is a great place to run or walk. The further from Brighton town you get, the less busy it will be. There are plenty of bars and restaurants overlooking the seafront, and in the summer there’s a real buzz here, with outdoor seating, music and lots of laughter.
Photograph Hove’s Colourful Beach Huts
About half an hours walk from the centre of Brighton, along the promenade on the seafront, you’ll find the very Instagramable beach huts. The huts themselves are actually in the town of Hove, but most people visit them from Brighton itself as the walk is so pleasant. Beach huts are such a typically British thing, and these colourful little sheds really are pretty. Just keep an eye out on your walk towards Hove and you can’t miss them!
Take A Bike Tour Of Brighton On Your Day Trip
If you’re feeling energetic then taking a bike tour of the city is the perfect thing to do on a day trip to Brighton from London. This bike tour takes you on a relaxed 2 and a half hour bike ride around the cities main monuments, and includes some hidden spots that only the locals know about. I would always highly recommend booking local tour guides to take you around new cities, as not only are they incredibly knowledgeable but they are also able to answer all your questions about the places you’re visiting. You come away feeling like you really know the city, even after just a few hours.
Get High On Brighton’s i360
The i360 opened in 2016 and has been a popular addition to Brighton’s plentiful attractions. It gives the most amazing views from all directions and really is worth seeing. It’s also a great thing to do when the weather is bad in Brighton as it’s undercover, so you can keep it up your sleeve for a rainy day!
Book a ticket in advance to avoid disappointment on the day.
Sight See At The Spectacular Brighton Pavilion
Brighton Pavilion (or the Royal Pavilion) is a must see on your day trip to Brighton from London. Built in 1787 as a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales, this unusual building is a beautiful place to visit. Take a look from the outside, and bring a rug and book to relax here in the sun on a nice day. Or you can visit the museum and see inside the Pavilion.
Hop-on A Bus Tour
Honestly, I love these hop on, hop off bus tours! It’s one of the best things about visiting cities for me, because it’s such an easy way to learn about all the must see places! It’s also a great thing to do in Brighton when it’s raining (come on, it’s England!) You can avoid having to walk everywhere and get a tour of the city!
Explore Brighton Lanes
Brighton is famous for it’s maze of alleyways full of boutique shops and cafes, and no day trip to Brighton from London would be complete without a visit here. Found in the historic quarter of Brighton, the lanes have a real old world charm to them with the buildings set close together and the walkways narrow. You can definitely imagine what life was once like as you explore the jewellery and antique shops.
Sea Life Brighton
The Sea Life centre in Brighton is housed in the world’s oldest operating aquarium, built in 1872. Walk through the dramatic Gothic arches as you enter and spend your visit gawking at the many incredible creatures lurking within. There’s even an interactive rock pool where you can touch the starfish and other sea dwelling animals.
Eat Your Way Around Brighton
Brighton has become quite famous for it’s food, with independent restaurants and cafes popping up everywhere. This walking food tour will take you on a culinary adventure through Brighton’s vibrant streets to sample some of England’s finest cuisine (along with delicious food from around the globe). You’ll learn all about Brighton’s cultural diversity whilst sampling English tea, sausage rolls, crumpets, pies and more.
Get The Adrenaline Pumping On Your Day Trip To Brighton
This is the longest zip line on the south coast of England, and the perfect thing to do on your day trip to Brighton from London for any adrenaline junkies out there. They have a few different options for you to choose from, and one of them includes racing your friends to the bottom on the duel zip line! All that for under £20 a person!
Things To Do In Brighton In The Evening
If you’re looking for vibrant and eclectic nightlife then you’ve come to the right place. Brighton is renowned for it’s nightlife scene and is brimming with hipster bars, quirky restaurants and buzzing live venues. Here are some of the best things to do in the evening on your day trip to Brighton from London.
The World’s End Pub
A night out with a difference. This pub in Brighton doubles up as a games room with enough going on to keep you entertained for months. Race your friends on the remote control race track, immerse yourself in the escape room mystery or enjoy a civilised game of monopoly. They also put on themed nights such as cabaret or bingo – check out their schedule here. And if you’ve stayed long enough to need replenishing then not to worry, there’s a delicious menu on offer too!
Shuffle is the perfect bar for music lovers of any kind. This cocktail bar hands the playlist over to its customers, and you can add music to the bars playlist from your phone to make sure your favourite song gets heard. They also offer a large range of cocktails that are made simply and well, ensuring you won’t be stood at the bar for hours on end!
After some live entertainment? Then check out Brighton Dome where big names and up and coming artists are featured. There is a wide range of different entertainment on offer here, including dance, theatre, music and comedy. There’s something for everyone in this impressive 200 year old building.
What To Bring On Your Day Trip To Brighton From London
There are some things you won’t want to leave home without on your day trip from London to Brighton. Make sure you have everything you need before you go!
- Camera – don’t miss out on capturing Brighton’s pretty lanes and seaside views. I love my Olympus (UK / US), but even a phone camera will do.
- Sun cream / Rain coat – Check the weather before you go but be prepared for anything!
- Comfortable walking shoes – Some of Brighton’s streets are cobblestones so take footwear that you’ll be comfortable in.
- Pack a picnic – there are tonnes of nice restaurants and cafes in Brighton but if you want to really do things like the English then you’ll need to pack a picnic and eat on the beach! Don’t forget strawberries and cream, cucumber sandwiches and make sure you pack a picnic blanket! If you want to go full on romantic then grab yourself one of these and picnic in style!
- Swimming kit – for the brave only! The sea in England is COLD. But you should at least be prepared to go for a little paddle!
Where To Stay If You Decide To Extend Your Stay!
A day trip from Brighton to London is the perfect amount of time to give you a taste of all Brighton has to offer, but to really do it justice you’ll want to stay for a night or two. There are some really quirky places to stay in Brighton, along with budget and luxury options. I’ve listed the best of all below but try booking.com for even more options!
For a stylish apartment in the centre of town, head to Clarence Square (click here for pictures and reviews!) You couldn’t find a more perfect location for an overnight stay in Brighton and this apartment has all the home comforts you could wish for.
Each room here is individually decorated in an interesting and quirky style in fitting with Brighton’s trendy scene. Your room comes with all the mod cons and the hotel is centrally located making everything about a visit here so super easy!
This is a really cute budget option for anyone looking to save some money on their day trip to Brighton from London. The Ceramic House is run by a local artist and is full of beautiful ceramic works. It’s a little out of town, making it a cheaper option, but there’s a bus that goes directly into town so it isn’t too much of a problem to get in and explore!