What could be more British than fish and chips on the beach? Brighton offers this traditional Britain with a twist – you can enjoy your fish and chips and then walk a hundred metres and find yourself dancing to world-class DJs. Or wander through the Lanes and find vintage clothes, records and jewellery. And you will be surrounded by an eccentric cast of locals, visitors and students from all over the world.
Photo: Bev Goodwin
With so much to see and do, Brighton continues to be one of the world’s top destinations for an English course. But how far will £20 get you? Well, surprisingly far! And your money will go much further than it would in London.
Have fun on Brighton pier
Photo: Nick Richards
Along with the Pavilion, Brighton Pier is the most popular and famous of Brighton’s tourist attractions and a really good, fun day out. Originally built in Victorian times as a theatre/concert hall the pier is now an exciting tourist destination with cafes, restaurants, bars, arcades and rides. If you are looking for all the thrills of the fair with rides and attractions, visit the pier, enjoy the rollercoaster and watch the sun set on the horizon as the lights come on and the atmosphere becomes electric.
Watch a film at the Duke of York’s Cinema
The Duke of York’s cinema opened on 22 September 1910 and was one of the first cinemas in the world. Built on the site of an old brewery, the walls of which still form the rear part of the auditorium, the building remains largely unchanged. The Duke’s was always a quality cinema for the more discerning patron; today it shows carefully-picked new films and classics. Tickets £7.50-£10.00.
Take a ghost walk of the lanes
A night out that you’ll never forget. Take a walk of the haunted old Lanes of Brighton with Rob your guide and storyteller. The Lanes occupies what was once the original fishing settlement of Brighton – it is the oldest part of the city and, unquestionably, the most haunted (and also one of the best parts for shopping). You will visit seven haunted sites and hear eight ghostly tales associated with them, the walk is performed by actor and master storyteller Rob Marks in full Victorian costume. For £5.00 do not miss out!
Take a voyage under the ocean @ the Sea Life Centre
Watch in amazement as giant turtles and sharks glide above you in an underwater tunnel. Visit the Tropical Reef and see coral that you would expect in Eastern Australia, not East Sussex. Enjoy holding crabs and learning about the shoreline at the rockpool display. Feeding the juvenile rays is also an unforgettable experience, but watch out the dangers of the Amazon! The Sea Life Centre is the oldest operating aquarium in the world and a stunning piece of Victorian architecture. Just watch out for the hungry piranhas! Entry is £6.00.
Have a barbecue on the beach
This is a Brighton tradition that has really boomed with the rise of the disposable barbecue. After 6pm, you can cook on the beach; stock up on supplies at one of the many shops along Western Road (which runs parallel to the seafront, around 200m inland), head to the beach and cook. The perfect end to a sunny day. Be sure to use the provided barbecue bins when you are finished. Disposable barbecue: approx £3.00.
See the fabulous architecture of the Royal Pavilion
Visit Brighton’s special Royal Pavilion, built at the turn of the 19th century by George IV: the king who transformed Brighton from a fishing village into ‘London-by-the-sea’ and gave the town the extraordinary and extravagant pleasure palace. The Pavilion is remarkable for its exotic oriental appearance both inside and out. Most people who visit the pavilion mention the Taj Mahal in India. The magnificent Pavilion was revered by fashionable Regency society and is still a distinctive landmark for Brighton & Hove today: people love to sit in the gardens for a picnic and to listen to live music. Entry to the palace is £7; you can enjoy the gardens for free.
Catch the Volks railway along the coast to the marina… then keep going
Photo: Pip R. Lagenta
Take the ‘world’s oldest electric railway’ (opened in 1883) from Brighton Pier to Brighton Marina for £2.50. The railway runs for almost 2km along the Brighton seafront. There are loads of restaurants and bars once you arrive at the marina, but our secret tip is to keep going eastwards; an “Undercliff Walk” starts at the eastern end of Brighton Marina and continues for 4.5km to Saltdean. Built to protect the chalk cliffs from the sea, this is a beautiful path that leads to some charming seafront cafes. You can take the bus back to central Brighton.
Sing your heart out with karaoke @ the King & Queen
Every Tuesday is Karaoke night at the famous old pub the King & Queen, just a short walk from the Pavilion. Enjoy a night out with the staff and fellow students singing…or screaming…your favourite songs!
Take a trip to Devils Dyke and the East Sussex countryside
Named after the huge dry valley that carves through South Downs, Devils Dyke is an historic beauty spot just one mile outside of Brighton. In the summer months you can get there from the seafront on an open top bus. The Dyke offers stunning views of Brighton, the English Channel and the surrounding areas.
The area is popular with joggers, cyclists and walkers. One particularly popular walk is to nearby Fulking where the Shepherd and Dog pub serves a wide range of English ales and has a sunny beer garden. A taste of traditional English culture just outside the city!
If you want to get further out of town, head to Seven Sisters Country Park
Take the bus towards Eastbourne and get off at Seven Sisters Country Park. This takes around 45 minutes. The Seven Sisters are a series of seven chalk cliffs facing out towards the English Channel. You can walk along the top and enjoy the view, as seagulls swirl around in the sea wind.
When you see the White Cliffs of Dover on film, they are often actually the Seven Sisters: because they have been allowed to erode naturally, they remain bright white, unlike the “white” cliffs of Dover, which are now increasingly covered in vegetation. If you want an excellent photo opportunity on the English Coast, you won’t find better.
Find out more about an English course in Brighton here.
Have you been on stage at the King & Queen? Got your own tips for enjoying Brighton and Hove? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
Thanks to our friends at British Study Centres for their help with this article.