A Day in Brighton – 7 Things to Do on a Brighton Day Trip

There are so many incredible places to explore while vacationing in Britain – but why not give a day in Brighton on the south coast a try?

Brighton is one city many tourists add to their list of stops to make, thanks to the abundance of entertainment, adventure, and unique things to see. So, planning a Brighton day trip ahead of time with your day all mapped out is the best way to find time to enjoy it all. 

Preparing for a Day Trip to Brighton

Day trips are much more enjoyable when you plan the entire thing in advance. Having an idea of what your day will look like will help you prepare for the upcoming event and even plan for the unexpected. 

Before taking off for your trip, there are a few essential things to consider. 

  • Preparation – Always be prepared. Order tickets ahead of time, make reservations for any restaurants you plan on stopping at, and check the weather report so you know what to expect. That way, you won’t be disappointed.
  • Packing – Since you are prepared, packing is easy. Make sure you are ready for any weather, your kids are stocked with books and activities, and you have extra snacks and drinks just in case. You’ll likely be doing a ton of walking, so wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers.
  • Confirmation – Create a checklist and confirm you are 100% prepared. If you are going with a group, confirm when you will take off and where and when the first meet-up will occur.

There is always the chance of unexpected delays, weather, or wait times, so make sure you give yourself a little wiggle room when planning your day.

7 Things to Do on a Day Trip to Brighton (One-Day Itinerary)

Brighton pinned with red push pin on map of the UK

Do you know what Brighton has to offer? This seaside city is bustling with tourist attractions, historical sites, and delicious eateries with menus for every diet. Because this fabulous city is full of things to do, creating a full itinerary for one day isn’t very hard.

We put one together for you with seven incredible things to do packed into one single road trip.

What’s even better? Many of these attractions are so close together you can walk or bike from one activity to the next on a nice warm day.

1. Stop for Breakfast at The Breakfast Club

  • Location: 16-17 Market St, Brighton BN1 1HH
  • Hours: Weekdays 8 am – 4 pm. Weekends 8:00 am – 5 pm
  • Price: $$-$$$
  • Food: American, British café

The first stop you must make on your day trip to Brighton should be the local restaurant The Breakfast Club, named “Travellers Choice” in 2022. You will be greeted by friendly staff and a clean facility when you walk into this well-known restaurant. Highchairs are available upon request for the little ones, and their Wi-Fi is always free.

The food is delicious, with some of the best classic breakfast items made to order. Whether you like the basic piping hot pancakes and sausage or are up for something a little more interesting, like eggs benedict with avocado and bacon sandwiches, they have it all.

* A great tip for first-timers: Do not leave this restaurant without grabbing at least one order of their famous bacon rolls or deep-fried chocolate pancake balls. These items are customer favorites and should be experienced at least once.

2. Walk to the Old Police Cells Museum

Image courtesy of Old Police Cells Museum.
  • Location: Town Hall, Brighton BN1 1JA, United Kingdom
  • Tickets: £5 adult tickets for ages 16 – 59, £4 child tickets for ages 5-15, £12 family tickets (2 adults and up to 3 children)
  • Time: 1-hour tour
  • Hours: 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

At this Brighton museum, you will see where a chief constable from the past was murdered, weapons deemed appropriate back in the day, and graffiti from the good ole rocker days.

These old cells were condemned in 1929 and considered unfit for use; however, they still housed detainees for 40 more years. Book your tickets and take a guided tour to discover why and what happened after that.

The Old Police Cells Museum is only a three-minute drive or six-minute walk from The Breakfast Club, and it is definitely worth adding to your Brighton itinerary. 

A retired police officer guides this unique tour. They will spend an hour walking you through the Old Police Cells, providing exciting information regarding the history of the Sussex force, the crimes committed during the time, and how the old cells were used back in the day.

3. Browse a Few Local Art Museums and Shops on Kings Road

  • Location: Kings Road
  • Hours: 11 am – 6 pm

Once you leave the Old Police Cells Museum, stroll down Kings Road and stop at a few of the popular art museums in the area. Take some time to look around and support the local talent by buying a creative piece or two.

  • Daniel Laurence Home and Garden, 226 Kings Road Arches Lower Seafront Promenade is a local shop selling home and garden décor, from beautiful sculptures to hand-crafted wall art and much more. 
  • Zorian Artworks, 246 Kings Road Arches is the home of artwork created by the local artist Zorian Matthews, who produces a wide variety of paintings and photography he sells from his storefront on this quaint and bustling street. 
  • Rare Interior Art, 245 Kings Road Arches is located right next door to Zorian. Here you will find another beautiful array of artwork for sale by Rare Interior art. This shop offers a selection of limited-edition, original collections in areas like Ganesh art, animals, and Buddha. 

These art pieces can be great gifts or beautiful souvenirs to take home and treasure. Each piece is made by hand and results from hard work and extreme talent.

4. Enjoy Lunch at the Palm Court Restaurant and Bar

  • Location: Brighton Palace Pier, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 1TW
  • Hours: 10 am – 8 pm
  • Price: $$-$$$
  • Food: Classic British dishes, tea, seafood

After all that walking and shopping, there is a good chance you will be left a bit hungry. When hunger strikes, you should stop at the Palm Court Restaurant to rest your feet, grab some lunch, and recap all the things you have seen so far. 

Take advantage of the outdoor seating offered at Palm Court on Brighton Palace Pier when the weather is nice. Enjoy the beautiful view of the English Channel while eating seafood favorites, classic comfort foods, fresh seasonal salads, and so much more.

Don’t leave until you have enjoyed one of their fabulous sweet treats like deep-fried churros, delicious donuts, and Moo Moo’s milkshakes. 

And, if you are looking for a great spot to enjoy a drink, the Sunset Garden Bar boasts the best cocktails in Brighton.

5. Spend a Few Hours Having Fun at Brighton Pier Amusement Park

Entrance to Brighton Pier Amusement Park with a crowd entering
  • Hours: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Tickets (wrist bands): £18.00 (1.2m and over), £20.50 for 1.2m and over with VR, Under 1.2m £10.0

While you are already there enjoying lunch, continue down the Brighton Pier to spend some time burning off those calories by enjoying some exciting rides, carnival games, and the arcade at the Brighton Pier Amusement Park.

There is so much fun to be had, you will never find yourself bored or searching for something to do. 

  • Win a prize by playing hook a duck or knocking down tin cans
  • Hop on the carousel for old-fashioned fun
  • Hop on the Turbo Coaster if you dare
  • Bounce on the jumbo-sized trampolines
  • Cool off on a log ride down the Wild River
  • Experience the new VR Twister ride 
  • Slide down the Mega Slide
  • Bravely walk your way through the Horror Hotel
  • And much, much more!

Purchase your tickets in advance and select the day and time you plan on visiting the Brighton beach pier park here

6. Eat a Picnic Dinner and Relax at the Royal Pavilion Gardens 

Royal Pavilion Gardens in Brighton, UK
Photo courtesy of RoyalPavilionGardens.co.UK

By this time, you and your family or friends are sure to be exhausted and ready to sit down and relax. The best place to do this in Brighton is the Royal Pavilion Gardens. You won’t be disappointed in the stunning gardens with brightly colored flowers and harmless wildlife roaming the grounds.

This stop is ideal for an evening dinner with your family, picnicking on the well-landscaped lawn or sitting around the tables near the Pavilion Gardens café.

So grab a blanket and a basket full of food and enjoy the end of your day trip in Brighton in one of the most gorgeous parks in the area.

There is plenty of entertainment that goes on in these gardens as well, especially during the warmer months, including:

  • Live music (South London Jazz Orchestra is one of the most popular)
  • Talent acts
  • Special guests

You can also enjoy visiting:

  • The Chapel Royal
  • The Ice Rink
  • Max Miller Statue

The Royal Pavilion

If you aren’t too tired, consider walking the grounds of the Brighton Royal Pavilion, which was used as King George IV’s seaside retreat at one time. This building is a hot spot for weddings, proposals, and photographers, with more than 400,000 visitors stopping by and touring the inside every year. 

7. Before You Leave, Take a Picture of the Giant Clock Tower

Street view of clock tower in Brighton, England
  • Address: 75-76 North Street, Brighton BN1 1ZA

The sun is starting to set, and you and the rest of the crew are wiped out, which means it is time to pack up and head home. But, before you go, you should swing by the Giant Clock Tower.

The Clock Tower, or Jubilee Clock Tower, is in the Center of Brighton and was built in 1888. This structure was designed to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee and continues to be a popular attraction in this British seaside city. 

The free-standing clock is 75 feet high and listed as a Grade II for its historical importance and architectural prevalence.

After taking pictures of this stunning, massive clock, walk five minutes down the road to see the infamous “donut” sculpture. The donut sculpture is titled Afloat and is a donut-shaped globe made from bronze with continents and coordinates etched on its surface. 

It is situated so that the lines of longitude face straight out to link the sky and sea. This sculpture is a popular art piece and is photographed more than almost any other attraction in the area.

Final Thoughts

View of the sea down the street of Brighton, England

Brighton, United Kingdom, is one of the most popular tourist attractions for visitors worldwide. It is stationed in a perfect location along the sea, providing many beautiful natural attractions and a place for businesses to flourish.

While the list of places to visit provided in our above travel guide will fill your day with adventure and even a little mystery, these aren’t the only fun things you can do in Brighton. If there are some things on our list that aren’t your cup of tea, look at all the other fabulous options available in this awe-inspiring city.

Catch a race at Brighton Racecourse, shop at Brighton Lanes, take photos of the West Pier, catch some live music at Brighton Centre, or enjoy the waterside Brighton Marina. If you’re up for venturing a little farther, head northwest to Devil’s Dyke for some outdoor fun or head up the eastern shore to Seven Sisters Country Park. Check them out and add them to your own Brighton itinerary.