Your essential guide to a weekend away by the coast in London’s cool and quirky neighbour. Plan your stay in Brighton with our pick of top restaurants, hot bars and traditional seaside fare.

Where to Stay

Artist Residence

If you’re looking for a small, boutique hotel with a top restaurant and cocktail bar, as well as a touch of eccentricity, Artist Residence Brighton is the one for you.

The quirky 23-bedroom townhouse is situated in the historic Regency Square and has views overlooking the iconic West Pier (and the 138 metre-high observation tower, British Airways i360), making it perfectly located for the beach, bars and restaurants. It’s also a short walk from the train station.

Upon entering our medium twin room, the retro radio greeted us with speakeasy tunes, while the low lights cast a chilled vibe over the space, which was complete with a large sofa, striking modern art, a sumptuous rug and a Smeg mini bar. There were even snacks, like Joe & Seph’s gourmet popcorn, for a midnight feast. First impressions count, and this was a good one!

Don’t Miss

The cute bathroom includes a power shower (to wash away the sand from between your toes), along with relaxing (and addictive) bath products from Bramley.

Artist Residence | 33 Regency Square, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 2GG

Breakfast in Brighton

The Set

If you’re staying at the boutique hotel Artist Residence, make sure you drag yourself out of bed in time for breakfast. The Set serves up a range of local, seasonal produce, while the relaxing vibes and cool interiors will tempt you to hang out before hitting the beach.

Bag a seat by the window, overlooking Regency Square and the shoreline beyond. Don’t fret if there are clouds in sight, there’s a ping pong table downstairs and a great playlist too.

What to Eat

Go the whole hog and get a Full English, treat yourself to Eggs Benedict or be tempted by Smoked Salmon with a mound of scrambled eggs. If you’re leaving space for fish and chips, play it safe with Granola and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Don’t Miss

The Set also offers three British tasting menus in the evening (from £32pp), with dishes that change with the seasons and ingredients from local suppliers. Try the likes of Beef, Marmite, Turnip, Parsley and White Chocolate, Blood Orange, Cookie.

The Set | 33 Regency Square, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 2GG

The Flour Pot Bakery

Chef and founder of The Flour Pot Bakery, Oli Hyde, takes his breadmaking very seriously – to him bread is not only vital sustenance, but “an expression of culture and status”. Respect.

What to Eat and Drink

The flagship store on Brighton’s Sydney Street is open seven days a week. Grab breakfast to go or while away the morning with a steaming cup of freshly roasted Caravan coffee and some of the best fresh artisan bread and pastries in the South East.

There’s a great selection, from the indulgent Flourless Chocolate Cake (be warned: a serving for one might leave you defeated, so share with a friend) to the refreshing Lemon, Rose and Pistachio Sponge. And if you’re after a savoury delight, keep an eye out for the Pork and Fennel Sausage Roll.

Don’t Miss

You can buy pizza dough here every Wednesday, or mosey on down for Doughnut Fridays.

The Flour Pot Bakery | 40 Sydney Street, Brighton BN1 4EP

Lunch in Brighton

Alcampo

If you’re looking for a family-friendly vibe with food to everyone’s taste (from your grandma to your nephew), this is the lunch spot for you. Taking inclusivity to another level, it’s got a dedicated gluten-free and vegan menu.

What to Eat and Drink

If it’s a quick bite that you’re after, try one of the paninis – the Pulled Pork was a favourite – or pick ‘n’ mix three tapas dishes for under a tenner, including Spinach and Goat’s Cheese Croquettes, Salt and Pepper Squid and Beef and Pork Meatballs. What an offer! Or go for a heartier choice from the all-day brunch menu, which includes mains such as Mac & Cheese with butternut squash and broccoli. Yum!

Don’t Miss

Hidden treasure! The circus sign on the back of the bar featured on Salvage Hunters.

Alcampo | 84-86 London Road, Brighton BN1 4JF

Bankers

Winners of Best Chain of Fish and Chip Shops in the UK at the 2016 National Fish & Chip Awards (yes, that’s a real thing), these guys are no small fry. The Brighton venue is perfect for eating in or taking away, and is situated a short walk from the beachfront.

What to Eat and Drink

Well, it’s pretty simple – fish and chips, of course! Go traditional with cod, plaice or haddock, or try something different with your chips, from options such as halibut, wholetail scampi, calamari and swordfish steak. Oh, and let’s put that mushy peas debate to rest… we’re all about the mush!

Bankers | 116A Western Road, Hove, Brighton BN1 2AB

Sea Haze

If you’re down by the seafront and looking for fresh seafood (who isn’t?), head to the one and only Sea Haze. Selling locally caught fresh fish, the business (run by a father and son duo) has a family history of fishing that can be traced back as far as 1580. Mrs Humphries started the Sea Haze legacy, selling shellfish in the arches in the 1950s, before Neil and his son Jack took over.

What to Eat

Located opposite the shop, you’ll find Sea Haze‘s shellfish stall, where you can grab fresh seafood to munch on the go. Try the traditional cockles and mussels, or pick up a couple of oysters for that special someone (£1 each or six for £5.50).

Don’t Miss

Eat like a king with Sea Haze’s locally caught fresh crab and lobster cooked to order.

Sea Haze | 207 Kings Road Arches, Brighton BN1 1NB

Dinner in Brighton

Silo

This is a unique dining spot with a focus on zero waste – from direct trade with farmers, to a machine that turns scraps and trimmings into compost. Silo make use of re-usable delivery vessels, plates made from plastic bags, and tables made from floor tiles, in order to preserve integrity and establish innovation in their processes. Silo’s brewery, Old Tree, creates fermented drinks using foraged plants, herbs, vegetables and fruit, and supports a nose-to-tail dining ethos.

What to Eat and Drink

We mixed and matched the Dairy, Fish and Meat tasting menus to create a bespoke meal. Seasonality is key here, making for some interesting pairings – as they were low on chutney, my cheese came with fermented vegetables instead. But for all the quirks, these guys know what they’re doing: the Miso-glazed Sirloin with beetroot went down a treat, while the Gurnard was elegantly presented and had delicate flavours of oyster.

Don’t Miss

Try the Wine Pairing menu for an affordable way to match your tipple perfectly with your dishes.

Silo | 39 Upper Gardner Street, North Laine, Brighton BN1 4AN

Curry Leaf Café

The founders of south Indian restaurant Curry Leaf Café met on Gumtree (there’s hope yet for finding the ideal flatmate). Nine months later in April 2014, chef Kanthi Kiran Thamma and journalist Euan Sey opened the first venue in the city. Now there are three outlets – including a kiosk in Brighton station – specialising in award-winning street food, curries and craft beers (we checked out the original).

What to Eat and Drink

Where, oh where do we begin? Choose from starters including the Chicken Drums of Heaven, with a nod to IndoChinese street food, or the Mixed Vegetable Pakoras, then move on to mains, such as the Malabar Lamb Stew, which has Keralan and Portuguese influences, and the Three-Bean Kuzhambu, hailing from Tamil Nadu.

Or (and here’s our top tip), go for the Tandoori Platter, with Hyderbadi Lamb Boti, Hara Quail, Tandoori Chicken Leg served with coconut and tamarind sauce, garlic and coriander naan, beetroot raita and a selection of chutneys. You won’t regret it! It’s the perfect sharer for two, and will take you on a journey in order to discover different regional Indian dishes.

Don’t Miss

The Apricot Naan is the biz.

Curry Leaf Café  | 60 Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AE

Beer in Brighton

North Laine Brewhouse

Dedicated to all things local, the North Laine Brewhouse is a big boozer with an even bigger heart. Spanning a huge space – with the stainless steel microbrewery taking centre stage behind the bar – this pub is the perfect place to try something new, from local tipples to on-site beers.

What to Drink

You can’t get more local than the North Laine ales. But they also champion a selection of beers from across the UK.

Don’t Miss

Learn about your favourite brew in the North Laine Beer School (from £15 for an hour), and get a closer look at how the brewery works. Plus, there’s the chance to sample a few on the side…

North Laine Brewhouse | 27 Gloucester Place, Brighton BN1 4AA

Brighton Beer Dispensary

This cosy pub boasts two seating areas: get competitive over a board game in the bright conservatory, or relax at the bar in the traditional front room. There’s an impressive line-up of local and British beers to try written up on the chalkboards.

What to Drink

Expect a rotating selection, including Brighton Bier’s own ales and stouts for a taste of a local brew. Other breweries we spotted on the boards include Fourpure, Bristol Beer Factory and Siren. We loved Bristol Bier Factory’s Milk Stout. 

Don’t Miss

Food from Dizzy Gull, including a good, old roast on a Sunday. Comfort food at its best.

Brighton Beer Dispensary | 38 Dean Street, Brighton BN1 3EG

Cocktails in Brighton

The Curious Mr Hanbury

Head to the basement in the Artist Residence, step behind the bookcase (concealing a door), and you’ll find The Curious Mr Hanbury – a cosy speakeasy bar with a changing menu of inventive cocktails.

What to Drink

The cocktails are themed around ‘the travels’ of Mr Hanbury. The Lady in Residence was a refreshing combination of Beefeater gin, lemon, egg white and Aperol, while the Curious Old Fashioned packed a punch with Escubac, Buffalo Trace whisky and Angostura bitters. The perfect hideaway in our book… 

The Curious Mr Hanbury | Beneath Artist Residence, 33 Regency Square, Brighton BN1 2GG

The Plotting Parlour

Drop by this lively bar for a cocktail (or three). With table service only, it’s the perfect spot to rest your legs after a jaunt on the beach. And the friendly staff will help you to choose your ideal tipple.

What to Drink

Discover refreshed takes on much-loved classics. An Espresso Martini with praline, pistachio or even popcorn? Yes, please!

There are playful cocktails aplenty, like the Loosey-Goosey, with Goose Washed Appleton 12, a port and cranberry reduction, and Medjool dates; or Take your Cloves Off (ahem) with a clove and lime liqueur and a burdock float.

There’s a good selection of wine – or fizz for a special occasion – and if cocktails aren’t your thing, don’t despair, as beer and cider make an appearance on the menu too.

The Plotting Parlour | 6 Steine Street, Brighton BN2 1TE

The Colonnade

This bar is located next to the Theatre Royal, and has beautiful, grand décor to match. Every member of the team at The Colonnade has tasted each gin they serve here (it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!), so ask for recommendations to suit your taste. Don’t miss the autographed photos of famous artists – past and present – on the walls.

What to Drink

There’s an extensive selection of gins, including the exceptionally dry Blackdown Sussex; William Chase Elegant Gin, which is a luxurious gin made from organic cider apples and elderflower; and Sacred, loaded with orange and cardamom.

If you’re a tonic snob, and wouldn’t be seen with a Fever Tree in hand (of which they stock five varieties, including Sicilian Lemonade and Mediterranean), the bar staff will advise on the perfect gin for your preferred mixer, whether it’s ginger ale or lime and soda.

Don’t Miss

Ask at the bar for the guest gins. You might even discover a new favourite among the carefully selected seasonal spirits.

The Colonnade | 10 New Road, Brighton BN1 1UF

For further information head to VisitBrighton

Our travel guide was compiled from both anonymous visits and press meals. With thanks to VisitBrighton.

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