The South Downs lie to the north of Brighton which has been a major tourist destination for well over 100 years. In less than one hour from London, visitors can be on the coast. Brighton is only half an hour's drive from Gatwick Airport and has a direct rail link from St Pancras Eurostar. Coaches visit Brighton regularly from Heathrow and Gatwick.
Brighton was a sophisticated city, popular during the Regency period and is now a chic town as well as a good old bucket and spade beach resort. There is something for everyone and, with its huge range of facilities, Brighton is a town that can be visited at any time of the year.
There are over four hundred restaurants and cafes - many with a view of the sea and continental café culture prevails here. On sunny days, of which Brighton has plenty, you can sit outside and people watch or just while away the time. Go into the back streets and you will find tucked-away places for more intimate dining. When it comes to shopping, there are the usual High street names but The Lanes is a particularly attractive feature of the town. The area consists of narrow, traffic-free lanes with quaint, individual and unique shops with shopkeepers who have time to spend to chat and help you with your purchases.
Throughout the year Brighton hosts events such as kite festivals and power boat racing. There is of course that old favourite, the London to Brighton Vintage Car Rally too. Within easy reach are many attractions such as Leeds Castle, Arundel Castle and Hever Castle.
For walkers, the South Downs are nearby and the walker will find a good supply of inns along the route. For the less adventurous, there are walking tours in and around Brighton and Hove. These tours are a great way to explore the history of the area.
Brighton and Hove City Transport provide regular bus tours which allow you to hop off and on as you please. These tours will point out all the tourist attractions and points of interest and are a great way to start the holiday.
The Devil's Dyke lies at the north of Brighton's coastline. Owned by the National Trust, this deep gorge opens up onto a grassy area which is used for sunbathing or kite flying. The local brass band plays here too.
The Bluebell Steam Railway makes for a great day out. On the outskirts of the town, the railway winds along the restored railway line. There are 3 stations which have been restored by enthusiasts and you can really imagine yourself back in Victorian England as you slowly chug along.
One of the best-known attractions in Brighton is The Royal Pavilion. It was built for the Prince Regent who later became George IV. Up to Victorian times it was still used as a royal residence. It stands out in the landscape with its Indian-style façade. The interior is Chinese and the building really has to be seen to appreciate its uniqueness.
Brighton Pier is a typical pier with a funfair and arcades as well as cafes. Even if this noisy atmosphere is not for you, it is worth going to the end of the pier to experience the sea air and the stunning views. Firework displays take place on the beach in summer with the pier as a backdrop.
The Volks Railway is a Victorian legacy which runs from the pier to Black Rock. This tourist attraction takes the visitor over one and a half miles and provides a charming way to view the coast.
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