Brighton Seafront Walking Tour, Brighton

Brighton Seafront Walking Tour (Self Guided), Brighton

No trip to Brighton is complete without a stroll along the seaside. Here you will know right away that you’re in an English seaside resort, catching the scent of fish and chips and watching deckchairs fluttering in the breeze. Stretching along the pebbly coastline for nearly 5 miles, Brighton's promenade has that Victorian glamour with a dash of youthful energy and style, buzzing with life even after dark all year round.

Local attractions range from large-scale wonders to the offbeat and downright quirky. The foremost of them, undoubtedly, is the Brighton Palace Pier – a 1,722-ft long Victorian pier with a range of hot food and drink concessions, fairground attractions, two arcades, plus the huge indoor soft play area - ‘Palace Play’ - visiting which makes it a day to remember!

One of the many rides available on the Pier is Carousel, which is arguably the most iconic with its classic ponies, colorful decor and brilliant lights; suitable for all ages.

Practically next door is Sea Life Brighton, the Victorian aquarium, established since 1872, where you can learn about the creatures of the deep and watch a shark swimming over your head in the underwater tunnel.

In addition to these you will find a cornucopia of other cultural delights, such as Volk’s Electric Railway – is the oldest operating electric railway in the world; and Brighton Fishing Museum – an independent museum dedicated to the fishing industry of Brighton, located in an area known as the Fishing Quarter.

The newest attraction in the city is British Airways i360, a feat of modern engineering gliding visitors 450 feet into the air, offering spectacular panoramic views of the city, the sea and the countryside.

To learn more about Brighton's seafront attractions, take this self-guided walking tour.
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Brighton Seafront Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Brighton Seafront Walking Tour
Guide Location: England » Brighton (See other walking tours in Brighton)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Author: leticia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Brighton Palace Pier
  • Sea Life Brighton
  • Volk’s Electric Railway
  • Brighton Beach
  • Artist Quarter
  • Carousel
  • Brighton Fishing Museum
  • Grand Brighton Hotel
  • Regency Square
  • British Airways i360
1
Brighton Palace Pier

1) Brighton Palace Pier (must see)

Established in 1899, the Palace Pier is the third pier to be built in Brighton. The Royal Suspension Chain Pier and the West Pier came before the Palace Pier, but now only the Palace Pier still stands. It is managed by the Eclectic Bar Group. The Palace Pier replaced the Chain Pier which collapsed in 1896.

The Palace Pier remained in operation as a theatre venue until 1975. The theatre was demolished in 1986 and the pier became an amusement park featuring roller coasters. The Pier can be reached at the south end of the Old Steine by the Marine Parade and the Grand Junction Road on the waterfront. It is 1,722 feet long. Can't miss it.

The pier was designed and built by R. St George Moore. It cost 27,000 pounds to build and it had 3,000 lights for illumination. It had reading rooms which were replaced by a theatre. Stan Laural and Charlie Chaplin appeared there before their Hollywood days.

In 1984 the theatre was replaced by a dome with an amusement arcade. The seaward end of the pier had thrill rides, children's rides and roller coasters. Entertainment was still popular. The Spice Girls performed there in 1996. The Pier is still a popular tourist attraction in the 21st century.
2
Sea Life Brighton

2) Sea Life Brighton

Sea Life Brighton bills itself as the oldest operating aquarium in the world. It was founded as an independent aquarium in 1872 and purchased by Sea Life in 1991. The original building was designed by Eugenius Birch. It was bombed during World War I, which led to reconstruction.

Sea Life Brighton has three different areas that they call Aquarium Zones. The first of these zones is the Rainforest Adventure. Patrons will see some of the worlds largest snakes, deadliest fish and rescued terrapins.

The Day and Night Ocean Experience is the aquarium's newest attraction. It opened in May 2019 after extensive remodeling of the dolphinarium. The Day and Night Ocean Experience shows the changes in a coral reef over the course of a day. Patrons can walk through an underwater tunnel, look at bio-luminescent algae and see a large number of aquatic creatures.

The aquarium also offers a glass bottom boat experience. Those who choose to visit this zone will see giant turtles and fish swim beneath their feet. They can enjoy watching some of the 3,500 sea creatures that reside at the aquarium.

Sea Life Brighton is open seven days per week from 10 AM to 4 PM.
3
Volk’s Electric Railway

3) Volk’s Electric Railway

Volk's Electric Railway runs along the Brighton historic seafront. Built by Magnus Volk in 1883, Volk's Electric Railway is the oldest operating electric railway in the world. The original terminus was Palace Pier, which closed in 1930.

The railway now operates from Aquarium to Black Rock with a stop at Halfway depot. Aquarium Station was rebuilt in 2017 to be a more user-friendly. Visitors can now visit the Volk's Electric Railway exhibition center at Aquarium Station. They can also stop for a bite to eat at the cafeteria.

Halfway Station is located next to Peter Pan's Playground, which has an open-air cafe and children's activities. The final station, Black Rock, is only a five minute walk from the Brighton Marina.

Volk's Electric Railway is not open during the winter months. It also closes during bad weather. Dogs and children under three can ride the train for free with a ticket-holding adult.
4
Brighton Beach

4) Brighton Beach (must see)

Brighton Beach is different. It is a shingle beach. It has no sand. Not a grain. What it does have is pebbles, stones and some rocks. There is lots of wave energy. It is tamed here and there by strategically placed groynes, breakwaters, reaching into the surf. The water here is shallow and clear.

The beach shoreline within the city limits is eight miles long. A little more than five miles is shingle; pebbles, pebbles, everywhere. Brick chalets are available to rent on the Brighton shore. On the east side of the Palace Pier an area of sand is bared at low tide.

In that portion of the beach by Madeira Drive, east of the city center, there are courts for volley ball, ultimate frisbee and other beach games.

The City Council owns all the beaches. The sections of beach are divided by the breakwaters. Each section has a name: Boundary, Norfolk, Bedford, Metropole, Grand, Centre, King's, Old Ship, Volk's, Albion, Palace Pier, Aquarium, Athina, Paston, Banjo, Duke's, Cliff, Crescent, and Black Rock. Alert, Cliff Beach is nudist.

The eastern area of the Brighton seafront is developed and has one of Europe's biggest marinas. all along the front one can find restaurants, sports venues, amusement arcades, nightclubs and yes, bars. "By the sea, by the sea, oh how happy we'll be..."
5
Artist Quarter

5) Artist Quarter

The Artist Quarter is a series of studios located on the beach between East Street and Kings Road just west of Brighton Pier. There are over a dozen artists' lofts that feature different types of wares for browsing and buying. Look for painters, photographers, sculptors, jewelry makers and crafters with unique and beautiful souvenirs for you to take home.

Offerings and hours vary by studio but most are open from noon to sundown. One of the first spots you can stop at is King's Arch Gallery, which has a revolving schedule of exhibitions. You can then make your way through the Artist Quarter while you walk along the beach of the English Channel.

Along with the various art studios you will see a number of bars and restaurants until you eventually end up at the Brighton Fishing Museum. If you find yourself in the area after dark, there is still plenty to do with several nightclubs located around the Artist Quarter.
6
Carousel

6) Carousel

The Carousel is part of Brighton Palace Pier. Though it is just one of the many rides available on the pier, it is arguably the most iconic with its classic ponies, colorful decor and brilliant lights. The Carousel is favorite for visitors of all ages.

Along with the Carousel, Brighton Palace Pier offers numerous rides and activities that are fun for the whole family. Some of the rides include a roller coaster, a mega slide, a bouncy castle and even a haunted house. Those who prefer to keep both feet on the ground can enjoy the arcade, have a snack or take a stroll along the pier.

The Carousel at Brighton Palace Pier is open seven days per week. Monday through Friday the Carousel is open 11 AM to 5 PM. It is open from 10 AM to 7 PM on weekends. All other attractions at the pier have similar operating hours. If you plan on visiting on a weekend you should note that the gates do not open early. You can expect long lines during peak season.
7
Brighton Fishing Museum

7) Brighton Fishing Museum

The Brighton Fishing Museum is located on the beach at King's Road near the Artists Quarter in an area known as the Fishing Quarter. It is an independent museum that is dedicated to the fishing industry of Brighton.

The museum displays the history and traditions of the fishing community. Included in the exhibition are a series of images and artifacts. Patrons can watch films and a slide show that detail the fishing industry from the 19th century through modern day. There are also a number of fishing boats from past and present on display.

In addition to fishing boats, visitors will see restored pleasure boats on the beach and model boats inside the museum. The Brighton Fishing Museum offers occasional events, like the Annual Brighton Mackerel Fair that takes place every May.

The museum is open from 10 AM to 4 PM seven days per week. Admission is free but donations are accepted.
8
Grand Brighton Hotel

8) Grand Brighton Hotel

The Grand Brighton Hotel is a Victorian hotel built in 1864 and designed by architect John Whichcord, Jr. It was built on land that previously held a coastal fort: West Battery at Artillery Place. The building is a local icon and one of the most recognizable landmarks in Brighton.

The hotel featured the first elevator installed in a building in the United Kingdom outside of London. It has hosted many visiting dignitaries and celebrities over the year.

The hotel is infamously remembered for a bombing that took place in 1984. The Provisional Irish Republican Army attempted to assassinate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher by bombing the hotel during a conference she was attending. Five people were killed in the bombing and many others were injured.

The 201-room hotel was inducted into the Brighton Walk of Fame in 2011. Along with its sleeping rooms and conference rooms, the Grand Brighton Hotel boasts the Cyan Restaurant and Bar, which retains the 155-year-old marble pillars that were installed shortly after the hotel was built. Guests are also welcome at the Victorian restaurant or they can pick up a picnic or tea service to enjoy on the beach.
9
Regency Square

9) Regency Square

Regency Square, sometimes referred to as Belle Vue Field, is a group of historic residences and hotels comprised of 69 separate houses built between 1818 and 1832. The square was built by Joshua Flesher Hanson. It is believed that the architectural design was drawn by father-and-son-team Amon and Amon Henry Wilds.

It is said that St Albans House, which is at 131 King's Road, was the most interesting house in the square. It was designed by Amon Henry Wilds with interior design carried out by William Izard. This house was thought to be one of the most sought after social venues in the early 19th century.

Visitors to Brighton cannot enter the private residences but they can enjoy the central garden. Though it was created for residents in the original plans, it became a public park area after World War II.

Most of the buildings in Regency Square have been designated a Listed building Grade II.
10
British Airways i360

10) British Airways i360 (must see)

By the ruins of the old West Pier of Brighton Beach is British Airways i360. It is an enclosed viewing pod that rises over 500 feet on a needle like structure. Visitors to the pod have 360 degree views of Brighton, the South Downs and the English Channel. British Airways i360 pulls in 790,000 visitors every year. The site is owned by the West Pier Trust.

The tower was conceived as a "vertical pier." Italianate ticket booths, salvaged from the West Pier, bracket the entrance to i360. The beachfront building serves as access to the tower and it has a brasserie, cafe and gift shop. The circular rising and descending viewing platform or pod has a capacity for 200 people at a time.

The glass passenger pod was designed by Poma, cable car builders and specialists. The pod is 59 feet in diameter. It moves up the supporting needle to a maximum height of 453 feet and then returns to ground level. It is heated and air-conditioned.

Plans for the tower were submitted in 2006. Construction started in the Netherlands in 2008. Hollandia, a Dutch steelworks firm, made prefabricated steel sections of the tower. The column is 13 feet in diameter. It is the most slender tower in existence.

British Airways i360 opened on August 4, 2016. "Flights" leave every half-hour and last 25 minutes, top to bottom. Happy landings!

Walking Tours in Brighton, England

Create Your Own Walk in Brighton

Create Your Own Walk in Brighton

Creating your own self-guided walk in Brighton is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Brighton Introduction Walking Tour

Brighton Introduction Walking Tour

The town of Bristelmestune is first mentioned in William the Conqueror's Domesday Book of 1085. In 1810 it officially became Brighton. The area of Brighton has known settlements since the Bronze Age. It experienced Celts, Saxons, Romans. But the train stopped with the arrival of the Normans in 1066.

When Conquering William took the helm, Bristelmestune was a fishing village of 400 souls....  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles