A family trip to England isn't complete without a visit to the seaside on the country's south coast. A measly 50 miles from London, getting to this picturesque resort town is certainly easy. Brighton is far from a typical British city and draws tourists from all over in droves. Known for its PRIDE celebration and inclusive community, Brighton is a place where everyone can feel at home. The small seaside town gets almost ten million day visitors a year yet manages to retain its charming and welcoming atmosphere. It's a beautiful spot, especially if the weather is favorable and suitable for a day trip or a few weeks.
It's almost cruel to visit a place like Brighton and not bring the whole family. The things to do in Brighton with kids are seemingly countless with amusement parks, bowling alleys, zip lines, and aquariums to name but a few. Brighton is the ideal spot for families because it has appeal for parents - thinks restaurants, bars, museums, and vibrant nightlife as well as the kids.
Visiting Brighton with kids doesn't have to be more taxing than necessary. Wrangle the kids rather than your bags and choose to store all your luggage at a Bounce luggage storage in Brighton. There's nothing worse than worrying about your bags when you should only be worrying about having fun.
Brighton Palace Pier
Unsurprisingly set right on the ocean, Brighton Palace Pier is likely the place your kids will want to go first. The amusement park offers tons of carnival-type rides, bars for adults, and seating areas to admire the coastal view. The turbo coaster, teacups, and trampolines are sure to be popular with the young ones. Let them get behind the wheel at the Fantasia course or let loose on the slides and there's plenty of gaming and virtual reality that can be fun for the whole family. As for the food, expect all the fairground favorites like mini donuts and candy floss. There are kiosks as well as sit-down spots depending on how you want to dine and the bars and beer garden can help take the edge off for the parents.
If you happen to be here from November to March, you can also treat the kids to a nature show. Chances are you'll witness the amazing sight of the thousands of starlings that call the area around Brighton Palace Pier home. The birds fly in sync in various directions creating a one-of-a-kind mesmerizing show in the sky. While entry to the Brighton Palace Pier is free, to experience all the attractions will cost you. Wristbands are required and purchasing in advance online can save you about 25 percent.
SEA LIFE Brighton
SEA LIFE Brighton is the ideal stop after some time at the pier. It's directly across from Brighton Beach where the pier sits, so the walking distance is negligible. SEA LIFE Brighton is the oldest aquarium in the world that is still in use. Opened in 1872, a trip here is an experience in marine life and history. Immerse yourselves in a thrilling underwater world set in the site's original Victorian-era architecture where kids can touch a live anemone or starfish. To say this aquarium is well-stocked with things to do might be an understatement. The underwater tunnel and glass-bottom boat offer a unique view of the sea creatures and all this fun comes with a good cause. SEA LIFE Brighton is passionate about the ocean and marine life conservation, especially relating to coral reefs. The whole family will adore this magical experience and walk away having learned a thing or two.
Brighton Museum and Royal Pavilion
Also a short walk from the Palace Pier, Brighton's Royal Pavilion used to be a royal residence and seaside retreat for the Prince of Wales who, in 1820, became King George IV. The extravagant home's construction began in 1787 and was completed in stages. Considered by most as the most recognizable symbol of Brighton, the Pavilion is worth the trip just to see the elaborate exterior, although the adults and older kids might also want a look inside.
Set in the gardens of the Royal Pavilion, the Brighton Museum is a fun activity for everyone. Peruse the mummies' tombs, carnival costumes, and exhibits of puppets. The museum boasts a collection of Vietnamese water puppets and shadow puppets from India and Java. If you time it right, you might even get to see a puppet show put on by local artists. Check the museum's website for more information. This is without a doubt one of the best museums in Brighton.
Another attraction close to the action of the pier, museum, and Brighton Beach is Brighton Zip. Not for the faint of heart, this adventure also has a bar and restaurant attached for those with a fear of heights or speed. Proudly boasting the South Coast's fastest and longest zip line, a trip on the wire will have you screaming across the sunbathers on Brighton Beach. There is a spiral staircase to climb with all your gear on to get to the zip line's starting point. As you fly through the sky from 32 meters above sea level, you'll eventually land on the hull of a boat and be returned from there.
Once everyone has had their turn, head to the gelateria for a well-earned treat. You can also spend more time here and dine at the onsite food court that features a variety of items served with England's famous chips and breakfast.
Now that you've seen Brighton Beach from the pier and the zip line, it's time to see it up close. This sand/small pebble beach on the Sussex coast is the ideal spot to spend an afternoon or even a whole day if the weather is right. The water is swimmable, although quite cold, and conditions are best for younger kids at low tide. At high tide, the wind tends to pick up making it hard to enter and exit the water. The current is also more severe, so only confident swimmers should venture into the water at high tide.
Whether you get in the water or not, the kids can build sandcastles and adults will enjoy some relaxing time away from the chaos of amusement parks and busy museums. Take a picnic or walk up from the beach a short way to one of the many waterfront restaurants and stalls. All in all, this is one of the best free things to do in Brighton with kids.
Brighton Toy Museum
Featuring a comprehensive collection of vintage and antique toys produced predominantly in England and the rest of Europe before the mid 20th century, the Brighton Toy Museum is a journey back in time. Fun for both kids and nostalgic adults, the museum comprises over 10,000 items set under Brighton's Train Station in four Victorian-era cellars. The setting and the exhibit items combine for pure memorable magic. Make sure you see the vintage Lego and the model train sets as well as the working slot machines and antique aircraft. This is a memorable family-friendly activity that won't cost an arm and a leg. The entry for a family of two adults and up to three kids is a reasonable £14.
A little way down the beach from the Brighton Palace Pier you'll find the Brighton Marina. It's a scenic spot to have lunch or dinner, and especially good for kids who love boats. If you have the time, the marina offers sailing lessons, so you even have the chance to get out on the water yourselves. There are options for fast-food and casual sit-down restaurants like TGI Fridays for a convenient family meal. Other family-friendly activities here include the Cineworld movie theaters and the Hollywood Bowl Brighton lanes. Depending on your mood you can relax in a cozy theater or challenge the other members of the family to a competitive round of bowling. These two activities are a great choice if you're in Brighton on a rainy day. And let's face it, it's England, so rain is a common occurrence.
Upside Down House
Now, this is something your kids won't see every day. Brighton's Upside Down House is just that - a house turned on its roof. The whole family can tour the inside of the house complete with furniture, furnishings, and even people, all positioned upside down. The experience is quite short, but a visit here puts you in a position to let the kids blow off steam at the nearby King's Road Playground or get a different perspective on Brighton from the British Airways i360 tower.
Do you like watersports? How about the kids? If so, you should include a visit to Hove Lagoon in your Brighton vacation. The lagoon is actually a boating lake that's 100 meters by 200 meters long. It's a public park set in the grasslands across from the beach and because it's for public use, it's open all the time. Alternatively, the businesses that offer watersports activities and rentals are not. There are sailing lessons for families, powerboat adventures, and kid-themed attractions. Hove Lagoon runs kids activity weeks that tend to coincide with half term and feature windsurfing, kayaking, and wakeboarding for kids aged 8 to 16.
Whether you decide to engage in watersports or not, this location is a fun time for the kids and they do offer childcare as part of the service, depending on the activity. This can present an opportunity for parents to sneak off for a quiet meal and a few pints before collecting the kids again.
Many families enjoy a rousing game of mini-golf while on vacation, and Brighton is happy to oblige. You'll find a handful of mini-golf locations here, each with a different theme. The best of the bunch is probably Brighton Pirate Crazy Golf, and the location close to the water makes sense with their nautical and pirate theme. Set steps from the Brighton Palace Pier, this mini-golf institution is adjacent to the beach and has some of the best views in town. You won't be anxious as you wait for your next turn gazing out at the sea. The holes span from easy to tricky, and even some adults find them a challenge. A little help for the younger kids is all in good fun and keeps it more competitive.
Ride the Train
Many kids love trains, and a train can be useful to get from point A to B - and if you can have some fun along the way, even better. For the most unique train experience in Brighton, opt to ride the Volk's Electric Railway. The train travels from Aquarium Station close to Brighton Palace Pier all the way to Black Rock Station for access to the marina. Spanning a total of one mile, this is the oldest electric railway in Britain, and the trains travel the Sussex Coast from March to October.
After a fun-filled trip to Brighton with kids, the family will have tons of great photos and wonderful memories to last a lifetime. Brighton is a unique city that offers world-class attractions and entertainment for both young and old. You can find free things to do in Brighton with kids, reasonably-priced attractions, or you can dive in head first and attempt to do it all. No matter how long your trip to Brighton lasts, you can be sure that each day will be packed full of excitement.