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We are often asked about the best places to visit in England for easy access to London’s International Airports. There are quite a few cities near London that fit the bill but for seaside fun, an avant guarde vibe and rich history you can’t go past Brighton in East Sussex.
This was our second trip to East and West Sussex and we were looking forward to spending more time exploring the places to visit near Brighton UK.
- 0.1 Trains from London to Brighton East Sussex
- 0.2 Where is Sussex England
- 0.3 Brighton East Sussex
- 0.4 Other places to visit in Brighton
- 0.5 What to do in Brighton – Shopping
- 0.6 Brighton Accommodation
- 1 Things to do near Brighton – Worthing
- 2 Worthing Attractions
- 3 Things to do near Worthing
- 4 Last thoughts on places to visit near Brighton UK
Trains from London to Brighton East Sussex
Direct trains from Brighton to London’s Gatwick Airport take around half an hour, making Brighton a convenient destination for outgoing flights. This is especially handy if you don’t want to pay London’s exorbitant accommodation prices.
From London you can be sunning yourself by the sea at Brighton in no time. There are multiple trains from London Victoria station to Brighton daily, with a journey time of just over an hour.
Where is Sussex England
East and West Sussex are counties in South East England. The counties stretch along the coastline of the English Channel and landmarks include the historic town of Hastings and seaside resorts of Brighton, Worthing and Bognor Regis.
If the beach isn’t your thing, a visit to the South Downs National Park should be next on your list of things to do in Sussex. A day out on the walking trails will have you exploring charming English villages, woodland, farmland and the stunning white chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters.
Brighton East Sussex
Brighton has always been one of my top picks for places to visit in England because of the Royal Pavilion. Although this wildly exotic building takes centre stage we soon discovered a variety of fun things to do in Brighton.
The Royal Pavilion
From the moment I first read about the Royal Pavilion I was intrigued, considered garish and eccentric in its day, I couldn’t wait to see it.
The Royal Pavilion was built for England’s Prince Regent (King George IV) and completed around 1822. The exterior is Indian inspired, and the interior is heavily decorated in the Chinese style, a total departure from the typical Georgian décor of the day.
Walking into the banquet room is breath taking, dragons hold massive chandeliers in the shape of lotus flowers that hang from the ceiling. Silk panels depicting Chinese emperors line the walls and light shines and reflects off the gold and crystal set out on the long dining table.
After our visit we walked through the gorgeous scented gardens that frame the Palace, couples and co-workers relax on the deep green lawns laughing and enjoying their lunch. It made me wonder what King George IV would have thought about his subjects sharing his garden.
We loved the Royal Pavilion, what may have once been considered garish is now striking in its glory. The Royal Pavilion at Brighton is one of the must-see places to visit in the UK. Unfortunately, no photos can be taken inside.
Other places to visit in Brighton
Brighton Pier is loud and brash but that’s exactly how everyone wants it to be. From the moment you step on to Brighton Pier your senses will be assaulted by the bright lights, colour and sounds that promise a fun filled day.
You can shop at the many stalls that sell seaside treats and souvenirs, have your fortune told at the gypsy caravan, dine in the restaurants or take a thrill ride at the pier’s amusement park. Brighton Pier has something for everyone and shouldn’t be missed.
Walking along Brighton Promenade reminds me of the seaside resorts in the movies. Cheerfully coloured stalls selling seaside trinkets, beach gear and ice creams stand alongside restaurants and bars filled with holidaymakers.
Brighton Promenade is family friendly, with a charming carousel to entertain the kids. Parents can soak up the sun in the deckchairs that line the pebbled beach while watching their children play at the water’s edge.
What to do in Brighton – Shopping
Shopping in Brighton is a real treat. A short walk from the Royal Pavilion are “The Lanes,” the small alleyways of Brighton’s historical quarter.
The Lanes are full of old-world shops, selling an eclectic assortment of wares. It’s the place to wander and get lost in while looking for the latest must have item. After shopping you can relax with a coffee or lunch at one of the many charming pubs or restaurants.
At night you can be entertained with live music at one of the many venues within The Lanes.
One of my favourite things to do in Brighton is to explore the shops of North Laine. I love the bohemian vibe of North Laine, it’s the place to find that funky boutique or spend hours searching for treasures in one of the many bric-a-brac and vintage shops that line the streets.
North Laine also has a mix of upcoming designers, artists and is home to some of the best restaurants and cafes in Brighton.
British Airways i360 Tower
One of Brighton’s best loved points of interest would have to be The British Airways i360 Tower. The tower stands tall against the sky like a giant needle and can be seen for great distances down the coast.
The revolving glass observation deck winds its way from top to bottom taking in views that extend out to the horizon.
If you are looking for accommodation in Brighton look no further than the Brighton seafront hotels. There are many to choose from and they cater to all budgets.
The New Madeira Seafront Hotel
We stayed at the New Madeira Seafront Hotel for three nights midweek and for a budget hotel we were surprised how large the rooms were.
The New Madeira Seafront Hotel is within walking distance to the Brighton Pier, Brighton Pavilion and all of Brighton’s shopping attractions.
Though the room was showing its age, it was spotlessly clean and the bed and pillows comfortable. We had a sea view room which looked out over the Brighton Pier. The hotel has its own onsite bar and restaurant.
We were happy with our accommodation in Brighton and for the location and budget price you can’t go past the New Madeira Seafront Hotel.
Things to do near Brighton – Worthing
We had enjoyed experiencing the things to do in East Sussex, now it was time to head to the seaside resort town of Worthing to discover the things to do in West Sussex.
Getting to Worthing from Brighton
Brighton is only 24 kilometres from Worthing, in fact if you are standing on Worthing Pier you can see the British Airways i360 Tower in the distance.
By Train – There are multiple direct trains from Brighton to Worthing daily, the journey takes around half an hour.
By Bus – The 700 Coastliner bus leaves Brighton Old Steine every 20 minutes and stops at Marine Parade near Worthing Pier. The trip takes around 30 minutes depending on traffic.
Worthing West Sussex
Like Brighton, Worthing has a pier but the first thing you notice is how different they are, Brighton has an amusement park atmosphere while Worthing Pier has a more laid back, refined feel.
Worthing Pier is less crowded and has an open-air restaurant, so you can sit in the sun, look out over the turquoise water and listen to the rattle and hum of the waves as they rolled over the pebbles on the beach.
What to do in Worthing West Sussex
Want to know what’s on in Worthing? You will be surprised at the amount of attractions, entertainment and dining options that Worthing has to offer.
Worthing seafront activities include historic and rural walks, festivals and events. Here are our top choices for what to visit in Worthing.
Worthing Pier has had a chequered past since it was first opened in 1862. A series of disasters including storm damage which washed away part of the Pier in 1913, a fire in 1933 and precautions during WWII have in their turn caused damage to the Pier.
After each disaster the Worthing Pier has been lovingly rebuilt and today pier retains its 1930’s Art Deco splendour which has become the heart of Worthing.
Worthing Pier Entertainment and Dining
The Pavilion Theatre
Located at the entrance of Worthing Pier, The Pavilion Theatre stages a variety of comedy and musical acts, stage plays, big bands and celebrity entertainment, a venue that has something to please everyone.
Pier Amusements Arcade
The Pier Amusements Arcade can be found in the middle of Worthing Pier. The arcade is alive with the lights, colour, whistles and bells of the arcade games, great fun for kids of all ages (including the Big ones).
Worthing Pier Southern Pavilion
Strolling to the end of the Worthing Pier you will find the Southern Pavilion. The Southern Pavilion hosts a wide range of live Blues, Jazz and Rock events throughout the year.
The Southern Pavilion Café
The Southern Pavilion Cafe is the place to sit back, relax and savour a leisurely breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. Sit inside and admire the charming Art Deco interior or sit outside in the sun and enjoy sweeping views of the English Channel.
Events in Worthing
The Summer of Circus
The Summer of Circus is held at Worthing Theatres between May and July. The Summer of Circus is a collection of modern circus acts that bring the thrill of the circus to Worthing. The Summer of Circus also offer a range of circus workshops that include juggling and aerial acrobatics.
Worthing Food & Drink Festival
With over 40 stalls and cooking demonstrations The Worthing Food & Drink Festival is an introduction into the taste of Worthing and a foodie’s delight. The Worthing Food & Drink Festival is held in September in the Steyne Gardens.
Museums in Worthing
Worthing Museum and Art Gallery
I visited the Worthing Museum and Art Gallery because I have an interest in antique clothing and the museum has a collection of clothing that dates to the 1600’s.
I’m fascinated by the changes in fashion through history and love the detail and workmanship that went into the clothing of days gone by. Looking at the clothing, I’m always surprised by how tiny people once were, some of the dresses were so small they looked like they were made for children.
As a David Bowie fan, I was thrilled to find a pair of his black satin flares on display. David Bowie wore the high waisted, diamante trimmed flared pants during his Ziggy Stardust tour in 1972. It made me wonder, were they donated by David Bowie or were they “borrowed” by an adoring fan?
The museum has interesting displays on Worthing’s rich historical past and has a large collection of porcelain, silver, toys and dolls.
Worthing is well known for its thriving arts and entertainment scene. From live music in Worthing’s bars and pubs to stage shows, circus and cinema in Worthing’s theatres. Let Worthing entertain you.
Theatres in Worthing
Along with the Pavilion Theatre on Worthing Pier, the Connaught Theatre and Assembly Hall host a large range of entertainment and movies.
The Dome cinema is a Worthing landmark. Opened in 1911 it is one of the oldest working cinemas in England. The elegant interior of Dome Cinema will take you back to a time when going to the movies was an event. For the full effect make sure to watch Worthing theatre shows in screen 1.
Bars, Pubs and Live Music in Worthing
There are so many bars, pubs and live music venues in Worthing, here are two that we enjoyed.
Located directly across from Worthing Pier the Cowshed is hard to miss. The Cowshed is a great place to sit back with a glass of wine, beer or cocktail and watch the world go by. The Cowshed is famous for its burgers, using only the best local produce. The Cowshed is at 31a Marine Parade.
The Rose and Crown
We enjoyed a night of live rock music at the Rose and Crown. The Rose and Crown is a traditional pub, that has a cosy rock and roll style. A great place for a meal and a pint.
We returned for lunch and enjoyed the Rose Burger, a meal of massive proportions, great value for money. The Rose and Crown can be found at 169-173 Montague Street Worthing.
Where to eat in Worthing
Thai Street Food
We spend most of the year living in Chiang Mai in Thailand and were craving Thai food. Thai Street Food didn’t disappoint, we enjoyed Papaya Salad and Pad Thai washed down with a Chang Beer. It was great to taste the flavours of our second home. Thai Street Food is at 3 Bath Place Worthing.
The Dome Vintage Tea Room
I love this tea room! Decorated vintage style, it took me straight back to my childhood. We decided to go with the vintage flow and ordered a cream tea, it came served in a silver teapot and delicate mismatched cups and saucers, a lovely way to spend the morning. The Dome Vintage Tea Room is located at 21-22 Marine Parade.
With views over the English Channel, Worthing’s long promenade is popular with both walkers and cyclists. At low tide the sandy beach is exposed and the place to spend hours beachcombing.
For those interested in learning more about Worthing’s history there are a range of walking tours available. Hear tales of local smugglers and of Worthing’s famous residents, Jane Austin and Oscar Wilde.
Things to do near Worthing
There are many places near Worthing that are worth visiting, unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit all but here are two that shouldn’t be missed.
Cissbury Ring – South Downs National Park
The Cissbury Ring is around 8 kilometres from Worthing in the South Downs National Park. A walk up to the Cissbury Ring does take a bit of effort but once there you will be rewarded with 360-degree views that take in the towns of Chichester, Brighton and the white chalky cliffs of the Seven Sisters.
The Cissbury Ring has an interesting history, it was the site of Neolithic flint mines and an Iron age hill fort that dates to 250 BC. Artefacts from the Cissbury Ring can be found at the Worthing Museum and Art Gallery.
Also nestled in the South Downs National Park is the town of Arundel. Arundel is around 16 kilometres from Worthing.
Dominating the skyline of this pretty market town is Arundel Castle. I’ve always wanted to visit Arundel Castle because of its connections to Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, wives of England’s Henry VIII.
Arundel Castle has been home to the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors for over 850 years and in that time, have amassed an impressive collection paintings and artefacts. The castle has an extraordinary history, that reflects the triumph and tragedy of this remarkable family.
The castle has stunning walled gardens and grounds which hosts events that include jousting tournaments and Shakespearean plays.
Getting to Worthing
Worthing is an easy train ride from London’s Gatwick Airport. Direct trains can take as little 45 minutes from Gatwick Airport railway station. Direct trains from London’s Victoria railway station take around 1 hour and 20 minutes.
The Chatsworth Hotel
If you are looking for hotels in Worthing, you can’t go past the Chatsworth Hotel.
The Hotel fronts on to Steyne Gardens and is around the corner from the restaurants and bars of Marine Parade. The Chatsworth Hotel is within walking distance to the entertainment of Worthing Pier.
The rooms and beds are comfortable. The restaurant and bar are decorated in a glamorous vintage style. The breakfast was filling and delicious while the Staff were helpful and courteous.
We were happy with our stay at the Chatsworth Hotel and recommend it to anyone staying in Worthing.
Last thoughts on places to visit near Brighton UK
We enjoyed our stay in Brighton and Worthing, both are very different but have so much to experience. East and West Sussex are areas of outstanding beauty and are home to some of the best places to visit in England.
There is so much to see in this beautiful part of England and we only scratched the surface of what this area has to offer and hope to return in the future.
Have you been to Brighton or Worthing? What do you love about this area of England?
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