Getting into Brighton from Portsmouth or Southampton is relatively easy and direct. From both Cities you will go direct into Brighton City Centre in between 1hr 15mins and 2 hrs. Kids can travel for £2 with a paying adult on Southern Railways and advance tickets are from £5 booked up to 6pm the night before travel. If you wanted to travel this weekend (13/14 Aug) it would be £15.60 per adult return. (check for up to date time table as currently striking) http://www.southernrailway.com/offers/kids-for-2/
The train station is about a 10 minute walk into the shopping centre of Brighton and about 15 minutes from the sea front, just come out of the station at the front and walk down to the main road, you’ll come to a big junction, left and then right takes you to the seafront and right will take you to the shops.
If you drive just follow the M27 east, it merges onto the A27 and follow the signs from here. It will take you approx 1 hr 30 minutes door to car park.
As you’ll have probably discovered by now we like to walk and also park for free!! You have a couple of options to do that in Brighton, you can park at either end of the seafront and walk in, the Marina offers free parking for 4 hours and will take about 30 minutes to walk to the pier, with a great park and splashpark on the way next to a crazy golf course. Watch out for the nudist beach protected by the banked shingle unless you want to have to answer some very awkward questions from your 5 year old. There is also the Volks electric railway if you want to save your legs from the marina to the pier, this takes 12 minutes http://volkselectricrailway.co.uk/visit-us/fares-times. The other option is parking by Hove Lagoon, again there is a great park and paddling pool here and lots to see with amusements and cafes on the seafront for your walk in, this will take about 45 minutes to walk but you can park all day for free.
If you’re not as penny pinching as us and don’t mind paying to park there are plenty of car parks in the centre, the Churchill Square car park will give you direct access into the shopping centre.
A DAY OUT FOR 5-7 YEAR OLDS
Save the pennies………………
Choose your parking spot and head for the beach. If you wander along the promenade going west away from the pier here you’ll find a playpark and a paddling pool just to the west of the British Airways i360 tower. After a play it would then be the perfect time to have a picnic on the beach and a paddle in the sea.
Head back to the pier and take the kids for a wander along, you’ll find rides at the end of the pier and amusement arcades, side shows and trampolines. This could pass an hour or so, depending on your tolerance of amusements and the kids pestering to go on things!! http://brightonpier.co.uk/
From here you could have a wander through the lanes, the North Laines have quirkier shops, the other side of the Lanes is dedicated to more upmarket shops and a jewellery quarter. You’ll find some nice cafes and ice cream parlours here for an afternoon rest.
Raid the wallet………………
Choose your parking spot and head for the Sea Life Centre, our kids are always fascinated here, they love the turtles and sharks. You can ride a glassbottom boat over the turtle pool to get a snorkelers eye view of the tropical fish along with Lulu and Gulliver the turtles https://www2.visitsealife.com/brighton/discover/sea-life-creatures/turtles/
For lunch you have many options, if the kids are starving you have Harry Ramsden’s over the road and the Harvester just above the Sealife Centre. For something a bit different wander into the lanes and up to Donatello’s Italian Restaurant, they have a lovely roof terrace and cater well for children, they have a good weekday 3 course lunch menu for £10.95. You’ll find the restaurant in Brighton Place, this is a large square in the lanes, if you head inland up East Street from the sea front and then walk along to where you see a pub with lots of outside seating, head up the left of the seating and through an narrow gap, you will be in Brighton Place, Donatellos is round the corner on your right http://www.donatello.co.uk/
In the afternoon why not take a ride on the Brighton Wheel, back down by the pier this will give amazing views of Brighton and will give you at least 3 revolutions of the wheel. Long enough for the kids to enjoy it but not get fed up and try to escape. Book in advance for the best deals on tickets http://www.brightonwheel.com/tickets/
A DAY OUT FOR 7-11 YEAR OLDS
Save the pennies………..
Before you make your day trip visit https://www.treasuretrails.co.uk/things-to-do/sussex/brighton to order a Brighton sea front treasure trail booklet either by PDF or posted to you. It is £6.99 and suitable for ages 6 and up. One booklet is sufficient for 4-5 people. The Seafront trail starts at the pier and takes around 2 hours to complete, you will solve clues and pass various points of interest. Enter your answers into a monthly draw and there will be chance to win real treasure!!
You’ll definitely need to sit down on the beach for a picnic after all the treasure hunt fun, Mums and Dads may need a cool drink from one of the many seafront bars.
For the afternoon the children may enjoy a wander through the lanes, the little alleyways are full of interesting shops and cafes, the North Laines are a little bit different and have gift type shops, cafes, a lovely toy shop called Whirlygig. If the kids aren’t a fan of shopping the pier may be a better bet to visit for the afternoon, or possibly the pirate style crazy golf next to the park about 10 minutes walk from the east of the pier.
If you’ve parked at the marina the kids may enjoy looking at the boats and wandering along the sea wall. There are various restaurants at the marina if you’re seeking dinner after a busy day.
Raid the wallet………….
There is an exciting new attraction this summer, the British Airways i360, this vertical cable car takes you up to 450 ft and gives views for up to 26 miles around. If you download the app to accompany your visit there is a kids treasure hunt and there will also be family activities during the school holidays. Your visit will probably last around an hour http://britishairwaysi360.com/the-experience/the-vertical-cable-car/
If your kids are anything like mine once 11.30am chimes, they’re hungry! So after a quick paddle and stone throw on the beach wander up to the Kings Road arches, just at the rear of the beach. The Lucky Beach Café serves a lovely variety of contemporary food with a kids menu serving some mini versions of the adult meals http://www.luckybeach.co.uk/. Ohso Social is another fab seafront café bar at the Kings Road arches. Its a family friendly café bar, serving sandwiches, burgers, salads, kids meals and cake! http://www.ohsobrighton.co.uk/summer-menu-2016/
Its the summer of style at Brighton Museum in the Royal Pavillion Garden, design, create and try on using their fashion gallery. Entry is free for residents or £13.40 for a family ticket for non residents. You can also download the Ocean Explorer trail to guide you round the Ocean exhibit in a family friendly way. The Pavillion is signposted in the city and is set back about 5 minutes inland from the pier http://brightonmuseums.org.uk/brighton/what-to-see/fashion-and-style/
Have a great day out, remember sun cream, swimwear and towels for the kids………Becky xx
Image credits http://volkselectricrailway.co.uk/visit-us/fares-times/, http://tourism.brighton.co.uk/shopping/map.asp, http://mediacentre.britishairways.com/pressrelease/details/86/2015-64/5360, http://www.aboutbritain.com/BrightonPier.htm