09:00 Fuel up at Sanctuary Cafe, with a healthy but hearty breakfast. Brighton is known for veggie restaurants like this one – embrace it.
10:30 Test your hand-eye co-ordination with a spot of beach volleyball (yes, Brighton beach has pebbles, but there’s a man-made sandy area for seaside sports). Book a court at Yellow Wave for £20 an hour or join a class for £5 per person. If volleyball isn’t your thing, book in for beach soccer, rugby, ultimate frisbee or Brazilian footvolley (like volleyball, but using your feet).
13:00 Next on the agenda is a cookery lesson at Jamie Oliver’s Recipease on Western Road. Try your hand at Mexican street food, cooking the perfect steak, perfecting a fragrant Thai green curry, or becoming a pasta master. Sessions cost from £30 and you’ll be able to tuck into your creation at the end. You can also stash any leftovers and take them home with you – if you don’t eat everything on sight.
17:00 Hit the pier for a ride on the Turbocoaster and Crazy Mouse rollercoasters. Or if you’re too full to be shaken every which way, try your luck on the arcade games. A trip to the British seaside wouldn’t be the same without it, but watch out for the seagulls.
19:30 Be scared senseless with a ghost walk on The Lanes. Tours cost a fiver and you don’t need to book – just meet the group at The Druid’s Head Pub in Brighton Place.
21:00 If you’re still up to eating after your scare-fest, get down to the Milkmaid’s Pavilion on the seafront for a meal at Italian restaurant, Alfresco. While you look out over the beach to the sea, enjoy a delicious baked salmon fillet with a homemade pesto crust served on caponata with roasted root vegetables (£17.95), and wash that down with an Amaretto digestif.
23:00 Retreat to the Artist Residence hotel on Regency Square, which doubles as a place to sleep and a gallery, seeing as each room is a very different work of art. The Pinky Vision room gives you a sea view, plus one hell of a psychedelic ‘Love’ mural. Double rooms cost from £60pn, including breakfast.
10:00 You can’t visit Brighton without seeing The Royal Pavilion. Inside the city’s most famous spot, where King George IV held lavish parties and feasts, you’ll find rooms with ceilings that go on forever, decorated in a dazzling Anglo-Chinese design. Entry costs £9.80. There’ll also be an ice rink in the grounds this winter, until January 22, if you fancy a skate.
12:00 Now check out The Lanes in daylight, where you’ll find quirky vintage stores, sweet shops and cafes. Make sure you pay a quick visit to the bizarre Lanes Armoury. More of a museum than a shop, the place is full of antique weaponry, from Japanese samurai swords to suits of armour and American Civil War rifles.
13:00 Stop at Street Thai on Brighton Square for some tasty and affordable street-style food – think noodle soups, satays and stir-fry dishes – served in the comfort of an urban, graffiti-decorated restaurant. Wait until you try the food before calling it a cop-out.
14:00 Now blow away the cobwebs with a wakeboarding session at Hove Lagoon. Beginners’ lessons at Lagoon Watersports cost £50 and equipment and wetsuits are provided.
16:00 After being dragged through the sea by a speedboat, you’ll probably want to do something a bit more chilled. Brighton is synonymous with Mods and Rockers, so visit the Modern World Gallery in the arches on the seafront. There, you’ll find Union Jack guitars, posters and prints of scooters and music legends, and other memorabilia emblazoned with the Mod target.
19:00 Line your stomach with an obligatory helping of fish and chips on the beach from one of the many greasy chippies lining the seafront as the sun sets, before you embark on a big evening.
20:00 Get the (dirt cheap) drinks in at beachside Brighton Coalition, in the King’s Road Arches, which plays host to comedians, bands and DJs, depending on the night.
23:00 Venture a few metres inland and lose yourself at newly opened club The Haunt. Responsible for both Eighties pop nights and DJ sets from the likes of Erol Alkan and 2manydjs, it’s a stonking end to a weekend of big fun.
GETTING THERE: Travel by train with Southern Railway to Brighton from London Victoria (1h) from £22.80 return.
For other travel options and tourist information go to visitbrighton.com/tourist-information/travel
Words: Clare Vooght