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Finger-licking fish and chips, vibrant vintage shops and a nightlife cheekier than a Carry On film. Kiss me quick, Brighton...

Brighton is a classic British seaside resort on the surface with vintage beach-side rides, greasy fish and chips and brightly lit arcades.

The cobbled streets are quaint and nostalgic, as are the old-fashioned hobby shops – but there’s something far more salacious bubbling beneath. Perhaps it’s the 19th-century Royal Pavilion-turned Mughal-style love nest that anchors the city, or maybe it’s the sailors’ whispers from the sea. Either way, the city has an air of old-style smut, with velvet-lined sex shops stuffed down alleyways and pubs delightfully decorated with Victorian erotica.

There are secrets a-plenty to uncover here, but tread carefully: over the years, many a heart has been broken along the windswept coast line and many a night has been made in the cavernous depths of the raucous clubs.

Things to do: There is nothing more iconic of Brighton than the garishly lit fairground and pier. Stretching into the grey ocean, this slice of British history harks back to a more simple time when an ice cream and a go on the slot machines was all you needed to keep the kids quiet. In the summer it’s a star tourist attraction, but in the bleak winter the retro feel is haunting as the creaking rides blink on and off against the stormy sky and rainwater slowly drips from the roof of the buzzing - but perennially empty - arcade.

Outside of London, Brighton is perhaps the best city in the country for vintage browsing. Here the flea-market finds are more obscure (some may say garish) and better priced, and the collections are so vast, you can lose hours sifting through boxes. There are also records galore, which for a serious collector will be, quite literally, music to their ears. The offerings are diverse and, if you dig deep, you’ll bag yourself a serious deal or pocket a rare gem. Along the vintage drags of North Laine, you’ll find WaxFactor and Across the Tracks, which are veritable treasure troves, but it’s what you discover in between, discarded on antique shop floors, that will really rock your world.

Where to stay: Brighton has fewer hotels than you would think for such a popular weekend destination, but it’s jammed full of small family-run guest houses that are a mix of charm, nostalgia or, sometimes, downright decay. Do your research before you go so you’re not in for a surprise.

If a quiet weekend is what you’re after, steer clear of anywhere that rents out rooms in bulk. These are generally popular hen or stag night destinations and should be avoided - unless a 4am wake-up call from a 10 liquored-up boozehounds in Yeti costumes, singing some form of slurred tune sounds ideal.

A trendy choice in Brighton right now is the boutique MyHotel, with its atmospheric mood lighting and curved walls helping to maintain Zen. Each room is individually designed, but all are united by an Austin Powers-esque 60’s vibe, complete with rounded bed frames and zig-zag wall patterns that are, well, groovy baby. There’s also a stylish Indian restaurant that serves modern twists on the classics, as well as an ever-lively coffee shop that will keep you deliciously caffeinated up to your ears. Rooms at the award-winning hotel start at £90 a night.

The B&B’s in Brighton remain largely family run, which is refreshing and means each one is truly unique. The boutique One Broad Street is 30 seconds from the beach, and many of its rooms face the sea front (£60-120). In a similar vain is 19 Brighton and the funky Snooze guest house. Again, the list here is long and quirky so do some digging to find the perfect fit for you.


UK Trip: The future's Brighton
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