Christmas Guide to Brighton

Christmas is coming, and what better way to get into the mood than a seasonal city break, full of culture, heritage and festive fun. 

Just two hours away from London, the seaside city of Brighton and Hove is surrounded by miles of coastline and the rolling hills of the South Downs National Park. It's full of quirky independent shops, bursting with culture and a thriving hospitality industry that is constantly evolving with exciting new restaurants opening all year round. Brighton is well known as a seaside resort, but close by there are some beautiful villages, hidden gems that are just waiting to be explored. Sussex has a rich history of artists and writers who left London to pursue the good life, so there are plenty of cultural gems to discover off the beaten track.

We love our city and county, and so we've come up with mini-break for the like-minded.
48 hours to discover, indulge and explore.

Photograph of the Royal Pavilion Ice Rink by Joel Thorpe

With a long history as a weekend getaway destination, Brighton is full of places to stay. From historic hotels to contemporary boutique offerings, here are three places we think will pass muster with even the most seasoned traveller.

The Grand

With over 150 years of history, The Grand Brighton have a long tradition of quality service. Situated in a prime seafront location and just a 5 minutes walk from the city centre, it's the perfect spot if you want to hit the shops. With its Victorian opulence and top-hatted doormen, this archetypal British hotel offers a traditional Christmas experience with a 15ft Christmas tree, festive suppers, and roaring fires.

The Grand Brighton, 97-99 King's Road, Brighton  BN1 2FW

The Artist Residence

If you prefer somewhere more laid back but still enjoy a touch of luxury, The Artist Residence will not disappoint. This Regency townhouse was decorated by local artists who were given free accommodation while they created their eclectic artwork and murals. The result is comfortable elegance with relaxed dining and a cocktail bar with sea views.

The Artist Residence, 33 Regency Square, Brighton, BN1 2GG

Hotel du Vin

Situated in the Brighton Laine, famous for its high-end boutiques and antique shops, you will find Hotel du Vin, a luxury four-star hotel with a French-style bistro restaurant. The food here is fresh and locally sourced, and a sommelier is on hand to help you pair your wine perfectly with your meal. If you like your whiskey and rum, you're in luck as they serve 100 varieties which you can enjoy from a leather armchair in their courtyard garden. Expect Egyptian cotton sheets, roll top baths and monsoon showers. It's a place for those who enjoy the finer things in life.

Hotel du Vin, 2 Ship St, Brighton, BN1 1AD

If you like eating out, Brighton is the perfect destination with its thriving street food scene and fine dining restaurants, you will never run out of great places to nibble. Here are some of our favourite eateries.

The Coal Shed

After a long day in the cold, The Coal Shed is a fantastic spot to warm your cockles with its hearty, simple, seasonal menu. Top-quality meat and fish expertly cooked over hot coals for that perfect smokey taste. From South Downs lamb rump, to beef fat chips and wood-fired Brighton Cod, The Coal shed brings together the best local products from land and sea, as well as cocktails using Brighton Gin and pints of locally brewed ales.

The Coal Shed 8 Boyce's Street, Brighton, BN1 1AN

The Salt Room

Winner of the Seafood Restaurant of the Year 2017, overlooking the sea, The Salt Room boasts one of the best views in Brighton. Sustainable, locally caught fish are cooked over hot coals and expertly filleted at your table. But its not all about the fish. The Salt Room are renowned for their innovative puddings inspired by seaside sweets and an inspirational cocktail menu, including bloody cures for the day after.

The Salt Room 106 King's Rd, Brighton, BN1 2FU


Founded by MasterChef winner Steven Edwards, this Michelin Plate winning restaurant delivers a forward-thinking tasting menu that changes with the seasons. etch use limited seasoning and spices to showcase the natural flavours of each ingredient; at etch, less is more. If you are visiting in December, you're in for a treat. The winter harvest brings Venison, Lovage, Chervil root and Goose to their tasting menu. Perfect for a Christmas feast. They also offer a different tasting menu each month for vegetarian diners.

Etch. by Steven Edwards, 216 Church Road, Hove, BN3 2DJ


If you are a veggie, you may be familiar with Food for Friends. a vegetarian restaurant with four decades of service under their belt. They have now opened a second restaurant in Hove called botanique, an eco-friendly vegan restaurant that combines sustainable food with great craft and design. Here they grow their own herbs in their indoor vertical farm, reducing air miles and ensuring optimum freshness. botanique take a holistic approach to hospitality, and their crockery, furniture, and decor are all made from sustainable, natural products.

Botanique, 31a Western Road, Brighton, BN3 1AF

Although Brighton may be seen as a summer destination, it is a thriving city that never closes for the season. This year, it promises to be even better with Brighton's Christmas Festival, Sussex's biggest winter attraction. This is a city-wide event, with the central festival hub running from The Royal Pavilion to St Peter's Church. Expect an artisanal food and Christmas market, an ice rink, and mulled wine in the apres-ski bar.

Brighton Christmas Festival 26th November 2021 - 31st December 2021

The Royal Pavilion

Built as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV, The Royal Pavilion are pulling out all the stops this year to bring a little magic to the festive season. The halls will be decked with glittering Christmas trees, and a Georgian banquet complete with seasonal puddings will be laid out in the banqueting room. The gardens outside will be illuminated each night, highlighting the splendour of this iconic Brighton landmark. It promises to be truly magical.

Royal Pavilion, 4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton BN1 1EE

Brighton is jam-packed with independent shops. From contemporary fashion to antiques, you could spend the whole day wandering its laines and exploring its hidden corners for retail gems. We can often be found visiting old favourites and discovering new brands. Here are a few must-visits.


If you're visiting Brighton, pop in and say hi. We're situated in the Bohemian North Laine and stock some wonderful small and independent brands chosen for their provenance and design quality. We're fully stocked for Christmas and have everything from stocking fillers to those main, special presents. Pick up a bar of handcrafted chocolate for your cousin, a lambswool scarf for your sister or some Japanese secateurs for your dad. We have something for the whole family, and our friendly, knowledgeable staff are always on hand to help you with your selection. We look forward to welcoming you inside; we smell and look great too.

HOLD, 14 Bond Street, Brighton,BN1 1RD

Peggs & Son

It's often hard to find great men's clothes but at Peggs and Son, they have curated a range of quality men's garments from around the world. From Japanese denim to Scandinavian shirts, hand-made shoes to sports gear, their focus is on excellence and quality. Clothes not only made to look good but to last too.

Peggs & Son, 39 Duke Street, Brighton, BN1 1AG


Situated in the North Laine since 2003, Tribeca offer a feminine edit from their favourite international designers and were the first boutique in the UK to stock Ulla Johnson and Isabel Marant. From handbags and earrings to dresses and boiler suits, they sell clothes to make you feel good.

TRIBECA 21 Bond Street, Brighton, BN1 1RD

Our Daily Edit

Just up from the seafront, in the old laines, you will find a curated selection of menswear, womenswear and lifestyle products from across the globe. Our Daily Edit stock items and objects from inspiring brands and makers with a focus on sustainability and design. Here you will find everything from organic cotton t-shirts to incense.

Our Daily Edit, 23 Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AD


Modern life can be hectic, so at Workshop, they celebrate simplicity, slow-living and support sustainable practice. They source goods that are designed and made with the environment in mind. From British Ash to Linen, they sell fashion and homewares made with natural materials that are kind to the planet.

Workshop, 13a Prince Albert Street, Brighton BN1 1HE

There's plenty to do in Brighton to fill an entire weekend, but if you want to experience both the coast and countryside in one trip, it's totally doable.

Named by the Telegraph as one of Britain's most beautiful villages, Alfriston is surrounded by the South Downs National Park and is the perfect spot for walks along the Cuckmere River. It's also a super little place to spend the day, with its independent shops, tea rooms and world-class boutique hotel.

The Star

Named as the best hotel in the South East by The Sunday Times, this stellar hotel is part of the Polizzi collection and is simply exquisite. Dating from 1345, the building is steeped in history, and original features such as wooden beams sit seamlessly alongside sympathetic renovations. All 29 rooms have been designed by Olga Polizzi and are furnished with old and new items and decorated with works by local artists. The Inn also offers relaxed dining where dishes are prepared by Tim Kensett, formerly of The River Café, using the best of Sussex produce. If you don't have time to stay the night, you can treat yourself to a meal here but be sure to book ahead, they book up fast.

The Star, Alfriston East Sussex BN26 5TA

Much Ado Books

This is more than just a bookshop; it's the ultimate browsing experience for those who love books. Two floors and outbuildings, including a shepherds hut, are filled with new, secondhand, vintage and antiquarian books. They also sell ephemera and run book launches and craft workshops. If you're interested in local artists, they offer a wide range of books by and about the Bloomsbury set and photographer Lee Miller. Bibliophiles beware, you will spend hours here!

Much Ado Books 8 West Street, Alfriston, East Sussex, BN26 5UX


Just 10 mins outside Alfriston and 35 mins from Brighton, Charleston is a must-see if you have an interest in history and the arts. This former farmhouse and gardens were once home to Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and their contemporaries, including Virginia and Leonard Woolf. You can take a guided tour of the house and learn about the outrageous shenanigans that took place here, and admire their hand-painted furniture. You can also enjoy a walk in their stunning garden, take in an exhibition in the new gallery space and enjoy hand-made focaccia in the cafe. This is not simply a heritage site but a living arts space where festivals, talks and debates take place all year round.

Charleston, Firle, Lewes BN8 6LL

Seven Sisters Country Park

Just 18 minutes from Charleston you will find one of the most iconic and breathtaking views in Britain. Take a walk across Seaford Head and stop to admire the magnificent Seven Sisters cliffs and meander down to the point where the river meets the sea. You simply cannot visit the area without experiencing this stretch of coastline.

Seven Sisters Country Park Exceat, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 4AD