Active Travel: Brighton

Helen selfie

Post in collaboration with Original Cottages

There aren’t many cities cooler than Brighton. It’s full of quirky shops, great places to eat, a stunning sea front, and a wonderful atmosphere. It is also boasts one of the biggest marathons in the UK.

If you’re looking for a weekend away, combined with activity, you could do a lot worse than to consider Brighton. I hadn’t been for a while, but when I learned that my political party conference was to be held in Brighton last September, my excitement levels started to build rapidly. It’s impossible to visit Brighton and not feel like you’re on holiday. If you are taking part in the marathon in April, then I recommend tagging on an extra couple of nights if you can, to really enjoy what’s on offer.


Helen selfie
In holiday mode in Brighton!


Running & Cycling

The promenade is perfect for running and cycling. Flat as a pancake and right by the water, there is something incredibly enjoyable about feeling the sea breeze blow around you as you run. With no hills, it’s also an easy place to run and try to pick up some speed, as well as being impossible to get lost. Just don’t forget suncream on a sunny day; I know from experience how painful those rays from the sun are!


The promenade in Brighton


For those of you who like to race, the Brighton Marathon and BM 10k are held in April. For a cooler time of year, the Brighton 10k is November. The triathletes amongst you might want to check out the Brighton & Hove Triathlon in September. For cyclists wanting something a little more taxing than the seafront, why not give the coastal paths of Saltdean a go?

And of course, we mustn’t forget the parkrun options on offer in Brighton. Brighton & Hove, Preston Park, and Hove Promenade parkrun are all popular. I just regret not being able to take part in September.


Brighton Marathon 2011
Happy Brighton Marathon memories!


Why not recover on the famous Brighton Pier with fish and chips after?


If you enjoy the water, Brighton is definitely the place to go! From open water swimming in the sea, to stand-up paddle boarding, there is lots on offer. There are plenty of activity companies in the area; I particularly recommend Hatt Adventures who I went rock climbing with a couple of years back. For something really different, you can even take a trip out to Brighton Wind Farm!


The shopping in Brighton is great, with all the big high street names available (I spent too much money in Waterstones last time), as well as the delightful quirky Brighton Lanes, home to Choccywoccydoodah! Just round the corner is Collectif, my favourite vintage repro store, as well as all sorts of other treasure troves to root through.  Exploring the Lanes with a break for coffee is the perfect way to spend a couple of hours.


If you are exploring the lanes, then you must check out the delightful Sugardough on Market Street for great coffee and delicious cakes. During conference, we went there twice, once for breakfast where I gorged myself on a cinnamon roll (yes, I’m an addict, your point?) and a second time for some delightful decadent, melt in your mouth, chocolate tiffin. We also tried The Little Shop on the same street, a quaint cafe. My friend enjoyed a decent veggie breakfast, but my Welsh Rarebit was burnt around the edges and the coffee wasn’t great. Friendly service, but on the pricey side for hit and miss cafe food.


Sugardough Cinnamon Roll
Sugardough Cinnamon Roll


If you love seafood and are prepared to spend, Riddle & Finns on Meeting House Lane is divine. The fresh langoustines on ice are magnificent.

Visit Brighton in September and you can check out the annual Fiery Foods UK Chilli Festival, just underneath the i360. With live music and lots of food stalls to check out, I really enjoyed a beer with friends, enjoying the atmosphere. I even tried rolled ice-cream for the first time – what I call hipster ice-cream. Spoiler: it’s delicious.


Rolled ice-cream
Rolled ice-cream!



There are countless options in Brighton, from chain hotels, to affordable boutique B&Bs along the sea front. These often boast small rooms and lots of stairs as they are in old houses, but are generally friendly and trendy. I had a really nice stay at the New Steine Hotel a couple of years back, including a delicious breakfast.


Bedford House, Brighton
Beautiful Bedford House


For self-catering, we stayed in Bedford House which we found via Original Cottages in Brighton & Hove. Situated in Kemp Town, five of us stayed there, enjoying the local pubs in the area. Unfortunately, it’s no longer available for breaks, but similar properties in the area cost in the region of £800 a week.


Ever been to Brighton? I’d move there if I could afford it!

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