Families & Schools

Family Friendly Brighton & Hove. Brighton may be more associated with dirty weekends and stag and hen nights than family holidays, but this hedonistic city by the sea has plenty to offer those with kids, too, and is within such easy reach of the British capital that it’s sometimes dubbed ‘London by the Sea’ (on sunny days, it often seems that the entire capital has decamped to this part of the coast).

Brighton’s hippyish, laidback atmosphere makes it popular with funky young families as well as making it Britain’s gay capital, and it’s the perfect city break destination for teens, who love its bohemian edge and grungey shops. Above all, Brighton is a place simply to hang out, on the beach or in the bohemian cafés, a beer or an ice cream in hand.

Brighton Beach and Palace Pier

Have some bucket and spade fun on the (pebbly) beach and some traditional tacky fun on Palace Pier with its kids’ rides and funfair (including the Super Booster thrill ride and the ghost train), sideshows and American donut and other fast-food stalls.

Day out fun for the whole family!

i360

Take to the skies to see Brighton and the beautiful south coast as you have never seen them before.

Glide up gently to 450ft in our futuristic glass viewing pod, which was conceived and designed by Marks Barfield Architects, creators of the London Eye. Tours are suitable for all ages.

Marina & Pleasure Boat Trips

Brighton Boat Trips are a great way to see the city skyline including the architecture from Regency to the 21st Century. Ross Boat Trips run 45 minute coastal cruises from Brighton Marina giving visitors the chance to see Brighton Palace Pier from a whole new angle.

From the sea you can appreciate the mixture of architectural styles from the grand, sweeping crescents of the Regency era to the modernist Embassy Court, Victorian bandstand and through to the futuristic British Airways i360. Tours are suitable for all ages.

Brighton Royal Pavilion

Explore the Royal Pavilion, George IV’s Oriental-inspired seaside palace. An audioguide for kids 6 and up takes them back to Regency times to meet the Prince Regent, his footman Sneppings and the famous French chef Carême, or there are special guided tours, trails and guidebooks for kids.

The Pavilion grounds are home to the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, with an eclectic collection including a Performance section with puppets, masks, costumes and musical instruments, plus regular family events and children’s workshops.

The North Laine and The Lanes

Shop. Start at the North Laine, where you’ll find quirky one-off stores, boutiques and market stalls selling all kinds of wares, from rare LPs, vintage dresses or fairy wings to organic beer, bongs, or fire staffs to a random assortment of folk including a fair proportion of hippies, punks and Goths.

Don’t miss the fleamarket in Kensington Gardens. The Lanes themselves are more mainstream, with a smattering of antiques shops.

The Volk’s Electric Railway

Ride Volk’s Electric Railway along about 1.5km of seafront between the Palace Pier and Brighton Marina, the latter home to upmarket shops, restaurants and cafés.

Family saver tickets make it a great bargain activity, but it doesn’t run in winter.

Peter Pan’s Playground and Beach Sports

The railway’s Halfway Station, where you can hop off, is also known as Peter Pan’s because it’s home to the wonderful Peter Pan’s adventure playground with its Grace’s Place open-air café. This is also where you’ll find Yellowave Beachsports, with beach volleyball, beach soccer, foot volley, beach rugby, ultimate frisbee and bouldering on offer for all ages and abilities, plus the Barefoot Café.

From March to Sept Yellowave hosts beach sports skills classes on a drop-in basis for kids 6 and up; for younger kids there’s a sand play area.

Brighton Sea Life Centre

Brighton Sea Life on Marine Parade is a little tired (it’s the oldest operating aquarium in the world, within a creaky Victoria building).

This is a reliable rainy-day option (you can save up to £5pp by booking online).

Local Beauty Spots and Historic Sites

Hire bikes as part of your family holiday and go off exploring the surrounds, including the South Downs – local off-road routes include the Downs Link, the South Downs Way, and Brighton to Lewes. The latter, a lovely medieval town, is home to Lewes Castle, where kids can dress up in old costumes, fire a crossbow, use a crane to build their own arrowslit, and more.

In summer, the castle’s garden hosts lots of family-friendly performances, while other seasonal events include an Easter Egg Hunt and Christmas activities.