The Eagles said it best. Take it easy, Brighton-goers, and make life run that little bit smoother by taking a leaf out of our list of helpful lifehacks for getting by in Brighton.
Here we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to, by compiling the top 15 tricks that’ll make heading into the city by the sea that wee bit less stressful.
1. Planning your trip
Assuming you’re heading into town for a trip and you’re not a local looking for advice on surviving the city, make life easier for yourself by planning in advance what you’re doing by paying special attention to what time of year it is. As Brighton is a seaside town, many attractions are based on the beach, and not everything’s open 9 to 5, 365 days a year.
I’ve spent far longer than I’d like to admit walking up and down King’s Road Arches trying to locate the Mechanical Memories Museum, which can be open at pretty sporadic times. Plan ahead so you don’t feel like you’ve had a wasted journey.
2. Travelling to Brighton
Don’t try to park in central Brighton. Just don’t. You’ll be skinned alive by the parking charges. Don’t be drawn in by the convenience of the multi-storey car parks right on the seafront – you’ll head back to the car after spending all your hard earned dosh in the Lanes and get slammed with £15-£20 worth of car parking to pay. Get the train into town, or park in Hove and have a wander into the city centre.
3. Keepin’ busy in Brighton
Be sure to take advantage of all the awesome free stuff you can do in Brighton. There are art shows, galleries, amazing architecture, public art, graffiti and sculptures, the Brighton Fishing Museum, the Booth Museum of Natural History, the entire seafront, the pier, gardens, carnivals – keep an eye out and you’ll spot something that is right up your street but won’t cost you a penny.
4. Chowing down
Don’t be tempted to buy your staple bag of fish and chips on the Brighton Pier. You’ll find the same bag of chips for a much more pocket-friendlier price if you wander away from the bright lights, either down onto the seafront down King’s Road Arches or along the promenade. Seasiders is a personal fave.
5. Flash that student card (if you have one)
OK, not for everyone this, but if you’re lucky enough to be a student, wear that student badge with pride. We don’t know what we’re doing, we’re just about keeping it together, but at least we can get into the Brighton Museum for free – as long as we’re from Uni of Brighton or Sussex. Save £££ by flashing that student plastic.
6. There’s an app for that
Yep, you can make your life a whole lot easier by just downloading the VisitBrighton app. It’s free, and there are apps for both iPhone and Android. For loads of information about Brighton helpfully organised into categories like Food & Drink, What’s On, See & Do, Shopping, Where to Stay, City Villages, and Essentials. What’s particularly nifty is the Itinerary feature – as you’re scrolling through the app, click on the heart icon for all the places you like the sound of. The app collects all your favourited items in your own personal itinerary – or you can check out the app’s own itineraries for some inspiration.
7. Carting kids around the city
If you’ve got wee ones with you, take them for a picnic in the Pavilion Gardens. Brighton gets pretty busy and a lot of the streets are quite narrow, and the last thing you want to be doing is accidentally bashing unsuspecting locals, day-trippers and holidaymakers out the way with your pram as you try to make it through North Laine. Little ‘uns can run around on the grass while you refuel with a cuppa from the garden’s café.
8. Learn the art of pre drinking
Like most cities, Brighton can be a pretty pricey place to go out for a bevvy. Students will have mastered that age old craft of tanking up on rosé and beer from Sainsbury’s, hitting exactly the right buzz before heading out, thus minimalizing expenditure when out on the town.
9. Buying those books
If, like me, you’re a bookbuying fiend, or you’re a student with a long reading list to tackle before term starts, be sure to look a little further afield than the giant Waterstones on West Street when hunting down your tomes. There are several fantastic second hand bookshops – like Brighton Books and Sandpiper books down Kensington Gardens – that will likely have the title you’re after, and for a price that’s friendly to your wallets and purses. Keep an eye out for second hand book markets in and around town as well.
10. Be proud
As you can imagine, Brighton, home of Gay Pride, has some fantastic LGBTQ+ resources. There are events all year round – the LGBT history month in February, Pink Fringe in March, the Eyes Wide Open Film Fest in July and of course Pride in August. And there’s also tons of support available – check out www.visitbrighton.com/gay-brighton for the full list.
11. On yer bike
Get your trainers on and tone up those thighs by hiring a bike in Brighton. Not only will you get around the immediate city quicker, but you’ll also be able to go and visit nearby villages like Rottingdean.
12. Rent a student room
If you’re savvy and you plan to stay in the city between July and September, you can rent rooms from the University of Brighton for the night from about £30, which isn’t bad considering how central the halls are. They’re en suite and there’s free Wi-Fi.
13. Get some work done
Pick a quiet coffee shop and make it into your office. Whether you’re a student on a study day or you’re ‘working from home’, we all know you’re less likely to mong out if you’re in public. Stick your headphones in, whip your laptop out and get cracking. Find a spot with Wi-Fi, so you really have no excuse not to work.
14. Keep an eye out for street food
Walk off the train platform and you’ll head straight into three or four street food vendors. For busy commuters, day trippers or anyone needing to silence a grumbling tum on the move, taking advantage of all the amazing street food available in and around Brighton will save you time as well as tickling your tastebuds.
15. Catch a film for less
Whether you’re trying to escape from the rain, or you just want peace and quiet at the cinema, catch a film at the Duke of York’s at certain times and you could save a few quid. While students always get a discount, if you see a film on a Monday the cost of a full price ticket drops from £10 to £7, while matinee performances (Tuesday to Friday before 5pm) are also cheaper.
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Main image via Shutterstock