For a holiday city, it’s very easy to feel the stress of the constant hustle and bustle of busy Brighton.
Particularly at this occasionally ridiculous time of year, it’s important to remember to kick back with a cuppa every now and then.
So check out our list of 15 of the most relaxing chill out spaces in the city by the sea and take the weight off.
The Lanes Coffee House
Start off in The Lanes Coffee House and you’ll be in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day. This little café is cool, metro, and artsy, and a haven of peace first thing in the morning. It’s got a fantastic breakfast menu, including yummy items such as the hot smoked bacon and sliced avocado on toasted artisan bread with cherry tomatoes. A particular favourite is the two fried eggs, gammon ham and toasted sourdough bread (£5.95). V tasty.
59D Ship Street, BN1 1AE, 01273 748222, thelanescoffeehouse.com
Ah, book shopping. The ultimate in retail therapy. Take some time to peacefully browse the shelves at some of the city’s best bookshops – City Books and Kemptown Bookshop can be highly recommended for a chill out book sesh, as they’re slightly off the beaten track but have a fantastic array of titles.
City Books, 32 Western Road, Hove, 01273 725306, city-books.co.uk
Kemptown Bookshop, 91 St George’s Road, BN2 1EE, 01273 682110, kemptownbookshop.co.uk
Volk’s railway café
Relax smack bang on the seafront with a cup of coffee from the Volk’s railway café, which is right next to the Brighton Wheel. They also sell gelato, ice cream, and a wide variety of snacks, so you can refuel if you’re feeling a bit peckish from all that sea air.
285 Madeira Drive, BN2 1EN, 01273 292718, volkselectricrailway.co.uk
Pavilion Gardens can often get really busy during the summer, with loads of people enjoying the sun and the views of the Pavilion from out on the green. It’s wonderfully peaceful during the winter, though, so take a book, park yourself up on a bench, and chill out for an hour or two.
Royal Pavilion Gardens, BN1 1UG, 01273 730712, royalpaviliongardens.co.uk
You’ve got to take a café with the slogan ‘kick arse coffee & life saving cake’ seriously. Tucked away in a cosy corner of Ship Street, Marwood has a great vibe and even has a secret garden out the back, which looks, in the Marwood’s own words, ‘kinda like Narnia went wonky’. Take a break while rushing around doing some last minute Christmas shopping and let the caffeine ninjas work their coffee magic.
52 Ship Street, BN1 1AF, 01273 382063, themarwood.com
New Steine Gardens
This little spot is a welcome break from the busy streets of Kemp Town, with lovely views of the sea and Brighton’s AIDS memorial sculpture, which features two intertwined figures soaring up to the sky. The sculpture’s shadow actually forms the shape of the red ribbon, which is the international symbol for HIV/AIDS awareness. It’s a peaceful, quiet little garden which you can enjoy the views from one of the garden’s benches.
New Steine, BN2 1PB
Browns brasserie and bar has restaurants open in a number of locations across the UK, although Brighton is particularly close to the business’s heart, as the first Browns restaurant opened there in 1973. Bill Bryson mentions Browns in his book Notes from a Small Island, and recommends the place for a coffee. It’s a pretty classy looking joint, but it’s also a great place to relax and watch the world go by with an afternoon tea.
3-4 Duke Street, BN1 1AH, 01273 323501, browns-restaurants.co.uk/restaurants/southeast/brighton
Brighton is a haven for lovers of the vintage and the quirky – Snooper’s Paradise is an almost universal favourite, and The Vintage Workshop in Kemptown is definitely worth a visit. There’s something very peaceful about wondering the rows of eclectic and antiquated objects, and imagining the lives the objects have lived before ending up on a shelf in a Brighton antique shop.
17 St George’s Place, BN2 1EB, 07906 963879
Snooper’s Paradise, 7 Kensington Gardens, BN1 4AL, 01273 602558, snoopersattic.co.uk
Wheat & Beans
Wheat & Beans has an extremely welcoming atmosphere, with incredibly friendly staff. It’s informal, chilled, and serves delicious gluten free almond brownies. Highly recommended for a relaxing pit stop during a busy day of Christmas or January sales shopping, or as a location for a tasty bite for lunch when meeting up with pals – the bread and cakes are all freshly baked on the premises following artisan methods to achieve fantastic taste and texture.
117 St James’s Street, BN2 1TH, 07557 107682, wheatandbeans.co.uk
We all like to be beside the seaside. Brighton beach can get pretty busy during the summer months, but it’s refreshingly quiet this time of year. Enjoy some peace and fresh air, along with the beautiful views of the sea, with a cup of tea or some fish and chips from nearby chippy Seasiders.
254 Kings Road Arches, Brighton, 01273 606577, seasiders5.wix.com/seasiders
This is a friendly little café on Upper St James’s Street with the ultimate attraction for those of us who live on our laptops: free Wi-Fi. They’ve also got a cracking menu, with tasty dishes including the Cosiez Special Kemptown Rarebit, which is a mustard infused cheddar grilled over two slices of toasted bloomer, topped with a fried egg and salad garnish (£6.95), and the cheese and avocado melt, which is sliced avocado topped with mustard infused cheddar on two slices of toasted bloomer and salad garnish (also £6.95).
43 Upper St James’s Street, BN2 1JN, 01273 672759
Duke of York’s Picturehouse
Grab some popcorn and catch a showing at this art house cinema. In addition to new releases, they often show older films at the Duke of York’s, so you can watch an old familiar or enjoy a classic you’ve never had the chance to watch before in the gorgeous old theatre-style screen room. Perfect to unwind in for a few hours.
Preston Road, Brighton, 0871 902 5728, picturehouses.com/cinema/Duke_Of_Yorks
Compass Point Eatery
Compass Point Eatery, a 1920s inspired American eatery in the heart of Kemptown, is a local favourite, with its nautical, vintage and steampunk inspired décor and great food. Either chill out with some tasty food in the restaurant itself, or choose a sub from the Po’ Boy Grab and Go menu to enjoy by the seashore.
19 St Georges Road BN2 1EB, 01273 672672, cpeatery.com
A quiet village situated right next to Brighton town, Rottingdean is a great place to visit if you’re hoping for some peace and quiet. Although moments up the coast from Brighton Marina, the atmosphere is incredibly different, with small ponds, ancient houses and a beautiful seafront.
Café Coho, which is located on Ship Street, is a really friendly, welcoming place where you can kick back and enjoy a bite to eat. Alternatively, if you really need to unwind and desperate times call for desperate (alcohol) measures, you can indulge in a Coho Bloody Mary (£7.50) – 50ml horseradish infused premium vodka, tomato juice, dry sherry, ground pepper, celery salt, fresh lemon, Worchester sauce, tabasco and a celery stick.
53 Ship Street, BN1 1AF, 07787 512 986, cafecoho.co.uk/locations/ship-street-brighton
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Main photo: Emily Turner