A guide to a Brighton holiday with your kids

Sheila Kronfeld

Simultaneously keeping the children happy and having a relaxing holiday is no easy feat, especially if you're travelling abroad. Keep it close to home in the wonderful city of Brighton where there's multifarious fun for all the family

With all the Brexit nonsense, it seems a great time to have a staycation until things seem more settled and you know exactly what bang you’ll be getting for your British buck when venturing to Europe. And, given that you have a number of beautiful brats to keep entertained—who would be gladly be glued to their devices 24/7, given half the chance—make life easier for yourself, chuck them in the car or on the train and discover Brighton.

Brighton has been renowned as a Stag and Hen Do destination in previous years, with its incredible nightlife, bohemian scene and reputed LGBTQ capital of Great Britain, but how does it fair as a family destination? Well, it actually fairs very well!

Brighton street art. Photo by Sheila Kronfeld

A great way to have a little break here, when travelling with children, undoubtedly starts with getting an Airbnb. This allows you the flexibility of having a home-from-home environment and means that you can be quite specific with your location.  The best way to experience Brighton is, without a doubt, by foot and so take this into consideration when you’re booking, especially if you have to contend with a buggy.

Central locations are perfect if you want to feel as though you’re right in the thick of the action but do remember to take ear plugs, or white noise machines for the children. Although it’s wonderful to embrace the cool vibe and show your children what “London by the Sea” has to offer, the late night revellers and seagulls will be continuing their antics all through the night.   

A cheeky seagull looks for scrap food. Photo by Sheila Kronfeld

The colourful streets and colourful people are enough to keep your little ones entertained— strolling through the streets, they’ll be wowed by the graffiti (which are more like works of art, than the general scribbly tags that you see in most areas). Walking past The Mash Tun—a relaxed pub which is superbly appropriate for families during sunny weather so you can sit outside—is painted so unusually that it’s hard to decipher whether it is meant to be camouflaged for the Rainforest in Borneo, or it’s giving a salute to the trees that were possibly there before it existed, is a wonderful landmark and another example of the bright and whacky buildings that this beautiful city boasts.  

The Mash Tun. Photo by Sheila Kronfeld

The Brighton Lanes offer a plethora of independent shops and boutiques. There, you can buy all sorts of unique clothing and items and let your little ones loose to choose something bright and colourful to take home with them (there’s also the bonus opportunity to let the creative edge you’ve buried since becoming a parent free again). Even the cinema, Duke’s at Komedia, is a spectacle with a pair of stripy legs sticking out of the entrance—it also doubles up as a Comedy Club and hosts children’s entertainment at weekends.

Playing on the beach. Photo by Sheila Kronfeld

Choccywoccydoodah doesn’t just attract you because of the fantastic name—which will leave even the most reluctant reader trying to sound it out—but has the most incredible window display of anything you can think of made out of chocolate. Going inside is akin to entering Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, but in real life. There is also a fudge shop, suitably named “The Fudge Shop” which has all sorts of wonderful looking fudge that makes your mouth water just by looking at it.

Many of the shops in the Lanes are quite the family conversation starter, for example The Vegan Shoe Shop.  Many children have only heard of vegans or vegetarians as people that choose to cut out meat/fish/dairy from their diets, so walking past “Vegetarian Shoes” gets their little minds whirring and chatting away.

Colourful Brighton. Photo by Sheila Kronfeld

Many local Brighton people seem to speak a little disparagingly of the infamous Brighton Pier.  But as a family visiting it really is a must. It is cheesy and tacky in the best possible way, with its slot machines and noisy ride on games and ridiculous claw crane games, that will never, ever pick anything up, no matter how skilled you are.  But it is pure, simple, family fun.

The Brighton Pier. Photo by Sheila Kronfeld

It’s important that you keep an eye on the coins you’re using in the machines, as of course, they are there to grab your money and give you the odd minimal pay-out to keep you there. But as long as you are careful and give yourself and your little ones a clear guide on what the maximum they have to play with, then it is entirely light-hearted and just another special day to add to the family-fun memory bank. It is equally as important to be careful as, with all arcades, there are a few unsavoury characters lurking, and although it’s extremely unlikely anything untoward would happen, it is something to stay aware of.

Once you’ve drained your 2ps and 10ps and can’t take the bleeping and flashing any longer then on to the end of the Brighton Pier you go.

There are all sorts of fair rides, that cater to the very, very young to the more daredevil teens, or parents.  You have your standard waltzers, rollercoaster, log flumes and dodgems as well as a Haunted House and trampolines. There is a strict height restriction to ensure that no one too little is allowed on to any inappropriate rides, but it is up to the responsible adult to check heights before buying tickets to the rides and so this is something to keep in mind.

Whooshing down a log flume. Photo by Sheila Kronfeld

For those that are completely turned off by the whole fairground and arcade environment, a stroll along the beach will offer a more peaceful experience, and there are delicious fish and chip restaurants, countless places to buy ice creams and even a trampolining/bungee experience if you feel that you’d like a bit of family fun, without the “kiss me quick” style of arcade and typically British corniness that is found on the Pier.

Although it’s a predominantly pebbled beach, you can enjoy relaxing with a picnic and sitting out to enjoy the view and soak up the fresh sea air, before returning back through the Lanes, which has an abundance of restaurants to suit every taste – from Mexican, to pub grub, to authentic Japanese and more standard chain restaurants, before returning back to your lodgings.

A truly typically British, perfect family memory-making break.

For more family, home and lifestyle pictures and inspiration follow Sheila Kronfeld's instagram @shebkron