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Photograph: F1Online Digitale Bildegentur Gmbh/Alamy Stock Photo

The best things to do in Brighton with kids

Sun, sea and Sussex. Here’s how to have a jam-packed family-friendly day out in Brighton

Joe Minihane
Written by
Katie Gregory
&
Joe Minihane
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Brighton is the perfect destination for kids with energy to burn. Whether it’s a day spent on the most quintessential of English beaches, eating fish and chips and playing in the sea, or spending a fortune in coppers on the pier's arcades, it’s about as old-school as it gets.

But with excellent free parks, a string of brilliant (if pricey) attractions and a series of ace museums, there are tons of options for when the weather takes a turn for the worse or boredom sets in. This is our guide to the best things to do in Brighton with kids.

RECOMMENDED: The best family day trips near London

A perfect family day in Brighton

First up

First up

Hit the beach, Brighton’s raison d’être. Skim pebbles off the shore, or paddle or swim if it’s warm out – there are lifeguards on watch from May to September. To get a seagull’s eye view of it all, race the offspring across Brighton Zip, a 32-metre-high dual zip line that follows a 300-metre stretch of the shoreline.

Stop for lunch

Stop for lunch

Any Brighton trip should involve a vinegar-soaked portion of chips, eaten while perched on the pebbles. Just pick a seafront chippy and you can’t go wrong. For pudding, it’s either ice cream from Boho Gelato, or sweet treats from Sugar Dough's outpost in the newly revamped Shelter Hall.

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Keep it on the cheap

King’s Road Playground is right on the seafront, and it’s got a paddling pool that’s particularly good for younger kids. Or check out the free open-air pool and play area at Hove Lagoon, which has a skate park for teens. It’s a short drive away or a quick hop on the 700 bus. The paddling pools are open throughout the summer.

Learn something new

Learn something new

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery runs family sessions in the holidays, and has downloadable trails to get young children involved. Brighton Toy & Model Museum is packed to the rafters with twee pre-tech playthings, and Sea Life Brighton has a glass-bottomed boat for studying creatures with budding Attenboroughs. The free Booth Museum is a natural history treasure trove, a short bus ride from the train station.

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See something cool

See something cool

Snap a photo of Afloat, the giant doughnut sculpture that’s actually a squashed globe, just off the Palace Pier. Then watch too-cool-for-school skaters and BMX-ers strut their stuff at The Level. Or for a bit of perspective, see Brighton in miniature from the top of the British Airways i360 observation tower. The latter now runs climbing excursions up its exterior for kids in need of an adrenaline fix.

Burn off some energy

Burn off some energy

Let them run off that stick of sugary rock at Preston Park. It’s a ten-minute walk from the train station, away from the beach, and has a huge rock garden to explore plus a velodrome that’s free to cycle on. Raining? Wrap is a co-working space that also happens to have a brilliant (and tastefully made) soft play area, plus classes and drop in sessions for the kids. Handily, it also serves strong coffee and excellent cakes.

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If you only do one thing

If you only do one thing

Ride the Volk’s Electric Railway. Trains on Britain’s oldest electric line run from Aquarium Station near the pier to Black Rock Station by the marina, and kids will love every second of the 12-minute journey. It’s open until October, and trains run every 15 minutes. Special Christmas trains also run, depending on the weather.

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