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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

By Katie Gregory |
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Kids sitting on striped sunloungers at the beach
Photograph: F1Online Digitale Bildegentur Gmbh/Alamy Stock Photo

On those rare occasions when both school and the sun are out, there’s nowhere better to head than Brighton beach. The shingle shoreline is fringed with family-friendly things to do, from the wallet-busting coasters and carousels at Brighton Pier, to the free parks, playgrounds and paddling pools along the seafront. Step away from the beach and you’ve got indie shops and restaurants in The Lanes, and big open spaces like The Level for kids to run wild in. And when the weather’s not playing ball, the seaside city lines up a long list of keep-them-dry activities. As far as family days out go, Brighton rocks!

RECOMMENDED: The best family day trips near London

A perfect family day in Brighton

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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.

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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 a cronut from Dum Dum Donutterie. Or both – it is the school holidays.

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Keep 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.

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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. 

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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. We could go on: Brighton is as cool as they come.

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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? Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures is a good indoor option, as is Globalls crazy golf course. That journey home should be a cinch.

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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 now until October, and trains run every 15 minutes.

Love the beach?

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