Brighton and Hove are widely regarded as one of the UKs best and most loved seaside destinations, with thousands of tourists flocking there each summer season. However, the city doesn’t just shut up shop and hibernate in the winter months! There is plenty to see and do when the weather turns colder – you just have to get out there and look for it.
For example, there is surely no more romantic a site than the Brighton Royal Pavilion’s Outdoor Ice Rink. This has definitely become one of the city’s most popular winter attractions and it is easy to understand why – skating at night with the exotic Pavilion lit up behind you, you would be forgiven for feeling as if you were gliding across the ice in front of an oriental palace. And with ‘pop up’ restaurant and bar facilities (in 2012 these were run by Jamie Oliver) you can even have a mug of mulled wine or hot chocolate to warm you up. The ice rink is open from mid-November until late January (closed on Christmas Day).
If you are considering staying in Brighton for a winter getaway around the 21st of December then a must see event is definitely the ‘Burning Of The Clocks.’ This long standing tradition sees the local community carrying hand-made willow and paper lanterns in a procession through the city before gathering on the beach for the culmination of the event – a spectacular fire show and fireworks display.
One thing Brighton is famous for is its festivals and events. While Pride may be the biggest (generally held in September) there are a host of smaller events that run throughout the year. Some of the more wacky of those held in the winter months are the Christmas Pudding Race (think egg and spoon but with a pudding on a tray) and the Brighton Santa Dash – both of which are for charity. Another great winter event is the Christmas Artists Open Houses where, for set weekends in December, local artists open their homes for the public to view – and hopefully buy – their work.
New Year in Brighton can offer party goers a wealth of opportunity. While details will vary from year to year, there are generally a number of parties and events from theatre to masquerade balls to concerts.
Of course, it wouldn’t be right to talk about Brighton without mentioning the iconic Pier. Open all year round (with the exception of Christmas Day) you can enjoy the thrill of the fayre just as much in winter as summer as most of the rides and attractions are under cover. And no visit to the Pier would be complete without a bag of fish and chips which will be all the more appreciated when the weather is chilly.
For many Londoners, Brighton is the perfect escape from the big city. And they are lucky in that it is a relatively short drive or train ride away. Those of us who live further away may have to consider other options however.The easiest option may be to fly to nearby Gatwick then simply jump on a direct train to Brighton Station or hire a car at the airport and cruise down the M23.
So why not check out Brighton this winter? Perhaps the seaside town will end up with a year round reputation as one of the United Kingdom’s best holiday spots!