Known best as the UK’s favourite seaside city, Brighton transforms into a fully-fledged winter wonderland at Christmas time. You’re more likely to need your bobble hat than a bucket and spade, but it’s still a great time to visit and there’s loads of festive cheer on offer! With a dizzying array of big-name brands and brilliant independent shops for all your present-buying needs, amazing Christmas attractions, fabulous food and drink, unique events and so much more, Brighton is the place to come for all your festive fun this year.
From ice skating and winter walks to Christmas lights extravaganzas and fabulous festive dining, there’s sure to be something to do in Brighton to get you in the Christmas spirit this winter. Read on to find your perfect activity on our list of the best things to do in Brighton at Christmas.
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Our top picks for things to do in Brighton at Christmas
Ice Skating at The Royal Pavilion
An absolute must for everyone visiting Brighton at Christmas time, ice skating at The Royal Pavilion is the ultimate combination of festive fun, romance and that unique Brighton charm. Open from ten until ten every day (except the big day itself) from the end of October to the beginning of January, book your skating session early as the secret is well and truly out about this fabulous festive activity.
It just wouldn’t be Christmas without that mad dash around the city trying to tick every name off of that long list of people you need to buy presents for! From major stores such as Boots (for the inevitable perfume gift set), to the jewellers in The Lanes for someone special, and the independent shops of the North Laine for a truly unique present, Brighton is the perfect place to come and get all your Christmas shopping done in one go.
On the subject of festive lights, you are spoilt for choice in Brighton and the surrounding area. The city centre has a beautiful display of lights stretching along Western Road and North Street, along the North Laine and in the narrow streets of The Lanes too. For an extra-special experience, you can head out of the city centre to Stanmer Park where The Brighton Lights will light up One Garden. Brand new for 2023, The Brighton Lights will be a beautiful experience for all ages and it’s well worth the journey to Stanmer Park, which is easy to reach by train, bus or car. If you’re willing to venture further out then the award-winning Glow Wild lights and lantern trail at Wakehurst Place are an incredible festive experience
Head out for a fancy festive meal
Brighton is a city full of high-end dining delights, so why not treat yourself this Christmas with a meal somewhere a bit special? The Salt Room is one of Brighton’s best restaurants, with amazing sea views and sensational seafood to match. The Salt Room has a great Christmas offering, which you can find in full here. For the veggies and vegans out there, the Brighton institution that is Terre à Terre is the fine-dining restaurant of your dreams, and their festive menu has our tummies rumbling in anticipation, check it out here.
Take a walk along the seafront
So the beach might not be packed with sunseekers basking in twenty-five degrees heat, but taking a stroll along the seafront at this time of year is a lovely experience. So why not wrap up in your best winter gear, grab a warm drink and enjoy the relative quiet of this famous stretch of seafront? If you head down to the beach at dusk you might even catch the incredible murmurations as hundreds of thousands of starlings return to their roosts in Brighton’s two famous piers. And once you’ve witnessed this stunning natural spectacle, it’ll be dark and you can enjoy the Christmas lights along Kings Road and the promenade, too.
Experience Après-Ski by the Sea at The Shelter Hall
From November 10th onwards Brighton’s incredible food hall, The Shelter Hall, turns itself into an ongoing après-ski party. The outdoor terrace will be transformed into a place where you can enjoy all the incredible food and drink on offer in après-ski huts and private party domes! With plenty more festive fun inside The Shelter Hall too, this is a great place to head to after a hard day of shopping or at the end of that final week of work.
Visiting Brighton at Christmas time is like walking in a winter wonderland. If you’re heading down to do all your Christmas shopping, or you’re just looking to relax and enjoy the festive atmosphere, you’re spoilt for choice in Brighton. Perhaps Brighton’s best Christmas attraction is the winning combination of The Royal Pavilion and ice skating, a great Christmas activity for young and old alike. If it’s shops you’re after, then you’ve come to the right place! And after you’ve filled more bags than you can carry, you could take a load off and go for a meal at The Salt Room or Terre à Terre. For après-ski vibes at the seafront with great food and drink you need to head down to The Shelter Hall, which you could combine with a winter walk along Brighton’s famous seafront. There are Christmas lights aplenty in Brighton and the surrounding area, with the city streets lit up and incredible experiences like Brighton Lights at One Garden in Stanmer Park and Glow Wild at Wakehurst. And for a unique slice of community Christmas spirit, why not join the Burning the Clocks parade?