Ah, the season of merriment is upon us, and what better place to celebrate the yuletide cheer than the ever-vibrant coastal city of Brighton? As the year draws to a close, Brighton bursts into a dazzling display of festive lights and holiday spirit. In this friendly guide, we’re about to embark on a jolly journey through all things Brighton at Christmas. From twinkling lights to festive markets and ice skating rinks to heartwarming traditions, we’ve got it all covered!
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Our top picks for things to do in Brighton at Christmas
The Brighton Christmas Lights
Picture this: the sun sets, the seafront awakens with a magical glow, and the city’s streets come alive with an enchanting display of Christmas lights. Brighton takes its festive illumination very seriously. The dazzling lights weave their way through The Lanes, West Street, and North Street, creating a fairytale-like ambience that’s perfect for a leisurely evening stroll. Don’t miss the iconic Christmas tree in front of the Brighton Dome, adorned with thousands of sparkling lights.
The Lanes and Beyond: The Lanes, with its narrow winding streets and quirky independent shops, are a shopaholic’s haven year-round. But at Christmas, they turn into a delightful treasure trove of unique gifts and festive treats. You’ll find everything from vintage shops and artisan boutiques to charming cafés offering respite from your shopping spree.
Venture further into North Laine, where you’ll discover more eclectic stores, each one promising the perfect, one-of-a-kind gift for your loved ones. Local tip: The Brighton Open Market is also a Christmas shopping haven, hosting various artisanal stalls, and it’s all under one roof, so you can stay warm and dry!
Brighton Christmas Markets
Brighton’s Christmas Markets are a seasonal highlight, offering a warm and welcoming atmosphere where you can shop, eat, and be merry. The Christmas Market at New Road is a hub of festive spirit, with an array of charming stalls offering handmade crafts, unique gifts, and delicious treats. And don’t forget to try the mulled wine – it’s the ultimate winter warmer! If you’re after something truly special, explore the Artists’ Open Houses Christmas Festival, where local artists open their homes and studios for a unique shopping experience.
Ice Skating at the Royal Pavilion
There’s something inherently magical about gliding across the ice, and the Royal Pavilion Ice Rink is the place to do it. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Royal Pavilion, this open-air ice rink provides hours of wintery fun. Even if you’re not the most accomplished skater, it’s all part of the fun, and it’s an experience you won’t forget.
Christmas Panto Tradition
Brighton has a longstanding tradition of staging fabulous pantomimes during the festive season. These shows are family-friendly and incredibly entertaining, featuring larger-than-life characters, audience participation, and loads of laughter. The Theatre Royal Brighton, located on New Road, is known for its incredible Christmas pantomimes, so be sure to book your tickets well in advance.
Christmas Dining Delights
Brighton’s dining scene is a culinary kaleidoscope, and it’s even more enticing during Christmas. From traditional festive feasts to international cuisine, the city has a range of options to satisfy your taste buds. Visit The Salt Room for a sumptuous seafood meal, indulge in a roast dinner at The Coal Shed, or sample vegetarian delights at Terre à Terre.
The Burning of the Clock
A unique Brighton tradition, the Burning of the Clocks is a wonderful way to mark the Winter Solstice and the longest night of the year. It takes place on the 21st of December and involves a parade of lanterns and homemade clocks, which are then burned on the beach as a symbol of the year’s end and the days getting longer. It’s a beautiful, community-led event that’s free for all to enjoy.
Festive Fun at the Beach
Brighton’s beach is not just for summer! At Christmas, it’s the perfect place to enjoy some fresh sea air and beautiful views. Take a bracing walk along the promenade, build a pebble snowman, or simply watch the waves while wrapped up in your warmest winter gear.
Christmas Eve Carols
On Christmas Eve, gather with the locals at Brighton’s seafront to join in with the carol singing. It’s a heartwarming tradition that brings people together, filling the night with music and goodwill. It’s a lovely way to start your own Christmas celebrations.
New Year's Eve in Brighton
If you’re planning to see in the New Year in style, Brighton is the place to be. The city hosts numerous parties, and the skies light up with fireworks over the seafront. Grab a ticket to one of the many lively events, or simply head to the beach for a free, breathtaking view of the fireworks.
Brighton, during Christmas, is truly a magical place. From the stunning Christmas lights to the bustling markets and unique traditions, there’s no shortage of festive cheer. So, whether you’re a local or a visitor, embrace the spirit of the season and make your way to Brighton for a Christmas you’ll cherish forever. From the crisp sea air to the warm, friendly faces, you’ll discover that Brighton is a delightful destination for celebrating the most wonderful time of the year. Happy holidays!