What To Do on Christmas Eve in Brighton

Christmas in Brighton, with white buildings in the background

It’s Christmas Eve, you’ve wrapped all the presents (ok maybe not all of them), you’ve sent all your cards, and if you’re lucky, there’s no more work until 2024. Now there’s only one thing left to do: get out into the city streets of Brighton and soak up as much of the festive atmosphere as you can – and no, that doesn’t just mean drinking mulled wine.

If you still need to pick up a few final gifts during the day or you’re looking to unwind with a great meal or a drink, then Brighton is the place to be on Christmas Eve. Aside from the festive traditions of shopping and drinking, there are loads of unique experiences to be had in Brighton on Christmas Eve; from community traditions to religious reflections, there’s something for everyone. So read on to find your Christmas Eve activity and then get your best Christmas jumper on and get out there!

Our top ideas on where to spend your Christmas Eve

Ice-skating at The Royal Pavilion

Guaranteed to appear on any list of things to do in Brighton at this time of year, The Royal Pavilion ice rink is the ultimate combo of Christmas cheer and Brighton charm and you simply have to pay it a visit if you’re in the city between 28th October and 7th January. The ice rink is open from ten until ten on Christmas Eve, so it’s a great option for some final festive fun before the big day. 

Fun for the little ones at Brighton Dome

If you’ve got young children to entertain on Christmas Eve, when the excitement is sure to be reaching fever pitch, then Brighton Dome could be the perfect place to head to. The final day of Touch and Glow at the Dome is 24th December, with tickets available for the events at 9:45, 10:45 and 12:00. Touch and Glow is a ‘unique electronic colouring adventure’ for 0-5-year-olds that’s also fun for all the family. You could follow up by going to see the final showing of The Little Match Girl at 2:30 pm, a beautiful dance-theatre production about which The Guardian review said ‘adults should beg, borrow or steal a child to take to this funny and moving production’.

Cinderella Pantomime

The ultimate Christmas family outing has got to be a trip to the panto (oh yes it is!). You can enjoy this Christmas classic at the iconic Metropole hotel on Brighton seafront, where the Brighton Family Panto is staging Cinderella for a special ten-day run either side of the big day. The Brighton Family Panto has been a Christmas fixture in the city since 2017 and has had fantastic reviews for its previous shows, including their first run of Cinderella. There are two shows on Christmas Eve, at 11am and 3pm, and tickets start from £15 per adult and £12.50 for students, over-65s, and under-16s. You can book tickets using this link.

A Christmas Eve dinner

Now obviously you won’t want to fill up too much before the biggest and best meal of the year, but why not head out on Christmas Eve for a bit of fine dining and a festive cocktail or two? Lots of Brighton’s best restaurants are open on Christmas Eve so you can put the turkey (or tofurkey) on hold and experience the best flavours Brighton has to offer. Check out The Flint House for small plates and great cocktails, or Burnt Orange for similar vibes but with a wood-fired BBQ twist. If you want to spice up your Christmas Eve then The Chilli Pickle is open for business, or go for some sensational seafood in a cosy pub environment at The Urchin.

A Christmas Carol Escape Room

Have you ever fancied trying an escape room? Or maybe you’re a seasoned escapist looking for a new challenge? The Christmas Carol, brought to Preston Manor by local escape room legends Pier Pressure, puts a new spin on the format with a ‘half escape room/ half immersive theatre experience’. Not just an escape room, but an entire Edwardian mansion filled with challenges, ‘real’ ghosts and other Christmas characters. Pier Pressure is a well-established escape room venue with outstanding reviews, so you can rely on them to deliver an incredible, unique Christmas Eve experience. There are four slots still available for The Christmas Carol at Preston Manor on Christmas Eve, which costs £29 per person and is suitable for groups of between four and eight people. Don’t forget to book tickets!

Visit Santa’s Grotto at The Royal Pavilion

Just before he sets off for his big night of the year, why not pay the big man himself a visit in his grotto at The Royal Pavilion? Instead of waiting in a big queue, you can book your own time slot at this iconic Brighton venue for an exclusive experience with Santa, where kids get to meet Father Christmas and get a present from him. There are lots of other ‘Winter Wonderland’ activities for the little ones at the Pavilion and adjacent Brighton Museum for even more festive family fun. Specific time slots are still available for Christmas Eve visits to Santa’s Grotto. You can book yours now.

The pub!

Christmas Eve in Brighton is a time to relish the festive spirit, partake in unique experiences, and create cherished memories with loved ones. As you don your Christmas jumper and venture out into the city, you’ll discover that Brighton has a wealth of enchanting activities to offer, ensuring that your Christmas Eve is filled with joy and wonder. Our top favourites? We LOVE The Walrus on Ship Street, and their Christmas menu looks divine!

There’s all sorts of fun for families, friends, couples or solo adventurers in Brighton on Christmas Eve. Whether you just want to keep it simple with a drink or a nice meal or keep the festivities going with a visit to the panto or Santa’s Grotto, you’re in the right place. For a uniquely Brighton Christmas experience, you can go ice-skating at The Royal Pavilion, or for something completely different check out The Christmas Carol-themed escape room/theatre experience at Preston Manor. Whatever you choose to do, part of the fun of Christmas Eve is just getting out there and soaking up the atmosphere with all the other festive revellers, and there’s no better place for it than Brighton.

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