Don’t let the grey and cold weather put you off – there is still plenty to do in this seaside city even when its miserable outside.
(Intermediate to Higher Level Reading Piece)
By Yalda Saddighzadeh
Despite being a buzzing seaside city with plenty of things to do in the sunshine, there’s still lots to do in Brighton when the weather is bleak and very British.
Following on from my ’10 things to do in Brighton in the Summer’, it’s only fair I share with you some activities to wile away a rainy day in Brighton, afternoon or cold evening, after all lets face it…there are plenty of those too!
- Take in some British history at the Royal Pavillion
The Royal Pavilion was the seaside ‘pleasure’ palace for the extravagant King George VI, known as the Prince Regent. Known for his excesses – drinking, womanising and gambling, he was influenced by the mythical orient and the art of India and so as the Royal Pavilion expanded, it was furnished and constructed in this decedent style. The King and the Pavilion had a huge impact on the growth and development of Brighton and tourism skyrocketed in the city. During the First World War, the Pavilion took on a more serious and necessary role when it served as a hospital for troops from the Indian Corps.
The Pavilion was also the inspiration for the Yule Ball Ice Palace in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire.
Today, you can spend time wandering around the rooms taking
in the decedent style of the Prince and learning about its history and its role in the Great War. There is also the tearoom upstairs which serves traditional afternoon tea and drinks.
- Under the Sea at the Sealife Centre
The Sealife Centre is located in front on the Brighton Palace pier on Marine Parade overlooking the seafront. The aquarium is another great option for a rainy day in Brighton. It’s the oldest operating aquarium in the world with original Victorian Arcade arches and literally houses 1000’s of sea creatures. These include turtles, sharks, exotic and British fish. There is also glass bottom boat to go over the water and see the creatures close up and a glass tunnel to watch them swim by. They also take part in a number of conservation projects to help rescue, breed and protect marine life. There is a cafe and gift shop if you’d like a souvenir. Entrance fees start from £10.50.
- Discover all Manner of Creatures at the Booth Museum of Natural History
This museum is a strange little place cataloging the collection of Edward Booth (1840 – 1890). A man who was born into well-known family and spent his life shooting a frighteningly large number of animals (mostly birds) and collected them by taxidermy. He kept extensive catalogues of his kills and eventually descended into alcoholism and madness, taking to shooting at postmen when they came to deliver mail. To be honest, I find this museum a bit creepy, and if you don’t like birds then don’t go or you will find yourself in the middle of your worst nightmare! However, it’s an extensive record of the different species of birds, especially British ones. It also houses an impressive collection of animal skeletons which are truly fascinating. You will find a lot of art students sitting around the museum sketching the birds, so if drawing is an interest of yours, this is a chance to sketch birds which you would otherwise not be able to.
- Practice your Skating Skills at Royal Pavilion Ice Rink
This atmospheric ice rink is set up in front of the Royal Pavilion in its gardens every year between the beginning of November to mid-January over the Christmas period. The Pavilion is bathed in a striking pinky, purple light in the evenings and makes for a beautiful wonderful winterland setting to practice skating and get you into the Christmas spirit. For those who are just watching or for an after skating rest, there’s a Rinkside Bar and Kitchen. The ice rink is open from 10:00am right through until 22:15, so an evening session is a lovely christmassy way to spend an evening. Tickets are about £13 for a peak time session for adults and £8.50 for children. Don’t forget to take a look at our Principals blog post all about winter skating on the Pavilion.
- Catch a Film at the Duke of York’s Cinema
The Duke of York’s cinema is a quirky little cinema which has been part of Brighton’s London Road area for decades. Part of the Picturehouse group, it screens mainstream, arthouse and independent films as well as putting on screenings of classic films. Great for a rainy day in Brighton!
It runs Happy Mondays (on Mondays obviously!) – tickets are £7 for all films showing (£10 is the average price of a cinema ticket in Brighton).
It serves pizzas from local posh pizza delivery Pizzaface as well as beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks. There’s a balcony and terrace to sit and chill perfect for warmer weather.
- Get Artistic at the Painting Pottery Café
If its miserable and wet outside, this is always a good way to spend a couple of hours. You choose and pay for your pottery, anything from ornaments to teapots to pen holders, then trace on a design on it (or draw your own, if you’re artistic), and then get painting. There is a wide range of paint and pottery to choose from and is good fun with a group of friends. Your creation will then be fired and glazed and you can pick it up in a couple of days later. They serve hot and cold drinks as well. The café also run workshops and evening lessons if you want to learn more than just painting pottery. Larger groups are welcome just book beforehand.
- Learn about local history and art at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
Brighton Museum and Art Gallery is located in the gardens of the Royal Pavilion and tells us the story of the city. It opened in 1861 and housed the town’s art collection as well as items collected by residents from all around the world. It was transformed at the turn of the millennium and relocated to the gardens. Today, permanent exhibits include fine art (which is changed every 6 months), artefacts from ancient Egypt and 20th Century Art and Design. It also houses an LGBTQ Trail charting the histories of LGBTQ people which are often hidden in society. It also runs regular temporary exhibitions, currently there’s an exhibition on experimental film-making in Brighton & Hove from 1896 to today running until 4th June 2017. Another great one for being indoors on a rainy day in Brighton.
- Browse the Stalls at the Open Market
When I was young I remember the Open Market well. We went there all the time. Lots of stalls selling produce like cheese, eggs, meat and vegetables and all manner of other things including clothes, pet food and appliances. I remember getting sweets from the sweet stall – usually sherbet pips as I thought they would last longer! As the years went by it got smaller and smaller until it just disappeared. It looked quite sad standing empty. In 2006, permission was granted to rebuild the market on the old site and now, the market is back and has a modern edge. 45 permanent stalls all under one waterproof roof. Stalls selling anything from natural skin products, vintage clothing, pet accessories, second-hand furniture to fishmongers, dairy products and honey. There are also many different food stalls and cafe serving food from all around the world. Temporary stalls also setting up all the time including an Etsy stall last year.
- Solve the Mystery of Lady Chastity’s Reserve
I’ve not tried this one, but I’ve heard good things. Handmade Mysteries run games in the ’depths of historical pubs’ in London and Brighton mixing old-fashioned clue solving with interactive theatre. In Brighton, its at the Black Lion pub where you and your team have an hour to pit your wits against Lady Chastity solving puzzles to win her ‘fabled aphrodisiac wine’. It has lots of great reviews and the Black Lion is an atmospheric pub perfect for this kind of experience and great for a drink afterwards, especially on a rainy day in Brighton
. This certainly sounds like a unique and creative way to spend a cold and wet evening with friends.
- Take a Bracing Sea Walk
If you are feeling brave and don’t want to stuck inside on a cold day then a sea walk may be just what you need.
Stroll along the seafront road and take in the sea air as well as the lovely view from anywhere along the route. You can start from Hove and stroll all along the coast. Along Hove Lawns and the famous colourful beach huts, then onto Brighton past the new i360 and the crumbling West Pier, onto the most well known part of the seafront down along the Arches and through to the Brighton Palace Pier. If you want to go further, you can continue along Marine Drive. From Brighton Marina, continue east on the Undercliff walk. This stretch is one of the nicest and unusual walks in Brighton. It runs alongside the cliffs along the beach edge all they way through to Saltdean – a surburb of the city. This is a lovely walk especially on a cold sunny day as the sunlight bounces off the white cliffs and the sea is beautiful running alongside the cliffs.