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    Things to do in Sussex… Brighton!

    Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to take you on a tour around the UK, dropping into regions which house our holiday parks but telling you about the cities, the events and the things to do off park which make that area worth a visit! Sit yourself comfortably, grab a cuppa and tune in whilst Madi starts us off with Sussex – enjoy!

    Around an hour’s drive or train ride from Church Farm and Combe Haven Holiday Parks is the fun and vibrant city of Brighton & Hove. It has a long and fascinating past from a sleepy fishing village, to a seaside resort in the Georgian and Victorian eras to the vibrant and cultural centre it is today.

    Here are our top Brighton tips of places to go and things to do…

    •  The city is full of quirky independent boutiques – whether you’re looking for clothes, toys, presents, furniture or homeware… explore the narrow streets in the North and South Lanes to find yourself some new, old, vintage or handmade hidden treasures. Some streets we’d recommend heading down are… Sydney Street, Kensington Gardens, Gardner Street, Bond Street and Meeting House Lane.
    • The Brighton Pier (formally known as the Palace Pier) provides some great views of the city and beachfront and there are lots of arcade machines to keep kids busy!
    • Walk down to the seafront and turn right towards Hove to take in the views of the sea, the historic architecture of the famous Grand Hotel and Regency houses and the picture perfect beach huts.

    •  A short 3 minute train ride from Brighton station (or about 20 minutes walk from there) is The Duke of York’s Picturehouse cinema at London Road – with giant model “can can” legs on the roof, you can’t miss it! The cinema was established in 1910 and it remains largely unchanged. They show a mixture of new, independent and cult classic movies and last year won an award for the best UK cinema.

    •  Don’t miss a trip to the Royal Pavilion. This exotic looking palace was built in the 1780s for George Prince of Wales (the eccentric Prince Regent) as a seaside retreat and has an impressive Indian style exterior and Chinese interior. Even if you don’t venture inside (a family ticket for 2 adults and 2 children is currently £26.90) it’s well worth a wander around the gardens. Read more here.

    •  Brighton Toy and Model Museum, located underneath Brighton station, has over 10,000 toys and models on display from the 1860s to the present day and is sure to be a day out that all the family will enjoy. Plus, until April 2014, if you’ve traveled to Brighton by train you can get 2-for-1 entry – read more here.
    • The Booth Museum of Natural History is free to enter and has over half a million specimens including British birds and bugs, a killer whale skeleton and dinosaur bones to discover – bear in mind though, this is not open on Tuesdays so pre-plan this into your holiday itinerary!
    • Get breathtaking views over the city from the sky on the Brighton Wheel – Brighton’s 45m diameter answer to the London Eye. You can get tickets (£8 adult/£6.50 child) and more information here.

    • The West Pier can be seen from the beach front if you head right down the coast towards Hove. It was built in 1866 but after suffering a couple of fires and storm damage, only the skeleton remains. It has become an iconic part of the Brighton seafront none the less.

    • Volks Electric Railway is Britain’s oldest electric railway – it was built in 1883 and is still in operation! Travel the quarter of a mile journey from Brighton Pier to the Marina just up the coastline on a single or return fare – for more info and prices head to the website here.
    • Much of the history of Brighton is documented at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery which is accessed from the Royal Pavilion Gardens. Entry is free and there’s a whole variety of things to look at from fine art, fashion and style to the Exploring Brighton galleries.

    Some of our favourite places to eat and drink…

    • Scoop and Crumb on East Street, home to the largest ice cream sundae and waffle menu in the UK. Do we need to say anymore?!
    • Shakeaway on Bond Street – the perfect pit stop for a sweet treat of a milkshake of any and every flavour you can imagine! They do vegan and soya ones too or frozen yoghurt if you fancy something a tad healthier.
    • If you fancy some fish and chips don’t be tempted by the places directly on the seafront – if you head towards the North Lanes you’ll get bigger portions and better value.
    • The Lanes are a great place to find little cafés, pubs and restaurants for a bite to eat – head off the beaten track – you won’t regret it! There are lots of talented buskers and bands dotted around too so enjoy your dinner in style!

     Key dates in the Brighton calendar…

    • Brighton Marathon (6 April 2014)
    • Brighton Fringe Festival – (3 May – 1 June 2014)
    • Great Escape Festival (8 – 10 May 2014)
    • London to Brighton Mini Run (18 May 2014)
    • Brighton Pride (TBC – in 2013 it took place on 3 August)
    • VW Brighton Breeze (TBC – in 2013 it took place on 5 October
    • Bonfire Night in Lewes (5 November)