Brighton definitely has a reputation for the place to go on a sunny day…or as a hen or stag party. But did you know that it’s also FABULOUS for kids? There’s loads to do come rain or shine. At just 50 minutes away from London it’s very accessible, making it a great day trip option. Of course there’s plenty to keep you occupied with the usual Brighton activities like the Palace Pier and the beach, but I thought I’d give you a little round up of the slightly less heard of places to take the kids. Here is my round up of some hidden gems….
This is an easy and enjoyable way to kill an hour or 2 with the kids and fab on a rainy day. It’s all about natural history and is full of charm, in a Brighton avent-garde kind of style.
It focuses on birds, butterflies, fossils, and bones. Founded as a Victorian collector’s private museum, the Booth Museum now brings natural history to life with interactive displays and ‘hands on’ activities. My kids spend ages gawping at the displays, which includes taxidermy. Entry is also free, which is amazing. Opposite the museum is a great park with brilliant play facilities and a nice café, which is really convenient for extending the fun.
Be aware, the museum it is closed on Thursdays and only open in the afternoons on Sundays. Check the site for more details.
For some reason this soft play haven still seems to be fairly well kept secret among locals and tourists alike. I think it’s because it’s relatively new and people don’t expect to find a soft play centre at the end of a pier. But it is there and it’s great! Fabulous for a rainy day activity (as long as you can fight the rain to actually get there…the pier can feel rather exposed!), and may even offer you the chance of a cup of tea and a bit of cake whilst they go wild among the many layers of soft play heaven. The site has details of their opening hours and prices etc.
I adore this place. In the winter you can sit in the café and enjoy the view of the sea lapping the pebbly shore. If the weather is bright you can sit outside and enjoy the view of the volleyball courts (which usually always have people playing on them, no matter what the season) and let the kids play in the large sandpit next to the outdoor seating, which is well stocked with buckets, spades and toys. Yellowave is really child friendly, has multiple high chairs, a kid’s menu, and often features child-focussed activities like music groups, baby yoga, or seasonal activities like Easter egg hunts. Next-door is also home to ‘Peter Pans playground’ with many slides, wings, pirate ships, climbing frames, fountains etc, so plenty to do. Both Peter Pans Playground and Yellowave are free to enter .Go check it out!
There are SO many lovely, and free parks to enjoy in Brighton. Many of which are slightly outside of the city centre. Many are handily located by nice pubs and/or cafes. My top two are Blakers Park and Preston Park. Blakers Park is quite small and enclosed so perfect if you have pre schoolers. The equipment is perfect for age 2-5, although there are often bigger kids there too. The sand pit is huge and there’s a lovely slide, climbing equipment, swings etc. Opposite the park is The Clevelend pub, which is one of my favourites in Brighton, serving great food, and provides an area inside for the kids that includes a big box of toys. Great to keep them entertained!
Preston Park is the largest park in Brighton, and is located on the way out of the city. A beautiful spot with a large rose garden, a pond (currently populated with tadpoles turning into frogs), two cafes and lovely play area. The play area is enclosed with great facilities for kids. Sand pit, play houses, climbing frames, zip wire, roundabout, seesaw etc. It’s one of my favourite places to be on a sunny day. Lots of opportunities for ice creams from both cafes. The Park View pub to the north of the park is also a great pub for a spot of lunch. It is child friendly and has a large outdoor seating area.
A lovely spot around three miles to the West of the Palace Pier. It’s out of the melle of the centre so usually much less busy. The lagoon itself is predominantly used for water sports like wakeboarding and paddleboarding, but there’s much more there for all the family. There is a fabulous play area suitable for all ages of children, a café serving breakfasts, lunches, ice creams and beers. There are also trampolines, a small merry go round and pretty swan pedalos you can hire and take out on the lagoon for a fun boat trip. There is also a splash pool operating on hot days, which the kids love. It’s all a stone’s throw from Hove beach too so you can still dip your toes in the sea should you wish. Last time I went there was a man taking his tortoises for a walk, which was a bizarre sight and typical of Brighton! A word of warning…being right on the sea front it’s rather exposed, so I wouldn’t recommend going on a cold or windy day.
If you have a baby or toddler and enjoy music, then these are the groups for you! A hidden gem under the arches of Brighton train station. Jackie, the music teacher that runs them is a real character and so much fun! A great group to take the kids to for an hour before or after a spot of lunch at some of the great restaurants near by…like Franco Manca Pizza or The Al Campo Lounge.
The Jubilee Library because is a real safe haven if you have young kids. It’s great if you need somewhere to warm up, keep dry in the rain, change nappies, give the baby a feed etc. It’s big and very child friendly. It’s also free. There’s (obviously) ample books to keep the kids entertained and there is also a large play area with a few beanbags, toys and a dressing up box. There are small tables laid out where you can feed your kids or read to them. The library has saved me many times when we weren’t quite ready to go home on our way back from the beach or lunch out a in the town. The library is also located handily right by The Prince Regent Swimming Pool which is also very child friendly, a large Pizza Express and the very yummy Chilli Pickle restaurant. The library also has some great activities like Dad’s Baby Boogie and Story Time, check their website for more details.
This is a great café down on the beach, which is all about gaming! There are free gaming consoles dotted about the café which you or the kids can take advantage of for free. It’s such a great option on a rainy/cold day or for when you’re all a bit tired and in need of sustenance. It’s nestled down by the Palace Pier on the Lower Promenade, open 7 days a week and serves coffee, craft beer, fresh food, beer and cocktails. A secret treasure and something a little bit different.