A T get’s older, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to find new places to go as well as places that are relatively cheap still. Although T is free most of the time, he’s slowly entering that danger zone of not being free anymore! I’ve also been quite lucky that folk haven’t challenged him/me as some days he certainly doesn’t look two!
Sadly, a lot of places that T would probably enjoy now do cost, and sometimes quite a lot! At first, £3-£5 isn’t much, but do that 2-3 times a month on my day off, plus parking at some places and petrol, the cost soon ads up! I’m always on the look out for, lets face it, a freebie.
We’re lucky enough to be able to afford our yearly national trust; which means we can visit places as many times as we like without the need for extra cash, but sometimes we just want something a bit more local or something that doesn’t require a whole day. Living close to Brighton means there’s always something on, whether it’s a festival or exhibition, and a lot of the time these events are free – but there’s also a ton of other things to do if you decide to randomly rock up one day unplanned.
Starting in the centre of town, Brighton Pavilion is probably one of the main tourist attractions, however it’s not the cheapest of excursions (especially if your toddler breaks something!). The gardens however are free to visit and are a wonderful place to have some lunch or listen to local buskers or street performers.
I often met Sharon here for lunch during maternity leave or more recently when we came to do some shopping. It’s a great space for toddlers to run around and chase the pigeons or be chased by seagulls!
15-20 minutes from Hove Train Station, Hove Museum is a good place to see old toys thanks to their ‘Wizards Attic’, as well as various exhibitions and local history. Entrance is free and the museum is family friendly.
Another museum that I’ve mentioned previously is the Brighton and Hove Booth Museum. With free entry, although closed on Thursdays, it has a large selection of fossils and natural history, as well as interactive pieces on site. There’s also a pleasant play park across the road with cafe.
One of the most obvious (and free) places to visit in Brighton is the beach. With miles of pebbles, there’s plenty of room to have a picnic or a paddle. If that doesn’t take your fancy there is also an array of shops, galleries, and museums to explore along the lower parade, as well as a few rides and amusement arcades.
Just up from Brighton Pier is the historic Volks Railway, which serves the length of Brighton seafront from Black Rock to the Pier (and back). Although the railway is seasonal, rides are reasonably priced at £3.60 for an adult return and £2.10 for a child return. Stopping at Black Rock means that you can also visit Brighton Marina.
If you then prefer to walk further along Brighton’s coastline, away from the hustle and bustle of the town centre, then the Saltdean to Rottingdean Undercliff Walk is also a scenic treat and offers a flat and buggy friendly area that’s also fun for scooters! Along this walk is also an array of cafes and can be accessed by parking at Saltdean or Rottingdean, or getting a bus to either locations.
Although Brighton is a city, there is also a huge amount of green space available to explore. On the outskirts of Brighton, and home to Brighton Pride, is Preston Park which is a stunning open space that has a wonderful play park. There’s also two cafes on site and reasonably priced parking,
Further out of town, closer to the A23 and the University, is Stanmer Park. This is where you’re free to explore the more wooded part of Brighton. Stanmer Park also boasts FREE parking, Stanmer House & Tea Rooms, Stanmer Organics, as well as the local village cafe, with lots of nature trails to explore.
Probably the more central park is Queens Park, located in between the Pavilion, the hospital and Brighton Racecourse. Here you can feed the ducks, visit the wildlife garden, or explore the play area.
Hove Park is probably one of the biggest green spaces in Brighton and Hove and is a favourite for dog walkers, runners, and families. As well as the usual play areas and open spaces, there’s also a miniature railway and several ‘Nature Beds’ to explore.
Jump on a number 77 bus from Brighton city centre and you’ll reach Devils Dyke, which is part of the South Downs. Owned by the National Trust, you can expect an array of gorgeous walks and stunning views. Being so high up, you’re also welcome to fly a kite or explore one of many nature trails! There’s also a pub on site which reimburses your parking if you spend £10 (easy!).
If you still haven’t found something to do or you need to burn some extra energy, there’s dozens of play areas for children in Brighton and Hove – all ranging in size. Our favourites, and the more centrally located, are Kings Road (near the West Pier) and Madeira Drive. Both of these parks have optional (and seasonal) water features, tough climbing areas and on-site cafes and toilets, although make sure you bring a blanket as benches are few and far between.
There’s also much larger play areas for bigger children at The Level (London Road) and further out at Saunders Park (Lewes Road).