West Pier Brighton Sunrise

Brighton photography guide

Where are the best views in Brighton?

There are lots of stunning views in Brighton & Hove, but where to start? What if you’re short on time? I’m here to help, so below is my own personal rundown along with why. The following are great for budding photographers or anyone looking to enjoy the best of Brighton.

1. Hove Promenade Beach Huts

Colourful, quirky, and traditional

Start Location Map / End Location Map
(Or Vice Versa)

Follow the promenade west of West Pier and you’ll find yourself at Hove Lawns and the start of the Hove Beach Huts. Hundreds of ’em! After Hove Lawns, stop at Maroccos for a delicious ice cream before carrying on west where the beach huts start again and continue for another 1km where the promenade ends at Hove Lagoon (there’s a cafe there if you’re in need of more sustenance!

The beach huts popped-up in the 1930’s and continued to be added to over the years. Each hut remains in the original heritage colours with owners going crazy with with creativity on the doors. This freedom has made Hove promenade a characterful place with stripes, spots, rainbows, block colours and even a rainbow.

To view or purchase images -> Visit the Brighton Photography Collection

When to visit

Around sunset, the huts can take on a magical feeling with the last of the light doing its thing. If photographing, the winter will see the sun set over the sea and illuminated the front of the beach huts, summer the behind. Ultimately it’s a pleasure to visit at any time of day. The promenade takes on a traditional feel on Sunday’s and Christmas Day when families have a promenade stroll along Hove’s beach huts.

2. The Royal Pavilion

Exotic, Beautiful, and historic

Location Map

I simply couldn’t pass over the stunning Royal Pavilion in the heart of Brighton! The Pavilion and Prince Regent (later crowned King George IV) are intertwined with Brighton’s history and its journey to becoming a go-to destination.

The Prince Regent later crowned King George IV, visited Brighton, as many Londoners did, for the health giving benefits of the sea and fresh coastal air. He most likely wanted to also stay away from his father and parliament where his frivolous lifestyle was becoming more and more frowned upon.

The Prince Regent enjoyed a modest farmhouse as his holiday home, however it didn’t stay modest for long! The large stables complex, now the Brighton Dome & Corn Exchange venue, was added and the farmhouse extended and re-modelled several times. The final Indo-Saracenic design that can still be seen today was designed by the famous architect John Nash – also known for being jointly responsible for the design of Buckingham Palace.

If you get a chance, I highly recommend a visit at the very least to the public gardens around the Pavilion. If you have time do buy a ticket to go inside. The interior is spectacular and otherworldly! n.b photography is not permitted inside but there are plenty of opportunities outside, in and around the gardens on both sides of the pavilion.

Brighton museum is located at the north-end of the pavilion gardens.

When to visit

The surrounding gardens are open 24 x 7 and offer an ideal haven to enjoy warm sunny days. Here you’ll hear music in the breeze from the occasional busker and the gentle hubbub of friends, families and tourists enjoying the peaceful green space. The soft light on slightly cloudy days or in the cusp of sunset & sun rise really make the pavilion stonework glow with a soft warmth that needs to be seen.

Winter visitors can make the most of the annual Ice Rink installed at the front of the Pavilion.

Additional information

Entry to the Pavilion is available all year round. Save 10% on tickets by buying online, or for Brighton residents enjoy 50% off with proof of residence.

Pavilion Opening Times
Further Information on the Pavilion from Wikipedia

3. THE WEST PIER

Rusted, architectural and charming

Location Map

Sure, there are no surprises with this one and for good reason! The Brighton West Pier is part of Brighton’s identity and has many stories to tell.

It’s hard to think of any other historic structure that has quite the unusual history that continues to unfold even now. The West Pier has always been a beautiful sight nestled against Brighton beach, and somehow the pier still has its own charm even in the current charred and rusted state.

West Pier was first opened in 1866 as a leisure pier and offered its visitors a stroll out over the sea, along with performances in the theatre and music hall. The pier later fell into a state of disrepair and funding attempts to restore it were unsuccessful. Sadly, the fire of 2003 destroyed the West Pier apart from its metal frame and one of its fortune-tellers hut that survived, or so the local legend goes!

To view or purchase images -> Visit the Brighton Photography Collection

When to visit

Low tide is a great opportunity to view the pier on its sandy beach. The low tide also gives a different perspective allowing visitors to look up at the pier, and even walk right up to it on very low tides. But do be careful not to get too close as there’s plenty of buried metal structure.

Late autumn sees the Starling’s return; flocking together in large murmurations to mesmerise and entertain. While away an hour or 2 watching this spectacle from the shore and bring your camera and a tripod if you feel like getting creative. Just wrap up warm!

Sunrise & sunset bathes the pier in warm light often with magnificently colourful skies, especially so in the winter when the sun sets and rises over the sea.

Additional Information

Learn more about the pier’s history, fires, and failed rescue attempts with the West Pier Trust

What are your favourite views of Brighton?

Leave a comment below and perhaps teach this local (me!) a new hidden gem?….

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