Brighton photography guide

Where are the best views for photography in Brighton?

Want to know where to take the best Brighton photos on your visit? There are many stunning views across the city but where to start and what if you’re short on time?! I’m here to help, so below is my top 3 along with the where and why.

If you’d like to see how a local photographer does it – feel free to take a look at my Brighton photography or details of photography lessons in and around Brighton and Sussex.

1. Hove Beach Huts

Hove Beach Huts

Colourful, Quirky, Traditional
Start Here & End Here (or vice versa)

From West Pier follow the promenade west (away from both piers) and in a short while you’ll find yourself at Hove Lawns and the start of Hove’s Beach Huts. ‘undreds of ’em!

After Hove Lawns, stop at Marocco’s for a delicious ice cream before carrying on west where the huts continue again for another 1km, ending along with the promenade at Hove Lagoon water sports centre. Coincidentally, there’s also a cafe if you need more sustenance! Well, you’re on holiday after all! read on…

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 being allowed to go crazy with creativity just on the doors. This freedom has made Hove Promenade a characterful place with stripes, spots, rainbows, block colours and even a rainbow!

When to visit

Around sunset, the huts can take on a magical feel with the last of the light doing its thing. During the winter the sun sets over the sea illuminating the colourful doors.

In summer the sun sets behind requiring careful exposure management, or embrace the backlit silhouetted huts. Ultimately, it’s a pleasure to visit at any time of the day. I always find the promenade takes on a more traditional feeling on Sundays and Christmas Day as families stroll and enjoy the fresh sea air, ahhhhh.

2. The Royal Pavilion

Exotic, Beautiful, Historical
Map to take you there

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 the city’s history and its journey to becoming a go-to destination.

I highly recommend visiting the public gardens around the Pavilion where you’ll find many photo opportunities – some highly creative and others more tried and trusted. If you have time – buy a ticket and head inside to enjoy the Royal Pavilion’s stunning interior. It’s a spectacle to behold and best described as flamboyant! read on…

The Prince Regent later crowned King George IV, visited the humble seaside destination in his youth, as was fashionable, for the health benefits offered from fresh sea air and bathing in its open waters. The Prince Regent would also use Brighton as an escape from his father (the king!) and the displeasure of parliament where his frivolous lifestyle was becoming more and more frowned upon!

The Prince Regent initially enjoyed a modest farmhouse as a holiday home however, it did not stay that way for long! The large stable complex, now the Dome & Corn Exchange events venues, was built and the farmhouse was extended and re-modelled several times into the famous Landmark as it stands today. The Indo-Saracenic architecture was designed by John Nash – also known for jointly designing Buckingham Palace.

Brighton Museum is located at the north end of the Pavilion Gardens.

When to visit

The gardens are open 24 x 7 and offer a peaceful green space to enjoy during warm sunny days. You’ll often hear music in the breeze and the gentle hubbub of friends and families enjoying the open space. Look out for the ideal conditions of soft light on partly clouded days or around sunset & sunrise. Soft light makes the Pavilion’s stonework glow with a soft warmth that needs to be seen to be believed.

Enjoy ice skating in front of the Pavilion during the winter months and bring your camera to capture the Pavilion with the colourful rink winter lighting.

Additional information

Note: photography is not permitted inside but there are plenty of opportunities outside, in and around the gardens on both sides of the pavilion.

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

Pavilion Opening Times
Further Information from Wikipedia

3. The West Pier

Rusty, Architectural, Charming
Map to take you there

Sure, there are no surprises with this one and for good reason! 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 the shore, yet somehow the pier retains its own charm even in its current charred and rusted state. read on…

West Pier first opened in 1866 as a leisure pier and offered visitors a stroll over the sea, along with performances in the theatre and a 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-teller’s hut that survived, or so the local legend goes!

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, 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?….

Picture of Matt Goddard

Matt Goddard

Matt is a professional landscape photographer and the sole content author here. Based in Sussex, he centres his work around his home county and surrounding South East England landscape. Matt has taught photography to over 150 students on a one to one and group basis since 2016. Visit Full Biog
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