Why Brighton is the ideal spot for a healthy holiday
Brighton may not be the first spot that springs to mind when you think of a wellbeing holiday, but it should be. Forget the connotations of stags, slot machines and scampi n’ chips – Brighton & Hove plays host to a number of waistline-friendly food venues and a diverse range of fitness activities, meaning you can go there for a long weekend and come back feeling revived. Here’s what to try:
What to do
Bored of your stuffy local gym? Brighton is the perfect location to try alternative forms of fitness, injecting fun back into physical exercise. Watersports fans should head to Hove Lagoon, a 30 minute taxi journey from the centre, where you can do everything from stand up paddleboard yoga to windsurfing. In the summer months, you can travel further down the coast towards Rottingdean to take an alfresco dip in the UK’s only Grade II listed lido, Saltdean.
To explore the city, head to Electric Bikes Sussex in Brighton Marina to hire a rental electric cycle. You can enjoy riding your bike right along the coastline, or even to enjoy some of the 100 mile trail through the South Downs National Park that, believe it or not, comprises 40 per cent of Brighton.
If you’re not afraid of heights, the High Sports Climbing Centre is a great spot for rock climbing and bouldering – both full body exercises that require not only strength but also strategy. For rock climbing, you’ll need an instructor to oversee your climb (unless you have already completed a safety course), or alternatively you could always go bouldering instead (think much lower walls, no harness and a big crash mat).
Where to stay
Although a little off-the-beaten track, Malmaison Brighton Marina is a gorgeous hotel with a stylish, dark interior resembling the pages of GQ. The rooms, similarly, feature vast beds and muted interiors save for colour pops of yellow and pink – a design lover’s paradise. The in-house brassiere, Chez Mal, is a hip spot to spend an evening, whether you choose to dine (a three-course prix fixe option or an a la carte menu) or just to enjoy pre-dinner cocktails at the adjacent bar. The breakfast is a particular highlight, offering a number of locally-sourced continental options, including vanilla pod yoghurt and granola, in addition to an a la carte menu featuring classics such as eggs and soldiers and British favourite, kippers.
Alternatively, Airbnb has a number of charming spots on the seafront – while it may be tempting to stay as near to the pier as possible, rental properties at the Hove end are quieter, less pricey and offer a pleasant pebble beach walk to the centre – useful to walk off all the great food you’ll be sampling.
What to eat
While most of us associate Brighton with fish and chips, it is also a brilliant destination for locally-sourced, sustainable food, as well as delicious vegetarian cuisine.
Veggies and non-veggies alike will adore Food For Friends, a bright restaurant in the centre of the Laines offering a colourful, innovative array of meat-free delights; the crispy potato cakes with cashew cheese rolls and mango salsa is one of the delicious things I’ve ever tasted.
Silo is a truly unique restaurant experience, priding itself on its zero waste philosophy (as testament to this, one of the dishes I ate – and thoroughly enjoyed – there was made from fermented potato skins). The menu changes seasonally, but offers meat, fish and veggie options. They pride themselves on brewing their own alcohol, too, including an elderflower bubbly, or ‘ebulis’.
For a delicious lunch, check out grow40 in Kensington Gardens, a French-style bistro which serves simple, locally sourced dishes including homemade soups with a side of sourdough and homegrown asparagus risotto. It’s also close to the Royal Pavilion, a grand, Asian inspired Regency palace set within an intimate garden – a glorious setting for a post-lunch stroll.
With thanks to Visit Brighton.