Deckchairs on Brighton beach - Flickr by Frankensteinnn

As we slowly creep towards the end of summer, we’re all looking for ways to make the most of those final sundrenched days. The great thing about our little island is that you’re never all that far from the beach, even in the centre of London. Just over an hour’s drive from the heart of the city, Brighton is the ideal seaside destination for an away day with Zipcar.

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton-shutterstock-Dan Breckwoldt

Whether you’re after a traditional British seaside experience, complete with pier rides, rock, candyfloss and ice cream cones, or a more cultured coastal escape, Brighton can cater to your every whim. Home to the elaborate, if somewhat eccentric, Royal Pavilion history buffs will have plenty to keep them occupied, both inside the residence and in the Pavilion Gardens. Transformed by John Nash into an exotic oriental palace between 1815 and 1822, the Brighton Pavilion was the former royal residence of the Prince Regent (later George IV).

Brighton Lanes-Flickr-Tilemahos Efthimiadis

After exploring the city’s royal history, set off down on an adventure down the winding roads of Brighton’s lanes. Generally divided into the north and south lanes, this labyrinth of back alleys is home to some of the city’s best boutiques and jewellery stores, as well as numerous cafes and cake shops. Stop in at Angel Food Bakery for a cupcake and coffee or head straight to Brighton’s chocolate emporium Choccywoccydoodah.

Choccywoccydoodah-Flickr-Dave Stone

A short stroll will take you down to Brighton beach; a pebbled expanse dotted with deckchairs and home to numerous bars, cafes and traditional British seafood stalls. Set yourself up in a chair, sit back and soak up the rays, or get out on the water and try your hand at kayaking, wakeboarding or stand up paddle boarding with Brighton Watersports.

No doubt you’ll have worked up quite an appetite after all that activity/relaxation. Tuck into fresh local oysters and classic fish and seafood at Riddle & Finns on thebeachfront, located along the promenade under the arches, or opt for a hearty pub lunch at The Ginger Dog in Kemptown. Serving classic pub dishes with a gastro twist, you’ll find such treats as roast lamb loin and faggott with Nicoise dressing, fine beans grilled courgettes and polenta on the menu.

Catamaran Brighton-shutterstock Matthew Gough

Before hopping back in your car and heading home, make sure to take a quick drive down the coast to Hove – for a window into the quieter side of seaside life.

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