Weekend adventures: Free and child-friendly fun in Brighton

We’ve recently returned from a lovely weekend in Brighton. But dear god it was cold, so flippin’ cold. We went to visit my sister and her husband to celebrate her birthday and the Little One had a great time. My sister was apologising that she hadn’t looked up any child-friendly places to go and should have found out about a soft-play centre or something. But who needs that over-priced forced fun? There’s loads to keep children and toddlers entertained and most of it is free.

Boy in Noddy car on Brighton Pier

Firstly, the train from my sister’s house in Hove to Brighton was super exciting, (it still amazes me how our son has turned into such a stereotypical boy and is obsessed with trains) but here are three fun and almost free things to do.

1. CHEAP AND CHILD-FRIENDLY BRIGHTON PIER 

Despite the bitter cold, the pier turned out to be a hit with the Little One. Firstly, we watched the swallows dance over the water as the sun was going down and then enjoyed all the colourful twinkling as the lights came on. The amusement arcades were warm (hooray!) so we spent a considerable amount of time in there. There are plenty of small ride on cars for toddlers and my top tip is never put any money in them to make them move! I know this won’t work for older children but as my Little One has never known any different, he thinks sitting in the cars, spinning the steering wheel and pressing the buttons is the ride. And long may that continue.

boy on car game Brighton Pier

He also sat on the ‘adult’ driving games; on motorbikes, at steering wheels and on a flight simulator – all for free and having the time of his life with the flashing lights and car noises. He also enjoyed the racehorse machine (where the plastic horses run to the finish line, no idea what it’s really called) and watched that intently for ages. So my goal is to keep trips to the pier as cheap as possible for as long as possible. Let’s see how that goes!

Brighton Pier website

2. PEBBLES ARE A TODDLER’S BEST FRIEND 

It was actually a bit too cold and wet for lolling around on the pebbles this time, but last time we were down in Brighton the Little One spent a very happy couple of hours sitting, climbing and crawling over the pebbles. You can collect different colours, build towers or just throw them in the sea. And the best thing of all, is it’s free and the worst thing is the crying when you attempt to drag them away.

boy playing with pebbles on Brighton peach

3. PUDDLE PARTY IN THE ROYAL PAVILION PARK 

If your toddler is like mine, puddles are the best. This does however mean that if I have forgotten the wellies and try to steer him away from them, a meltdown quickly follows. So sometimes I just close my eyes and don’t think about the ruined (they cost how much?) shoes and wet toes and just let him have the time of his life. And the Royal Pavilion Park usually has some people playing great African music, so all in all a very cheap way to spend some time happily splashing to the music.

Royal Pavilion website

Hopefully during our next visit we might actually see the sun and feel our toes!

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