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Trains to Brighton

Brighton is the closest point on England's south coast to London, so it’s clearly the place to head for if you are looking for a seaside excursion by train from the capital. The beach is the obvious draw (if you don't mind pebbles rather than sand), but many venture to Brighton for the town's edgy culture and tolerant ways. In any season, Brighton is fun and quirky. It’s no longer the sedate resort once favoured by Queen Victoria; today it’s a liberal place which defies convention.

You find a generous helping of seaside tack along with the traditional pier. Fish and chips too of course. Many visitors flock to The Lanes, a rather twee area with some good seafood restaurants. To take the pulse of bohemian Brighton, head instead for North Laine where vegan shoes and hand-knitted muesli are all the rage. That North Laine area is a good first stop, as it’s close to Brighton station. It is also worth making time to see the extraordinary mock-Indian Royal Pavilion.

Brighton station bustles at any time of day – no surprise in a green city which shows a strong commitment to public transport. London is less than an hour away, and frequent trains speed from Brighton to Gatwick Airport in under 30 minutes. There are direct trains to Luton Airport and Bedford. Hourly trains run east to Hastings and Ashford, and there’s an equally frequent service west along the coast to Portsmouth and Southampton. There are a number of useful longer-distance services with occasional departures to Bath, Bristol, Cheltenham and Salisbury.

If you are travelling by train from London to Brighton, the journey takes in some fine Sussex countryside along the way. Indeed, that rural hinterland is part of Brighton's real appeal. Brighton is not merely the seaside; it's also the gateway to the beautiful chalk landscapes of the South Downs National Park.

Country guide

Train tickets in the UK

Read our country guide

Child and youth passengers

The definition of "Child" and "Youth" varies by country and operator. This is why we ask for the age of young passengers.

Sometimes children below a certain age can travel without a seat for free. If you want to guarantee a seat for child passengers, enter '6' as the age of the child.

Read more about child and youth passenger ages. See also youth discounts and railcards.