Like The Ice Cream Girls? Why not visit Brighton…

Tune into ITV’s killer drama, set in the south’s beachside town, then experience the iconic landscape for real…


In the wake of Broadchurch, ITV’s hit murder thriller filmed against Dorset’s beautifully beachy West Bay, comes a new three-part drama. The Ice Cream Girls (9pm Friday, ITV) – also set in a sunny coastal town, Brighton. In fact, the show is not filmed in Brighton, but that hasn’t stopped us exploring the beautiful seaside town anyway…


A kitsch pier meets a quirky art and music scene in this edgy southern city, and the place is no stranger to award-winning drama. This is the very same iconic setting of cult classic film Quadrophenia, gritty urban mob film London to Brighton and the classic Brighton Rock.

Want to experience the setting for real? Here’s what not to miss on a trip to Britain’s most vibrant coastal city…


Royal Pavilion

This bonkers attraction is a great example of quirky Brighton. Where else would you find an 18th-century extravagant Taj Mahal-style palace, built by a playboy prince? Debauched monarch Prince George (who later became Prince Regent and King George IV) commissioned his over-the-top bachelor pad in 1787. It’s possible to tour and dine among its extravagant Oriental furnishings like the hoi polloi once did hundreds of years ago.

Tour Britian’s beaches with Radio Times travel, see here for more info


Brighton Pier

The most touristy experience in town is without a doubt Brighton Pier. Entrance and deckchairs are free, as is the opportunity to stick your head through a photo board and take a funny snap of your travelling companion as a mermaid or lifeguard. There’s also karaoke, a tarot card reader, Helter Skelter and enough ice cream, candy floss and rock to make you sick on the bumper cars.


The Lanes

On either side of Western Road you’ll find these snaking alleyways filled with boutiques, cafés and artisan shops. The South Laine is the more sophisticated of the two, renowned for its jewellery stores and top-notch champagne and oyster bar Riddle & Finns. Meanwhile, the North Laine has an organic, hippy feel. Here you’ll find a vegetarian shoe shop, permanent flea markets (Snoopers Paradise), fancy dress (Revamp), incredible cafés (Wai Kika Moo Kau) and melt-in-the-mouth-fudge (try the sea salt flavour at Roly’s Fudge Pantry).

 Tour Britian’s beaches with Radio Times travel, see here for more info


Spend a penny

On the boardwalk, just off Brighton Beach, the Penny Arcade Museum will transport you back in time, to a place without computer games or flashing fruit machines. Here you’ll find old-fashioned fun in the form of antique penny arcade games with nozzles to twist, levers to flick and handles to pull, for just 10p a pop. Themes vary from straight-up pinball-style games to skilful skiing balance games – hours of fun.


Watch an art house film

Identify the Duke of York’s Picturehouse by the pair of dangling stripy legs and high heels coming out of the roof. Opened in 1910, this historic cinema has retained all of its charm – and it was rightly voted the best cinema in Britain last year. The inside has (mostly) the original layout, with its theatrical seating, red velvety chairs and balcony. Art house and indie movies are the order of the day – expect subtitles galore, Green and Blacks chocolate and Merlot instead of popcorn and hot dogs, plus live broadcasts of events like Stone Roses gigs. Oooh errr.


Get wet

Brighton is a haven for water sports, the pro kite surfer (Aaron Hadlow) trains here, and the south coast’s waters, wind and occasional swell have spawned professional surfers, wakeboarders and sailors over the years. The new Lagoon Wake Park offers a thrilling afternoon out. Here instructors will teach you to ride a cable on a wakeboard and jump obstacles. Meanwhile, Brighton Watersports on the seafront rents paddle boards and kayaks to those looking to view the coastline from a different perspective.


Go pubbing and clubbing

Brighton’s after-hours scene has inspired performers such as Nick Cave and Fat Boy Slim, with streets crammed with atmospheric and unusual clubs and boozers. While most tourists head straight for the loud, brazen bars on West Street and Brighton’s seafront, locals in the know are more likely to frequent watering holes like the Hop Poles, Mash Tun and Fish Bowl (near The Lanes), all of which favour obscure indie, down-tempo hip-hop and experimental open-mic musicians over commercial house and pop acts. Meanwhile, live venues Concorde 2 and Audio host acts of The White Stripes, Bloc Party, The XX, SBTRKT and Jarvis Cocker ilk.


Go on a graffiti tour

If you know where to look, you’ll witness spectacular outdoor murals on the city’s walls. Just under the bridge on Trafalgar Street, see a Banksy original. On the wall of the Prince Albert Pub you’ll find the masked stencilist’s kissing coppers. Further into the lanes on Kensington Street, witness an epic 3D chessboard by local artists Aroe and Odisy. This duo have transformed this nook of the city into various pieces, such as a giant James Brown and a concrete city with fighter pilots overhead. Explore Brighton’s world of graffiti further at Black Rock, near the Marina at the end of Madeira Drive, where local budding artists practise spraying on a free wall (open for public use).


Get spooked on a ghost walk

Apparently The Lanes was originally a fishing settlement called Brighthelmstone, which dates back to pre-Domesday Book. A local walking company is convinced this area is haunted, which they explain during their creepy walk through Brighton’s eerie past. One particular pub is thought to be haunted by one of Britain’s most notorious murderers.


Brighton Wheel

Many folk call Brighton a ‘mini-London’, it’s got the culture and the liberalism of the big city, but you probably won’t get your bag nicked if you leave it on a table in a bar. Similar to London, it’s now got a big wheel. Although pricey, it does offer the best view in the city, and if that doesn’t convince you to come back again, nothing will.

Tour Britain’s beaches with Radio Times travel, see here for more info


Images courtesy of Stephen McKay, Harriet Sinclair, Wiki Commons, Barefoot Media, Danny Robinson