Autumn sees Brighton return to relative calm and tranquillity after the thronging crowds of summer – and in many ways it’s the best time of year to visit the famous English seaside city.
Blissfully empty beaches and wild seascapes characterise Brighton, the vibrant resort city on England’s southcoast, during the Autumn months. But it also remains a busy time when it comes to the city’s events calendar. Here are 10 great – and affordable – shows and activities to add to your itinerary from September-November 2021.
Boundary Brighton Festival
Brighton’s electronic music scene is widely acclaimed and at its vanguard is this annual festival which bring together a stellar line up of acts each year in the grassy environs of Stanmer Park. The event celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2021, and to mark the occasion is promising to be bigger, better and wilder than ever. Performances take place across four stages (including a VIP stage being introduced this year), and there’s also a vintage funfair, tons of local food, and plenty of booze to keep festival-goers in the mood. Notable names from the world of house and bass set to appear this year include Andy C, Wilkinson, Sonny Fodera and Sub Focus.
Stanmer Park Nature Reserve, Falmer / 25 Sept 2021
‘Adapt & Adjust’ exhibition at The Regency Town House
For six days this September the historical Brighton arts venue The Regency Town House will play host to a captivating, free-to-enter exhibition that shines a light on the unique challenges faced by students over the past year-and-a-half of disruption caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic. Presenting a variety of mixed techniques and projects developed throughout the Photography MA course at Brighton University, the exhibition finally gives students an opportunity to showcase physical manifestations of their work to the public – highlighting how unusual the completion of their Masters course has been, and what can be achieved through passion, cohesion and collaboration.
The Regency Town House, 13 Brunswick Square, Hove / 14-19 Sept 2021
Pumpkin Picking Patch
For three consecutive weekends this October, families are invited to come and pick their own pumpkins in preparation for Halloween. Situated nine miles east of central Brighton, the site features some 23 acres of pumpkins to pick, along with mazes, fun crafts for decorating your pumpkins, and lashings of ice cream and other refreshments. Wheelbarrows are available to carry your winter squash loot.
Halewick Lane, Sompting, Lancing / 9-10, 16-17, 22-31 Oct 2021 (9.30am-4.30pm)
Brighton’s contribution to the long-standing global tradition of Oktoberfest, inspired by the original event that dates back to Bavaria, Germany in the early 19th-century, is a suitably raucous affair. Featuring all of the bells and whistles that we’ve come to associate with Oktoberfest, including giant stein, bratwurst, pretzels, and live bands, the event draws large crowds every year, with many revellers getting into the spirit by dressing in authentic German get-up.
Kings Road Arches, Shelter Hall / 1-10 Oct 2021
Brighton Walking Tour
The only free-of-charge Brighton Walking Tours are led by a born and bred Brightonian with 480 years of Brighton ancestry, where a percentage of tips even goes to a local homeless charity. Why was Brighton’s palace built like an Indian mosque? How did two women marry in 1923? Why did tourists drink sea water and even mix it with milk? Wives for sale, a railway in the sea, a useless king and a war hospital with chandeliers – the Free Brighton Walking Tour has it all. Plus see the universe’s oldest electric railway, the world’s first vertical cable car and England’s most instagrammed sight outside of London. Tips will be politely requested at the end of your tour. Go to www.realbrightontours.com for more info.
Meet point: outside Al Duomo Restaurant, 7 Pavilion Buildings / Current times as of Sept 2021: 11am Weds, Sat & Sun (subject to change; please see website for latest times)
Foodies Festival has editions across the UK, and its Brighton instalment is among the biggest and best. Featuring chefs performing their gastronomic magic in the Chefs theatre, as well as a diverse array of pop-up restaurants serving up delicious – and often cheap – dishes for public consumption, not to mention champagne, wine and beer masterclasses, the event is a magnet for dedicated gourmands who find themselves in Brighton during late September each year.
Preston Park, Preston Road / 24-26 Sept 2021
‘Rock ‘n’ Roll with Me’ exhibition at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
Come and enjoy this collection of unique and intimate photographs taken by iconic musician David Bowie’s close friend and travelling companion Geoff MacCormack between 1973-76. The exhibition includes recently rediscovered and never previously seen images of Bowie alongside rarely seen film footage shot by Bowie of the May Day Parade in Moscow, 1973, film of Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, and a specially created exhibition playlist.
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Royal Pavilion Gardens, Pavilion Parade / Through 23 Jan 2022
A multi-venue event, this acclaimed music festival sees more than 100 bands and solo artists perform across a city that is already renowned for its buzzing and cutting-edge music scene. Billed as an “ever evolving meeting of like-minded music fans”, the event places a big emphasis on providing a platform for unknown, experimental and non-mainstream acts to showcase their talents. Shows take place at 11 venues.
Venues across Brighton / 4-7 Nov 2021
Fireworks Night – or Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night depending on your preference – sees dazzling pyrotechnics light up the skies across the city. Among the most popular events are Brighton Lions Fireworks, a family-friendly occasion at Brighton’s racecourse as you look out over the sea, and Preston Park Fireworks, a free-to-enter display in the city’s green expanse of Preston Park featuring some 20 minutes of multi-coloured explosions.
Venues across Brighton / 5 Nov 2021
Homeward Bound Festival
Held on Saltdean beach, a designated Conservation Zone famed for its marine plants and wide shingle beaches, this festival is a celebration of the fishing and maritime industries, as well as the region’s rich folk music tradition and ocean-bound cultural heritage. Visitors are invited to come and learn about local marine life and why it’s important to protect it from an experienced team of beach buddy volunteers.
Saltdean Beach / 3 Oct 2021
By Paul Joseph