International Summer School

Things to do

ISS run lots of trips and activities in and around Brighton, from a countryside bus tour, to afternoon tea, and exploring the Royal Pavillion. There's always something going on in Brighton so to keep up to date with the latest events and gigs we reccomend taking a look at Whats on Brighton, and Visit Brighton. Here are some of our favourite things Brighton has to offer.

Arts and culture
  • Street artist Banksy’s ‘Kissing Coppers’ can be found on the side of the Prince Albert Pub (Underneath the train station) and is definitely worth seeing in person.

  • Brighton Museum & Art Gallery has a range of exhibitions from local to world history and this summer hosts the work of Jeff Koons, who has been dubbed one of the world’s most important living artists.

  • The Royal Pavilion is an iconic Brighton landmark; dating from 1787 it is an excellent example of Chinoiserie and Moughal design created by influencial designer John Nash. It was the palace of King George IV, famous for his lavish, hedonistic lifestyle. It has since had many reincarnations and played an important part in the rehabilitation of soldiers of the Imperial Indian Army in WW1. Whether you're a fan of architecture, history, royalty, or just really good cake - the Pavillion is a must see for any visitor to Brighton. ISS has organised a trip to the Royal Pavillion, along with an English breakfast (vegetarian options are available), and afternoon tea. For more information click here.

  • The Mechanical Memories Museum (on the seafront beneath the pier) is a working museum that transports you back in time to a byegone era. Change £2 for old Victorian pennies and play on antique amusements and arcade games including a ‘what the butler saw’ and a palmistry machine. This independent, volunteer-run museum is a real labour of love, and is open throughout the summer, weather permitting.

  • The Brighton Fishing Museum is a small free museum on the seafront dedicated to celebrating the way of life that helped make Brighton what it is today. Brighton used to be a humble fishing town with the fisherman’s cottages having now become the independent shopping area, North Laine.

  • The Brighton Toy Museum is a nostalgic look back at toys and childhood through the years and is conveniently located beneath the train station.

  • The Brighton’s Sand Sculpture Festival attracts artists from around the world. It’s truly something to behold!

  • Take a ride on the “Brighton eye” the viewing wheel on the seafront that offers spectacular views of both the city, the sea, and surrounding towns and villages. Tickets can only be purchased online at www.brightonwheel.com/.

  • No English seaside experience is complete without taking in a Punch and Judy show, a traditional puppet show for all ages, with very rowdy characters. A shining example of English eccentricity at its finest! Just £2 buys you 45 minutes of fun - shows are just outside the Fishing Museum on the seafront and take place at 12:30, 2:30, and 3:30 on Sundays and Wednesdays.

  • Don’t forget all the national museums and galleries are just a train ride away in London.  It’s free entry to the permanent collections but temporary exhibitions usually charge. 

  • Komedia located in North Laine, is Brighton's premier comedy venue and home to the Krater comedy club and one of the best regular stand-up comedy nights in the UK. Many of the UK's best loved comedians started off here.

  • The Duke of Yorks Cinema is one of the oldest purpose built cinemas in the country and screens both mainstream and arts films. Enjoy a pre-cinema drink in the bar and cafe and book balcony tickets to enjoy your film sat on squashy armchairs and comfy sofas. It’s on Preston Circus just a short walk from town and London Road train station.

  • For something a bit different head to Proud Cabaret on St George’s Road, and watch some of the UK’s finest Burlesque and Cabaret acts in a historic and opulent former ballroom.
Shopping

Brighton is a shoppers' paradise; as well as the usual iconic British high street shops in the Churchill Square mall and along Western Road, such as Next, Topshop, and Primark, there's also hundreds of quirky and cool independent retailers. The Lanes, an area to the East of central Brighton (East Street, Ship Street, Duke Street etc.) boasts high-end retailers. Head here for designer brands, boutiques, premium cosmetics, and extravagant patisseries and chocolatiers. North Laine (easily accessible from the mainline train station or Trafalgar street) has a youthful, alternative appeal, and is positively crammed full of vintage and retro clothing boutiques, curiosity shops (try Snooper's Paradise) , alternative and rockabilly fashions, tattoo parlours, vinyl shops, second hand book shops, vegan cafe's, and excellent pubs.

Sports and the great outdoors

If you're into sport or just running around for the sheer fun of it, then ISS has some great active activities and trips for you to take part in such as hiking g through the South Downs and the chance to try out traditional English sports such as cricket, and stool ball during Multi Activity Day. Click here for more information and to book a place.

Don't forget you also get free access to the Univeristy of Sussex sports centre, where you can work-out, book a zumba class, or hire a court for badminton, football, or basketball. Visit http://www.sussex.ac.uk/sport for more information.

If you enjoy hiking, or even picnicing for that matter, the South Downs National Park that surrounds Brighton and Falmer has some legendary beauty spots, and great walks. For instance Devil’s Dyke is an incredible spot on the South Downs, where you can look out onto rolling hills and picturesque villages and hamlets. You can even plan your route to schedule in a shop at the Hikers Rest tea rooms, or finish up with a nice roast dinner in the pub by the bus stop. The number 77 open top bus goes to Devils Dyke and you can catch it from the pier, the clock tower, and the train station. Be sure to get back in plenty of time for the last bus! Click here for a link to one of our favourite walking routes along Devil's Dyke. Seven Sisters and Beachy Head is well worth a visit with its stunning white cliffs and sea views, it’s been a popular location for many iconic British films and television programmes and has an interesting history. Take the 12, 12A or 13 bus from Brighton to get you there.

For those of you who are partial to the odd flutter, or just want to have a new experience,  Brighton is home to both horse and greyhound racing tracks - an afternoon at the races makes for an unusual day out. Visit www.brightonandhovegreyhoundstadium.co.uk and http://www.brighton-racecourse.co.uk.

If watersports is more your thing then you'll be spoilt for choice, Brighton is home to dozens of registered, approved watersports companies. Try your hand at wakeboarding, yachting, or powerboating. Blue Lagoon, run sessions from Hove Lagoon and Brighton Marina. Or perhaps go kayaking on Brighton beach.

Alternatively if you are an armchair sportsfan, then the King and Queen pub (Malborough Place), and the Smugglers (Ship Street) are some of the best venues to watch sport in Brighton.

The football season kicks off in August, so those staying for session two might be able to watch local team, Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex stadium at Falmer. Visit http://www.seagulls.co.uk for match fixtures nearer the time.

Exploring the wider area
We love Brighton, but it might be worth your while exploring a little more of what Sussex and the surrounding area have to offer. Take a look at your ISS Going Out Guide for trips to Arundel, Glynde village and West Firle hike, Ditchling Beacon hike, Lewes or other local trips. If you can’t make our trips or would rather explore independently then take a look at these tips:
  • Arundel Castle dates back to the 14th Century and has stunning gardens and helpful guides to help you explore. Inside you find hidden treasures, stunning artwork, and uncover some exciting history. Then potter around the beautiful market town and go for a pint and some great food in one of their pubs. We like the Norfolk Arms or, if you fancy a little walk, the Black Rabbit has stunning outdoor seating and really scrummy food.

  • Chichester is a historic Cathedral city dating back to Roman times. Keep an eye out for the original Roman city walls and mosaics found in the Cathedral and in the Novium. Enjoy some shopping or lunch in one of the local pubs. We like The Nags Head, The Park Tavern, and Wests which is housed in a converted church.

  • The historic town of Lewes is just one stop on the train away from Falmer station and is well worth exploring. Anne of Cleves House is the estate given to the fourth wife of Henry VIII and holds some real treasures. You can buy a combined ticket with entrance to the 1000 year old Lewes Castle. Why not have a drink of Thomas Paine Ale, brewed by Harveys of Lewes, in memory of enlightenment theorist, author, political activist, and revolutionary, who paved the way for the American revolution.

  • The University of Sussex borders the charming village of Falmer, which is just ten minutes’ walk from campus. Visit the historic church, 17th century flint cottages, one of the largest surviving mediaeval thatched roofed barns and the farm shop which sells fresh produce, and homemade cakes.

  • Trains from Falmer will take you to the historic town of Battle, where the Battle of Hastings took place in 1066. Take an audio tour of Battle Abbey and battlefield, enjoy the interactive visitor centre that helps to bring home the events that changed the course of history forever.

  • Take a trip into the neighbouring county of Kent and visit Hever castle, the home of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s most notorious wife. Test your wits in the yew maze, stroll through the award winning gardens, go boating on the lake and view the Tudor portrait gallery.

  • Head to the beautiful seaside town of Eastbourne and take a boat trip to Beachy Head and Seven Sisters. If walking is more of your thing then book yourself a place on the ISS South Downs Way Hike which allows you to explore these famous beauty spots with your feet on solid ground. You can also visit nearby Herstmonceux Castle, Pashley Manor, or Wakehurst Place which houses the Millennium Seed Bank collection in partnership with the Royal Botanical Gardens.

  • The historic Cathedral town of Winchester is just a two hour train ride away in Hampshire. King Arthur’s round table is a must see, as is Westgate, a fortified medieval debtors’ prison where you can see graffiti almost as old as the walls themselves. There’s a whole host of other museums to keep you occupied.

  • The quaint and pretty village of Rottingdean is a beautiful costal, cliff-top walk away from Brighton and is also accessible by bus from the city centre (12A, 2, 2A). Visit the historic windmill, Saxon and Norman churches, and Rudyard Kiplings’ Gardens. After that pop into the Olde Cottage Tea Rooms or Beyond Design, a cake shop and vintage emporium. Or for something more substantial why not have a meal at the Queen Victoria Pub or Plough Inn – two great traditional pubs.

  • London is also just an hour away by train and is perfect for museums, galleries, historic buildings, shopping, and other tourist attractions. It’s worth buying a guidebook for London alone, though those coming on our Introduction to London tour will receive one included in the price.