Brighton may be associated with sunny summer breaks in the South East, but this cosmopolitan city doesn't close up shop when winter sets in. On the contrary, Brighton is one of the most popular destinations for Christmas shopping on the south coast.
Brighton's trend-setting stores and vibrant atmosphere make it an enjoyable place to visit over Christmas, whether you're spending the holidays in a top hotel or just heading down for a weekend break to take care of your essential gift purchases. From the upmarket options of boutiques on Lanes to the alternative stores of North Laine, you're sure to find the perfect gifts even for the pickiest members of your family and friends.
The Brighton Lanes are a must-visit destination if you're looking for independent stores and the chance to buy something truly unique, even if you shouldn't expect bargains. On the other hand, those who are looking to save the pennies this Christmas can head instead to Brighton Marina, where you can spend an enjoyable afternoon or evening strolling along the seafront and popping into traditional stores.
The Marina is also home to Brighton's biggest Christmas market, the best place to really soak up the festive atmosphere and enjoy seasonal delicacies while you browse. Other Christmas markets in the city cater for more specialised interests, such as the Christmas Art and Craft Fair, Christmas Fair Trade Market and Brighton FARM Christmas Market, the latter of which takes place exclusively between 15 and 23 December - ideal for the last-minute shopping rush.
If the art and craft event sounds appealing, you may also be interested in the Artists' Open Houses at Christmas event - one of numerous special events taking place in Brighton over the holiday season. This exhibition involves local artists displaying their works inside their own homes, where you'll have the opportunity to buy one-of-a-kind pieces and be sure your money will go straight to the creator.
For high street shopping with a Brighton edge, Churchill Square Shopping Centre should take care of all your needs, with many international brands being represented in addition to upscale boutiques along Western Road. The shopping centre opens until late every day of the Christmas period from 6 December, so you don't have to worry if you're running behind schedule on your festive shopping break.
If you'd prefer to avoid the mass crowds though, especially during the busy run-up to Christmas Day, making the trip over to nearby Hove could be a more relaxing alternative - and especially convenient if you're staying at Brighton hotels close to the international airport.
Paul is a part of the digital blogging team at digitalcrosstalk.com who work with brands like Superbreak. For more information about me, or to keep up to date with the latest in travel news, check out my posts at digitalcrosstalk.com or visit my Twitter account, @dcrosstalk