For anyone that grew up in Sussex, Brighton beach is awash with coming-of-age memories and adolescent rites of passage: candyfloss on the pier; pocket money frittered away at the arcades; fake IDs at the seafront bars; first kisses beneath the pilings; last-minute meet-ups at the marina. The Doughlicious stall on the pier serves arguably the best doughnuts in the country (hot, fresh, sugary, outrageously overpriced) and even the seagulls know it (keep your bag out of their flight path), and the city is home to scene-stealing restaurants, boutique hotels, superior music venues plus a thriving LGBTQ+ community. With buckets of nostalgia and spades of style in its seafront stalls, art galleries and restaurants, the pebbly promenade makes it one of Britain’s greatest seaside cities. But crowds of day-trippers swarm the coast, especially in summer, leaving little space to spread out a handkerchief, let alone a towel. So we’ve rounded up a list of worthy alternatives nearby for when Brighton is too big, too popular or simply too far.