8 reasons to burn a clock in Brighton

Brighton, Sussex

If commercialised Christmas leaves you cold, come celebrate the winter solstice in style at the Burning the Clocks parade in Brighton says Rosie Carr

per person
Visit websiteBook Now

Since 1994 the Burning the Clocks community event has been lighting up the Brighton skies on the shortest and darkest day each year. It’s a beautiful modern interpretation of the ancient solstice marking the passing of time and the heralding the coming new season, with a night parade through the town centre, illuminated by homemade paper lanterns. The parade ends with a giant bonfire on the beach.  

We love it because:

It’ll brighten up the darkest day

The shortest day of the year doesn’t need to be a downer. We can’t think of a better way to cheer it up than heading down to Brighton for this fun and colourful evening out. You can slip in a bit of last-minute Christmas shopping at the bevvy of enticing independent shops in the Brighton Lanes, have a swift snifter in one of the many cosy pubs (the Hop Poles and the Lion & Lobster are two of our faves) before taking to the streets to enjoy this unique Brighton ceremony.  

It's full of moments of magic

Get ready to experience magical moments on the streets of Brighton. You can expect to see an array of illuminated lanterns carried by an impressive 2,000-person parade. The parade winds through the city centre before finishing up with a massive bonfire on Brighton’s iconic seafront. The handmade lanterns - symbolically filled with hopes and dreams - are passed down onto the bonfire and the event finishes with an epic fire show and firework display.

You can get involved yourself

Want to get involved? If you’re feeling creative, you can have fun making your own paper or willow lantern to parade through the city. Lantern kits are available to buy from various local shops and businesses or from Same Sky community arts charity who organise the event.

It’s a chance to support a brilliant cause

Burning of the Clocks isn’t just a fun winter night out, it’s also for a great cause. Same Sky is all about building connections with people in minoritized groups in the community and who’ve never been involved with art before. The charity works with and supports people like young carers and young homeless people.  

You can fill your lungs with sea air

Think the beach is just for summer? Think again. Brighton beach has a great atmosphere at any time of year. The parade finishes up here, so you can feel all the cosy winter vibes while sipping mulled wine by the sea and watching the bonfire and fireworks. After the parade ends you can enjoy a fun winter night out on Brighton pier, at a beachside bar (we can’t get enough of the Brighton Music Hall beach huts and igloos), or a warm pub in the nearby Brighton Lanes.

It's the perfect weekend break

If you’re heading to Brighton for the parade, it’d be rude not to stay for the weekend. Brighton is especially vibrant and lovely at Christmas time and with the combination of relaxed seaside vibes and great city pubs, bars and restaurants you get the best of both worlds. You can find a perfect hotel stay in Brighton here.

There’s a lot more to do while you’re there

We’ve got a long list of Brighton stuff to do. Here are a few of our headlines: visit the Brighton Pavilion – the Taj Mahal-esque fantasy palace and gardens built for George IV, slap bang heart of the city; go vintage shopping in the Lanes & North Laines - little colourful side streets filled with interesting and unique shops; sip cocktails in the sky on the i360 Viewing Tower – this 450ft tower gives you the panoramic views across the city, the sea and beyond.

How to get there


By Train: Brighton is an easy one hour away train trip from either London Victoria and London Bridge station

By car: Brighton is a two-hour drive from central London (but be aware parking in Brighton is notoriously expensive!)

Where to eat


Visit the Brighton Lanes and North Laines for lots of great independent restaurants and cafes - Iydea Vegetarian Cafe & Pompoko Japanese restaurant are both really good options for delicious and reasonably priced food.


Visit websiteBook Now

Get a room!

Search hotels

Fancy a little extra?

Search activities