Brighton — brash and flamboyant, with a carnival flair — is refreshing if you're suffering from an excess of doilies and museums. The city boasts a garish 19th-century Royal Pavilion, a loud and flashy carnival pier, England's most thriving gay community, and a long stretch of cobbled beach. It's no wonder that youthful bohemians and blue-collar Londoners alike make this town their holiday destination of choice. The countryside near Brighton is packed with tempting sights and worthwhile stopovers for drivers. Go for a breezy walk on the South Downs Way, lick an ice-cream cone in the postcard-pretty village of Alfriston, visit the best white cliffs in England at Beachy Head, and explore the evocative ruins of a Roman fort at Pevensey.