A guide to living in Brighton and Hove
Unlike most coastal resorts, Brighton is a year-round city, sustained by two large universities and a thriving cultural and arts scene. Indeed, Brighton is home to the biggest arts festival in England and has an infamous gay scene that has earned it the ‘gay capital of Britain’ accolade.
It has numerous public parks, thousands of listed buildings, nightclubs, art galleries, theatres and the greatest concentration of restaurants per head of population than anywhere else in the UK outside London. And it is the birthplace of some famous people, too. Rudyard Kipling, Sir Richard Attenborough, Norman Cook (aka ‘Fatboy Slim’) and Simon Cowell all hail from Brighton.
Getting around Brighton
Around half of Brighton workers travel to work by car, and many travel more than 20km every day. This traffic is mainly concentrated on the A27 dual carriageway giving East-West access, passing Brighton on its way from Eastbourne to Southampton. Brighton is located 60 miles (roughly a 45 min drive) from the M25 via the A23 and M23.
Although there are various NCP car parks, like other historic and compact cities, parking right in the heart of the city is at a premium. A ‘Park & Ride’ is available from Withdean Stadium in the north of the city (signposted from the A23), enabling you to park your car and catch a bus to the centre.
Frequent local train services operate out of two stations, Brighton (at the top of Queen Street) and London Road offering direct links to Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath, Three Bridges (for Crawley) to the north; Shoreham, Worthing, Littlehampton, Chichester, Portsmouth and Southampton in the west - and Lewes, Eastbourne, Hastings and Ashford in the east.
Buses run every few minutes on main routes with numerous city centre bus stops - five colour-coded metro lines run through central Brighton & Hove. The main bus station is set just behind the main promenade in direct alignment with the Palace Pier.
If you’re looking at travelling further afield, Brighton is just under an hour by train from London Victoria, around half an hour from Gatwick Airport and around 90 mins from Heathrow with various coach and train routes available.
Further along the coast just 25 minutes from Brighton is the port of Newhaven, with ferry links to Dieppe. And the ports of Dover, Folkestone, Portsmouth, Southampton and the Channel Tunnel are all reachable by car within a couple of hours.
Eating, drinking and shopping in Brighton
Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or dinner for a special occasion, Brighton boasts hundreds of options scattered throughout the city, including some of the countries best fish and chips. For those with deep wallets and rich taste buds, you will find the more classy establishments in and around the Lanes area. But for those looking for something less expensive, there is only one place to go: North Laine.
This mile long stretch links the Pavilion to the train station and is littered with hundreds of – predominantly independent - shops, cafes, pubs, theatres and museums. All of this conspires to create a bohemian shopping experience to be savoured.
Brighton's pubs range from small cosy Victorian front rooms to converted churches and large theme pubs housing every video game imaginable. There's a pub for every conceivable taste and plenty of options to turn that after work pint into an all night session with nightclubs to satisfy all musical tastes.
After starting life as a humble farmhouse, The Royal Pavilion has grown to become the most identifiable landmark of Brighton. Built in 1784, the house was left relatively untouched until the Prince Regent (later George IV) rented it on the advice of his physician who recommended that the sea-salt would be an aid to treating his gout. Some thirty years later, the architect John Nash was influenced by colonial designs and transformed the Pavilion into the Indian style that exists today, complete with galleries, the splendid Banqueting Room and the equally impressive Music Room.
Brighton Beach features in Enjoy England’s Top 10 beach destinations and stretches for 5 miles along the south coast, taking in Southwick, Portslade-by-Sea, Hove and Rottingdean. The pebbled beach has been awarded Blue Flag status in recognition of its cleanliness and once you’ve had enough of skimming stones, you can entertain yourself on Brighton Pier with arcades and rides, or in the bohemian Artists Quarter that houses and eclectic collection of artist’s workshops.
Following a multi-million pound refurbishment, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery now forms a central part of the vibrant cultural scene that now dominates the city. The Booth Museum of Natural History, Hove Museum & Art Gallery, Brighton Sea Life Centre and Volks Electric Railway are also great places to spend a few hours of your time
There are a number of annual events held in Brighton that attract both locals and visitors from far and wide including Brighton Festival, the Gay Pride Festival and Beach Down Festiva which sees the South Downs transformed into a Mecca for gastronomes, music, film and comedy lovers alike.
Take a closer look
A picture is worth a thousand words. You can see some images from in and around Brighton and Hove below.