Brighton (England)

Brighton Seafront

Brighton is a famous seaside resort and charming city on the south coast of England, in the county of East Sussex and almost immediately due south of the capital city London (76 km/47 mi). In 2000, the two neighbouring communities of Brighton and Hove joined together to form the unitary authority of the City of Brighton and Hove.

Brighton is known for its grand Regency architecture, several landmarks in an oriental-inspired architectural style including the Grade-I Listed Pavillion, and for its large gay community.

Understand

Brighton was a sleepy little fishing village, then known as Brighthelmstone, until Dr Richard Russell of Lewes began to prescribe the use of seawater for his patients. He advocated the drinking of seawater and sea-bathing in 1750. In 1753 he erected a large house near the beach for himself and for his patients. A further factor in Brighton's growth came in the early 19th Century when the Prince of Wales built the Royal Pavilion, an extravagant Regency building designed by John Nash. But it was only with the development of the railways, around 1840, that Brighton truly started to boom.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 8 8 9 12 16 18 20 21 18 15 11 9
Nightly lows (°C) 3 3 4 6 9 12 14 14 12 9 6 4
Precipitation (mm) 88 60 51 58 56 50 54 62 67 105 103 97

Source: Wikipedia. Visit the Met Office for a five day forecast.

The city is convenient to London, and increasingly popular with media and music types who don't want to live in the capital. It is sometimes called "London-by-the-Sea" for this reason. Brighton is typically referred to as the gay capital of Britain. There is a significant gay district in Kemp Town which adds to the Bohemian atmosphere of the city. Whilst a day trip to Brighton, or even a long weekend, will offer activities and culture for the visitor all year round, it is in the springtime that the city really starts coming to life, and May sees the return of two of the most popular festivals, Brighton Festival and Festival Fringe (see Do). In the summer Brighton truely flourishes, with both residents and visitors alike enjoying lazy days and beautiful sunsets on what is perhaps the city's greatest asset, the five-mile plus stretch of shingle beach, facing south onto the English Channel.

Get in

By train

View West along Brighton beach

Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in the United Kingdom.

Trains to Brighton run from Victoria and London Bridge stations in London, taking about an hour (faster for the Brighton Express services from Victoria, although expect to add another 20 minutes if travelling during peak commuting times). Trains also run along the coast from Hastings and Lewes in the east, and Portsmouth and Chichester in the west. Brighton is on a direct line to Gatwick and Luton airports (Gatwick is much closer, being to the south of London).

Southern tickets to London and some other destinations can be purchased from as little as £3 (£2 with rail cards) one way, if purchased online from their website. The tickets can then be collected from the automated machines at your departure station.

You may wish to research before a visit on a Saturday, whether Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club are playing at home; on these match days, expect trains towards Brighton around lunchtime to be busy, and trains towards London around late afternoon to be busy. Arriving a little earlier - and leaving a little later - than planned should be a consideration if you dislike very busy trains.

By car

Brighton is a congested city, and not easy to drive or park in at peak times. The principal route from London and Gatwick Airport is the A23. The A27 runs along the south coast, and is dual-carriageway for the most part. There are several car parks in central Brighton - expect to pay about £1.50 per hour, even on Sundays.

For a day on the beach, parking is available, though very limited, on the two roads parallel to the beach between the main pier and the marina, Madeira Drive and Marine Parade. As with many popular seaside resorts in England, the earlier you arrive on a warm, sunny day, the better your chances of getting yourself a space! Charges vary between seasons and the location premium, but generally in the height of summer expect to pay £15-20 per day closer to the pier, and £5-7 per day further east.

Alternatively to driving to the city center, parking (charges apply) is available at Worthing or Lewes rail stations, both about 20 minutes by train from the city centre. Another alternative is to use the city's Park and Ride service .

There are particular days in the year when it is very inadvisable to drive into Brighton:

By bus

National Express provide coach services to London (coach tends to be slow and takes around 2 hours) and various other cities from Pool Valley coach station, between Old Steine and the seafront.

Stagecoach bus services run to Brighton from Portsmouth, via Worthing, on service 700. It costs £6.30 for one day's unlimited travel on this route.

Brighton and Hove Buses bus services run to Brighton from Eastbourne in the east and Tunbridge Wells in the north. Travel on Brighton & Hove Buses cost £2 per journey or £4 a day for Travel within Brighton (Southwick - Newhaven - Lewes - this is called a CitySaver). There is also a SuperSaver ticket for travel within Southwick to Eastbourne, for £5 a day. There are many discount fares ("CentreFares", online tickets) and tickets which cost more (Nightbuses - ranging from £2 for N7 and N25 to £5 for the N69). Children only receive a discount with a BusID. See Brighton and Hove Bus Company for details.

By plane

The city's proximity to London means Brighton is well served by airports. Brighton can be reached from Gatwick by train in as little as 25 minutes. Shoreham's airport (also known as Brighton City Airport) is located 5 miles to the west of Brighton. It is the nearest airport for light aircraft and also offers sightseeing flights. It is the oldest licensed airport in the UK.

Get around

Brightonians often give directions relative to a prominent landmark, the Clock Tower, which stands due south of the rail station where Queen's Road meets Dyke Road (oh yes it does), West Street, North Street and Western Road.

The oldest part of the city is the Lanes, which is bounded by North Street, West Street and East Street, though which runs Middle Street - and Ship Street. Beware the spelling of the similar-named North Laine (meaning "north fields") which is a boutique and alternative shopping nirvana, to the north side of North Street.

Western Road, a major shopping street runs East-West from the Clock Tower, whilst Eastern Road runs up a hill towards the main hospital from the area known as the Old Steine (rhymes with clean) which has Brighton Pier at the seafront here.

Running north from the working Pier, you find the memorable Royal Pavilion, a run down church St Peter's, and The Level, which is being developed. Going north east from here is Lewes Road (pronounced "Lewis") which takes you out to the city boundary and both of the Universities.

Hove (actually) is found to the west of Brighton. To the east of the city, there is Brighton Marina.

By bike

Although the area is hilly. cycling is a growing form of transport in Brighton. The city is one of Cycling England's "Cycling Demonstration Towns". More details on cycling, including a map of routes, can be found at the cycling section of the city council's website .

By bus

There is an extensive bus network in Brighton and Hove. In the city centre, services are very frequent and many stops have 'real-time' bus information. The majority of buses are run by one company, Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company. The best option for a visitor is to get a £4.40 CitySAVER all-day ticket to avoid the £2.20 single fares.

Children travel at half price, and pensioners free after 9AM (with a suitable RFID card). If travelling by train, you can add a "plus bus" CitySAVER option on your ticket for £2, or get a CitySAVER for £3 at Brighton Station bus stops.

There's a limited number of routes between the City Centre and the Universities served weekdays by a bright yellow bus company called "The Big Lemon". , costing just £1.50 for a single and £2 for an all day pass.

On a small number of days a year, buses are disrupted by parades etc. - the same days as in the "By car" section above.

Many of Brighton & Hove Bus's vehicles are named after celebrities (some living, some deceased) and individuals who have made a contribution to Brighton & Hove city life in some significant manner.

By train

Brighton Station is one of the most important rail terminals in the South East and from here the city of Brighton has a small suburban rail network with trains serving areas of Hove, Preston Park and also to the main campuses of the universities (Moulsecoomb, Falmer) which run around every 15 minutes and take about 10 minutes. Trains also run along the coast to Ashford in the east (connecting to cross-channel services) and Portsmouth in the west. Brighton has excellent rail connections to London with the capital in reach under an hour.

Note that Southern and First Capital Connect services do not carry bicycles during peak hours (7AM-10AM and 4PM-7PM).

By taxi

There are vast numbers of taxis in Brighton. They are however more expensive than most other towns and cities in England. It is worth noting that on Friday and Saturday after midnight, the hire charge for a taxi is £4.10 before the journey starts.

The main taxi ranks are at Brighton train station and at East Street (near the Lanes). (Smaller ranks dotted around include: Queen Square (opposite Churchill Square), the north side of St. Peter's Church and the bottom of Montpelier Road.)
Authorised Cabs - Streamline (Hove) 202020 - Streamline (Brighton) 747474 - Radio Cabs 204060

See

Brighton Pier
Burned remains of the West Pier
The Flamboyant Royal Pavilion

Do

Events

A Market during the Brighton Festival. The Theatre Royal is the red building

Learn

It is home to two universities, the University of Sussex (situated on the edge of the city at Falmer) and the University of Brighton which is a split campus university with the campus split around the city.

Buy

Shopping is one of the main reasons to visit Brighton. But don't get stuck in the mainstream shopping area around Western Road. There are a huge array of shops catering for all tastes but the impressive assortment of independent shops and boutiques is something that differentiates Brighton from many other British cities. The atmosphere in the North Laine and in The Lanes is one of the intangible aspects of the city that leaves many wanting to return time and time again. Brighton is especially good for Music, Books and independent clothes shops.

Eat

Brighton has excellent food, especially for vegetarians. The most famous vegetarian restaurant (and, after a recent buy out, now fairly expensive) is Food for Friends situated in The Lanes. On the other end of the scale, there are many takeaways in Brighton catering for different kinds of tastes (pizza, Chinese, Mexican, Indian food). Prices are usually fairly cheap and most are open until late.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

There are many, many pubs and bars catering for all tastes. Any list of reasonable length will be far from complete; if there's a street in central Brighton there is likely to be a pub on it. LGBT-orientated pubs, bars and clubs are mostly located in the Kemp Town area of the city, in the vicinity of St James's Street and Marine Drive.

Station and Trafalgar Street

North Laine

The Lanes

Pavilion

Churchill Square and Seafront

Western Road area

Hove

St James's Street and Kemptown

Hanover

The Hanover area of Brighton (north-east of the centre, walk north from St. James, or cross the Level from the bottom of Trafalgar St.) has numerous excellent pubs in close proximity (hence its nickname: "Hangover") to each other and is well worth the 15 minute walk from the city centre. The stand-out is the Greys at the bottom (mercifully) of Southover street. Brighton's best known pub crawl takes place in this area up Southover St and down Islingword Rd (or vice-versa) but do note that the hill is very steep! The atmosphere is more relaxed than the centre and the historic Victorian terraced streets with their brightly coloured houses are also notable. In Southover Street and you will find the Geese, Greys, Dover Castle, Sir Charles Napier and Pub With No Name, all of which are worth a visit. Islingword Road runs parallel to Southover Street and there you will find the Constant Service, Horse & Groom, London Unity and Cornerstone. There is also a small but good beer festival once a year in Hanover.

Northern Brighton

Well off the tourist trail, Brighton's relatively gritty northern sprawl is home to a number of boozers, some rough, others diamonds.

Listen

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Although Brighton is generally a safe place, like every other big city it has its share of problems. Visitors should be advised that the city centre can get quite rowdy at weekends, and West Street is best avoided after midnight. The sheer volume of people on weekends combined with alcohol consumption make Friday and Saturday nights on this street potentially volatile. However, it is still perfectly possible to have a civilised Friday or Saturday night at one of the venues favoured by locals and sensible tourists.

Brighton attracts quite a large number of homeless people, although most of these individuals are harmless. They will likely only ask you for money and, if you refuse, will simply go on to the next person. Drug-users often gather around London Road and the Level, although these places are perfectly safe before dark. Some areas on the outskirts, such as Whitehawk and Moulsecoomb, have a bad reputation, but most tourists would have little reason to visit them anyway, being far removed from the main attractions and cultural venues the city has to offer.

As with most LGBT-friendly towns and cities, caution should still be used for same-sex public displays of affection in certain areas, but by-and-large the diversity of Brighton & Hove is both celebrated and welcomed. In Hove, The Lanes and North Laine areas of the city, same-sex displays of affection will generally go unnoticed and are seen by most residents as acceptable as the norm between men and women. In the Kemp Town and Kemp Town Village areas especially, any homophobic abuse towards LGBT visitors would likely be met by residents with outright hostility towards the perpetrator of such abuse.

Lifeguards patrol the city’s beaches from the end of May until the first weekend in September; signposts on the beach show which areas are covered. In an emergency related to the sea, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Connect

Internet

There are plenty of internet cafes around, prices are usually about £1/hour.

Wifi

Free Wi-Fi is reasonably common in Brighton. Loose connection provides free Wi-Fi in a number of pubs around Brighton . Pier to pier is a collective that provides free Wi-Fi along the beachfront . The City of Brighton provides a list of free hotspots on their website .

The Lanes
The Bath Arms, a pub in the heart of the Lanes. Provider is Loose Connection. No password required.
The Fiddler's Elbow, a pub near the Lanes, and off West Street. Password from the bar.
The Victory Inn, BN1 1AH. No password required.
The Hop Poles, 13 Middle Street, BN1 1AL. Network name: 2WIRE184. Password from the bar.
In Kemptown
Bar56, A modern, funky bar on George St, Brighton. Password from the bar.
The Ranelagh, a pub half-way up St. James's Street. Password from the bar.
The Sidewinder, a pub in St. James' Street.
Bom-Bane's, a small café/restaurant/venue/bar (difficult to classify, actually) in George Street in Brighton (not the George Street in Hove!). Password from Jane.
Spinelli's, a café in College Road (off St. George's Road), with a second branch on St James's Street
Near Brighton Station
The Grand Central, a pub immediately outside Brighton railway station. Provider is Loose Connection. No password required.
The Earth & Stars. A pub in Church Street down from Queens Road (which is the main road from Brighton Station to the seafront). Provider is Loose Connection. No password required.
The Three Jolly Butchers (a.k.a. 3jb). Pub in North Road (down from Queens Road). Provider is Loose Connection. No password required.
Moksha, a café in York Place (opposite St. Peter's Church)
Hope, a venue between the Clock Tower and Brighton station. No password required.
Taylor Street Baristas on Queen's Road (the road that leads from the station to the sea) at the corner of North Road.
Hanover
The Dover Castle on Southover Street (corner Islingword Street), a pub (from 11) which also serves coffee, pastries and food from 9AM.
London Road
The Hare & Hounds. Pub at Preston Circus. BN1 4JF. Provider is Loose Connection. No password required.
Western Road
The Norfolk Arms, a pub on the south side of Western Road close to the Brighton/Hove border. No password required.
The Robin Hood, a pub south of Western Road. Password from the bar.
North Laine
The Brighton Tavern, a gay pub in Gloucester Road. No password required.
The Fountainhead, a Zelgrain pub in North Road. Provider is Loose Connection. No password required.
The Eagle, a pub in North Road. Password from the bar.
Riki Tik, a café/bar at 18a Bond Street,BN1 1RD. No password required.
The Mash Tun at the corner of Church Street and New Road. Says it has free Wi-Fi but connecting is difficult.
Hove
The Red Lion, near to the King Alfred Leisure Centre and the seaside. Password from the bar.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, January 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.