Brighton is Britain’s original seaside destination, but there's so much more to it than just that.
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Brighton is Britain’s original seaside destination. It’s a city that you can’t help but love, from the over-the-top architecture of the Royal Pavilion to the delightfully tacky amusements of Brighton Pier. But beyond the seaside fish and chips and saucy postcards is a chic and effortlessly cool city, with a thriving gay scene, wonderful boutique shopping and some of the liveliest nightlife in the UK. Even if you don’t take a dip in the waters, Brighton is definitely a city to immerse yourself in!
Food and drink
Brighton is a foodie paradise, packed with big name restaurants, seafood bars, quirky organic cafes and specialist food stores. Try Fishy Fishy for great seafood (owned by TV Presenter Dermot O’ Leary), or take a wander along North Laine for a superb selection of al fresco dining that feels more like Barcelona than Brighton. The city’s pubs, bars and clubs are legendary, with something for every budget – you won’t be short of hen night-friendly bars and clubs serving cheap cocktails by the jug, but there are also plenty of stylish champagne bars, quiet hole-in-the-wall cafes and historic salty-sailor pubs.
Shopping in Brighton is some of the best you’ll find outside London, particularly if you’re looking for something a little different. You’ll find all the big-name brands and department stores in Churchill Square and Brighton Marina, but the very best of Brighton’s shopping is in North Laine, London Road and The Lanes. These delightful twisting alleyways and are part of Brighton’s Old Town, and are now packed with funky boutiques, independent stores and wonderful cafes and restaurants. Brighton also offers some fantastic street markets, antique stores and bric-a-brac shops – perfect for bargain hunters!
Brighton’s economy is primarily driven by tourism, but it’s also a popular location for businesses, particularly in the creative sector. It’s a south east hub for new media and digital companies, as well as a large number of computer gaming and design firms. The biggest local employer is American Express, whose European headquarters are based in Brighton.
Brighton is just 50 minutes by train to London Victoria, making it a popular commuter city for people working in London but wanting to enjoy the more relaxed lifestyle the city offers. It’s a lovely city to explore on foot, particularly The Lanes and the seafront, which has a delightful promenade that you can walk, cycle or rollerblade all the way to Hove. The city’s buses cover the whole area and are a popular choice as the city’s roads can get busy; likewise the Park & Ride in the north of the city is a good option for visitors. Brighton is a great place for cyclists, with cycle routes and dedicated paths across the city.
Things to watch out for
Brightonians are the biggest coffee drinkers in the UK, spending an average of £177 per head on coffee in the city’s cafes. Coffee lovers will find a huge number of independent stores selling artisanal coffees and wonderful cakes – they’ve become local community centres and meeting places, and many locals use the city’s cafes as an extension of their office!