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Learn About Brighton

Brighton, on the relatively sunny south coast, is the archetypal English seaside town and hangout of the fashionable young, and nowadays a prosperous city.
Brighton map
Visiting Brighton...

Brighton developed as a fashionable seaside resort, especially after it became a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales, who became the Prince Regent in 1811. He constructed the Royal Pavilion (below) for his stays in Brighton, an amazing place to visit with its Indian style. Being remote from the Royal Court in London, the Pavilion was also a discreet location for the Prince to enjoy liaisons with his long-time companion, Maria Fitzherbert, starting a trend which continues until this day, for a boss and his secretary to enjoy a "dirty weekend" in Brighton with no-one being any the wiser. With its location 50 miles south of London and relatively mild and sunny climate, it's always been a getaway resort for Londoners.

Royal Pavilion

Brighton became known in Victorian times as a health resort for sea bathing, which was supposed to provide a cure for illnesses. In those days the men bathed nude but woman only entered the beach within a bathing machine, from which they emerged into the sea still dressed, as shown in this 1829 engraving by William Heath...

bathing machines

Brighton continued to grow as a major centre of tourism following the arrival of the railway link to London in 1841. Many of the well-known features of Bright were constructed during the Victorian era, including the Grand Hotel, the West Pier (now dilapidated), and the Brighton Palace Pier. In more recent times, the town has become well known for its young and lively ambience, its interesting and varied shopping, and a very active music and arts scene, especially alternative arts and fashion. Many events are tied in with the several universities and colleges which populate the city.

Brighton beach

Brighton is the classic British seaside resort, with hard pebbles and deckchairs, featuring the pier with amusement arcades, lots of fish-and-chip takeaways, nightclubs when it gets dark (and skinny-dipping!), and this traditional family train running along the coast, the Volks Railway...

Volks Railway

At the end of the beach-side railway we arrive at Kemp Town, known for its large LGBT population, leading to a reputation as the "gay capital of the UK." Not coincidentally, at this point on the sea front the beach becomes naturist.

Next to Kemp Town along the front we come to Brighton Marina, with a large protected bay and many boats moored to the quays. The Marina is like a small town of its own with 850 homes, and this is being expanded with two nine-storey towers, an additional 853 homes, restaurants, offices, a new lifeboat station and a floating yacht club and holiday lets.

Volks Railway

Behind the Marina you can see the start of the popular Undercliff Walk, which many people enjoy walking from Brighton to Rottingdean, an attractive small town set between the cliffs a couple of miles east.

Volks Railway

Back in the center of the Old Town we find The Lanes. This was the original a fishing village known as 'Brighthelmstone.' Ironically the area is full now of antique and especially jewelry shops, with sellers coming down from the East End of London.

Volks Railway

North of the Lanes we find - surprise - the North Laines. Not so pretty but much more interesting shopping, with many small shops selling their unique creative wares...

North Laines

West from the Lanes, along the sea front there's the Brighton Center, where political Party conferences are held, and next to it the Grand Hotel where many participants stay.

Grand Hotel

A lot of the housing in Brighton is white Regency style terraces, often built in squares. Originally the roof and cellar space was used by servants, nowadays many are split into flats or the house adapted to offer Bed & Breakfast accommodation. B&Bs tend to be good value, friendly and offer the traditional large English fried breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, bread, tomatoes, etc), that can take you through the day so you don't really need more than a sandwich at lunch...

Regency Terrace

Pubs (drinking houses) also often offer B&B alongside the best lunch and evening restaurants with British food and traditional real ale. Here's perhas the best known Brighton pub, the King and Queen...

Regency Terrace

The main shopping center is the mall at Churchill Square, set on the road down from the railway station toward the sea...

Churchill Square

After a bad recession period in the late 80's, these days Brighton is again prosperous, with industries linked to the research element of the universities, and many tourists. In addition, Londoners seeking more sensible housing prices can commute to London with a direct train in 1 hour - with this good train service, many have moved to Brighton and its adjacent town, Hove. Because of the train connection, it's also a good option for London tourists to stay in Brighton and get the best of both worlds.

Watch this video to learn more...

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