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Brighton (England)

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East Sussex : Brighton
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View West along Brighton beach

Brighton [1] is a charming town (population 2001 - 247,817) and famous seaside resort in on the south coast of England, in the county of East Sussex and almost immediately due south of the capital city London (47 miles / 76 km). In 2000, the two neighboring communities of Brighton and Hove joined together to form the unitary authority of the City of Brighton and Hove.

Understand

The city is convenient for London, and increasingly popular with media and music types who don't want to live in the capital. It is sometimes called "London-sur-Mer" for this reason.

Brighton is probably the gay capital of Britain. There is a significant gay district in Kemptown which adds to the bohemian atmosphere of the city.

It is home to two universities, University of Sussex and University of Brighton (situated on the edge of the city at Falmer), but is most famous for its Pavilion, an extravagant Regency building by John Nash.

Get in

By train

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 (First Capital Connect) from Gatwick and Luton airports (Gatwick is much closer).

By car

Brighton is a congested city, and not easy to drive or park in. The principal route from London and Gatwick Airport is the A23. The A27 runs along the coast, and is dual carriageway from the M27 at Portsmouth in the west to Lewes in the east. There are several car parks in central Brighton - expect to pay about £1.50 per hour, even on Sundays. Alternatively, parking is available at Worthing or Lewes stations, about 20 minutes by train from the city centre. Another alternative is to use the city's Park and Ride service, information can be found at The National Park and Ride Directory. Finally, ParkatmyHouse.com provides a free service that allows users to search and compare parking rates and locations for commercial and private parking facilities in Brighton.


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

  • The children's parade day at the start of Brighton Festival. In 2006 this will be on Saturday 6 May, and many roads in the center of Brighton will be closed.
  • The day of the annual London to Brighton Bike Ride. This is on a Sunday in June - tens of thousands of cyclists plus their support vehicles are in the city, so many roads will be blocked or difficult to get across.
  • The parade day of the Brighton and Hove gay pride week. Many roads in the centre of Brighton will be closed.

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. Megabus also run a budget coach service to London starting at £1.50 each way, but again this takes around 2 hours.

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. See Stagecoach for times.

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 £1.70 per journey or £3.20 a day for Travel within Brighton (Southwick - Newhaven - Lewes) (this is called a CitySaver). 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 has regular scheduled passenger services to various destinations in France (Le Touquet).

Get around

By bike

Cycling is a growing form of transport in Brighton and 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 [2].

By bus

There is an extensive bus network in Brighton and Hove. In the city center, 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, who charge a flat fare of £1.70 for single journeys or £3.20 for an all day ticket (Saver). Children travel at half price there is no child saver ticket (or 20p with a free Bus ID card when accompanied by an adult) and pensioners with an East Sussex County Card travel for free after 9am. All day tickets can be bought on the bus, or in advance on the company website.

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

There are good local train services as well as to London. Trains to the main campuses of the universities 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.

Note that Southern and First Capital Connect services do NOT carry bicycles during the peak hours (7-10am and 4-7pm).

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.)
Streamline (Hove) 202020 Streamline (Brighton) 747474 Radio Cabs 204060 Or Save Money on PRE Booked Gatwick to Brighton and London to Brighton by Newcenturycars Ltd at http://www.newcenturycars.co.uk [http://www.gatwick-taxi-services.co.uk [http://www.gatwicktaxihire.co.uk telephone number 01293 262 999

By tuctuc

A fleet of Compressed Natural Gas-powered tuctucs run a minicab-style service. (This service isn't available during the winter) [3]

See

Brighton Pier
Burned remains of the West Pier
The Flamboyant Royal Pavilion
  • Brighton Pier [4] aka the Palace Pier has all the usual seafront arcade attractions. There is also the wreck of West Pier which was derelict for some time before finally burning down recently. Brighton Pier is owned all by the same company, so theres no real point shopping around for bargains on it (unlike other UK piers); but this does mean it has forced off threats to close it.
  • Brighton Beach. In the summer, the pebble beach is covered in tourists and Brightonians alike. Poi twirlers strike a beautiful image against the sunsets. To both the east of Brighton there is a designated nudist beach. The pebble beach gives way to a flat sandy seabed just below mid tide line so time your swimming to the low tide and avoid the painful feet.
  • The North Laine. A wild nest of alternativism, The North Laine area is walked by dreadlocked hippies, bright colours, punks, goths and oddballs. The shops sell everything from bongs to magic potions, from giant wooden hands to fairy wings and from bagels to fire staffs.
  • The Lanes -an adjacent area of small shops, the tumbled street plan reflecting the layout of the original fishing village of Brighton which was located here. The merchandise is more mainstream, although the Lanes are known for their wide selection of antique shops.
  • Sea Life Centre, [5]. An aquarium with walkthrough underwater tunnel, adjacent to Brighton Pier. This is the oldest working Aquarium left in the World.
  • The Royal Pavilion, [6], open daily October-March 10am-5.15pm (last tickets 4.30pm), April-September 9.30am-5.45pm (last tickets 5.00pm), closed from 2.30pm 24 December and all day on 25-26 December, admission £5.95 adults, £3.50 children, other concessions available, tel 01273 290900 - An interesting architectural attraction, transformed between 1815 and 1823 by the architect John Nash, at the direction of the then Prince Regent (later King George IV), into a sumptuous pleasure palace by the sea. The exterior has an Indian theme, whilst the interior was decorated with Chinese decor. Guided tours available and well worthwhile.
  • Brighton Marina with boats, pubs, restaurants, a supermarket and even a hotel.
  • Volks Railway [7] The first public electric railway in the world, opened in 1883, runs from the Aquarium at Brighton Pier to Black Rock near the Marina. (operates April to September)
  • Fabrica, [8]. Contemporary art gallery that specialises in new comissioned site specific work. As an artist led space this is a unique venue in the southeast that shows important new works by international artists. Fabrica is not a selling gallery but a place that offers access to exciting large scale work and media installations. It is housed in a renovated church on the corner of Ship St and Duke St in the City centre, entrance is free.
  • Roedean School, Roedean Way,one of Britain's most famous and expensive girls' schools, the huge stone building looks out across the Channel
  • Withdean Stadium, the temporary home of Brighton and Hove Albion football club
  • Rottingdean village.

Do

  • the Brighton Festival, [9] in May each year is the second biggest arts festival in Great Britain (coming closely behind Edinburgh). Music (all sorts), art exhibitions, book debates, and much, much more.
A Market during the Brighton Festival
  • the Brighton Festival Fringe, [10]. At the same time as the main Brighton Festival, has many additional arts (and other) events. These include "open houses" (local artists exhibiting in their own homes) and tours (haunted pubs, Regency Brighton, churches, cemeteries, sewers etc.).
  • Brighton Pride, [11]. Considered by many to be the biggest and the best Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Trangender Pride Festival in the UK, attracting more than 100,000 people annually to Brighton for the week-long festival in late July-early August. In 2005, Brighton Pride Festival starts Sunday 31st July - the Parade starts Saturday 6th August, 11am at the sea front near the Palace Pier on Maderia Drive.
  • the London to Brighton Bike Ride [12], A 58 mile charity ride held each June to benefit the British Heart Foundation. The Ride has raised over £26 million for heart research since its inception in 1980, from the efforts of over 550,000 riders. Suitable for all levels of riders, the route passes through glorious countryside on the approach to Brighton.
  • Tourist Tracks, [13]. Offers a set of three short walks in downloadable MP3 format, plus a map to help you find your way. Pre-loaded MP3 players are also available for hire from the Tourist Information Centre. The Brighton MP3 walking tour pack can be downloaded for just £5.
  • Glyndebourne Opera House, [14]. Eleven miles from Brighton, one of the most famous opera houses in the world, set in beautiful grounds where opera goers eat gourmet picnics at interval which can be brought in or ordered from their own catering service.
  • Shop until you drop, calling into many of the quirky shops in the Laines looking for that illusive; Deleted LP/ Leather bound book/ One off Party Dress/ Organic beer, can be a highlight and uncover hidden gems.
  • Dreamboys, [15]. Brighton is a Mecca for hen and stag nights, with parties coming from all over the Uk to celebrate the hen or stags pending nuptials. Dreamboys are a company specialising in Hen parties in Brighton and their one-off strip show is very popular.

Buy

Shopping is one of the main reasons to visit Brighton. It has 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 and South Laines 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.

  • North Laine contains heaps of shops and market stalls to tempt everyone’s quirky or vintage fancies. There is a flea market with numerous stalls in Kensington Gardens. Shope tend to get less mainstream, the further North into the North Laine area you go.
  • The Lanes are famous for their independent shops, especially antique shops and jewellers. The Lanes Armoury is World famous for selling antique war memorabilia and weapons.
  • Churchill Square Shopping Centre and the surrounding area offer more mainstream goods, but are invaluable if that's what you're looking for.
  • London Road is an older "High Street" type shopping area but is worth a visit for the Open Market.
  • Brighton Marina contains more up-market 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[16] situated in The Lanes, while The George pub, on Trafalgar Street near the train station, serves only the finest vegetarian meals and snacks.

  • Bills Produce Store and Café, The Depot, 100 North Road, Brighton BN1 1YE, tel +44 (0)1273 692 894, fax +44 (0)1273 692 387, [17]. M-Sa 8am-8pm, Su 10am-4pm. - consistently highly rated and reviewed, the café at Bills specialises in organic munchies of the best type.
  • Englishs, 29-30-31 East Street, tel +44 01273 327 980, [18]. the best seafood restaurant in the city, lots of outdoor city, enjoy watching the world wander by as you enjoy the excellent food.
  • Terre à Terre, 71 East Street, tel +44 01273 729 051, [19]. Wonderful vegetarian fare at a fair price, lively crowd and bright décor - voted 2nd best British restaurant in the Observer Food Monthly 2004 [20]
  • Due South, 139 Kings Road Arches, tel 01273 821 218, [21]. Great food and location at this relative newcomer
  • Burger Off,52 Brunswick Street West, tel 01273 326655, Best Burgers you will ever taste Family run with a Five Star Health inspectorate Rating, well worth a visit
  • The Eagle, 125 Gloucester Rd., tel 01273 607765. Great vegan, vegetarian and carnivorous food
  • The Greys, 105 Southover Street, tel 01273 680734, [22]. 11th best pub in the UK in 2004. Famous for its food, and chef "Spats" (no child licence.)
  • The Open House, 146 Springfield Road, tel 01273 880102. 20th best pub in UK in 2004. Large, child-friendly pub next to London Road train station. Good food and drink.
  • Pablos, 36 Ship Street Brighton and Hove BN1 1AB, tel 01273 20812. Serves great Italian food, with pizzas and pasta dishes starting at £2.50. It is popular in the Evening so expect to wait for a table unless you make a reservation, getting a table during the day is usually no problem.
  • China China, 74 Preston Street, tel 0871 2071847. Very good value (around six pounds per person) Chinese restaurant, with lots of seating, five minutes from the beach; you'll find several other low-cost retaurants on the same street.

Splurge

  • Havana, 32 Duke Street, 01201273 773388. Located in the coverted Theatre Royal opened in 1790, the enticing fascade mirrrors the exquisite international cuisine but expect a hefty bill as this is a popular with the Rich and Famous (Orlando Bloom is known to visit when in town).

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.

  • The Evening Star, 55-56 Surrey Street (200m from railway station). If you enjoy real ales this is a must. Voted by CAMRA for many years, the best pub for real ales in Brighton & Hove. They have a wide selection of tap ales & ciders and bottled Headbangers too!!. Best of all it`s really cheap!
  • The King and Queen, 13-17 Marlborough Place. A traditional old pub that never loses its popularity! Especially students from the language school called St.Giles close to the pub always hang out here. It is a meeting point for them. As the name of the pub shows, there are portraits of former English kings and queens. The pub has a high ceiling and the space is large. Various forms of entertainment which include karaoke, televised sport and occasional live music.
  • The Pavilion Tavern, 7 Castle Square. A cheap pub colloquially known as the 'Pav Tav'. There is also a nightclub above the pub.
  • Audio / Above Audio, 10 Marine Parade. Audio is medium capacity nightclub catering for fairly specialist musical tastes through a particularly large sound system. Above Audio is an award winning (National Theme Bar and Restaurant Awards) late night bar serving great cocktails and (when offered) good food. [23]
  • Gin Gin, 74 St.James Street. No food, but probably the best cocktails in Brighton.
  • Regency Tavern, 32-34 Russell Square. Very welcoming pub, maybe a little on the pricey side for a normal pub, but it has some unique decor. Certainly not to be missed during the Christmas season.

Sleep

Budget

  • St Christopher's Brighton Hostel, 10-12 Grand Junction Road, tel: +44 (0)1273 202035 (but bookings are taken via the central office, tel: +44 (0)20 7407 1856), [24]. Directly next to the National Express coach station, on the seafront and with direct view of Brighton Pier; bed in a – albeit fairly cramped – mixed dorm from £17 a night, continental breakfast included; hotel rooms are also available; clean, no curfew, friendly staff.
  • Grapevine Seafront, 75 Middle Street, +44 (0) 1273 777717, [25].
  • Grapevine North Laines, 30 North Road, +44 (0) 1273 703985, [26]. Located on the North Laines with a great cafe, this place is a fantastic place to stay and eat. Mixed dorm Rooms start at around £12 per person per night depending on season and you are right in the action with great pubs, bars, restaurants and shops surrounding you.
  • Abbey Hotel, 14-19 Norfolk Terrace, tel: +44 (0)1273 778771, [27]. A good, clean budget hotel, with rooms starting at £29.50 per person and £53 for a double/twin.
  • Baggies Backpackers 33 Oriental Place, tel: +44 1273 733740. A gorgeous and clean backpackers with a warm and friendly vibe. It's just off the beach two blocks west from the Old Pier.

Mid range

  • Granville Hotel, 124 Kings Road, tel: +44 (0)1273 326302, [28]. It's right on the seafront, with no other buildings between it and the beach, and so half of its 24 rooms have a great view of the sea. Each room is decorated in a different style - Japanese, Art Deco, Wedgwood and lace, etc. Some of the rooms have built-in Jacuzzis in the en-suite baths. Well-executed breakfasts, including a vegetarian (and optionally vegan) version of a full English breakfast. Seaview rooms start from £108 per night (price for two people including breakfast); other rooms are £88 per night. All rooms are non-smoking.

Hotel Du Vin, Close to the Sea front and the pier with a beautiful courtyard entry. This is where the stars stay when in Brighton. Great restaurant aswell. Rooms start at around £175 per night but many would say 'completely worth it for the exclusivity alone'.

Contact

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

Free wifi is reasonably common in Brighton. Loose connection provides free wifi in a number of pubs around Brighton [29]. Pier to pier is a collective that provides free wifi along the beachfront [30]. The City of Brighton provides a list of free hotspots on their website [31].

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!





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