A spotlight on… Brighton
Learn a little more about this wonderful place we call home, and maybe discover a hidden gem.
Dubbed London-by-the-Sea, Brighton is a unique and vibrant city where you can relax on its huge beach, people-watch from countless cafes and pubs, browse the quirky shops of the North Laine, then take in the museums, theatres, live comedy, music and nightlife.
Originally a medieval fishing village, Brighton has blossomed into everything that a seaside city should be, with a pier, rock shops, buckets and spades, fish and chips, deckchairs and of course the Royal Pavilion. There’s fabulous shopping and within a few miles you’re in the midst of beautiful rolling countryside and the South Downs National Park.
It has a marina, the annual Brighton Festival, showcasing arts of all types, and the newest addition, the i360 viewing platform. Families love Brighton for its excellent schools including Brighton College and Roedean, two of the best independent schools in the country. Many people move here from London because the property, from period properties of all sizes to modern flats, is better value than London, but they can still commute to the capital by rail.
It has a huge creative community too – artists, musicians, actors, writers, journalists through to marketing and media people of all varieties. It is also popular with the gay community, both those who live here and those who visit its annual Pride festival or brilliant clubs and bars. It’s also conveniently located for your travels with Gatwick Airport and Newhaven ferry port both close by.
The regal parade of streets and spacious Regency-style squares climbing down towards the sea are immaculately kept. Up on Church/Western Road, those on a stroll will be kept busy window-shopping before taking in a show at The Old Market or jazz at The Paris House. The Little Fish Market, Archipelagos and Makara are just a few of the superb examples of high-quality eateries in the area – there are truly too many to count.
Circling 63 acres of trees and greenery, Preston Park is just far enough out of the busy city centre to enjoy the perks of space but close enough to dip in when the mood strikes. Here, modern flats and architectural feats sit in harmony alongside stunning Victorian terraced homes, making it one of the area’s most desirable areas to live. The park is the only place to be (besides the seafront) on a sunny day, and athletes – from softballers to joggers to ultimate frisbee players – turn out in force. Year-round, the park itself is host to a variety of marquee events including the Brighton Marathon and Pride Festival – the UK’s largest LGBTQ Pride Festival.
The namesake of 19th century landowner and developer Thomas Read Kemp, this little village to the east of Brighton houses some of the city’s best examples of Regency-inspired architecture and the remnants of the Art Deco movement along Marine Parade. Many of the city’s lesbian and gay pubs like the Queen’s Arms and The Marlborough were established here in the 19th and 20th centuries and today, it’s one of the city’s liveliest quarters. In recent years, there’s been an influx of foodie fare to accompany the plentiful drink – check out fashionable tea salon Metrodeco, brunch spot Compass Point or gastropub Busby and Wilds.
The Lanes & North Laine
The beating heart of the city is the cultural and commercial quarters of North Laine and over North Street into the winding passageways of the Lanes. Scores of boutiques, cafes and buskers line the streets here, adding a charming quaintness to the beauty of the Royal Pavilion Estate. Some of the dwellings here date back to the days when Brighton was Brighthelmstone, the place to cure your ailments with the magical properties of seawater. For food after you’re cured, check out Cin Cin, Italian.
Sitting atop a hill just north of Brighton Station is the pretty, Victorian village of Seven Dials. Its busy high street serves up a platter of world cuisines, from Murasaki’s sushi and tempura to the Red Snapper’s Thai provisions. It’s a neighbourhood that enjoys the finer things in life, so it’s only fitting that the award-winning Le Gourmet delicatessen resides at Seven Dials. The best part is that once you’re finished, it’s downhill to the sea.
This diverse, teaming thoroughfare has been the focus of substantial redevelopment of shops and accommodation in recent years, including Richardson’s Yard – 36 shipping containers converted into ‘moving on’ spaces aiming to address homelessness in the city. New buds are beginning to bloom with abandon here alongside elder statesmen like Duke of York’s – the country’s oldest cinema, lively pubs like The Joker (with its famous wings) and the Hare and Hounds share the road from creative spaces like 88 London Road and the regenerated community hub, The Open Market. For vinyl purists, Monkey Music Emporium is a sweet reminder of how it feels to have music at your fingertips.
Brighton and Hove has fantastic rail links to London, with a journey time to London Victoria being just 55 minutes. There are a number of train stations within the city including Brighton, Hove, London Road, Preston Park and Aldrington.
There are imposing regency terraces both on the seafront and away from it; large Victorian houses in Hove; smaller ones in Preston Park; large Twenties houses in the Tongdean and Withdean areas of Brighton, and the marina has modern flats. The city of Brighton and Hove has 34 different conservation areas, so you’re never far from one.
In the last five years, house prices in Brighton have jumped up over *18% with a value change of +£61,859. With over *14,000 sales in that time, it’s still a thriving market, and a great place to buy, sell, and let property.
Brighton offers something for everyone, making it a perfect place to while away the hours. Take a stroll along the beach or explore the woods of Stanmer Park. Explore the Royal Pavilion, the Palace Pier, or the many museums situated around the city. Enjoy a day at the races, or an evening at the Theatre Royal or the Brighton Dome. Golf enthusiasts will love Brighton’s fantastic courses, and football fans will be thrilled watching their favourite team play at the Amex Stadium. Families can choose from endless activities and days out, from children’s shows at the Komedia to nearby family farms and everything in between.