Ten Quirks About Brighton

by Amanda Guarino

Total Student City. Students in Brighton work hard and play hard. The University of Sussex and University of Brighton are the two biggest institutions in the area, creating a sense of local rivalry and favorite hangouts among students. Apart from studying, many students head to the seafront for the bustling club and pub scene or spend some pounds shopping.

The Royal Pavilion.

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England

Brighton Pride. Brighton has a well-established and active LGBT community, particularly in the Kemptown neighborhood near the seafront. The annual Pride Festival in August is a popular and fun event.

London Copycat. Nicknamed “London-by-the-Sea,” Brighton has been popular with Londoners since the railroads connected the two cities in the 1840s. Being only an hour's train ride away from London makes Brighton a commuter city.  It is no wonder that many of London's trends (fashion, music, etc.) catch on quickly in Brighton. Many famous London DJs and performers will have gigs in Brighton, and the clubbing scene tries to seek the same quality and style of the London experience. The Brighton Wheel, introduced in 2011, is met with mixed reviews by locals, as it is so similar to the London Eye.

Postcard Perfect. For a relatively small city, Brighton's natural scenery is vastly different throughout. The southern edge of the city is the seafront, where a pebbly beach meets the English Channel. Further down the seafront and into the distance are the region's famous while chalk cliffs. Brighton's northern border is cushioned by the rolling hills of the South Downs, which provide miles of stunning scenery and walking paths.

Vintage Style Is Never Old. If boutiques and second-hand shops are your thing, then Brighton is your place. There is a bohemian shopping section of town known as the North Laine, where many of these quirky and creative places are found. To Be Worn Again is a vintage shop not to miss.

It's Brighton & Hove. The neighboring seaside towns of Brighton and Hove are linked together for administrative purposes. Other than tourism and government offices, and the ever-present Brighton & Hove bus company, most people in the area refer to them separately. Hove is a quieter, smaller and mellower version of Brighton, with a much lower percentage of students.

They Heart The Piers... Looking at the Brighton seafront, there are two visible structures out in the sea. One is the lavish Brighton Pier (formerly Palace Pier), a 100-year-old Victorian structure with arcade games, amusement rides, striped deck chairs, takeaway food stalls, and even a spinning disco ball. A bit further down the seafront is a burnt skeleton of a pier. This is the West Pier, which burned down in 2003 and lost a bit more of its remaining structure in January 2013 — many haunting photos have been captured of it.

… Seagulls, Not So Much. Seagulls in Brighton are a bit larger than seagulls found elsewhere, which may be due in part to how aggressive they are in seeking out food. Locals know to be careful when eating outdoors, keeping one eye on the food and the other on the sky. It is not uncommon to lose a sandwich to a grabby seagull.

Brighton and Hove

Brighton and Hove

It's A Showplace. Brighton and Hove's architecture is a feast for the eyes. It includes the onion domes of the Indian-inspired Royal Pavilion, the elegant Regency architecture along the seafront and Hove squares, and the Victorian pier and the clock tower in the center of town. There are also many modern influences, as is evident in the numerous fast food takeaway establishments and seaside dining venues.

Anything Goes. Brighton has a reputation as a city of misfits, populated by people who never want to grow up. Regardless of how true this is, the laidback bohemian vibe has created a very open-minded and carefree city, especially compared to other places in the country. Brighton is a very popular destination for hen and stag nights (bachelorette and bachelor parties).

So are you ready to study abroad in Brighton?