Brighton's certainly whimsical and fun, a definite student city. Here are some of the highlights to studying abroad in Brighton:
Located close to the center of town, the Brighton Pier is a major hub of activity. By day, one can find families strolling past Victorian structures, lounging on deck chairs, and experiencing boardwalk-style rides and games. By night, the lights of the pier reflect beautifully over the sea.
The pebbly Brighton beach runs along the South Coast, attracting visitors and locals year round. People of all ages (and their pets) are continually getting their exercise on the adjacent health walk, which offers stunning views of both the seafront and Regency-style architecture of Brighton & Hove. Many popular student nightclubs, cafes, and fish-and-chips shops line the seafront.
Originally built more than 200 years ago as a pleasure palace for the Prince Regent, the Royal Pavilion is an elaborate Indian-style building in the town center. The onion domes are lit in various shades of blue and violet come evening, and in winter there is an ice skating rink in front. Students can tour the facility at a reduced rate and experience for themselves the lavish lifestyle of the former prince (who eventually became King George IV).
Shopping The Lanes & North Laine
Brighton is one of the top destinations in the U.K. for shopping, and options abound. Lots of artsy and vintage boutiques can be found in the labyrinth of streets known as The Lanes. The nearby North Laine boasts many unique shops as well, selling everything from secondhand clothing to vegetarian shoes to American candy.
A night out in Brighton is a student night out! From the clubs lining the seafront to the approximately 400 pubs scattered about, one is certainly spoiled for choice in Brighton. Many of the venues offer special student deals on weeknights, while locals and Londoners tend to go out mainly on the weekends, especially for hen and stag nights (bachelorette and bachelor parties).
The main two reasons the Marina is popular for those studying abroad in Brighton are for the affordable supermarket ASDA (owned by Wal-Mart) and for fast food at McDonald's. However, despite those eyesores, the rest of the Marina is quite beautiful. From the boats in the harbor to the visible white cliffs, one can really soak up some South Coast scenery on a trip here. The shops, restaurants, casino, and cinema also provide entertainment options.
The South Downs
The English love their walks, so it is no wonder there is an ample amount of green space in the Brighton area. The South Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are easily accessible from the outskirts of Brighton. The University of Sussex is situated in the midst of these rolling green hills. Stanmer Park in the South Downs is an excellent resource for students to exercise, play football (soccer), have picnics, and enjoy the occasional sunshine.
Lewes Bonfire Night
The small town of Lewes is a short train ride away from Brighton. On the 5th of November, it is the most famous place in England for Guy Fawkes Night celebrations. While Lewes is peaceful and quiet any other day of the year, it comes alive in chaos on this night annually. Famous for its street processions and rowdy crowds, Lewes draws high numbers of students for this celebration. It is best to have a well-planned itinerary, as trains coming in and out of Lewes for the festivities (especially out) are limited.
Jaunt to London
Though Brighton is sometimes referred to as “London-by-the-Sea,” students can visit the U.K.'s culture capital in no time. Trains from Brighton to London Victoria Station are approximately an hour, making this an easy day or weekend trip.
When you have time for an international escape, it's pretty easy from Brighton. Budget airlines including Ryanair and EasyJet operate out of London Gatwick Airport, a 30-minute train ride from Brighton. These airlines are popular with students, as they offer affordable airfares (as long as you meet strict baggage requirements) and serve many European destinations.