Brighton and Hove
“Brighton is no mere commuter spot – there’s a booming digital sector, with around 1,000 tech companies and counting, as well as approximately 25,000 self-employed residents”
Moving to Brighton
Stylish Brighton in East Sussex may well be the UK’s most famous – and popular – seaside resort, with visitors flocking here ever since the arrival of the railways in 1841. While package holidays hit other British resorts hard, Brighton has flourished by diversifying into a hub of activity, creativity, and culture, as well as a major LGBT centre famous for its thriving Gay Quarter and annual Pride. The near-300,000 residents are largely a cosmopolitain bunch, who come to enjoy the miles of beaches and seaside ambience alongside hundreds of restaurants and a shopping experience to rival much larger cities.
Despite being affectionately known as ‘London on Sea’ for its popularity among Londoners who are sick of the capital but not ready to give up on a diverse lifestyle (and decent commuting time), Brighton is no mere commuter spot – there’s a booming digital sector, with around 1,000 tech companies and counting, as well as approximately 25,000 self-employed residents working on independent businesses or start-ups. With two universities, it’s also got a lively student community which adds to the youthful ambience. All these benefits can come at a price though – with 7.5 million day visitors and 4.9 million overnight visitors in 2016 alone, the city is often packed with tourists, which can bring huge queues and terrible traffic jams. The city also suffers from deprivation, and is one of the worst places in the country for homelessness – a staggering 1 in 69 people in Brighton are said to be homeless, an issue that Brighton and Hove Council are continuing to work on.
House prices in Brighton
With an average property price of £394,000 as of 2017, a rise of 20% since 2014 alone, Brighton is rapidly becoming one of the UK’s most expensive cities – a blow for those hoping to escape London’s property bubble by moving here. However, for the meantime it is still cheaper than the capital, and the occasional bargain can be found too. Popular suburbs in Brighton include Hove Park, Preston Park and Montpelier Villas, while the historic Regency properties of Brunswick Square are a top choice for those with a generous budget. Students and young professionals, on the other hand, often head to trendy Kemptown for the village vibe and hipster cafes.
“The near-300,000 residents are largely a cosmopolitain bunch, who come to enjoy the miles of beaches and seaside ambience alongside hundreds of restaurants”
One of the biggest draws of Brighton for those working in London is the commute – the capital can be reached by train in under an hour, making it possible to work in the city and live by the seaside. London is also accessible by road with the A23 and M25, although traffic means this 50 mile journey can often take two hours. Within the city, traffic is also an issue, but park and ride schemes and a local bus network make it easy to get around, and bikes are another popular mode of transport.
For travel further afield, Gatwick Airport is just 22 miles away and offers flights to hundreds of far-flung destinations.
When it comes to a varied, vibrant lifestyle, Brighton has it all – including enough diverse shopping opportunities. For big name brands, head to Churchill Square Shopping Centre where you’ll find the likes of Aldo, H&M, and Urban Outfitters alongside restaurant chains such as Ed’s Easy Diner and Chopstix Noodle Bar. Meanwhile, for Brighton’s best selection of independent boutiques check out The Lanes, a historic area where stores selling vintage clothing, fashion brands, homewares, records, books and more can be found along the narrow streets.
With around 400 restaurants, Brighton residents are utterly spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out. This is a foodie city, where you’ll find top fish and chip shops along the seafront and quirky independent spots in the lanes, alongside stylish restaurants, cosy pubs, and even pop-up supper clubs and food markets. Some of the most highly-recommended include Modern British restaurant 64 Degrees, creative vegetarian Terre A Terre, and Plateau for trendy small plates and natural wines.
The city is also famous for its bars, clubs and music venues, a reputation that’s helped by musical residents including Fatboy Slim. Everything from chic cocktail bars to student-friendly clubs can be found here, as well as well as a booming ‘Gay Quarter’ packed with LGBT pubs and bars.
There’s plenty of choice for food shopping in Brighton, with branches of multiple major supermarket chains including Waitrose, Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s across the town, as well as a number of specialist international supermarkets such as Yum Yum Oriental Market and Seven Stars Oriental Supermarket. Plenty of excellent delis, fishmongers, butchers and more can also be found in the Lanes.
Health & Sport
Brighton residents tend to be a sporty lot, so you won’t have to look far to find a fitness centre or exercise studio – as well as national chains including PureGym, The Gym and Fitness First, there are also a number of council-run services. Yoga, boxercise and pilates classes can also be found, and if you prefer to exercise outdoors, running on the beach (or a bracing swim in the sea) is both fun and free!
Brighton is a true cultural hub, so you’ll never be short of activities here – whether it’s the jam-packed annual Pride celebration, or a peaceful afternoon spent at the Royal Pavilion. Top spots include the Brighton Palace Pier, home to a fun fair and arcade, the Pavilion Theatre, the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery and the Booth Museum of Natural History. A popular recent addition is the British Airways i360 Observation Tower, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and the coast from a glass pod. Meanwhile, make sure you’re in town during May and August for two of the cities biggest celebrations – the Brighton Festival, and Brighton Pride.
“With around 400 restaurants, Brighton residents are utterly spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out”
Schools and Education
Brighton offers parents a wide variety of school options, including a number of highly-rated independent schools. For primary-aged children, Aldrington CofE School, Westdene Primary School and Cottesmore St Mary’s Catholic Primary School are among the best in the Brighton and Hove district. Meanwhile, Brighton College and the Roedean School are the leading independent options with consistently impressive exam results, and Dorothy Stringer High School is one of the best options in the local state school leagues.
For further education, Brighton is also home to the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex, the latter of which regularly ranks among the UK’s top 20 universities.
With an average crime rate of 88 crimes per 1000 people, Brighton has a similar crime rate to Oxford and is considered to be a relatively safe city. Anti-social behaviour can be an issue in the city centre on the weekends, although the crime rate here continues to be lower than fellow Sussex towns Crawley and Hastings.
Truly offering the best of both, alongside its famously diverse lifestyle Brighton is packed with green spaces and natural beauty. As well as the beaches, the city offers a number of excellent parks including Queens Park, Preston Park and the charming St Nicholas Rest Garden, a popular summer lunchtime spot with nearby office workers. Brighton is also surrounded by the stunning South Downs National Park, so you’ll never run out of epic weekend walks.