Travel Club: Brighton

Add this seaside city to your must visit list

CREDIT: KENJI LAU/KENJI LAU

Unusual and interesting.

The act of throwing a stone so it bounces on the surface of the water.

Things that delay something.

Something that remains after other parts have disappeared or been destroyed.

A collection of things or people that are close to each other.

A relaxed walk.

A large amount of something.

A perfect example of something.

By Rachelle Foster

Brighton is a seaside city located on the southern coast of England. It is without doubt one of the most diverse and liveliest cities in Britain, with a reputation for being quirky and hedonistic. It boasts a population of around 280,000 and is famous for its abundance of independent restaurants and coffee shops, vibrant music scene, and large LGBTQ+ community.

The coastal city has a 5.4 mile (8.7 km) expanse of pebble beach, which is perfect for skipping stones on days when the sea is calm. On the central part of the beach, you’ll find the Palace Pier, opened in 1899, featuring restaurants, a games arcade and a fun fair. Further up the shoreline, you can see the remains of the West Pier, built in 1866 and closed in 1975. There were plans to restore it after its closure but several setbacks and two fires in 2003 led to the structure being unrepairable.

A short walk inland from the Palace Pier will bring you to another incredible landmark of the city: the Royal Pavilion. This early 19th century building was built originally as a holiday retreat for George, Prince of Wales (who later became the Prince Regent in 1811 for a short while). It is unique due to its Indo-Saracenic style by architect John Nash, which was prevalent in India at the time.

In total, there are 38 neighbourhoods in the Brighton & Hove region — all with their own characteristics and charms. I lived in Kemptown for two years before moving to Barcelona. Kemptown is known for its buzzing atmosphere and having the city’s best examples of Regency-inspired architecture and the remnants of the Art Deco movement along Marine Parade.

In recent years, Kemptown has also received an influx of food and drink businesses setting up shop on its streets. This is great for food enthusiasts but in the two years I lived there I, unfortunately, witnessed the effects of gentrification.

Quaint pubs which catered for the locals, serving drinks at affordable prices, were knocked down to make way for more contemporary craft beer pubs and cocktail bars. Workmen’s cafes were shut down and reopened as trendy brunch spots for the wealthier population of Brighton, featuring overpriced avocado and eggs on toast on its menus.

Despite watching my neighbourhood become more and more expensive to live in, I did enjoy being so close to the central city. Walking west, up the street I used to live on (St James’s Street) and then onto North Street, which is the road that leads to the centre of town, you can make your way to the South or the North Laines. These Laines are what Brighton is most popular for; they are both clusters of pedestrian alleyways offering tons of charismatic shops, cafes, restaurants and art galleries. I always preferred the North Laines because the South Laines are more posh with its designer stores and high-class dining establishments. The North Laines are made up of mainly independent boutiques and hipster vintage clothing stores, and the city’s best-rated cafes and eateries.

If you visit Brighton, you should make an effort to experience its culture. Check out the independent music venues such as Green Door Store or Prince Albert and book yourself a ticket to see some local talent.

The city has alumni the likes of The Kooks, Rizzle Kicks, Rag’n’Bone Man, and Fatboy Slim, so you never know — you might find yourself watching the next rising star!

In addition to an inspiring music scene, Brighton also possesses a dynamic visual arts scene. Take a stroll in the Royal Pavilion’s gardens and pop into the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery to see both long-term installations and short-term contemporary exhibitions by up and coming artists.

There’s also a plethora of arts festivals that take place annually in the city. Two of the most notable are the Brighton Fringe, which is a comedy and performing arts festival, and the Brighton Festival which hosts an exciting mix of dance, spoken word and music shows, as well as temporary art exhibitions.

I really miss Brighton some days. With its quintessential English culture, fish and chips, welcoming community and creative atmosphere, you’d be a fool to not put it on your travelling bucket-list!

About Rachelle Foster
I grew up in a county called Kent, dubbed the “garden of England”. Then, when I was 21 years old, I moved to Brighton and lived there for two years before I moved to Barcelona three months ago. I've been a teacher at Badalona's What's Up! for two months now and I couldn't be happier in the little community we have here. I'm a spoken word artist and journalist when I'm not in the classroom, and it's this passion for literature that drove me to teach English!

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