Brighton Area Guide
Brighton is an important residential, commercial, educational, entertainment, tourist and conference town on the Sussex coast, 46 miles south of London, making up half of the city of Brighton and Hove.
Recorded as the tiny fishing village of "Brighthelmstone" in the Domesday Book of 1086, BRIGHTON seems to have slipped unnoticed through history until the mid-eighteenth century, when the new trend for sea-bathing established it as a resort. The fad received royal approval in the 1780s, after the decadent Prince of Wales began patronising the town. After the railway reached the town in 1841, it became a popular destination for day-trippers from London.
Brighton had rapid population growth over the next century, reaching a peak of more than 160,000 by 1961. Granted city status in 2000, its Georgian charm, upmarket shops and first class restaurants have served to make it a thriving conference destination and a desirable place to live. However, despite its chic bearing, the essence of Brighton’s appeal remains in its faintly bohemian vitality, a buzz that comes from a mix of English holiday-makers, foreign-language students, a thriving gay community and an energetic local student population.
Over the years Brighton has been home to many of the rich and famous as well as notorious characters that grace the pages of the history books and still today attracts many of the celebrity clique who prefer a more laid back lifestyle by the coast whilst still being able to quickly access the Capital via excellent communication links.
An important center for commerce and employment since the 18th century, Brighton is home to several major companies, some of which employ thousands of people locally; as a retail centre it is of regional importance and creative, digital and new media businesses are increasingly significant.
In a city renowned for its wealth of historic buildings, the Royal Pavilion is an important one; built as a home for the Prince Regent during the early 19th century. Residents enjoy many tourist attractions on a daily basis including Brighton Palace Pier, the clock tower, built in 1888 for Queen Victoria's jubilee and Volk's Electric Railway which runs along the inland edge of the beach from Brighton Pier to Brighton Marina and is the world's oldest operating electric railway.
The residents also enjoy a 5.4-mile expanse of shingle beach, part of the unbroken 8-mile section within the city limits, peppered with seafront bars, restaurants, nightclubs, sports facilities and amusement arcades.
Property in Brighton is rich and varied ranging from elegant Regency apartments and homes located in the grand seafront squares and tree-lined streets, terraced town houses and quaint original fishermen’s cottages in the maze-like Laines to more retro ‘70s built houses, bungalows, modern apartments and contemporary eco homes. There is something for all tastes and budgets and investments are economically sound.
Education in the town is outstanding boasting 54 state schools and a number of private schools, including Brighton College and Roedean as well as popular sixth form colleges and a dedicated music school. The University of Sussex, currently ranked 21st in the UK and 110th in the world, the University of Brighton and Brighton and Sussex Medical School all offer outstanding degree level education.
As a shopping centre, Brighton, with some 2,000 shops, has a variety matched only by the largest cities; nearly half these shops are located in the main centre around Western Road and Churchill Square, with many specialist shops and cafes, bars and theatres located in the quaint car free south Lanes and the more bohemian North Laine area. There are also larger retail parks and ‘superstores’ catering for the residential areas outside of the city centre.As a shopping centre, Brighton, with some 2,000 shops, has a variety matched only by the largest cities; nearly half these shops are located in the main centre around Western Road and Churchill Square, with many specialist shops and cafes, bars and theatres located in the quaint car free south Lanes and the more bohemian North Laine area. There are also larger retail parks and ‘superstores’ catering for the residential areas outside of the city centre.
Entertainment in Brighton is second to none, there is something for everyone be it concerts, live theatre, legendary nightlife, museums, sport or festivals; each May the city hosts the Brighton Festival, the second largest arts festival in the UK after Edinburgh. Of the many cinemas, the Duke of York's Picture house is the country's oldest purpose-built cinema. There are over 300 pubs in the town and around 400 restaurants, more per head than anywhere else outside London.
Communication links are exceptional, the Brighton Main Line and A23 road link Brighton to London and the rest of the country. Brighton is connected to the national road network by the A23 northwards, linking to the M23 motorway, and by two east–west routes: the A259 along the coast and the A27 trunk route inland. The A23 joins the M23 motorway at Pease Pottage near Gatwick Airport. Frequent trains operate from Brighton railway station. Many Brighton residents commute to work in London and destinations include London Victoria, London Bridge and St Pancras International. Many trains serve Gatwick Airport, and those operated by Thameslink continue to Luton, Luton Airport and Bedford. The fastest service from London Victoria takes 51 minutes. The West Coastway Line serves stations to Southampton; and the East Coastway Line to Eastbourne, Hastings and Ashford. Regular coach and rail services operate from Brighton to Gatwick Airport, one of Britain's major international airports, 22 miles north on the A23.
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