When first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, Brighton was called Bristelhemstone. Centuries late in June 1514, the town of Bristelhemstone was burnt to the ground during a war with France. All that remained was a section of the St. Nicholas Church and what is now known as The Lanes. The town remained a tiny place until a local doctor by the name of Dr. Richard Russell began treating his patients with Brighton seawater. By 1780 the small fishing town became a trendy stop. Even Prince Regent (who later became King George IV) made his first appearance in 1783 and quickly established a leisurely lifestyle here that included the construction of the exotic Royal Pavilion. Once the railway was brought in during 1841 daytrippers from London were as common as grains of sand.
From roughly 1850 – 1950 Brighton gained a significant amount of acreage and began expanding its resort areas. From there the area has steadily increased as an extremely popular urbanized seaside locale. In 1997, Brighton and nearby Hove were joined and then given city status by Queen Elizabeth II during the 2000 Millennium celebration.
Brighton has many beloved landmarks including the Brighton Pier, the West Pier, the 11th century St. Nicholas Church, and Volk’s Electric Railway, which is the oldest operating electric rail in the world. The West Pier suffered massive fire damages in 2003 but plans to rectify the Brighton icon were approved in 2006 and will begin building soon.
England’s southern coast has some of the most agreeable weather in the country. However, there are still four distinct seasons as well as unpredictable weather, especially by the water. Brighton averages about 6 ° C in the winter and a warm 22 ° C in the peak months of July and August.
The best times of year to go are spring and fall, May and September in particular. The weather is usually just right and there are many lively events. May brings the Brighton Festival (the largest arts festival in England), Brighton Festival Fringe (a street festival that coincides with the Brighton Festival), and the Great Escape (free music citywide). Come September is Brighton Live (free music citywide featuring local bands), Brighton Pride (a prideful gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender event), and the hilarious World Beard and Moustache Championships.
There are several ways to get to Brighton internationally. Since it is conveniently close to London, travelers have the option of using London Gatwick or Heathrow airports, both of which provide access to Brighton in under an hour. Southampton International Airport bypasses a lot of the big city traffic to serve by Brighton by way of FastTrack train connections.
Brighton also has several incoming ferry services from France and Belgium to nearby Folkstone, Dover, Newhaven, and Portsmouth. There are a handful of ferry companies available including P&O, SeaFrance, Brittany Ferries, and Norfolkline – all of which offer direct rides from port to Brighton.
Eurotunnel is the perfect option when in a time crunch since they operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They ride between Calais and Folkstone, which is a 35 minute ride. Booking in advance is recommended by the company.
Eurostar also offers a high speed train option from my points in Paris, Belgium and England including Brussels, Lille, Paris, and London Waterloo.
Because of the busy nature of Brighton, the recommended way to get around is on foot. Most places of interest are within easy walking distance of one another.
Brighton is well served by coach and bus. The main station is the Victoria Coach Station where travelers can easily board a bus or coach by companies like Stagecoach and National Express. Britexpress cards are an easy alternate to paying each time you hop aboard, especially if you are seeing the sights in Brighton.
The city is also bicycle friendly. Tourists can either bring their own or rent a cycle during their stay as an easy, affordable way around Brighton.
Driving around is difficult due to the high volume of traffic and the expensive parking in the center of town. A car park and ride on the outskirt and a bus ride in is the best way to go if you bring your vehicle to Brighton.
Taxis are also available for hire 24/7.