Soaking up the sand and sunshine of the south coast, Brighton is just 50 miles from London and has direct train links to Victoria and London Bridge stations which take about an hour. If you know anything at all about Brighton, you’ll also know that it’s famed for being hip, happy and wholesome and it’s no surprise you might be tempted to live here! But if you’re still on the fence or not quite ready to move, here’s the low down on what to love (and what not to) when it comes to moving to Brighton.
Transport and travel
We’ve mentioned the train links to London already, but Brighton is also well served by the M23 (to London, the M25, and beyond) and the A27 east to west. Trains run pretty frequently to and from the capital and to Gatwick Airport (half an hour from Brighton by train). There are also train stations at Hove and Preston Park. Trains from London run about every 15 minutes.
It’s a smallish city so if you’re travelling within Brighton, walking is always an option. But if you’re not up for that, there’s a great bus network within and across the city.
And the eagle-eyed visitor will have probably spotted lots of distinctive blue bikes around the town which are part of the BTN BikeShare. This is a great scheme for tourists and residents and part of what is becoming an increasingly bike-friendly city.
The downside for Brighton travellers is that rail fairs can be expensive and public parking in the city is both limited and costly too. If you live here you may need a resident’s parking permit. The prices of these vary depending on vehicle emissions and zone but could be as much as £165 to £292 for 12 months.
According to Right Move, in 2021 the average price for a property in Brighton and Hove was £480,954, as compared to the average property price in the whole of East Sussex of £419,556 and approximately £428,474 in West Sussex. Most sales last year were in respect of flats (with an average price of £336,534). You shouldn’t ignore Hove, but the average property price last year there came in at a slightly less affordable £522,051.
That said, there’s huge diversity in the available properties in Brighton and the surrounding area. Some of the more expensive areas include Clifton Hill (very close to the centre), Brunswick (some lovely period properties), Kemptown (eclectic and bustling) and Seven Dials (just a little further out of town and very trendy). For those moving to Brighton who are looking for more affordable property, head further away from the centre to the likes of London Road, Patcham and Moulsecoomb. Inevitably, these latter areas have some undesirable elements but there is still reasonable and desirable property to be had.
Work and education
If you’re not commuting to London, what has Brighton got to offer in terms of employment and opportunities? Well, it’s a creative city that is also home to a university and a thriving tourist industry. It’s entrepreneurial at heart and known for its Start-Ups but there are also significant opportunities in retail, technology, the arts, health, hospitality and at nearby giant American Express (their European HQ) and Gatwick Airport. The cost of living is significantly cheaper in Brighton than London and it’s also relatively easy to access employment opportunities elsewhere in Sussex (think Chichester, Eastbourne, Crawley and Haywards Heath).
And the schools? There are 10 secondary schools in Brighton made up of community schools, church voluntary aided schools, free schools and academies. There are also a number of independent schools in or near Brighton including Brighton Girls, Roedean, Brighton College and Lancing College. BHASVIC is the well-regarded sixth form and other sixth form options include Varndean, the Brighton MET and Plumpton College. And of course, Brighton is home to the University of Sussex.
Things to see and do in Brighton
Brighton is a modern city with a rich historic and cultural heritage. It’s got some incredible architecture and all sorts of wonderful things to do. Do have a quick look at our 16 Things To Do in Brighton post which features some of the major attractions such as the exotic Royal Pavilion and Dome, the many museums (last count I got to nine, but there could be more), the Pier, the British Airways i360 viewing tour and the historic Lanes.
But of course, that just touches the surface of the many things to see and do. Brighton is just south of the South Downs which offer mile after mile of running, walking and biking. As a coastal town with a marina, it also means there’s plenty of opportunity for sea sports from swimming to windsurfing, sailing, and more. And if it’s nightlight you’re after … look no further.
Anyone moving to Brighton will quickly find it has a fantastically buzzing nightlife with everything you could crave. A thriving comedy scene, cinemas, and theatres go hand in hand with a range of night clubs including everything from the hottest new DJs, techno, cabaret, jazz, hip hop, disco, VIP pads and cocktail bars, cheap as chips disco joints and karaoke. And of course, it’s famous for some outrageously decadent gay clubs where you’ll find glitter balls and drag queens in abundance.
Shopping and eating out
In any city as eclectic and cosmopolitan as Brighton, you can expect a huge choice of restaurants and eatery styles with lots of alfresco and quirky courtyard venues, and even enjoy fresh oysters delivered to your door!
In the North Laines, you’ll find plenty of street food, while heading out towards Hove (along Church Road) you’ll find etch. by Steven Edwards and Wild Flor, both mentioned in the Michelin Guide as is the Little Fish Market in Upper Market Street. There is plenty in between too, from vegan coffee shops to fish and chips at The Regency near the i360. In short, whatever your taste buds are demanding, you’re pretty much certain to find it.
Shopping in Brighton is both fun and diverse too. You’ll find most of the high street brands in and around Churchhill Square. Drift down towards the Lanes for independent boutiques and posh shops or dive into the North Laine district for preloved, vintage, unusual and unique finds.
For the weekly shop, there are dozen of specialty food shops and enticing delis like Grocer and Grain up by the station (next to the town’s oldest “adult boutique”) and some great local produce like their homegrown Brighton Gin.
Community and spirit
Brighton has a unique personality and you’ll find folk here from all walks of life. Of course, the city also has a reputation for being the UK’s LGBTQ capital and with that comes a fantastic sense of community, illustrated beautifully by the Brighton Pride annual event when the streets are filled with all the colours of the rainbow and an addictive carnival vibe. But Brighton folk are also passionate about sustainability and the environment particularly when it comes to food and fashion as well as being all-embracing of alternative lifestyles. And let’s not forget their arts centred multi-faceted Brighton festival.
That doesn’t mean that if you’re a more conventional type that you won’t fit in, because on the whole, you’ll find the people of Brighton adore their multicultural, multi-diverse sense of community, In short, if you want to roller skate down the seafront in a bikini (as I once did many years ago) followed by moon bathing in the sea (I did that too), walk around in a top hat and tie (I haven’t done that yet), or live a completely alternative lifestyle on a houseboat (I’m definitely thinking of doing this), the chances are no one will bat an eyelid.
You’ve probably guessed from the tone of this post, that I love Brighton. Of course, there are downsides to living here but that’s true of every city. On the whole, I believe Brighton to be one the most unusual, exciting, eclectic, and fun cities in the south and if you’re thinking of moving to Brighton (and can afford to do so), then my bet is, that you’ll love your new life! Oh, and if you need somewhere to stay while you’re checking out the city, my top recommendation would have to be the wonderfully eccentric Hotel Pelirocco! It needs no more by way of an introduction. Enjoy!
If you like this post about moving to Brighton, you may also like:
10 Brighton Museums
16 Things To Do In Brighton
Sundays Are For: Exploring The Lanes, Brighton
Or for more information, visit: https://www.visitbrighton.com/