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Moving to… Brighton

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Lovingly nicknamed ‘London by sea’, combining both the beach and a buzzy nightlife, Brighton is one of the UK’s most popular destinations. Let’s take a look at what it’s like to live there, including house prices, hidden gems and more. 

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History of Brighton 

Brighton was once a fishing village lived in by fishermen, farmers and their families. The Lanes (now famous for shopping) used to be pathways between allotments. 

‘Brighton and Hove’ is the full name of the city, however it’s usually considered by locals to be two different places. Hove is a bit quieter; more laidback and affordable.

The town is known for being the nearest south coast to London, around an hour away by car and train, but it stands up in its own right. The iconic Royal Pavilion was a former royal residence of King George IV. Its colourful history now makes it a popular attraction, as well as an instantly recognisable landmark.

Where is Brighton?

Brighton is located in Sussex, a seaside town boasting a beach on the English Channel. It’s around 50 miles south of London. 

Average house prices 

As of 2020, Brighton properties had an average price of £444,450. To break this down further:

Property TypeAverage Sale Price
Flats£289,311
Terraced houses£487,797
Semi-detached £482,146

Average rental prices 

The average cost of renting in Brighton depends on the property type and size:

Property SizeAverage House Rent*
2-bed£1,369
3-bed£1,662
4-bed£2,274

*As of 2019

This was a 3.6% rental increase on the previous year.

Cost of living in Brighton 

As of February 2021, the average cost of living for a single person is £767 without rent. Meanwhile, for a family of four, it sits at around £2,627 without rent*. 

This takes into account transport, shopping and living expenses. 

*These are averages and all are accurate as of February 2021. To be used as a rough guide only

What to do in Brighton 

What’s life really like in this city on the sea?

Transport 

Brighton hasn’t earned its place as a commuter favourite for no reason. Brighton station has regular trains going almost anywhere, including to London in under an hour. There’s also a good network of buses to get you around town and straight to the city centre. 

Shopping 

The now-infamous Lanes are a famous high street shopping destination. North Laine sits smack-bang in the centre of the city, known for its bohemian vibe and busy crowds. 

There’s also Churchill Square, a large shopping centre, located in the heart of Brighton.

Bars and restaurants 

Fun fact: you’ll never go hungry in Brighton; it’s a foodie’s dream. Whether you’re looking for a quick street-food snack, an award-winning pub lunch or the fine dining experience, it’s got you covered. 

So, where do the locals eat in Brighton? A firm favourite when it comes to homemade pastries, organic products and refreshing coffee is Marmalade, tucked away from the busy crowds.

Of course, we couldn’t mention food in Brighton without talking about fish and chips. The title of best chippie is hotly debated, but Bardsley’s deserves a shoutout. It’s been around since 1926 and has been family-owned ever since. The Regency is another honourable mention, right opposite the West Pier. 

Brighton’s residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to pub grub, but the Lion and the Lobster is a well-loved joint. Split across three levels with odd decor, it’s something of a maze, but the food will never let you down and its homely atmosphere keeps people coming back for more. 

Fancy a quick, vegan lunch grab? Happy Maki and We Love Falafel both deserve a mention – smack bang in the centre of Brighton. 

Art & culture

Brighton is a hub of creativity, pulling many musicians and artists to its beachfronts, including famous ones. It’s attracted the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and Noel Gallagher no less!

From the historic Duke of York Picturehouse to the numerous galleries dotted around town, there’s plenty for art lovers to sink their teeth into. The Sea Life Centre is also the world’s oldest aquarium, popular with families and animal lovers. 

The beach 

Brighton truly has the best of both worlds; a buzzy and vibrant city just a short walk from the beach that’s home to a grade-1 listed pier. Whether you’re looking to eat fish and chips in the sun, brave the chilly waters, or simply take a stroll, it’s never a bad thing to be so close to a beach.

If there’s ever a clear sky, drop everything you’re doing and head down to the beach, you won’t be disappointed by the sunset! 

Brighton Marina

A fashionable shopping haven centred on the harbour with views of many sailboats moored at the quay. From casual eateries to chic boutiques, there’ll be plenty to do, right on your doorstep.

Hidden gems 

If you’re looking to discover some things to do that are off the beaten track and away from the crowds, we’ve got you covered: 

  • Brighton is full of cosy independent bookshops, great news if you love getting your head stuck in a good book. City Books is just one of these that deserves a mention
  • Quirky Kemptown flea market
  • Komedia – a great joint for live music, comedy shows and club nights
  • Clayton tunnel (north portal) – an entrance built to look like a grand castle
  • Anna’s Museum – a gallery of curiosities 
  • Brighton beach flint grotto – a crazy garden of rocky art 
  • The Booth Museum of Natural History – home to butterflies, dinosaurs and bones (it’s free!)
  • Kemptown secret garden 
  • Looking to hang out with friends and a cocktail? Head for the Twisted Lemon
  • Grab a pint at the White Rabbit to be caught in the hustle and bustle of the Lanes – it’s a great spot for people watching too
  • Word from a Brighton local: Hop Poles offers the best Sunday roast around, plus a cosy atmosphere 

Scenic walks

Keen to get away from the hustle and bustle? Go for a little walk through St Ann’s Well Gardens with a stop at the garden cafe for the best hot chocolate in town.  

For a long walk, or even a cycle, go through Kemptown, past the marina then down along the cliffs towards saltdean, for beautiful views of the chalk cliffs and seascape. 

Fun fact about Brighton

Did you know there are numerous lost tunnels underneath Brighton? 

There’s one that runs from the Royal Pavilion to the museum and dome that you can still see. Rumour has it they were used by the Prince Regent to get around without anyone seeing how overweight he’d become!

Who lives there? 

As of 2021, Brighton’s population stood at 612,159. One of the most lovable things about the area is that there’s something for everyone.

It’s popular among young professionals due to the proximity to London and the buzzing nightlife. Meanwhile, thanks to both the University of Brighton, Brighton College and the University of Sussex, the student population is high too. It’s also far from a tourist trap, with many choosing to settle and raise a family here. 

What’s not to like?

While cheaper than the capital, Brighton is still one the least affordable places in the country, to both rent and buy. It’s average house price is nearly double the UK average, which is £249,633

This will make saving for a deposit and paying off a mortgage much harder compared to the north of the country. 

Also, be prepared for the hustle and bustle of crowds and a complete lack of parking. Of course, you don’t have to live right in the centre, but be prepared that Brighton is a busy place.

Plus – we have to mention the seagulls here. You’ve got to watch them in Brighton, they will attack you for your food. Fish and chips on the beach might sound lovely, but it’s not always permitted by certain beaked locals. 

Where should you live? 

The area of Brighton is very varied; you have a vibrant city centre nestled very close by the countryside of Hove. 

Hove 

Fashionable, luxurious, Hove’s property scene is a blend of Victorian and Regency houses. It’s the place to be if you want to be slightly removed from the hustle and bustle. Also, it’s home to Hove Park, which covers over 40 acres of green space. Think of it as Brighton’s suburban sister.

Preston Park

This part of Brighton is just a stone’s throw away from the city, but quieter and greener, home to stunning Victorian properties.

Kemptown 

A buzzy area, popular with the LGBTQ+ community in particular, Kemptown has an abundance of great pubs and restaurants. 

London road

The London road area is one of Brighton’s most developed neighbours, hope to a lively atmosphere and some of the most famous pubs around.

Seven Dials

This Victorian village has some excellent transport links, located just behind the station. It’s also known for being a hotspot for foodies. 

Typical broadband speed

When it comes to the criteria for the best places to live, good broadband speed is now a must-have. 

Good news, the average speed users see in Brighton is 31.36 Mbps, which is 3% above the UK average of 30.49 Mbps.

Crime rate 

In 2020, on average, 96.42 crimes were committed per 1,000 people, one of the highest out of all UK regions. The North East and Yorkshire and Humberside were higher. Most of this was victim-based crime offences, such as robbery and theft.

Thinking of moving to Brighton?

Having an overview of an area is one thing, but there are many other factors that should influence your decision before you move. A property report can gather all the information you need, in one place, including nearby planning applications, crime rates and much more. Get yours below.

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Last Updated: November 30th, 2021

Phil Spencer

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