Brighton is a vibrant and outgoing city and, despite being smaller than its cosmopolitan cousin, is affectionately nicknamed “London By The Sea”. Brighton has everything London has to offer, but in a more manageable setting and by – you guessed it – the sea. This makes the city a perfect summer destination and a cool, laid back place to spend a week or two.
Here are my top ten reasons for why Brighton is THE place to be in the sunny months of summer.
1. Unlimited coffee shops
There’s nothing like a nice iced latte to cool you down when the temperatures rise (and yes, this does happen in the oft-rainy UK as well) and Brighton is packed with cool, quirky independent coffee shops where you can pick one up. In fact, I love coffee shops so much I started “The Coffee Shop Challenge” with a friend – we find and go to a new coffee shop every single week.
2. Great public transportation (an easy access to nature)
It can be quite difficult to park in Brighton – especially during the summer months – so as you explore the city, make sure you use the excellent and reasonably priced public transportation system. You can even use it to explore beyond the city – the Devil’s Dyke in the South Downs, for example, offers some stunning views and a perfect place for a walk and a lazy summer picnic.
My absolute favorite thing about Brighton? The fact that the city has so many “faces” and that it’s so diverse. For shopping I would recommend hitting the shops in Churchill Square. For the art scene & lovely quirky cafes, I would suggest both the North and South Lanes. For restaurants, cafes and alternative shops, Kemptown’s your best bet.
4. A lively live music scene
If you are a music lover like me then Brighton is your spot. The city has an incredible live music scene with an estimated 500 local bands performing all over the city pretty much every night of the week. From small gigs in local pubs to bigger concerts at the Brighton Dome or The Brighton Centre, there is music to suit all tastes. Check out the live music section of XYZ Magazine for info on what’s on each night.
5. Festivals galore
One of the biggest festivals in the city is The Great Escape which takes place in mid-May and features a huge variety of up and coming musical acts from all over the world. Brighton Fringe is also fantastic and one of the most popular arts festival in the UK. It runs from early May to early June and offers events to suit all tastes, from low key plays to loud music gigs. The festival is spread all around the city and many events can be accessed free of charge.
6. More diversity
I had heard so much about Pride festival before moving to Brighton, but only last year did I get the chance to see it in action, and can honestly say I have never seen the city so alive before. Pride takes place in August as the city’s streets fill up with street parties and live music for a fabulously intense three days.
7. A laid back vibe
This city takes its friendliness and tolerance seriously. Anything goes. Really. It has to be one of the most open cities in the whole of the UK and it gives it an exceptionally laid back vibe, particularly noticeable in the summer when everyone’s out and about (and at the beach) all day.
8. A few steps from the sea
One of the perks of living in Brighton is the fact that it is a city by the sea. It is such a wonderful feeling to be able to have your lunch break at the beach or to have a stroll along the seaside at the end of a busy day. Even locals tend to forget what a lovely luxury this is, especially in the summer!
9. The nightlife’s fantastic
Whether you fancy a quiet drink down the pub or fancy dancing the night away, Brighton has it all and almost always at a walking distance. Twisted Lemon and Komedia are great places to start to sample the city’s fabulous nightlife.
10. So close to the Big Smoke
If Brighton ever starts to feel too small (and you’ve seen every one of those 500 local bands already), hop on a train and head over to London. It’s one hour on a normal train and only 40 minutes with an express one, so if you’re staying in Brighton for a little longer, don’t forget to visit the city’s cosmopolitan cousin. In London I recommend taking a stroll through the city’s quirky East End (start with Brick Lane or Shoreditch) or having a picnic in charming Holland Park.