Progressive, forward thinking, fun-loving and always ready to party, free-spirited Brighton is not your average coastal town.
The city boasts the first Green member of parliament to be elected in the UK, an annual naked bike ride and the largest Gay Pride festival in Europe. That's just for starters.
Alongside Brighton's traditional seaside atmosphere, there exists an alternative and artistic vibe. Day-trippers from the capital, less than an hour away by train, head straight to the seafront, where they stroll on the Palace Pier or lunch on fish n' chips by the sea. This combination makes Brighton an enticing destination. It's a cliché, but there really is something for everyone.
The splendidly flamboyant Royal Pavilion appears to have been magically transported from the deserts of Rajasthan. It stands, at once incongruously, yet in harmony with it's surroundings in the city center.
Architect, John Nash was commissioned in 1787 to build the pavilion by playboy Prince George, later King George IV. He loved Brighton and spent much time at his party pad enjoying the pleasures of his favourite seaside resort.
The North Laine, in the heart of the city is full of cool bars, cafes, funky shops, stalls and colourful street art. It is an ideal place to sit outside a café and watch the world go by. The specialist stores are a delight to peruse and this is the place to come if you are seeking something a little quirky.
The Brighton Laines (not to be confused with North Laine) was a fishing village a couple of hundred years back. A labyrinth of narrow passageways and ancient squares, it is a fascinating area to explore. Antique stores, pubs, restaurants and yet more independent shops can be found hiding in the historical alleyways.
The city has more restaurants per head than anywhere else in the UK outside London. Whether you are looking for Vietnamese street food or a cutting edge culinary experience, you won't go hungry with all the tempting cuisine on offer in this seaside metropolis.
Brighton's vibrant nightlife is legendary. Drag queens belt out show tunes in glitzy venues. Dingy drinking dens stay open until dawn. Stylish bars serve up exotic cocktails . Clubs cater for every taste and persuasion. The live music scene is as diverse as it is expansive. Whether you favour Appalachian mountain music or avant-garde hip-hop, you are certain to find it (or something very close!) in Brighton.
In May, the city hosts the second largest festival in the UK (after Edinburgh). Brighton comes alive with a smorgasbord of music, dance, art, circus, film, literature and theatre. An exciting fringe festival runs simultaneously.
Rainbow flags fly high for Gay Pride in August. Following a spectacular parade through the streets, a huge party takes place at Preston Park. Yet more fun and frolics ensue at Kemp Town street party, continuing through the weekend.
'Brighton Bubble' is a phrase I have heard a few times. It refers to the city's individuality and distinctive ambience which sets it apart from everywhere else. Brighton is certainly unique.
My Favourite Restaurants:
Terre a Terre - a heavenly veggie restaurant, loved by carnivores and vegetarians alike. It is a little on the expensive side, but is perfect for a treat or special occasion. Amazing food and a lovely atmosphere.
Indian Summer - Exquisite Indian food with a modern twist. The desserts are rather fabulous too!
Carlito Burrito - Mexican street food at it's best. The burritos are delicious and I have taken advantage of the lunchtime deal many times. It has a laidback atmosphere and some colourful Mexican art on the walls.
Sukhothai Palace - Cheap and cheerful, but very tasty Thai food. It is a tiny restaurant with a nice ambiance. An excellent value lunch deal is available.
Indian Planet - A casual, friendly restaurant serving Indian vegetarian food. It feels more genuinely Indian than the more upmarket restaurants. The food is great and it is very reasonably priced. Love the vibes.
And some great pubs to check out ............
The Yellow Book - A steampunk pub with cool décor and a friendly atmosphere.
The Plotting Parlour - A stylish, yet traditional cocktail bar situated just off the seafront. The cocktails are inventive and extremely tasty.
Bee's Mouth - Full of dimly lit nooks, crannies and interesting art work, this pub is full of character.
The George Payne - A friendly locals pub hidden in the backstreets of Hove, it is worth seeking out. The food is great and there is a lovely beer garden.
The Thomas Kemp - In the heart of Kemp Town, this genial pub has a roaring log fire for the winter and a beer garden for the summer. Good food, a fab atmosphere and occasional live music.
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