Secret UK: Brighton

Brighton Pier ©VisitBritain / Rod Edwards

15 May 2014

Piers, parks, the Pavilion and one of the best partying scenes in the UK... this week, we're in Brighton!

Join us on a trip to the English seaside with our team of international student insiders… 

Brighton: Key facts

©VisitBritain Chris Dawes
Now THAT'S a student experience! One way to spend a day on Brighton Beach (Picture ©VisitBritain/Chris Dawes)

Location: East Sussex, South East England (since 1997, the two towns of Brighton and Hove have officially been a single city, but often people refer to both together as 'Brighton')
Population: 273,400 (2012 census)
Famous for: The beach, Brighton pier, Brighton rock (a very sweet type of sweet!), amusement arcades and funfairs at Brighton Pleasure Beach, the Royal Pavilion, 18th- and 19th-century sea air ‘cures’, indie and alternative culture, shopping, cafes and restaurants, nightlife, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) culture, festivals (including Brighton Festival and Fringe, Artists’ Open Houses), the London to Brighton bike ride.
Famous Brighton residents: Aubrey Beardsley (artist), Edward Booth (naturalist), Leon Garfield (novelist), Nicholas Grimshaw (architect), Nigel Kennedy (violinist), Caitlin Moran (journalist), Steve Ovett (Olympic runner), Samantha Janus (actress)
Brighton bands and musicians: The Maccabees, The Kooks, Fatboy Slim, Rizzle Kicks, Bat for Lashes (Natasha Khan), Cassetteboy, The Levellers, The Pipettes
Brighton on film: Brighton Rock (various films based on the Graham Greene novel), Quadrophenia (1979), Dirty Weekend (1993), The End of the Affair (1999), Wimbledon (2004), London to Brighton (2007), Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008).
Major Brighton sports clubs: Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club, Sussex County Cricket Club, Brighton Rugby Football Club, Brighton Racecourse (horse racing), Brighton and Hove Greyhound Stadium
Closest airports: Gatwick Airport, Shoreham Airport, London airports
Train to central London takes: Approx. 50 minutes
Train to Edinburgh takes: Approx. 6 hours (with changes)

Meet the insiders

Yousra Abdelmoneim

Name: Yousra Ahmed Abdelaziz Abdelmoneim
From: Sudan
Age: 19
Studying: BSc Economics at University of Sussex
'Brighton is special to me because… I’ve never felt out of place; I feel very much at home. There’s such a friendly vibe, and a lot of cosy community events such as street parades, food and art festivals that bring the entire community together.'


Tamunopriye Epelle

Name: Tamunopriye Epelle
From: Rivers State, Nigeria
Age: 25
Studying: MSc Environmental Assessment and Management at University of Brighton
'Brighton is special to me because… Brighton has many adorable places and it is just up to you to find them.'



Where would you take a first-time visitor to Brighton?

Yousra: Brighton Pier. It’s so unique to Brighton and the view from the end of it of the whole sea front is indescribable – definitely worth showing to visitors.

Tamunopriye: I would show a visitor the Royal Pavilion, the Sea Life Centre and the Marina.  

Brighton Marina ©VisitBritain Britain on View
Messing about in boats: A sunny day at the Brighton Marina (Picture ©VisitBritain/Britain on View)

Where do you find out about events and things to do in Brighton?

Tamunopriye: I get information from websites like and the seafront tourist website. I also look at the university and Student Union groups on Facebook to get more information about what’s happening in Brighton.

Yousra: There’s a webpage called Brighton What’s On that schedules everything happening in Brighton.

What’s the best way to spend a sunny weekend in Brighton?

Tamunopriye: Brighton is an amazing coastal town and Preston Park, the Royal Pavilion and of course Brighton Pier are all great places to visit when the sun is shining. There are lots of cheap restaurants, cafés and bars nearby where you can get drinks and food.

Yousra: At the beach, no doubt! I love cycling and going for a jog around Brighton and by the seafront when the sun’s out – it’s very relaxing, soothing and good for the soul.

Brighton pavilion night ©VisitBritain Britain on View
No really, it's in the UK! The 18th-century Brighton pavilion at night (Picture ©VisitBritain/Britain on View

Where’s the best place for music in Brighton?

Yousra: There are so many gigs that take place around Brighton; it's very metropolitan and diverse and a hub for all sorts of artists and musicians. I love going to the Concorde 2 nightclub and watching different bands perform.

Tamunopriye: My friends and I enjoy going to lunchtime recitals at local churches. They’re the perfect way to relax with high quality performances from a variety of outstanding musicians. Admission is usually free with a voluntary donation, and coffee and tea are available - some visitors even bring sandwiches!

What’s the best thing to do when it rains in Brighton?

Tamunopriye:  I would suggest visiting the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. It has free admission and friendly staff – I love the female artists’ exhibition and the pottery exhibition.

Yousra: Head for one of the cinemas, tea houses or cheap theatres, which have shows running all year round. I’m a big fan of musicals and Brighton really caters for that.

Theatre Royal brighton ©VisitBritain Britain on View
Box seats: Join the audience at the Theatre Royal and take in a show by the sea (Picture ©VisitBritain/Britain on View)

Where can you recommend to eat in Brighton?

Yousra: There are so many incredible street vendors that offer such a wide variety of international food. Each street food diner has its own flair, but my favourites by far are Fil-Fil Falafel Company, Scoop and Crumb ice cream parlour and Burger Brothers. There are many restaurants around Brighton that cater for student prices, too. My favourite is A Taste of Sahara, a Lebanese and Persian restaurant.

Tamunopriye:  I would pick Nando’s in Duke Street and Oriental Kitchen on Lewes Road – they serve very nice and spicy food that’s affordable for students. If you want quick and simple food like kebabs, chicken and pizza, try the Lewes Road area.

A group of people in a restaurant in Brighton, eating in the open air at Fishy Fishy restaurant ©VisitBritain Rod Edwards
Taste of Brighton: Fish and chips, friendly faces, sea air, sun and cheap student prices - the ingredients of a great day (Picture ©VisitBritain / Rod Edwards)

What’s your favourite Brighton pub or bar?

Yousra: The Worlds End – it’s also a Texan BBQ shack, the food there is to die for.

Tamunopriye:  There are lots of good options including All Bar One on Pavilion Parade and Red Roaster. The best student prices are usually found at The Lectern.

Where’s the best place to go shopping in Brighton?

Yousra: North Laine, if I’m looking to buy from independent student-priced shops. I love walking around the Lanes to see all the unique things they have on sale – there’s so much that you couldn’t find elsewhere. I come from Sudan and I can get a lot of African style items there. It’s lovely being offered that variety miles away from home.

Tamunopriye:  Try the high street and shops such as Matalan, H&M, New Look and Dorothy Perkins – they are good places to get nice clothes on a student budget. 

Brighton Lanes ©VisitBritain Britain on View
Stylish and unique: Taking time to browse through the Brighton Laines (Picture ©VisitBritain/Britain on View)

What’s your number one money-saving tip in Brighton? 

Yousra: Get an NUS card from the Student Union and join websites such as Wowcher and Groupon for vouchers and discounted deals.

Tamunopriye: Buy yourself a student bus ticket – it’s only £365 for the year compared to £510. Odeon and Cineworld cinemas and shops including New Look and Dorothy Perkins also give discounts to students with a student card. 

Where’s the best place to play or watch sport?

Tamunopriye:  As a student there are different sport clubs at the university you can join, such as tennis, football, climbing and rugby.

YousraThe King and Queen pub is superb for watching any major sporting event. I also love heading to the Amex stadium – home to the Brighton and Hove Football Club – to watch live matches. Tickets are very affordable.

Brighton beach volleyball ©VisitBritain Britain on View
Sandy sports: A spot of beach volleyball in the sun (Picture ©VisitBritain/Britain on View)

What’s the number one experience you’ve had as a student in the UK… the one you’d tell your grandchildren about?

Tamunopriye:  I’ve had lots of inspiring and beautiful moments since I came to Brighton. Everyone has been very welcoming and the people here are really nice. I would advise people to enjoy every opportunity they are given and don't be scared to try new things.

Yousra: I’d tell them about the time I got attacked by two seagulls while I was eating the tastiest tuna bagel – it was the funniest incident ever. I can’t imagine being attacked by seagulls anywhere else!

Brighton pier smaller ©VisitBritain Rod Edwards
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside: Waves wash the shore of Brighton beach (Picture ©VisitBritain/Rod Edwards)

For more information about events and attractions in Brighton and Hove, go to Visit Brighton. Find courses and scholarships with the Search tool at the top of this page.