At Brighton Gay Pride Parade. Image: Heather Buckley

At only 50 miles south of London, Brighton is one of England’s most popular and famous seaside resorts. Famed for having a large gay and lesbian population, is is considered by most to be the UK’s gay capital, and is home the largest Gay Pride event in Britain.

Brighton is bohemian, it is liberal and accepting, it has fantastic nightlife, and is definitely not for the faint hearted.

Simply put, Brighton is cool.

Brighton pier at night. Image: Justin Barton

The most famous attraction of Brighton?

It’s two piers. Both of which are seeped in history.

The West Pier was closed down over 30 years ago after being destroyed by storms and subsequent fires. What I love about the West Pier is that its remains are still there today. You can’t access them unless the tide is very low – and when it is, it’s possible to walk up to the iron wreckage and see up-close and touch what is left of the pier.

The destroyed Brighton West Pier. Image: Stuart Herbert

The second pier, known simply as Brighton Pier is still in tact today, and is one of the best known icons of modern Brighton. With a restaurant, bars and a funfair, as well as crazy side-stalls selling tacky tourist junk and offering tarot card readings, it’s my favourite way to spend a night out in Brighton – especially as it stays open until 2am. If the pier isn’t your sort of thing, then there are are SO many pubs and clubs on the beachfront.

As I mentioned above – Brighton is not for the faint hearted.

It’s an extremely liberal city, and embraces gay and lesbian culture, and well as having an very open attitude to sex. When you wander the streets you immediately notice the amount of sex shops around, there are a LOT, and they aren’t discreet either.

I realised just what an open attitude Brighton has to sex when I stayed there back in 2008. After getting back to my hotel after a night out, I decided I was feeling pretty hungry and wanted to order something from the room service menu. Imagine the look on my face when I realised that the room service menu did not contain one item of food, but instead had a huge range of sex toys!

But Brighton isn’t all about nightlife and sex.

Brighton is home to some of the best museums and galleries in the UK. As well as that, it is filled with beautiful parks, and there are plenty of fun activities to take part in during the day.

Built in 1787 for the Prince of Wales, the Royal Pavillion is my favourite building in Brighton. It houses famous artwork lent to the museum by The Queen.

Brighton Royal Pavilion. Image: Tom Alsberg

It is expensive to go in, and so I’ve never paid to do so. But the building itself and the surrounding gardens are absolutely stunning, and the perfect place to lie out and sunbathe on a hot summers day.

There are a huge amount of vinyl shops spread throughout the city too. I completely adore vinyl. There’s nothing I like more than spending an afternoon browsing through old records, and I prefer doing this in Brighton to even somewhere like London.

I’ve also spent a day at Brighton’s sealife centre, which was extremely fun, but no different to any other sealife centre I’ve been to. Watch out for the room of mirrors though where, of course, I walked straight into one and subsequently had an enormous bruise on my head for the rest of the week!

Preston Manor is said to be one of Britain’s most haunted buildings, and they regularly offer ghost tours and vigils to those that are brave enough (I am not). I’ve had a lot of friends go and experience these tours, and although they saw no ghosts, they said it was SUCH  a funny night. I would have gone if I wasn’t so completely terrified of ghosts!

But in my opinion, the single most thing that makes Brighton the coolest city in England?

Quadrophenia.

The Who Scooter. Image: jeffedoe

Ah, Quadrophenia. The classic 70’s movie, based around The Who’s rock opera of the same name. It was set in Brighton and many of the filming sites are still there to see today. It may have been filmed over 30 years ago, but there are still signs of the mod culture being alive around the city. There are so many scooters driving around, and there’s even Quadrophenia style graffiti on the walls.

Quadrophenia graffiti. Image: Lee Hamil.

So in my opinion, Brighton is without a doubt the coolest seaside resort we have in Britain. You can meet so many interesting people, and it’s impossible not to have fun with so much on offer.


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