Brighton is popular seaside resort located on the south coast of England and is approximately 50 miles (85 Km) south of the centre of London.
The town of Brighton has been in existence since medieval times although it didn’t really reach prominence until the 18th century. At this time it was seen as a health resort, with the sea airs proving beneficial to breathing and other well-being matters.
In 1787 the Royal Pavilion was built. This served as the summer home for the future king of England, George IV. The palace still stands today, a beacon of Indo-Gothic architecture.
In 1841 Brighton’s popularity increased exponentially as the first railway line was constructed between London and the south-east coast town. With the introduction of railway travel Brighton became the destination of favour for many city folks looking for a weekend or week at the seaside. It was this mainstream recognition that drove the royal family away to the Isle of Wight.
Since the arrival of the railways, Brighton has grown incredibly in size. In 1997 Brighton and its neighbouring town of Hove were officially united by the British government as one unitary authority, with a population in excess of 250,000. In 2000 the officially named "Brighton and Hove" was recognised as a city. Today the conurbation includes some of the surrounding villages, including Rottingdean, Portslade, and Aldrington. Residents however are quick to point out which part of the city they are from. ‘Hove, Actually’ was a publicity campaign (that mocked the ‘Love Actually’ film title) for Hove residents to express their separation from their Brighton counterparts.
Brighton and Hove is rich with architectural beauties and fantastic buildings. You need look no further that the Royal Pavilion to establish this fact. Visitors to the seaside city can expect to see a multitude of beautifully crafted buildings, some of which have been built with historical importance, whilst others are simply houses or offices. Hove itself has many large, good-looking building just off of its seafront.
Brighton and Hove is home to two national universities; The University of Brighton and the University of Sussex. The two are bitter rivals in sports and, whether people will admit it or not, general life. It's all healthy competition of course.
The city also houses the Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM), a college that focuses solely on music studies. As a result, thousands of would-be musicians flock to the city each year to study. The knock on effect of this is Brighton's rich musical heritage.
Brighton houses possibly the most live music venues outside of London. Ranging from the large Brighton Centre and Brighton Dome to small pub rooms, there are plenty of places for young bands and musicians to perform at. The Great Escape festival makes the most of these venues; just about everywhere that can be used as a venue is utilised during the weekend event.
Perhaps the most famous musical artist to come out of Brighton and Hove is Fatboy Slim, or Norman Cook to his family. A pioneer in the big beats genre, Cook has been performing for better than two decades. His hometown shows sell out within minutes, including the massive 'Beach Bashes' he has been known to host. For the record, Fatboy comes from Hove. He still lives there with his wife, TV and radio personality, Zoe Ball.
The Brighton Dome was home to the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, a competition won by ABBA performing 'Waterloo'.
Some of the more notable bands and performers to come out of Brighton and hove include: The Levellers, Phats & Smalls, British Sea Power, The Maccabbees, The Kooks, The Go! Team, Freemasons, The Ghost of a Thousand, and The 80's Matchbox B-Line Disaster. Nick Cave, of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, is a permanent resident.
It's not just music that is well represented within the city boundaries. Brighton has also seen a number of world famous writers pass the time in the city. The most famous is Rudyard Kipling, author of 'The Jungle Book'. His house is Rottingdean is still standing, whilst a small part of The Grange Museum and Art Gallery is dedicated to him also.
Charles Dickens spent some time in Brighton, writing the novel 'Dombey and Son'. William Makepeace Thackeray also wrote part of 'Vanity Fair' in the city. Both stayed at The Old Ship, which still stands today.
The novel 'Brighton Rock, written by Graham Greene is perhaps the most famous book to feature a Brighton setting. The mystery novel has been wildly popular since its publication in 1938. Jane Austen was also known to use Brighton as a distant setting in her novels, particularly 'Pride and Prejudice'. Similarly, the mock horror novel based on her work, 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies', by Seth Grahame-Smith, also makes use of the town.
Brighton was an important town in the development of colour film recording. As such it's steeped in film history and lore. Perhaps the most famous film to come out of the seaside resort is 'Quadrophenia', a 1979 film that adapted the 1973 concept album of the same name by The Who. Such was the impact of the film, with its study on Mods and Rockers culture, that people still flock to the city on scooters wearing parkers. Jump The Gun, a store in the North Laine area, still sells mod clothing.
Other notable films that have been set in Brighton include: Genevieve (1953), Carry On At Your Convenience (1971), Mona Lisa (1986), The End of the Affair (1999), Wimbledon (2004), and London To Brighton (2007).
As well as film, Brighton is a common destination on the small screen. Many notable television series' send their characters to Brighton when they're due a holiday. Series that have utilised this tactic include: Only Fools and Horses, Lovejoy, Sugar Rush, Waiting For God, and Doctor Who. 'Killer Net', the 1998 series written by Linda LaPlante, was wholly set in Brighton. An on-going joke amongst soap opera fans is that Brighton is the destination for any 'Eastenders' charater that writers wish to leave the show without killing them off.
Regardless of your interests, you'll find Brighton to be a rich tapestry of culture and interest, harking back to days of yore whilst also featuring a modern aspect.