City Guide: Brighton

Bright, brash and rainbow-striped, the seaside playground of Brighton and Hove has been the UK's bohemian home of hedonism since the 18th century. Beyond the annual Pride parade, its independent spirit manifests in design-forward shops and hotels, sustainable restaurants and locals who are as welcoming as they are creative. Here, they let us in on the city's best hangouts.

Whether it's the familiar crunch of beach pebbles underfoot, the scent of vinegar-splashed fish or the roar of a Pride parade, it's hard to mistake Brighton's impossibly British character. Its reputation as the UK's bright, brash, rainbow-striped seaside destination has been thriving for decades. Writer Brian Behan once referred to the town as "tolerance by the sea" - and it's true that the city seems to epitomise England's cheekier, more outlandish side.

Locals adore their home and work hard to keep its independent spirit alive. Right across Brighton and neighbouring Hove you can mine for second-hand gold, curiosities and antiques along its knotted backstreets, or browse light-flooded shops selling Scandi homeware, local art, utility clothing, high-fashion labels and handmade jewellery in its idiosyncratic neighbourhoods.

While its kaleidoscopic creative scene has long rivalled London it's only in the fast few years that the city's culinary offerings have cranked up several notches. Not long ago the choice was between battered cod or roast dinners and little else, but Brighton and Hove now offer a host of critically acclaimed restaurants.

There's good coffee at every turn, artisanal bakeries, tasting menus, converted warehouses serving seasonal plates and natural wine, street eats and, unsurprisingly, some of the best seafood in the country. Young, ambitious chefs are making use of the abundant produce in the surrounding countryside and sea. Brighton may be going from strength to stylish strength; but its unmistakable personality burns brighter than ever, and the residents wouldn't have it any other way.

hotel

Harbour Hotel

Brighton, United Kingdom

Recently named as the country’s “number one seaside hotel”, this breezy, whitewashed offering on the seafront is just a pebble’s throw from the iconic Lanes and the pier.

Address

Brighton Harbour Hotel 64 King’s Road BN1 1NA

hotel

Artist Residence

Brighton, United Kingdom

Back in 2006, Justin Salisbury left university to take over the family B&B, and with no budget to revamp the place, he had to come up with a plan.

Address

34 Regency Square Brighton East Sussex BN1 2FJ