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A Comprehensive Guide about Living in Brighton

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  • Jan-Peter van Tijk

    I wish I'd found InterNations sooner: It would have made my first few month as an expat in London much less overwhelming.

Life in Brighton

A thriving city full of character, culture and energy, Brighton is a vibrant, dynamic and multicultural destination on the south coast of England.

Boasting a range of tourist attractions, business headquarters and start-ups, the city offers a lot to expats from a variety of backgrounds and is a popular destination for those looking to avoid the high cost of living in London.

Education in Brighton

Brighton has a wide range of primary, secondary and tertiary education establishments, many of which have national and international reputations.

Private schools include Brighton College and Roedean School, both of which have very good reputations and high standards of achievement. However, places in private schools can be difficult to secure and fees can be expensive, especially for boarders. There is also a good choice of state run schools in the city, though these do vary significantly in standard so expat parents should make sure to check local league tables before selecting a school for their kids.

Though expats living in Brighton will not find any international schools in the city, some nearby secondary schools do offer the International Baccalaureate as well as A-levels. Expats looking to complete a degree, masters, PhD, or other tertiary education course have two universities to choose from; the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex. Both establishments offer a wide range of courses with the University of Brighton specializing in art, fashion and design courses and the University of Sussex more geared towards academic courses.

For expats looking to improve their English, there is a wide choice of language schools in Brighton, with some courses also offered by the universities. The standard of teaching in language schools can be inconsistent, so it’s a good idea to sit in on a lesson before committing to a course.

Culture and Leisure

With theatres, cinemas, boutique shops, as well as countryside and coastline on the doorstep, expats living in Brighton will find plenty of culture and leisure opportunities to keep them entertained.

History enthusiasts can look forward to The Brighton Pavilion, a lavish palace built by the Prince Regent before he took the throne as King George IV. Next to the Pavilion is the Brighton Museum where visitors can enjoy a selection of permanent and temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Another famous Brighton landmark is the Palace Pier. Within easy reach of the Pavilion, the pier is home to several fairground rides as well as arcades, food stands and bars. In the city center, the South Lanes, the North Laine, and Churchill Square are the main shopping districts with a wealth of independent shops and products to choose from.

Brighton is also home to lots of galleries and art centers, adding to the progressive air of the city and giving art lovers plenty to look at. Once every two years the city hosts the Brighton Photo Biennial and every May it is home to the month long Brighton Festival, a celebration of art, music, theatre and culture. As the LGBT capital of the UK, Brighton also hosts one of the country’s largest Gay Pride festivals during the summer months.

Safety and Security

The crime rate in Brighton is around average for the UK and expats living in the city should take general precautions to keep themselves safe. Most incidences of anti-social behavior and violent crime happen in the city center, especially late at night close to the city’s bars and clubs.

In general, life in Brighton is very safe with most parts of the city boasting strong community atmospheres and socially active residents. This is especially true in areas like Hanover, Kemp Town, and Seven Dials.

Some areas of the city like Moulescoomb, Whitehawk, and London Road can feel a little less safe and should be avoided late at night. In case of emergency, the national number for the police is 999. There is a large police station in the city and a constant police presence in the city center so help is never too far away.

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