What is Brighton Famous for?

What is Brighton Famous for? Obviously that depends on who you are talking to and what they think makes a place ‘Famous’. Brighton is famous for a myriad of things but let’s start with the basics… Brighton is a city on England's South Coast it has a population of around 270,000 people and has around 9 million visitors each year. The single most popular attraction is the Palace pier with around 4.3 million visitors in 2020. 


Designed by architects Bennetts Architects, designers of London’s Hampstead Theatre and Brighton based Lomax Cassidy and Edwards The Jubilee library, opened in 2005. The library has won over 10 awards including the Prime Minister’s Better Public Buildings Award and was shortlisted for the Stirlng Prize. At the time of building it was thought to be one of the most energy-efficient buildings in Britain.Jubilee library is the centrepiece of Jubilee Square – Brighton’s ‘Newest and most exciting outdoor venue’..’in the heart of the city’s cultural quarter.


Brighton is also famously the:

‘Happiest and hippest place to live in the UK’

‘The UK’s gay Capital’


Brighton is famous for the festivals and events that happen here too:

The Brighton Fringe (May)
The Brighton Festival (May)
The Great Escape (May)
The Naked Bike Ride (June)
The Brighton Japan Festival (September)
The Comedy Festival (October)
Paddle round the Pier (July)
Pride (August)
Brighton Food festival (Easter, May, August/September, December)
Brighton Digital Festival (September)
Brighton SEO April & September
Brighton Speed Trials (September)
Brighton Chamber of Commerce Summit (October)



Veteran Car Run (November)The Veterans Car Run (November) – is reputed to be ‘The World’s Longest Running Motoring Event’. The run ‘commemorates the Emancipation Run of 14 November 1896 which celebrated the passing into law of the Locomotives on the Highway Act, which raised the speed limit for ‘light locomotives’ from 4 mph to 14 mph and abolished the requirement for these vehicles to be preceded by a man on foot.The run originally started at the Metropole Hotel in London and finished at the Metroploe Hotel in Brighton – with cars assembling in Preston Park and an on-foot procession making its way to the Metropole Hotel’


The schools and colleges Brighton is famous for
Brighton has a number of schools that have a reputation or notoriety that makes them worth mentioning here 
Brighton College - a boarding day and day schook ffor youngsters between 11 to 18. There is also a preparatory school for children 8 to 13 
Roedean School - a boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18 
Brighton Steiner School for children aged 3 to 16 

Montessori School Brighton for children 2 to 12 years


Brighton is also famous for being home to 2 (of the 5) voices of BT’s ‘Speaking Clock’ 
The speaking clock famously announces ‘ At the third stroke, the time from BT will be..The speaking clock service began in 1936 and Brighton & Hove was home to two of the speakers
Brian Cobby was the 3rd voice of the clock and could be heard for 22 years between 1985 and 2007. Cobby was replaced by the 4th ‘voice’ Sarah Mendes da Costa. Sarah was selected from hopefuls who took part in a competition raising funds for Children in need  to find a new voice. She was announced as the winner during the Children in need BBC telethon in November 2006 having been voted for by, amongst others Brian Cobby, Terry Wogan.
Sadly Cobby died in 2012 and his funeral was held at Woodvale Crematorium.The current speaking clock voice is Alan Steadman who replaced da Costa in November 2016


Shops that Brighton is famous for:
The first ever Body Shop, (originally in the North Laine)
Choccy woccy doo dah
Mad Hatters
Snoopers Paradise
La Cave a Fromage
Gresham Blake
Vegetarian Shoes
Davids Books and Comics
Guitar Amp & Keyboard
Rare Records
Vintage Magazine Company


Media stuff that Brighton is famous for:
When Neil Kinnock fell over on the beach youtube.com/watch?v=V58dOl84MaI
Bodhi the skateboard dog youtube.com/watch?v=qlMAinK0_Q0
Fat Boy Slim Brighton Beach youtube.com/watch?v=w1R6tSdSgwM
Brighton Pride youtube.com/watch?v=tpbeP-dCcdY
Attacked by Seagulls in Brighton youtube.com/watch?v=WrIuRArvMYc
Brighton Festival Children’s Parade youtube.com/watch?v=c0S0f-mP9W4
Burning of the Clocks youtube.com/watch?v=kzAxJyK_bAk
Woodingdean In Action youtube.com/watch?v=NVDx-_OdV7o
Brighton in the 1970’s youtube.com/watch?v=gWsTb0FYknI (ok so it is not really what Brighton is famous for – but it is dead good!)




Other things that people think about when they think about Brighton:
The Duke of Yorks cinema
Boutique Hotels
Brighton Aquarium
Brighton Dolphins Synchronised swimming
Peter James books
Having 400 pubs
Nudist Beach
Green MP Caroline Lucas www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggIz3cCqOnk
The Nick TV series about Brighton Police https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97rhpVP2guI
Murmuration displays www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPG3H928tRULocal photographer Alex Bamford has taken some amazing pictures of mumrations – check out his website www.alexbamford.com




Films filmed in Brighton:
(The list below is taken from –  www.filmcitybrighton.org/talent-and-business/filmed-here/)
20,000 days on earth (2014)
Cherry Pie (2014)
My Accomplice (2014)
Now is good (2012)
Brighton Rock (2010)
Cassandra’s Dream (2008)
Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2007)
London to Brighton (2006)
Mirror Mask (2006)
Wimbledon (2004)
Ashes and Sand (2003)
Summer Rain (2002)
Me Without you (2001)
Circus (2000)
The end of the affair (1999)
Dirty Weekend (1993)
The Fruit Machine (1988)
Mona Lisa (1986)
Quadrophenia (1979)
The Policeman (2022) - based on Brighton based author Bethan Roberts 
For a full list visit www.filmcitybrighton.org/talent-and-business/filmed-here/
TV Shows that have been filmed in Brighton
Grace (based on the Peter James Novels)
Night Coppers (2021/2022)
Bloggers that famously come from Brighton:
Fifi McGee – Lifestyle and home styling blog with ‘a passion for making things lovely’ fifimcgee.co.uk
The Graphic Foodie – for ‘Brightonians and visitors alike to navigate to all the best food spots in the city’ www.thegraphicfoodie.co.uk/
Belle Du Brighton – ‘a lifestyle blog with posts about’ her ‘parenting experience…everything from books to food ..’ www.belledubrighton.co.uk/
Rosie Posies Puddings and pies – started as ‘an extension of my obsession with taking photos of food and posting them online.’www.rosieposiespuddingsandpies.co.uk/
Fizzy Peaches – A diary of life by the sea ‘. I write about everything from holidays to the best beauty products and everything in between. Topics may appear random but I wanted to create a blog that is from the heart, informative and genuine. www.fizzypeaches.com/
Bohemia Brighton – a blog about …’ bohemian beauty, fashion & lifestyle for wanderlust, free spirited dreamers who love to live close to the sea.’ bohemianbrighton.com/
Zoella – who started off writing about ‘the things I liked, the things I felt passionate about and share my love of photographs.’ www.zoella.co.uk
Brighton Music Blog – About ‘ Brighton bands, from small unsigned bands, to current chart troublers like Rizzle Kicks, all the way up to big established acts like The Maccabees or Fatboy Slim.’ brightonmusicblog.co.uk/
Vegan in Brighton – originally started because ‘it seemed like a great way to stay connected with my vegan friends from around the world whilst also showcasing Brighton’s great vegan options. veganinbrighton.blogspot.co.uk/
Amy Rutter  – ‘Here you’ll find my thoughts on all sorts of culture and lifestyle topics – food, health, fitness, career, home, relationships and more. I also write a lot about Brighton. amyrutter.com/
what county is brighton in - image box


Brighton, Birthplace of the Film industry.

Our friends at www.BrambleHub.co.uk  replied to one of our tweets saying that they thought we had missed ‘Birthplace of the film industry’ out as a thing that Brighton is famous for. So we did a bit of digging and have to agree. There is a great website http://www.brightonfilm.com/brighton_chronology.htm that we suggest you visit if you are interested  in ‘the dawn of cinema’ in Brighton.  There is a run down of the film history of Brighton from 1886 to 2013.

Starting with a 1886 entry declaring that James A Williamson, who runs a chemist’s/photographic business moves into 144 Church Road. There is a blue plaque on the outside of the building that you can still see today.

In 1888 Two other photographers, William Friese-Greene and Alfred Esmé Collings set up a studio at 69 Western Road in Hove. In 1891 Friese-Greene builds a chronophotographic camera which takes ‘animated photographs’ he applies for and receives a patent for the camera. In 1895 an Edison Kinetoscope was installed in the Brighton Aquarium you can find out more about the kinetoscope  at  http://www.earlycinema.com/technology/kinetoscope.html

1896 saw the first film show in Brighton at the Pandora Gallery (now the Melrose Restaurant), opposite the West Pier (now the site of the new i360) This was the first film shown in the UK outside of London. Brighton based Film Pioneer Esmé Collings, is reputed to have made 19 films in 1896 You can find out more about him http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/519923/

More recently. In May 1965 a Mobile Cinerama theatre tent known as the Itineram opens on Hove lawns for 2 weeks. The 1965 equivalent of Brighton’s Big Screen perhaps?

1973 the Academy Cinema at 59 West Street (now Yates) closes the last film shown was aptly titled  ‘The Last Picture show’ http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/5916. And the Regent Cinema http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/5918 133, Queens Road, closed in April of the same year.

In 1974 – Abba won the Euovision Song contest at the Brighton centre – and The Granada Cinema http://www.74simon.co.uk/granada_hove/history.html was converted into a Bingo Hall.

The last remaining cinema in Hove was The Embassy Cinema which closed as a cinema in 1981 http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page_id__11361.aspx?path=0p115p190p1567p and was finally demolished in 2007

In a 2011 feature ‘All Things Brighton Beautiful: the story of colour cinema’ The Guardian talks about the Capturing Colour exhibition at Brighton Museum –and of how ‘ In the first few years of the 20th century, film maker from the Brighton area ‘pretty much invented the film grammar we still use. ‘


And before you go – The Argus, our local newspaper recently put together this excellent video in their words a ‘Film showing everything great about Brighton’ – its award winning having won  Zooppa’s UK video of the year award – It’s 30 seconds long and we do really recommend you take a peek – see how many people and places you recognise http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/14353257.article/?ref=fbpg

We appreciate that we have only scratched the surface when it comes to the importance of Brighton as the ‘Birthplace of the film industry’… and Bramble Hub was right – it was extremely remiss of us not to have included this sooner.

Update –  Volk’s Railway We have mentioned in passing the Volk’s railway but we think it deserves more … ..The Volk’s  Railway is named after Magnus Volk. The Volk’s railway is sometimes referred to as The Volks Railway – it is an ongoing debate so you will see it written both ways.
Volk was revered as a ‘pioneering British Electrical engineer’.  He was the son of a German Clock maker and was born on Western Road in October 1851. He married Anna Banfield in 1879 and they had 7 children. Volk was an experimenter and inventor. He is probably best remembered for his railways but he also was the first man in Brighton to light his home with electricity, he installed lighting in the Pavilion (initially in the Banqueting room).
Volk died on 20 May 1937 and is buried at  St Wulfran’s Church, Ovingdean. He has been described in The Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Timothy Carder  as ‘one of the greatest of all Brightonians
The Volk’s railway – originally opened in August 1883 and ran between The Aquarium and The Chain Pier. Volk applied for permission to initially extend the track westwards towards the hove boundary but when permission was refused he suggested an alternative route east to the Banjo Groyne.  
In 1901 the extension to Black Rock was opened.During the summer months there are up to 4 trips an hour along the one and a quarter mile track. The trains run on the hour, quarter past half past and quarter to. The first trains run from 10.15 at weekends or 11.15 during the week.  For more information about times, fares etc visit  http://volkselectricrailway.co.uk/visit-us/fares-times/Claiming to be the world’s oldest electric railway, it is currently undergoing a refurbishment – the track, trams and buildings are being sympathetically restored helped by a £1.65m lottery grant. The new visitor centre and railway re-opening in Spring 2017. Included in the restoration work is Alice Volk, great great granddaughter of Magnus Volk who has photographed each part of the cars to keep a record of the entire restoration project. To find out more about the restoration of the Volk’s railway see http://volkselectricrailway.co.uk/2014/06/heritage-lottery-fund-award-set-to-rejuvenate-volks-railway/
Volk’s infamous ‘Daddy Long Legs’ (originally named the Pioneer but called Daddy Long legs because of its peculiar shape)  was built to extend his electric railway east to Rottingdean.Construction of this amazing ’structure’ in June 1894. The Daddy Longs legs was described as a mix between ‘’open-top tramcar, a pleasure yacht and a seaside pier,’ and as it travelled over the sea UK law dictated that a ‘trained sea captain’ should be at the helm. The Daddy Long legs was scrapped after four years (and one complete rebuild) in November 1896. Today all that remains are concrete slabs – visible at low tide between Brighton Marina and RottingdeanFor those who are interested there are some fascinating photographs and a history of the Daddy Long legs at http://www.urban75.org/railway/brighton-sea-railway.html and http://volkselectricrailway.co.uk/history/the-daddy-long-legs/


Another famous resident of Brighton is Doreen Valiente

Doreen Valiente was known as the ‘mother of modern witchcraft’ but it is probably a little less well known that she worked as a translator at Blethclye Park during World War II.
There is further information about the life of Doreen Valiente from June 2013 around the time her blue plaque was unveiled:



Brighton Children’s parade

The first Children’s Parade was in May 1985 and has been an ‘annual  highlight’ of the Brighton Festival ever since. It is usually held on the first Saturday in May and in 2016 approximately 80  schools and 4,000 children, teachers and parents took part in the parade with over 10,000 onlookers cheering them on. The parade starts in Kensington Street in Brighton’s North Laine and ends on Madeira Drive.  Each year a theme is selected by the Same Sky (‘largest community arts charity in the South East’)  and Brighton Festival partnership. Themes have included ‘The Planet’. ‘Brighton Street Names’, ‘World Food’ and in 2016 ‘Brighton Celebrates’.


(Photo courtesy of Alicia Photographics)

You can follow the Children’s parade on facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheChildrensParade/

To find out more about Same Sky – visit http://www.samesky.co.uk/ and to find out more about the annual Brighton Festival visit http://brightonfestival.org/

When we started out on our quest to answer ‘What is Brighton famous for’ we thought it would be a simple exercise – but this amazing city constantly surprises even it’s long term residents.. if we have missed anything out – please let us know… Thanks for visiting.


In August 2016 British Airways opened it's i360 viewing observation tower. Considered a vertical pier, the i360 can take up to 200 passengers on a 'flight' in to the skies over Brighton in an enclosed viewing pod that offers 360 degree views of Brighton, East Sussex and The English Channel. At it's peak the i360 reaches 138 meters high over the top of Brighton beach, making it the tallest vertical moving observation tower in the world.

Positioned on the beach front in front of the West Pier, the entire structure was designed, engineered and built by the Architectural company Marks Barfield who are the same company behind the design and creation of the London Eye opposite the London Borough of Westminster on the River Thames.

During the a day a round trip on the i360 takes 20 minutes, however after 6pm British Airway's opens the on board bar and the trip is extended to 30 minutes long. Tickets for adults start at £14.85 for a standard fare booked in advance at a predetermined time on a specific day. A flexi ticket can also be purchased with prices starting at £15.30 for an adult ticket booked in advance. The flexi ticket allows the holder to attend any 'flight' of the i360 on a specific day. For more information about tickets and to book your own online see the British Airways i360 website - brightoni360.co.uk

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