Brighton Pier aerial view

BIMM Cities / Freshers Guides

Freshers Guide To Brighton

18th August 2023

Welcome to Brighton. Beach life reigns supreme here. Sunbathing, BBQs and dips in the sea are a rite of passage for any new resident. Creativity is in Brighton’s bones.

The city is a hive of activity all year round but especially in the spring and summer, with Brighton Pride, Brighton Rocks International Film Festival, The Great Escape, Brighton Fringe and other festivals drawing musicians, creatives and industry professionals to the city.

Two students walk through Brighton's North Laine

The City

Ask the average passer-by on the street, and they’ll describe this city as creative, progressive, historic yet contemporary, and a magnet for international tourism. This makes Brighton a mecca for creatives from all backgrounds. With its electric atmosphere, living in Brighton is unlike living anywhere else. From mini-golfing on the beach to catching a film at the UK’s oldest purpose-built cinema, the Duke of York’s Picturehouse, there’s always something to keep you busy, come rain or shine.

The Nightlife in Brighton

Of course, Brighton isn’t short of live music and venues. Green Door Store, The Prince Albert, Hope & Ruin, The Folklore Rooms and The Rossi Bar are firm favourites amongst students and smaller touring artists. Dead Wax Social play host to The Offie Mag Social, who offer free pints, great music and a local Sussex pub game known as Toads. More significant artists typically appear at Concorde 2, Brighton Dome and The Old Market. If you fancy checking out what Brighton offers in experimental music, check out The Rose Hill. Head to The Hand In Hand and Casablancas if you’re into jazz.

For a night out with great music, Patterns, Green Door Store, East Street Tap, and Chalk serve some consistently fun nights. And if you’re more into dance music, you’ll enjoy places like The Arch and Volks. Club Revenge is a great LGBTQ+ venue near the pier and Bar Broadway round the corner can get pretty lively too.

If there’s one thing Brighton does better than pretty much anywhere else, it’s pubs. Our favourites include The Basketmakers Arms, The Constant Service, The Signalman, The Brighton Tavern, The Prince Albert, and Park Crescent. These are all really cosy and vibey pubs with a great selection of drinks. If you don’t drink or just don’t fancy a boozy night, head to Tørstigbar, which serves non-alcoholic drinks and cocktails.

Table with two pizzas and side dishes

The Food and Drink

Happy Maki does giant sushi rolls stuffed with various veg, think Japanese burrito. It’s all vegan; if you’re not vegan, don’t let that put you off because it’s delicious, and it’s ‘pay what you want’. La Choza does impressive burritos and great cocktails. It’s a diddy little place, but it’s cool, charming and delicious. Just don’t refer to guacamole as ‘guac’. They don’t like that.

Brighton is also a great one for pizzas too. Take your pick from Big Slice Pizza Co., VIP Pizza, Fatto a Mano, Pizza Me or Franco Manca. They all make amazing pizzas with vegan options available.

Coffee-wise, you can’t go wrong. Everywhere is super cosy, has excellent coffee and food, and lots of them are also great places to get your head down for your assignments. There’s Pelicano, Baker Street Coffee, Bond St Coffee, Black Mocha, Dandy, The Trading Post, and Flour Pot Bakery, most of which have lovely outdoor seating for the summer months.

The Shopping

Brighton is known as an excellent city for shopping and at the centre of it all is Churchill Square. This sprawling modern mall is a retail heaven for students, locals and tourists alike, with late opening hours every Thursday and NUS discounts. It even hosts a Freshers’ event for new students each year with loads of great deals to stock up on all sorts of essentials.

You’re also bound to enjoy The North Laine and South Lanes. These are a big hit for students, with all sorts of independent boutiques and thrift stores. Beyond Retro is our go-to come festival season, and it also hosts amazing gigs during The Great Escape Festival. Also, Snoopers Paradise is… well… a snooper’s paradise! They’ve got tonnes of retro clothes, antiques, records and collectables; an all-around exciting place.

Exterior Dirty Harry vintage clothing store in Brighton

The Outdoors

Spending days at the beach when you live in Brighton is an unwritten law, but nothing beats days in parks such as Queen’s Park, home to many swans and geese. There’s also Preston Park, which is excellent for dog spotting. Check out Woodvale Cemetery for a peaceful walk and the Downs at the top of Bear Road for a stunning city view.

That should keep you busy! You can learn more about what Brighton life is like here.




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