live in brighton

Could I Live Here? Brighton Edition

Brighton is a charming seaside town on the UK’s southern coast. Conveniently located just 30 minutes away from London Gatwick Airport, it has all the great things about London without any of the bad. Well… except the weather. Still, the idea of living in Brighton is not altogether bad.

Atmosphere

As a place to vacation, Brighton has all the perfect elements for a seaside escape from the beautiful coastline to candy floss on the boardwalk to arcade games. It’s a paradise for adults who like to indulge their inner child. But it also has a pretty sprawling and bustling community that locals enjoy. It doesn’t feel like many coastal cities that only exists to support tourism. Perhaps because we visited in April and not in the summer, the local pubs and cafes were mostly full of locals with their dogs and people working on their laptops.

live in brighton

It boasts a stunning variety of brunch restaurants and cocktail bars, and an intense gay-friendliness that hangs from balconies and storefront windows. It’s progressive and welcoming without being so hipster that only young people can enjoy it. As a woman in her mid-30s with a wife and a dog, it’s really the perfect vibe. Its proximity to London means that it’s also an incredible cultural gateway that doesn’t require living in the shitshow that is London.

Cost

The UK doesn’t have the lowest cost of living, but Brighton doesn’t come with the hefty price tag of a more metropolitan city. That being said, its location near the sea also means that housing prices are not cheap. A one-bedroom in city center goes for almost £1500 on average, which is still about £1000 lower than rent in London. Going out to eat would certainly be a little pricier than in the rest of Europe, though the quality such as the fresh seafood is worth the cost. It’s relatively walkable and whatever is not walkable is accesible by bus, which is also fairly affordable.

Food

One of the things that separates a tourist city from a livable city is that tourist cities are full of overpriced mediocre restaurants that target visitors. You know, the places that have their menus translated into eight different languages and offer everything under the sun just to cast a wide net. But Brighton has some fantastic restaurants and cafes run by people who look like they give a damn about making good food. From authentic Italian to British pub favorites, we didn’t have one bad meal in Brighton. And I do love a city that knows the importance of a good drunk brunch.

live in brighton brunch

People

The best part about any mid-size but not overly popular city is that the people are always laid back and nice. It doesn’t feel like anyone is in too much of a hurry. The streets are busy but not overcrowded. And people are more jovial and kind in dealing with other people. Life is slow and easy in Brighton, so the people are chill and easy. There’s also a good bit of diversity and openness so there’s a friendliness with foreigners rather than inherent mistrust or annoyance.

Weather

live in brighton

The idea of living in Brighton, which is otherwise lovely, is fully and completely ruined by the shit weather. I know the UK as a whole has the reputation for being very wet, but there’s light rain and there’s coastal rain, which is a torrential downpour. Brighton weather is only consistent in it’s unpredictability. You may see the sun shining through the window and in the 2.5 minutes it takes to get outside, it’ll be raining. With the sea wind whipping up the rain, it’s the kind of place where an umbrella is completely useless because it rains sideways. I imagine during even colder months, the weather is even more intolerable and bitter.

Convenience

Brighton is small enough to feel relaxed and quaint without being so small that everything is kind of a hassle. The public transportation, which is a solid network of buses running through the Brighton and Hove region, makes it easy to get around. There doesn’t seem to be bad traffic even during rush hour. And as long as the weather is good, it doesn’t take excessively long to walk around anywhere anyway, even directly to the beach. Brighton is serviced by a large train station that connects it to London, to the airports, and to other nearby cities. So you could conceivably catch a concert or a show in London and take the train home at the end of the night. Being from Miami, I also love the idea of living so close to the ocean. Even if the water looks like it would sink the Titanic from October to May.

Total livability score: 7/10

I think living in Brighton would be pretty sweet. But it would be even sweeter if you didn’t constantly run the risk of getting soaked from head to toe on the way to brunch.

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