United Kingdom Beaches




Brighton Beach

England, United Kingdom

Starfish Rating of 4.5

Claim to Fame

The most famous beach in the United Kingdom. Host city of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 that launched the career of ABBA after they sang “Waterloo” here. Base of the second largest arts festival (after Edinburgh) in the U.K.

(click image to enlarge)
image courtesy of Robert Hunt
  • Where is it?on the southern shore of England at the confluence of the English Channel and Strait of Dover, about one hour (47m/76km) due south of London
  • Coordinates: latitude» 50.8205°
    longitude» -0.14474°
  • Water Type: saltwater
  • Climate: warm temperate
  • Development: city with developed beachfront area
  • Length of Beach:
  • Type: pebbles
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Comprising the newly amalgamated cities of Brighton and Hove, and Kemptown neighborhood, this beach and city have the distinct feel of Victorian yesteryear and yet the trappings of modernity, including a strong LGBT population. Here is one of England’s real crown jewels.

Adorned with antiquated beach-isms such as a classic carousel, a pier for evening strolls, a palace (the Royal Pavilion intended for the Prince Regent), and good old cricket matches, “ruggers” (rugby) games and horse races, Brighton Beach feels like Mary Poppins on holiday.

Brighton Beach frequently appears on the top ten beaches lists published by print- and web-based magazines. It’s been around since 1086 and Londoners have called it “summer home” for centuries, for good reason. Brighton is bright, fun, artsy and interesting, with two universities, a medical school and the world’s oldest operating electric railway system.

Like any classic beach town, Brighton boasts a stunning pier, built in 1899, complete with funfair, arcade games and fishing. A second pier, slated to replace the old West Pier that closed decades ago, is soon to be constructed and will offer visitors a 600-foot (183-meter) observation tower, among other accouterments.

When you visit, be sure to tour the beachfront area of the town, and take in The Lanes unique shopping streets, St. Nicholas Church (the oldest building in Brighton) and the former royal palace, the Royal Pavilion with its spectacular Indo-Saracenic architecture. Don’t miss the wonderful bars (there are 300!) and restaurants on the beachfront streets, and the marina, one of Europe’s largest.

The who’s who of who was born and/or have lived here can serve as your hint as to why you should visit Brighton Beach (Neil Simon will tell you), including, but not limited to: Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright, Dusty Springfield, Cate Blanchett, rock/blues guitarist Gary Moore, Rudyard Kipling, Vivien Leigh, Peter Mayle, Simon Callow and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, to name but a very, very few.

Brighton Beach is lively, artistic, classic and very English. A unique beach in a superb mid-sized city with the charm of a seaside village, it makes for a fine holiday and a slip back in time to when merry-go-rounds were beach essentials.

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