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THE UK: Destination Guides

The ultimate student guide to Brighton

Ideally located on England’s south coast, Brighton is one of the most popular cities in the UK. Offering good weather, an exciting cultural life, and great universities it continues to draw international students. Let’s take a closer look.

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Famed worldwide for its culture, festivals, and vibrant entertainment scene, it’s easy to forget that Brighton is also home to two universities. With its coastal location, hipster cafes and boutique shops, this unique study destination will have you feeling like you’re on holiday all year round. If you’re looking to study in the UK and want a lively university city packed with culture and nightlife, Brighton is a good fit.


What is Brighton like?

Location and demographics

One of the UK’s most famous tourist destinations, Brighton is situated in an idyllic location on England’s sunny south coast, only 50 miles from London. Surrounded by the South Downs National Park on one side and the sea on the other, if you love the outdoors, you’ll love Brighton.


Brighton neighbours the town of Hove so closely that the two are often referred to as the city of Brighton and Hove. They form a vibrant and proudly diverse area with a population of almost 280,000.


Culture and history

Archaeologists have found evidence that people have lived in Brighton for over 5,000 years – perhaps unsurprising given its idyllic spot on the coast. These days the city is known for its attractive seafront and traditional architecture, much of it dating back well over 200 years.


Brighton has been one of the UK’s most famous tourist towns since the 1700s, and as such, it is booming with culture. With museums, galleries, theatres, comedy clubs, dance productions, street theatre and even the lavishly iconic Royal Pavilion palace, you’ll never find yourself short of something to do.


Find out if the UK is the right study destination for you.


What universities are in Brighton?

The University of Sussex is ranked at number 240 globally in the QS World University Rankings 2023. With notable alumni across all fields, including singer Billy Idol, actor Ian McEwan and several successful politicians, this is a university that strives for its students to excel.


The city is also home to the University of Brighton, which excels in courses with a vocational focus. The institution is also rated in the top 900 universities in the world by QS. In addition, the University of Chichester can also be reached in less than an hour by train.


The Complete University Guide League Tables 2023 can also help you discover more about UK universities. 


What does Brighton offer students?

What is transport like in Brighton?

Getting around Brighton, you’ll find it easy to go by foot or bicycle most of the time. But depending on the distance you need to travel, catching the bus is also a great option. You can buy tickets on board, or if you want to get a 25 per cent student discount, purchase a Key Card. It’s a pre-paid smartcard for all bus travel in Brighton and Hove.


Travelling longer distances, you’ll find Brighton well-connected by rail and bus. By train, you can reach Gatwick Airport in only 30 minutes, or the city of London within an hour.


Discover more about the best student cities in the UK.



What about entertainment and food?

As such a hub of culture, you won’t be surprised to hear that Brighton offers some amazing and unique options in terms of both food and entertainment.


Brighton’s food scene is famed for its independent eateries. From fish and chips on the beach to high-end dining, the city has it all. Whether you want a long brunch on the seafront or a quick dinner in a pizzeria, the options are endless. And if you’re looking to grab a drink, the streets of Brighton are packed with boutique coffee shops, sophisticated cocktail bars and traditional pubs.


You won’t want to miss out on Brighton’s entertainment scene. The city has many nightclubs and music venues of all sizes. Brighton is great for making the most of your student years. Home to a few festivals every year, including Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe, it also hosts one of the most famous Pride events in the world.


What is the accommodation like in Brighton?

If you’re hoping to study in Brighton, you’re probably wondering about accommodation options in the city. Most students in the UK opt to live in university-owned properties for their first year, moving into a privately rented house or flat (often with friends) for subsequent years of study.


The University of Sussex has several student residences and suggests a weekly accommodation budget of GBP 125 to GBP 175. Brighton has a rapidly moving property market, with plenty of options available for private rental. Alternatively, you can rent a room in private halls of residence, though this can be expensive.



Ensure you do some research so that you’re getting a good deal, and don’t be afraid to ask your university for advice.


Are there public services for students in Brighton?

Your university will offer services and resources specifically for overseas students through its international office. Staff should be able to assist you with any queries you have, whether it be questions about your visa or simply settling into Brighton.


Get more information on how to apply for a student visa in the UK.


How much does it cost to live in Brighton?

The general cost of Brighton

Brighton is, unfortunately, one of the UK’s most expensive cities. This doesn’t mean you have to rule it out, as plenty of students manage to live and study there without a problem, but it does mean you will have to budget carefully. And there is one bonus, Brighton has a thriving hospitality sector, which is perfect for those part-time student jobs.


Read more on the student cost of living in the UK.


Student budget

As an international student living in Brighton, you can expect to pay for a few things up front, for example, a deposit on your accommodation and visa fees. The University of Brighton suggests a weekly budget of around GBP 220 to GBP 320.


Get information on the cost of tuition fees in the UK.


What are Brighton’s main attractions?

Brighton has so many things for students to do that you might even find it hard to do them all. Perhaps the city’s most obvious attraction is its beautiful pebble beaches. Pop into the ocean for a swim in summer or try your hand at a water sport. But if the chilly Brighton waters aren’t your idea of fun, consider walking along the seafront or Palace Pier, taking in all the attractions they have to offer.


If art and culture are how you prefer to spend a day, head to one of Brighton’s many museums or art galleries. Enjoy theatre, opera, and dance in one of the city’s many venues or experience street performances for free.



For peaceful city walks, Brighton has many beautiful parks and green spaces, perfect for reading a book or catching up on your studies. Or consider a trip to the Lanes with winding little streets full of independent shops and eateries.


And you can’t fully experience Brighton without getting involved in its world-famous nightlife. Pubs, clubs, bars, and festivals, this is a city that has it all. From music venues hosting international acts to small grass-roots settings and cosy comedy clubs, you’ll find something that suits your vibe.

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