With an historic pier, Pavilion, Pride and a penchant for everything bohemian, it’s no wonder this seaside city is officially one of the best – and happiest – places to live

Once the dream destination for Jane Austen’s gossip girl heroine Lydia Bennett in Pride & Prejudice, who declared ‘If one could but go to Brighton…a little sea-bathing would set me up for ever’, the city that was the seaside weekend retreat for royals and aristocrats is more than just a bucket-and-spade bolthole.

Home to the iconic Palace Pier, famous Art Deco dome, Grade 1 listed Royal Pavilion – King George IV’s coastal royal residence - and the i360, the world’s tallest moving observation tower, Brighton & Hove now has so much to offer, it’s a magnet for those eager to leave England’s capital and move to London-by-the-sea.

READ MORE: 10 facts about Brighton Palace Pier

A thriving arts and culinary scene, bohemian, open-minded community, cutting-edge culture as well as a large LGBTQ+ population, mean that the former fishing village not only made it into the 2022 Sunday Times Best Places to Live list, but is also the happiest. Research by CV Library in 2019 showed it topped the list of happiest places to live and work with more than 86 per cent of residents stating they felt happy every day – and not just because of the stunning seafront and fish-and-chips lifestyle, but, of course, that helps.

Brighton & Hove might have two names but it is one city though residents will insist there are distinct differences between the two. Hove – known as ‘Hove actually’ to locals - is jam packed with regency homes, its very own Millionaire’s Row, boutique stores and quaint, independent cafes. Brighton boasts all the famous landmarks and is the boisterous, quirkier bigger sister to genteel Hove. And if you’re still struggling to tell them apart Brighton’s railings are turquoise while Hove’s are dark green.

There’s a plethora year-round activities and things to do while the city positively buzzes during the summer. As well as the world-famous Pride Festival next month (4 – 7 August) featuring a star-studded line up including the Black Eyed Peas, Steps, Mel C, and Zara Larsson, there’s the fun Paddle Round The Pier in July. Part of the world’s biggest free beach and watersports festival, adventurers and sea lovers create their own vessel for the hopefully calm journey!

READ MORE: 5 memorable moments from Brighton Pride's history

But in a city this exciting, you can always make your own entertainment. Try the Helter Skelter, dodgems or adrenalin-pumping Turbo Coaster at Brighton Palace Pier, tuck into fish and chips from the Big Fish Trading Company by the kiosk or just relax on a deck chair on the pebble beach and soak up the sunny view. It is a truth universally acknowledged to be one of the best in England!

Great British Life: Spice up your life at The Ivy Asia in Brighton. (C) Nick HarveySpice up your life at The Ivy Asia in Brighton. (C) Nick Harvey


Brighton & Hove’s foodie scene has gone through a renaissance with celebrity chefs’ eateries rubbing shoulders with gastro pubs, fine dining chains, ethical bites and delicious street food.

Local, seasonal fare is on the menu, paired with English and Sussex wines, at Isaac At in the North Laine, while MasterChef: The Professionals champion Seven Edward runs the 3AA Rosette-awarded Etch in Hove, and social dining at the pass is on offer at Great British Menu winner Michael Bremner’s 64 Degrees.

Duncan Ray is chef patron of The Little Fish Market in Hove, which has held 3AA Rosettes for the last eight years while Duncan has been named Brighton’s top chef for the last four.

MasterChef 2018 champion Kenny Tutt now does scrummy pub grub at Ox Block in The Lord Nelson Inn, in Trafalagar Square, in the North Laines, serving up devils on horseback (dates wrapped in bacon), with quail’s eggs, High steaks, Gunpowder chicken and deep-fried Oreo.

Relax in the decadent Art Deco surroundings of The Ivy in the Lanes – the Ivy Asia is next door – but if you really want to spice up your life head to Alun Sperring ‘s The Chilli Pickle which is well-known for its playful spins on Anglo and Indian classics.

For a tipple or two, Brighton has an amazing choice of bars. Burnt Orange, in Middle Street, is owned by the Salt Room and Coal Shed restaurateur Razak Helalat, and serves mouth-watering cocktails – including martinis with olives and grilled orange skin – day and night.

READ MORE: Ox Block and The Ivy Asia restaurant reviews


Meander through North Laine, the city’s former industrial area now packed with independent shops for quirky finds and the fabulous fleamarket Snoopers Paradise along the pedestrianised Kensington Gardens.

Scour the Lanes – the former fishing village – with its cobbled alleyways and Harry Potter-esque twittens for antiques and jewellery. Shop for the latest interiors trends at Abode Living where you can kit out your entire Brighton & Hove home in Ferm tapestry blankets, cute animal hooks and Ottolenghi feast plates.

Head to Yashar Bish in Gloucester Road to add splashes of style and colour from floorboards to furnishings. It specialises in hand-knotted, authentic Turkish, Afghan and Persian carpets, rugs, kilms and cushions.

And if you’re new to the city and need essentials for your home but don’t want an identikit IKEA look, then Utility has the solution. From funnels to kettle scrubbers and even double snack holders – you never know when hunger might strike! – they sell everything you’ll need.

Great British Life: Norman Cook at his Hove seafront home. Picture by Jim HoldenNorman Cook at his Hove seafront home. Picture by Jim Holden


Everyone who’s been anyone has lived in Brighton & Home with a roll call of actors, politicians, musicians and sports personalities calling the city home over the years.

Hollywood Actress Cate Blanchett lived in Brighton in the early 2000s claiming that she missed it ‘enormously’ when she moved away, but she’s not the only famous star who put down roots here. Keep an eye out for the many blue plaques listing the homes of Laurence Olivier, Joan Plowright, Flora Robson and The Cheeky Chappie comedian Max Miller.

David Walliams, Adela, Paul McCartney, Zoe Ball and Norman Cook – aka Fatboy Slim – have all lived on Hove’s Millionaire’s Row – Western Esplanade.

Former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill went to school here, attending The Misses Thompson’s Prep in Hove – marked with a blue plaque – and Howard Blake, who composed Walking In The Air for The Snowman, went to Brighton Grammar School.

Grim visitors include the notorious Jack the Ripper – suspect surgeon Robert Donston Stephenson – who is said to have planned his murders in The Cricketers pub on Black Lion Street in The Lanes before travelling to London to carry out the crimes. Author Graham Green wrote Brighton Rock in the room upstairs, which is now named the Green Room and is available to hire for private functions.

READ MORE: Why so many celebrities live in Sussex

Great British Life: The royal Pavilion was a lavish seaside retreat for the King (C) GettyThe royal Pavilion was a lavish seaside retreat for the King (C) Getty


No visit to Brighton is complete without stepping inside the iconic Royal Pavilion. Built by John Nash, this was the Prince Regent’s – later King George IV - ostentatious seaside party pad, a whirl of minarets, domes and mock Mogul detailing. Take a tour and peek at the dragon festooned music room,decadent royal bedroom, lavish banqueting room. Queen Victoria’s lumpy looking bed with its tier of mattresses is on show but the highlight is surely a trip to the gardens, one of the fully restored Regency gardens in England.

READ MORE: What the Brighton Royal Pavilion could have looked like


Adrenalin junkies can now literally zip over the waves on one of the city’s latest attractions: Brighton Zip. Head up to the zipwire by climbing the spiral tower to the entrance and you can swish – and scream – 300m over the beach on the south coast’s longest zipwire ride. There’s a safety briefing before you whizz eastwards from the pier, and with its parallel twin wires the ride is ideal for couples and families. If you’re a real thrill seeker you can step over the ledge where there’s a 24m drop zone. brightonzip.com


With a vibrant, chic vibe, easy commuting distance into London and stunning seaside location and the glorious South Downs in the background, Brighton & Hove has the best of coastal and countryside living. Perfect for families, couples and singletons, there are plenty of options for settling down as it is far more affordable than the capital with everything it has to offer – and more.

According to Zoopla, the current average asking price is £421, 197 with a one-bedroom flat available for £235,000, a semi-detached house for £400,000 and a three-bedroom terraced family home for £450,000.

READ MORE: Brighton among most expensive seaside spots for renters