9 things you probably didn't know about Brighton

Brighton Palace Pier, was the third pier to be built in Brighton and is the only one to still remain.

Brighton Palace Pier, was the third pier to be built in Brighton and is the only one to still remain. - Credit: Darren Coleshill / Unsplash

Brighton is the most vibrant and exciting seaside resort in the UK and has delighted residents and visitors alike for hundreds of years. 

Here are 9 facts you may not have known about the seaside town.

1) Brighton gets its name from the Anglo-Saxon Beorhthelmes tūn, which means the homestead of Beorthelm, with the addition of the suffix tūn, which was common among coastal settlements in Sussex.

Its first official appearance is as Bristelmestune in the Doomsday Book, and over the years, this became Brighthelmston. However, despite the name being informally shortened as early as the 17th century, it wasn't until 1810 that Brighton became the towns official name.

2) Brighton has long been a famous seaside retreat, but it was perhaps because of King George IV, a hedonist through and through with a penchant for booze, women and extravagant self-indulgence and his fondness of the town that it became so popular in such a short amount of time. 

Before he was King, George visited Brighton innumerable times and commissioned Brighton Pavilion, which was to be a royal residency until George IV's successor King William IV and Queen Victoria sold the estate to Brighton for £53,000.

3) Brighton is home to the oldest operating aquarium in the world. Brighton Aquarium (now Sea Life Brighton) opened its doors for the first time in 1872, making it 150 years old this year. One of the aquarium's most striking features is the original historic Victorian Arcade that is bathed in neon lights.

One of Sea Life Brighton's most striking features is the original historic Victorian Arcade that is bathed in neon lights.

One of Sea Life Brighton's most striking features is the original historic Victorian Arcade that is bathed in neon lights. - Credit: Paul Hudson / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Most Read

4) Whitehawk Camp on Whitehawk Hill was made Sussex's first scheduled monument in 1923. It is the site of a now-destroyed Neolithic earthwork called a causewayed enclosure, which are the earliest known examples of humans enclosing land. Evidence suggests that it was built in approximately 3700 to 3500 BC, making it older than the Great Pyramid of Giza, Stonehenge and the written word itself!

5) ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo on the 6th of April 1974 when the competition was hosted at The Brighton Dome. They have gone on to become one of the best-selling music artists of all time, and Waterloo was voted the best song in the history of Eurovision for its 50th anniversary.

6) Adolf Hitler was fond of Brighton Pavilion, and as such, he gave special instructions to bombers to not destroy the gorgeous Indo-Saracenic building as he envisioned it becoming his headquarters in the future! Thankfully this never came to pass! 

Inspired by Indo-Islamic architecture of the Mughal Empire, Brighton Pavilion is one of Sussex's most instagrammble locations

Inspired by the beautiful Indo-Islamic architecture of the Mughal Empire, Brighton Pavilion is one of Brighton's most iconic buildings - Credit: Martin Robson / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

7) Before Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy) were famous, they would perform on Brighton Palace Pier.

8) Despite celebrating its official 30th anniversary in 2021, Brighton Pride's first Gay Pride March took place in 1972. It was nevertheless quite a humble event and nothing like the sensational parades and crowd inducing spectacle of today. The demonstration was organised by the Sussex Gay Liberation Front and ended with a dance session at the Royal Albion Hotel.

Brighton Pride 2016, Gay Pride and Trans Pride flags held high above a massive crowd

Brighton Pride 2016 - Credit: Derren Hodson / wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

9) Famous people from Brighton include TV presenter Holly Willoughby, Mercedes Gleitze who was the first British woman to swim the English Channel, Journalist and author Caitlin Moran and math prodigy Ruth Lawrence who at 13 became the youngest person in history to graduate from Oxford University.

Read more of the best Sussex content here:

10 of the most Instagrammable locations in Sussex

5 memorable moments from Brighton Pride's history

9 of the best independent bookshops in Sussex

10 things you might not know about Brighton Pier