Thinking about coming to Brighton for a good time? Well, you’re in excellent company, and that’s partly because there are so many famous things from Brighton that they act as a magnet for visitors and tourists from around the world. We’ve rounded up a few of the best to whet your appetite for more!
So, what is Brighton famous for? 32 fun facts about Fat Boy Slim, Nick Cave, Katie Price, Holly Willoughby, Chris Eubank, Brighton Beach, Brighton Pier, The Royal Pavilion, The Lanes, The i360, Volk’s Electric Railway, Brighton Fringe, Brighton Festival, Brighton Pride, London To Brighton Bike Ride, The Veteran Car Run, Brighton Rock by Graham Greene, Murder on the Brighton Express by Edward Marston, The Brighton Trilogy by Peter Guttridge, Sugar Rush by Julie Burchill, Dead Simple by Peter James (and all the other Roy Grace novels), Brighton Rock (Twice), Quadrophenia, Wimbledon, London to Brighton, The Damned United, Zoella, PewDiePie, CutiePieMarza, Soviet Womble, Alfie Deyes and umm.. witchcraft, ought to help you understand the city better.
The People Brighton Is Famous For
There are so many famous people connected to Brighton that we can (and have) write huge lists about this but we’ve picked 5 people who are very much relevant to modern Britain in the here and now for this list and we’ve got some great facts about them.
Fat Boy Slim (Top DJ)
Brighton’s and possibly the world’s biggest DJ is Fatboy Slim and he’s a local lad. He owns a café in Hove which does a great breakfast. He hit Number One in the UK with The Housemartins and Beats International before getting into DJing and the band Freak Power might have made it a fourth! His Brighton beach music festival was such a success that it had to be closed in the 2nd year because too many people showed up.
Nick Cave (Australian Rock Singing Sensation)
Nick Cave almost left Brighton after the tragic death of his 15-year-old son who accidentally fell of a clifftop, but he’s worked through it and he and his wife are still regularly seen around town. His singing career began in his town choir and he never wanted to be in music at all – his ambition was to be a world-renowned painter, instead!
Katie Price (Glamour Model, Businesswoman, TV Star, Author and More)
Katie Price, once known to the country as “Jordan” in her Page 3 modelling days was born in Brighton though she complains the people in the city no longer her treat her with as much respect as they should. Seriously. However, you can’t deny her talent – she’s worth £45 million and not just thanks to her TV career and modelling, she’s also a bestselling – ahem – “author”.
Holly Willoughby (TV star and Celebrity)
Holly is possibly Britain’s best-known presenter with Itv’s greatest smile and Brighton is her home. She’s also a bestselling author (both on her own and with her sister, Kelly, with whom she co-authored some kids’ books). Her career took off at 14 when she started modelling and she has never looked back. She has also overcome dyslexia on her way to the top.
Chris Eubank (Former World Champion Boxer)
WE LOVE CHRIS EUBANK IN BRIGHTON! Not only does Chris live HERE, but so does his son Chris Eubank Jr. who is also a world champion boxer though, perhaps, not quite in his dad’s league just yet. Chris is adored by the British public for his bizarre sartorial style and his accent. He wasn’t always well-loved though, his school suspended him a record 18 times in a single year when he was younger!
The Places Brighton Is Famous For
Brighton is full of interesting things to see and do and some of the off-the-beaten-path sights are among the most fun in the city. However, we think that there are six places that make Brighton famous, and we’ve rounded them up for you.
Brighton Beach (Pebbly Brilliance)
Brighton Beach is the city’s biggest draw though Brighton Pier is officially the biggest tourist attraction outside of the city of London, you can’t get to the Pier without spending time on the beach. It is home to the oldest seafront bandstand in the country and the oldest aquarium in the world too! Sure, it’s covered in pebbles and not stand but it is awesome.
Brighton Pier (Anonymous In Plain Sight)
Brighton Pier is not really called Brighton Pier, in fact, it’s Brighton Marine Palace and Pier but nobody seems to know it and nobody ever says anything about it. It attracts over 4 million visitors a year. It also contains more than 85 miles of planking. You might not believe it now but the original pier, in 1899, only cost £27,000. Today, it costs more than that to paint it!
The Royal Pavilion (The City’s Icon)
There is no more distinctive a building in Brighton than The Royal Pavilion which was home to the Prince Regent and then King George IV. It was designed by Henry Hall (and John Nash who took over the project) and is based on Indian architecture of the time. Hence its resemblance to the Taj Mahal. It was once called “George’s Pleasure Palace” as the king used to sneak in the occasional fling much to the disapproval of the locals.
The Lanes (Shopping Splendour)
There was once talk of demolishing the Lanes area of the city but fortunately, it never happened and today this historic part of the city is one of Britain’s best-known shopping destinations. It’s full of quaint and quirky places with a real emphasis on independence and creativity. It’s where people in the know do their shopping in Brighton.
The i360 (Great Heights Of Engineering)
At 531 feet high, the i360 is the country’s tallest viewing platform. Costing nearly £42.6 million to build, it may also be the country’s most expensive viewing platform. A flight to the top lasts about 25 minutes but if you want to go – turn up early, they need 20 minutes to walk you through the security protocols before you go up. A trip to the i360 is always best with champagne, which they sell inside.
Volk’s Electric Railway (A Lasting Curiosity)
The oldest operating electric railway in the world was built by local lad Magnus Volk and unlike his other electric railway project in the area (of which very little remains), it’s still in perfect working order. It was in operation 7 years before the London Underground which is the world’s oldest underground system. More than 40 million people have taken the journey from one end to the other.
The Events Brighton Is Famous For
Brighton is home to so many events that you could spend a year happily doing something different nearly every day but there are certain events which rise above the rest and which are nationally or even globally famous and we’ve picked the top 5 for you.
For my money, the Brighton Fringe is one of the most fun events of the year, anywhere in the world. They bring talent from all over the globe to offer an alternative (and often amusing) to the Brighton Festival proper and it is completely open access. Incredibly, more than 30% of the events at the Fringe each year are created by local talent!
The second biggest festival in the city after Pride is the Brighton Festival and it’s one of the most ambitious and exciting arts events in the country. It runs for three weeks and begins with the Children’s Parade (another major cultural highlight that would surely have made our list if we weren’t limited to 5 picks). Don’t miss it.
Brighton Pride started in 1973 and it is the largest Pride Festival in the UK (though not the largest Pride March which is in London). The festival weekend brings more visitors to Brighton that there are people living in the city! It’s one of the most welcoming and diverse events in the world and a good time is always had by all.
London To Brighton Bike Ride
I might be a little biased because I love bikes (and I’d love you to come on one of my Brighton Bike Tours to see the city properly), but the London to Brighton bike ride is one of the biggest charitable cycling events in the UK, and it’s a lot of fun. Over 650,000 people have participated over the years to raise more than £40 million for the British Heart Foundation!
Brighton Naked Bike Ride
If you’re not expecting it during your Saturday Shop, The Brighton Naked Bike ride can come as quite a surprise as nearly a thousand members ‘Go as bare as you dare’ on their bikes through the city on an 8-mile bike ride demonstration to bring to attention cyclists visibility on the road.
The Veteran Car Run
The Veteran Car Run has been taking place since 1896 and every car which takes part must have been built prior to 1905! Despite this, more than 450 cars turn up each year making it the largest collection of vintage cars anywhere in the world when the car run is on.
The Books Brighton Is Famous For
With a hugely active arts scene, it should come as no surprise that Brighton regularly features in literature. Some of it was written by locals and some of it was inspired by those who visited the city but all of it is deservedly memorable. Check it out.
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
Graham Greene was one of Britain’s finest novelists, and Brighton Rock is among his finest works. It was intended as a detective novel, but it outgrew itself and became an essay on human morality instead. Following Ida’s tragic pursuit of Pinkie, the rebellious and murderous teenager, through the Brighton landscape is unmissable.
Murder on the Brighton Express by Edward Marston
If you love historical fiction, you’ll love Edward Marston’s Murder on the Brighton Express which wanders through the investigation of a rail disaster and brings alive the era when the London-Brighton railway line opened and how it transformed the city.
The Brighton Trilogy by Peter Guttridge
Guttridge wasn’t a Brighton local per se but he moved in and out of the city on a regular basis and this trilogy wanders through Brighton’s lost past and explores a theme of crime and redemption in an entertaining and engaging manner. You’ll be sad to put it down when it’s finally over.
Sugar Rush by Julie Burchill
Julie Burchill, the journalist, is a Brighton girl and it’s no surprise that her novel Sugar Rush graces this list – she’s definitely one of the city’s best-loved, locally, celebrities. This story of a public school girl arriving in a Brighton comprehensive is among her best works and utterly compelling.
Dead Simple by Peter James (and all the other Roy Grace novels)
Peter James is the biggest name author in town who isn’t also an actress or glamour model. His entire series of Roy Grace novels are set in Brighton and the first of them is Dead Simple which is as good a place to start as any. Peter regularly does good works in Brighton and has donated two police cars to the local constabulary!
The Movies Brighton Is Famous For
Did you know that Brighton was the birthplace of the movie industry in the UK? Many people don’t, but it was. In fact, during the early period of cinema, many technological breakthroughs were made in Brighton though the industry has long since moved to Japan, its heritage remains, and Brighton is featured in some superb movies, including:
Brighton Rock (Twice)
We’d like to pretend that the 2010 version of Brighton Rock didn’t happen, particularly as most of the town seen in it wasn’t Brighton but rather Eastbourne. Fortunately, it didn’t do nearly as well as the classic 1947 version which had Richard Attenborough starring as Pinkie Brown, and there Brighton gets the role it deserves.
Brighton was at the heart of the mod scene and the pitched battles between mods and rockers that the city witnessed are quite infamous. However, the mods’ leading musical light were The Who and the story of the mods versus rockers is told, superlatively well, in Quadrophenia.
This rom-com starring Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany isn’t the greatest slice of British cinema but Brighton’s beachfront area gets plenty of screen time as the two characters enjoy their affair in the British summertime.
London to Brighton
This is a very dark movie and certainly not suitable for children. It follows the lives of two prostitutes who feel trapped on the streets of London and who dream of raising enough money to finally get away and move to Brighton. Sadly, things don’t turn out the way they’d wanted them to.
The Damned United
Brighton & Hove Albion is the local football club and today, they’re doing well for themselves in the Premiership but things weren’t always so. This movie charts the time when Brian Clough managed the side for 8 months before he moved on to take charge at Leeds United. It’s a fantastic movie.
The Vloggers Brighton Is Famous For
Brighton doesn’t dwell in the past, either. It’s at the forefront of the global vlogging scene and both Britain’s biggest vlogger and the world’s biggest vlogger are at home in the city and we know you’re going to enjoy these famous Brighton folks.
Zoella is actually the partner of one of the other vloggers on our list, Alfie Deyes, but as homegrown successes go – she’s the market leader. Zoe Sugg is an international sensation and she has millions of subscribers on her channel. Now, it may be a generational thing, but her content’s probably not for everyone – much of it is about what she bought at the shops, and we just can’t get excited about somebody else’s Primark haul, but it appears that we are definitely in the minority. She is also, apparently, incredibly kind to hedgehogs.
Born Felix Arvid Ulf Kjelberg, PewDiePie the Swedish vlogger who moved to Brighton following his astonishing success began by specializing in making videos about Minecraft. Yes, the children’s Lego-style computer game. It must have worked because fast forward to today, and more than 100 million people subscribe to his channel and hang on his every word. Felix is regularly controversial and there is a bit of a generation gap between those who get him and those who don’t but if you watch enough – he’s an extremely relatable chap. He edits all of his own videos, even today, because he believes that’s how you demonstrate authenticity.
Another celebrity YouTuber based in Brighton is CutiePieMarzia and yes, as you may have guessed from her “handle”, she’s PewDiePie’s other half. She actually quit her YouTube channel about a year ago, but she still has over 11 million subscribers and is regularly on the most-viewed lists. She says she never shops for clothes anymore because companies like to send her free stuff. She also decided not to study in Paris because she felt her relationship was more important than college.
Alife Deyes the partner of Zoella is twice famous on YouTube as he has his own channel and his original Pointless Blog channel with more than 5 million subscribers on each. He may not be as big a star as his partner but he’s a big hitter all the same. He is so influential that in 2015, Debrett’s the famous peerage guide included him in the top 500 people in the UK. He uploaded his first YouTube video at the tender age of 15 and it has made him a multi-millionaire in return.
Soviet Womble is a British YouTuber with a gaming obsession he’s best known for his “bullshittery” series and his videos chronicle him (and often his friends) banging their heads against the wall as they try to master the latest game releases. They are the ZF (and no, you don’t what to know what that stands for) clan and more than 5 million people subscribe to his channel. Their humour is juvenile but harmless and they are much less controversial (despite the swear words) than fellow gamer PewDiePie is.
The Witchcraft Brighton Is Famous For, Yes, Really
And yes, Brighton is the home of modern British witchcraft. No demons or black magic, mind you, but wholesome modern-day Wicca with a focus on healing and compassion for the natural order. You really can’t go wrong.
Doreen Valiente “The Mother of Modern Witchcraft”
There is only one famous witch from Brighton but she’s famous enough that it doesn’t matter that there aren’t any others. Dorren was an English Wiccan who reigniting interest in the Wiccan faith across the UK.
She wrote and published 5 books on the subject as well as authoring most of the religious liturgy that modern Wiccans rely on even today.
She was born in Mitcham, Surrey but would eventually move to Brighton. She drew her main inspiration from Gerald Gardener and the Bricket Wood Coven as well as Robert Cochrane and her own coven.
Doreen was also a leader of the Pagan Front and, sadly, also the National Front, which is a racist organization though she resigned after 18 months, seemingly disappointed that it wasn’t what she had thought it was.
Oddly in light of her political leanings, she was a firm sympathizer with the LGBT movement and urged the Wiccan community to shelter and care for homosexual individuals.
Since her death in 1999, she has been the subject of two autobiographies and has been dubbed “The Mother of Modern Witchcraft.”
As you can see, Brighton is a fascinating place. What is Brighton famous for? Our 32 fun facts ought to shine a light on this amazing city and they’re only a starting place. We haven’t even touched on the 1000+ blue plaques in the city, the ghost walks, the museums, and all the other exciting facets of this seaside town with an incredible heritage.