United Kingdom Brighton & South Downs

29 spots Public

Slawek Staszczuk

The city of Brighton and Hove (henceforth referred to as Brighton for simplicity) is one of the most vibrant in the UK, however threadbare the term might sound these days. Historically very tolerant and liberal, Brighton today is the unofficial gay capital of the UK, and its tolerance extends to other areas of life and to other minorities, racial, ethnic, religious, foreign nationals, which makes the city very welcoming and friendly. Although you’ll find here an eclectic mix of people from almost any corner of the earth, minorities are never ghettoised and coexist harmoniously side by side.
Out of its 270000 population, over 40000 are students from all over the world, studying at two major universities in the city, various colleges and countless language schools. Brighton is a city of young people.

All of this diversity and openness naturally translates into inexhaustible opportunities for people, street and reportage-style photography. The city's friendliness applies to photography and photographers as well, with very few exceptions there are generally no barriers to using cameras and tripods (any limitations in this regard are always mentioned in the descriptions of specific spots).
But Brighton also has its fair share of interesting architecture, both modern and historic, which together with the people create its unique atmosphere. Throughout most of its history, reaching back to the middle ages, Brighton was a humble fishing village. The popularisation of sea bathing and the royal patronage of the Prince of Wales (who later became king George IV) in the late 18th century set it on the path of rapid growth. The settlement was gradually transformed into a bustling seaside resort and eventually into one of the major cities in the south of England.

While there is no bad time of year to visit the city, Brighton is certainly at its liveliest in spring and summer. Numerous festivals and other events are held during the warm season, like Brighton Festival, Brighton Fringe, Brighton Pride, Brighton Marathon. But there is plenty to do, see and photograph any time of year. To get a notion of what is going on in the city during the time of your visit check: www.visitbrighton.com.

Lastly, Brighton is a good base from which to explore Britain's newest national park, the South Downs, thanks to its central location within it, almost exactly on the border of East and West Sussex. The South Downs is a range of postglacial chalk hills stretching for over 70 miles (115 km), from Winchester, Hampshire, in the west, to Eastbourne, East Sussex, in the east, where the downs meet the sea and form the dramatic cliffs of Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. In 2011 the area was declared a national park, whose boundaries also included parts of the Weald, a geologically separate and different formation, in West Sussex and Hampshire.

The South Downs is a farming landscape for the most part, cultivated or used for pasture, wooded in places, especially in the western reaches. Many scenic countryside locations can be found in Brighton's immediate surroundings. This guide offers you a few of them, however a comprehensive overview of the whole national park is obviously beyond the scope of a city guide.

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