Student life in Brighton is as varied and as interesting as you want it to be. While the town has a smaller footprint than some larger cities, it certainly packs a lot in!
Brighton is a popular city on the south coast of England. Just a short train journey south of London and within easy reach of our busiest airports, it’s a popular place to live and be a student.
If you’re considering studying in Brighton, there are few places that seem as idyllic and as enjoyable as this seaside city. But does the reality live up to the hype? Let's find out!
Student life in Brighton
The University of Brighton is located in Moulsecoomb, on the edge of the city. It’s a decent walk to the beach or you can get a train, which is minutes from campus.
The University of Brighton offers over 400 courses across eight schools, and is ranked around #55 in the UK league tables. Its schools comprise the School of Applied Sciences, School of Architecture, Technology and Engineering, School of Art and Media, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, School of Business and Law, School of Education, School of Humanities and Social Science and the School of Sport and Health Sciences.
It ranks around #55 in UK league tables.
The University of Sussex is in Falmer on the edge of the South Downs on the edge of Brighton. It offers over 400 courses and 70 PhD programs and is ranked around #20 in the UK. It’s particularly known for American Studies, social sciences, law, business, economics, sociology, geography, politics and international relations.
Living costs for students
Brighton is not only a student city, it’s also a seaside destination city and the UK’s equivalent of San Francisco. It’s also within the commuter belt, being only 45 minutes by train to London.
That means student life in Brighton sadly involves high living costs. It’s an amazing place to spend your student years but be prepared to either work alongside study or borrow more while you’re here. Rents are high, the cost of living is high and everything is expensive.
It is cheaper than London or Surrey but more expensive than many other student cities. This is definitely something to be aware of if you accept a place here.
Eating out in Brighton as a student is a delight. There are the chain restaurants that offer familiar faire but also lots of independents that offer their own flavours.
Highlights include Kindling, Shelter Hall, Wild Flor, The Little Fish Market, Isaac At, Cin Cin, Etch, Rockwater, Petits Pois, Moshimo, Plateau, Food for Friends, Bincho Yakitori, The Gingerman, Terre a Terre, The Salt Room, Kensingtons, Donatellos, Al Duomo, Bombay Mix, Gars Chinese Restaurant and Wagamamas, to name just a few.
There are literally hundreds of places to eat and drink in Brighton and Hove, including lots of options within the Lanes.
Nightlife is a definite highlight and one of the things you’ll remember most about your student life in Brighton. There are bars, clubs, bistros, late night cafés and more within town and the surrounding area.
Highlights include Martha Gunn bar, The Lewes Road Inn, New Unity, The Hare and Hounds, Patterns, Franklin Tavern, Pitcher and Piano, Santa Fe, Font and Firkin, Prodigal, Royal Pavilion Tavern, Shooshh, Honey, Funky Fish, The Great Globalls, Lion & Lobster, Lucky Voice, Trading Post Coffee Roasters Lewes, Victoria Terrace, Pier Nine, The Café at Yellowave, Brighton Marina, Brighton Music Hall, The Mess Deck Bar and Terrace, Chez Mal Bar, Alcotraz Brighton and many, many more.
Shopping as a student
Shopping as a student in Brighton is pretty good, but not amazing. If you like independents and unique shops, you’ll love it. If you like the big mall experience, you won’t like it so much.
The highlight of shopping in Brighton has to be The Lanes. A warren of narrow streets with independent shops all over.
Then there’s North Laine, London Road, Churchill Square, Brighton Marina, Brighton Market, Hove Local Monthly Market, Ruby Heart Vintage Fair and Brighton's Level Sunday Market.
With London just over 45 minutes away by train, what you don’t find locally, you’ll find in the capital.
Student accommodation in Brighton can be expensive if you don’t know where to look. High property prices mean higher rents and less choice for saving money as a student.
Both the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex have their own halls for your first year. After that, you’ll have the usual private landlords offering HMOs and student housing. Some of which are nice to live in, and all of which will take up a significant chunk of your money.
Then there’s Sanctuary Students. We operate Great Wilkins Halls on the Falmer Campus. It’s a great place to stay and offers safe, well maintained student accommodation.
Rent is reasonable and fully inclusive too. That’s a big advantage somewhere like Brighton!
Places to visit
Student life in Brighton is a good life. You’re by the sea, close to amenities, not far from the South Downs, and within easy reach of London and Gatwick Airport.
Highlights of living in Brighton include Brighton Pier, The Lanes, Undercliff Path, Snoopers Paradise, Castle Hill, Era, Sea Life Brighton, Royal Pavilion Volks Electric Railway, British Airways i360, the beach, the pier front, Devil’s Dyke, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Brighton Toy, and Model Museum, Brighton Centre, Brighton dome, The World’s End and a whole lot more.
There are also lots of seasonal things to do and see, plenty of LGBT venues and events, and some of the best beaches on the south coast.
Getting around Brighton as a student is both easy and potentially difficult.
Brighton Airport is a small national airport just outside the town in Shoreham-by-Sea. Gatwick Airport is north of town, around 20 minutes by train.
Brighton has several railway stations that link it to London and the rest of the country. The main station is Brighton railway station in town but Moulsecoomb is close to the University of Brighton.
Buses are plentiful and cover most of the town. However, with traffic the way it is, a bus is not the fastest method of transport. It is cheap and they do run early until late though.
By road, you can get to Brighton via M23, A23, M27, and other routes. Traffic in the town centre can be a nightmare, especially in summer. A combination of lots of traffic, a one-way system, and narrow roads combine to make driving something of a challenge.
Brighton is very walkable and is relatively cycling friendly. There are cycle lanes across town but you’ll need to watch the traffic.
Working as a student
Brighton is a vibrant, young city with lots of small industries and a reputation for entrepreneurship and going your own way. This provides lots of small businesses that often require workers, which can be to your advantage.
Plus, the sheer volume of cafés, restaurants, bars, and clubs, as well as tourist venues, means there is usually work to be had.
That’s truer in summer than winter, but work should not be too difficult to find.
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