Moving to Brighton

An overview of Brighton

The most hipster city in the world has come a long way since neanderthals hunted mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses, and bison along the Brighton cliffs 200,000 years ago.

Home to Romans 2,000 years ago, this area didn’t become a settlement until Saxons landed in the 400s – and it took another 700 years to become a town called Beorhthelmes tūn (Beorhthelm's farmstead).

The town was burned to the ground by French troops in 1514 and torn apart by storms in the early 1700s, but eventually rose to popularity under the stewardship of King George IV while he was a prince, during which time it was dubbed Brighton.

Nowadays, this cool, quirky city by the sea is proudly advertised to tourists as “Never Normal,” hosts a fantastic annual Pride parade, and welcomes 11 million visitors per year.

From the classic Palace Pier to the stunning Royal Pavilion, via the endless delights of The Lanes, Brighton is a beautiful, fascinating, enterprising place to live, with welcoming attitudes towards everyone – including those who are new to the area.

brighton pavilion

The Royal Pavilion looks out of place in the best way possible

The cost of moving to Brighton

As with any relocation, the cost of moving to Brighton will depend on where you’re coming from, and what you’re bringing with you.

If you’re planning to move the contents of a three-bedroom house (roughly 875 cubic metres of belongings) from London to Brighton, you should expect to pay £1,185, on average.

This includes:

  • loading and unloading
  • packing services and materials
  • dismantling and reassembling furniture
  • the fee for distance travelled

The drive from London to Brighton is around 54 miles, and most removal companies charge £1 per mile (source: comparemymove, 2020).

The amount you’ll end up paying will also change depending on your moving date, the removal company you choose, and whether you need any additional services.

The cost of living in Brighton

Brighton is the ninth-most expensive city in the UK (source: Lloyds Banking Group, 2019).

Much of this is down to its location by the sea – and yet, it remains more affordable than almost every London borough (source: Office for National Statistics, 2021).

This is how much you can expect to pay for different goods and services in Brighton (source: Numbeo, 2021).

ItemAverage price
Pint of beer£4.50
Regular cappuccino£2.86
Mid-range bottle of wine£7
Monthly public transport pass£80
Cinema ticket for one£10.47
Monthly gym subscription£31.52
1kg of local cheese£6.25

Property prices

The median house price in Brighton is £365,000 – significantly more expensive than the average across England, which stands at £268,000 (source: ONS, 2021).

Brighton also has a ratio of earnings to house prices that sits comfortably in the top 25% most expensive local authorities in England and Wales – but below 28 of London’s 33 boroughs. (source: ONS, 2021).

The city’s relatively expensive nature is explained by its proximity to London, its seaside location, and its excellent nightlife.

If you want to buy a terrace house in Brighton, the average price is £442,806. The average cost of a flat is lower, at £315,573 (source: UK House Price Index, 2021).

If you want to rent a home in Brighton, you can expect to pay £1,095 per month, on average – well above the English average of £730 (sources: ONS, 2021).

Council tax

The council tax bands in Brighton for 2021/22 range from £1,369.47 (Band A) to £4,108.44 per year (Band H), depending on the type and location of your property.

There are discounts and exemptions available if you or someone who lives with you is disabled, receives certain benefits, or is a student or single person.

Electricity bills

You can expect your electricity bills in Brighton to be a little bit above the UK average.

The average fixed cost of electricity in the South East is £86.63 per year, which is £2.54 higher than the UK average of £84.09.

And the average variable unit price of electricity in the South East is 17.7p per kWh, which is 0.5p above the UK average of 17.2p (source: NimbleFins, 2021).

Getting in and out of Brighton

Brighton is one of the worst places to drive in the UK, according to a 2020 survey by car dealership Robins & Day, with the city’s high parking prices contributing to its position.

East Sussex also reportedly has the most potholes of any English county.

However, local councillors are considering plans to ban cars from the city centre, which would reduce congestion and make public transport a much more attractive option than it currently is (source: Sussex Live, 2021).

They’re also looking to turn the area of Brighton inside the A27 into an ultra low emission zone, which would mean paying a congestion charge to drive on practically any road in the city.

Gatwick is the closest airport, located just 27 miles from the centre of Brighton – a 35-minute drive, and a scenic one at that. From there, you can fly to 200 destinations across the globe.

Public transport in Brighton

If you’d rather use public transport, Brighton has you covered, with more than 50 bus routes ready for you.

And if you download the Brighton & Hove Buses app, you can buy a ticket for £2.70 that gives you unlimited travel on any day buses for an hour, or a 24-hour ticket for £4.70.

To help alleviate traffic congestion and avoid parking charges, you can also use Brighton’s Park and Ride site at Withdean Sports Complex, which offers free all-day parking.

Any day of the week, you can park up, wait a maximum of 15 minutes for the number 27 bus, and get taken straight to the city centre.

And when you want to see the rest of this lovely area, just go to Brighton railway station in the heart of the city and let yourself be whisked away to dozens of destinations, from Portsmouth Harbour in the south-west all the way up to King's Lynn in Norfolk.

Working in Brighton

Brighton’s public sector is the biggest employer in the city, with its 46,000 workers accounting for 33% of employees, followed by financial services and tourism.

American Express, Lloyds Bank, and Asda are three of the city’s biggest private employers.

Brighton’s unemployment rate is currently above the national average. It stood at 5.4% in the year from January to December 2020 – just 15% of local authorities in the UK have a higher rate (source: ONS, 2021).

Average salary in Brighton

The average salary in Brighton is £33,649 (source: ONS, 2021).

This is significantly higher than the UK national average, which is £29,900 (source: ONS, 2021), and helps to counterbalance the city’s higher-than-average cost of living.

You'll never get used to how gorgeous Brighton's cliffs are

The best neighbourhoods in Brighton

Brighton is a glorious mix of the metropolitan, the seaside, and the countryside, combining all the best parts of a city with gorgeous, relaxing vistas that make you feel like you’re always on holiday.

Let’s have a look at three of our favourite areas to live in Brighton.

Hove

The ideal home for families

Average property price: £513,528

If you’re looking to raise your family in a relaxed atmosphere by the sea, Brighton’s oft-ignored twin is perfect.

As well as excellent schools and roomy semi-detached Victorian houses, Hove is also home to charming beaches and green spaces, as well as a collection of excellent performance spaces.

You’ll have a great time watching a play at The Old Market and enjoying live music up close at The Brunswick, but nothing compares to the child-friendly Paris House, where you can sit back with a cocktail and charcuterie, and take in the best jazz in town.

Ensure you also treat your family to a pizza at Fatto a Mano, a classy taster menu at The Little Fish Market, and the best Greek food west of Ioannina at Archipelagos.

Seven Dials

A lovely area for young professionals

Average property price: £463,749

This Victorian district is a glorious gem for anyone who’s ready to put down roots somewhere they can have fun.

It’s great for commuters, but Seven Dials’ true superpower is its restaurants and pubs, which you could spend years fully investigating – and you should.

Visit Murasaki for sumptuous Japanese food and plum wine, enjoy a warm welcome and tasty Thai dishes at Red Snapper, and have your life changed at local institution Joe’s Cafe, which serves mouthwatering brunches. Order the hashageddon, and thank us later.

The Chimney House and The Cow are charming, comfortable pubs, but the star of Seven Dials’ drinking scene is Shakespeare's Head. When it comes to Sunday roasts, bangers and mash, and fun quiz nights, it can’t be beaten.

Preston Park

The perfect place for retirees

Average property price: £555,988

Around this 63-acre park, you can find a home that allows you to enjoy greenery at your leisure – and it’s still just a hop, skip, and a jump (or a 15-minute drive) from the beach.

The park hosts the Brighton Marathon and Pride, which are wonderful events, but for most of the year, you’ll be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of a gorgeous park – plus the added bonus of access to bowling greens, tennis courts, and a cricket pitch.

And if you’re looking to entertain your grandchildren, there are plenty of playgrounds, concerts, and circuses for you to enjoy together.

Things to do in Brighton

The seafront

If you’re moving to Brighton, you probably enjoy being by the seaside – and now’s the time to take full advantage.

You can embrace all the water-based activities this world has to offer, from powerboat driving and water skiing to windsurfing and sailing, via the adrenalin-pumping zip wire and the surprisingly beautiful oyster diving.

If you’re after a more relaxing day out, you can chill with like-minded soles (sorry) on a fishing day trip – or simply soak in the sun on a soft bed of sand.

Pure fun

Brighton has a quirky reputation, and our advice is to lean all the way in. You’ll have a blast.

Pay a visit to The World’s End, which offers arcade games like Pac-Man, Mortal Kombat, and Time Crisis, remote-control car racing, and mind-bending VR booths alongside a delicious, constantly changing menu of craft beer.

If you want to see your new home town while also grooving along to some great tunes, try a silent disco walking party. It’s exactly what you’re imagining, and so much more.

Another way of seeing the city, confusingly, is an escape room. There are more of these here than you could throw an axe at (speaking of which, try axe throwing), but none as ambitious or engrossing as The Big Escape, which covers the whole of Brighton.

Make sure you visit Paradox Place, too. There’s nothing like a building full of brain-scrambling illusions to get you laughing with friends and questioning reality – in the best way possible.

Brighton nightlife

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding where to go out for some revelry in Brighton.

It’s compulsory to head over to the Charles Street Tap on a Saturday for drag night – or, if you’d rather get drunk at lunchtime and call it brunch, Boy Toy Brunch allows you to enjoy all the best parts of a night out, and get to bed at a reasonable hour.

You can head to Proud Cabaret to keep the party going, or head over to more mainstream venues like CHALK, Coalition – or Patterns, if you’re a student in need of a good time.

If high-quality drinks matter more to you than club beats, check out No 32, Dead Wax Social, and The Mesmerist, which serves up delicious cocktails alongside burlesque shows.

The next morning (or early afternoon; we’re not judging), head over to The Lanes and wander through the winding streets to find independent shops, brunch restaurants, and charming pubs where you can put the hair of the dog theory to the test.

And if you want a comprehensive rundown of all the best venues in the city, DesignMyNight has you covered.