Brighton Pier at dusk
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||South East England|
|Ceremonial county||East Sussex|
|Unitary authority||Brighton and Hove|
|Admin HQ||Hove Town Hall|
|• Total||31.92 sq mi (82.67 km2)|
|Population (2005 est.)|
|• Total||(Ranked )|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC0)|
|• Summer (DST)||BST (UTC+1)|
|ONS code||00ML (ONS)
|OS grid reference||TQ315065|
Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods. The ancient settlement of "Brighthelmstone" was documented in the Domesday Book (1086). The town's importance grew in the Middle Ages as the Old Town developed, but it languished in the early modern period, affected by foreign attacks, storms, a suffering economy and a declining population. Brighton began to attract more visitors following improved road transport to London and becoming a boarding point for boats travelling to France. The town also developed in popularity as a health resort for sea bathing as a purported cure for illnesses.
In the Georgian era, Brighton developed as a fashionable seaside resort, encouraged by the patronage of the Prince Regent, later King George IV, who spent much time in the town and constructed the Royal Pavilion in the Regency era. Brighton continued to grow as a major centre of tourism following the arrival of the railways in 1841, becoming a popular destination for day-trippers from London. Many of the major attractions were built in the Victorian era, including the Grand Hotel, the West Pier, and the Brighton Palace Pier. The town continued to grow into the 20th century, expanding to incorporate more areas into the town's boundaries before joining the town of Hove to form the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove in 1997, which was granted city status in 2000.
Brighton's location has made it a popular destination for tourists, renowned for its diverse communities, quirky shopping areas, large cultural, music and arts scene and its large LGBT population, leading to its reverence as the "unofficial gay capital of the UK". Brighton attracted 7.5 million day visitors in 2015/16 and 4.9 million overnight visitors, and is the most popular seaside destination in the UK for overseas tourists. Brighton has also been called the UK's "hippest city", and "the happiest place to live in the UK".
Brighton's earliest name was Bristelmestune, recorded in the Domesday Book. Although more than 40 variations have been documented, Brighthelmstone (or Brighthelmston) was the standard rendering between the 14th and 18th centuries.
Brighton was originally an informal shortened form, first seen in 1660; it gradually supplanted the longer name, and was in general use from the late 18th century. Brighthelmstone was the town's official name until 1810, though. The name is of Anglo-Saxon origin. Most scholars believe that it derives from Beorthelm + tūn—the homestead of Beorthelm, a common Old English name associated with villages elsewhere in England. The tūn element is common in Sussex, especially on the coast, although it occurs infrequently in combination with a personal name. An alternative etymology taken from the Old English words for "stony valley" is sometimes given but has less acceptance. Brighthelm gives its name to, among other things, a church and a pub in Brighton and some halls of residence at the University of Sussex. Writing in 1950, historian Antony Dale noted that unnamed antiquaries had suggested an Old English word "brist" or "briz", meaning "divided", could have contributed the first part of the historic name Brighthelmstone. The town was originally split in half by the Wellesbourne, a winterbourne which was culverted and buried in the 18th century.
Brighton has several nicknames. Poet Horace Smith called it "The Queen of Watering Places", which is still widely used, and "Old Ocean's Bauble". Novelist William Makepeace Thackeray referred to "Doctor Brighton", calling the town "one of the best of Physicians". "London-by-Sea" is well-known, reflecting Brighton's popularity with Londoners as a day-trip resort, a commuter dormitory and a desirable destination for those wanting to move out of the metropolis. The mid 19th-century nickname "School Town" referred to the remarkable number of boarding, charity and church schools in the town at the time.
The first settlement in the Brighton area was Whitehawk Camp, a Neolithic encampment on Whitehawk Hill which has been dated to between 3500 BC and 2700 BC. It is one of six causewayed enclosures in Sussex. Archaeologists have only partially explored it, but have found numerous burial mounds, tools and bones, suggesting it was a place of some importance. There was also a Bronze Age settlement at Coldean. Brythonic Celts arrived in Britain in the 7th century BC, and an important Brythonic settlement existed at Hollingbury Camp on Hollingbury Hill. This Celtic Iron Age encampment dates from the 3rd or 2nd century BC and is circumscribed by substantial earthwork outer walls with a diameter of c. 1,000 feet (300 m). Cissbury Ring, roughly 10 miles (16 km) from Hollingbury, is suggested to have been the tribal "capital".
Later, there was a Roman villa at Preston Village, a Roman road from London ran nearby, and much physical evidence of Roman occupation has been discovered locally. From the 1st century AD, the Romans built a number of villas in Brighton and Romano-British Brythonic Celts formed farming settlements in the area. After the Romans left in the early 4th century AD, the Brighton area returned to the control of the native Celts. Anglo-Saxons then invaded in the late 5th century AD, and the region became part of the Kingdom of Sussex, founded in 477 AD by king Ælle.
Anthony Seldon identified five phases of development in pre-20th century Brighton. The village of Bristelmestune was founded by these Anglo-Saxon invaders, probably in the early Saxon period. They were attracted by the easy access for boats, sheltered areas of raised land for building, and better conditions compared to the damp, cold and misty Weald to the north. By the time of the Domesday survey in 1086 it was a fishing and agricultural settlement, a rent of 4,000 herring was established, and its population was about 400. Its importance grew from the Norman era onwards. By the 14th century there was a parish church, a market and rudimentary law enforcement (the first town constable was elected in 1285). Sacked and burnt by French invaders in the early 16th century—the earliest depiction of Brighton, a painting of c. 1520, shows Admiral Pregent de Bidoux's attack of June 1514—the town recovered strongly based on a thriving mackerel-fishing industry. The grid of streets in the Old Town (the present Lanes area) were well developed and the town grew quickly: the population rose from c. 1,500 in 1600 to c. 4,000 in the 1640s. By that time Brighton was Sussex's most populous and important town.
Over the next few decades, though, events severely affected its local and national standing, such that by 1730 "it was a forlorn town decidedly down on its luck". More foreign attacks, storms (especially the devastating Great Storm of 1703), a declining fishing industry, and the emergence of nearby Shoreham as a significant port caused its economy to suffer. By 1708 other parishes in Sussex were charged rates to alleviate poverty in Brighton, and Daniel Defoe wrote that the expected £8,000 cost of providing sea defences was "more than the whole town was worth". The population declined to 2,000 in the early 18th century.
From the 1730s, Brighton entered its second phase of development—one which brought a rapid improvement in its fortunes. The contemporary fad for drinking and bathing in seawater as a purported cure for illnesses was enthusiastically encouraged by Dr Richard Russell from nearby Lewes. He sent many patients to "take the cure" in the sea at Brighton, published a popular treatise on the subject, and moved to the town soon afterwards (the Royal Albion, one of Brighton's early hotels, occupies the site of his house). Others were already visiting the town for recreational purposes before Russell became famous, and his actions coincided with other developments which made Brighton more attractive to visitors. From the 1760s it was a boarding point for boats travelling to France; road transport to London was improved when the main road via Crawley was turnpiked in 1770; and spas and indoor baths were opened by other entrepreneurial physicians such as Sake Dean Mahomed and Anthony Relhan (who also wrote the town's first guidebook).
From 1780, development of the Georgian terraces had started, and the fishing village developed as the fashionable resort of Brighton. Growth of the town was further encouraged by the patronage of the Prince Regent (later King George IV) after his first visit in 1783. He spent much of his leisure time in the town and constructed the Royal Pavilion during the early part of his Regency. In this period the modern form of the name Brighton came into common use.
A permanent military presence was established in the city with the completion of Preston Barracks in 1793.
The arrival of the London and Brighton Railway in 1841 brought Brighton within the reach of day-trippers from London. The population grew from around 7,000 in 1801 to more than 120,000 by 1901. Many of the major attractions were built during the Victorian era, such as the Grand Hotel (1864), the West Pier (1866), and the Palace Pier (1899). Prior to either of these structures, the famous Chain Pier was built, to the designs of Captain Samuel Brown. It lasted from 1823 to 1896, and is featured in paintings by both Turner and Constable.
Because of boundary changes, the land area of Brighton expanded from 1,640 acres (7 km2) in 1854 to 14,347 acres (58 km2) in 1952. New housing estates were established in the acquired areas, including Moulsecoomb, Bevendean, Coldean and Whitehawk. The major expansion of 1928 also incorporated the villages of Patcham, Ovingdean and Rottingdean, and much council housing was built in parts of Woodingdean after the Second World War. In 1997, Brighton and Hove were joined to form the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove, which was granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II as part of the millennium celebrations in 2000.
Geography and topography
Brighton lies between the South Downs and the English Channel to the north and south, respectively. The Sussex coast forms a wide, shallow bay between the headlands of Selsey Bill and Beachy Head; Brighton developed near the centre of this bay around a seasonal river, the Wellesbourne (or Whalesbone), which flowed from the South Downs above Patcham. This emptied into the English Channel at the beach near the East Cliff, forming "the natural drainage point for Brighton".
Behind the estuary was a stagnant pond called the Pool or Poole, so named since the medieval era. This was built over with houses and shops from 1793, when the Wellesbourne was culverted to prevent flooding, and only the name of the road (Pool Valley, originally Pool Lane) marks its site. One original house survives from the time of the pool's enclosure. Behind Pool Valley is Old Steine (historically The Steyne), originally a flat and marshy area where fishermen dried their nets. The Wellesbourne occasionally reappears during times of prolonged heavy rain; author Mark Antony Lower referred to an early 19th-century drawing of the Royal Pavilion showing "quite a pool of water across the Steyne".
Despite 16th-century writer Andrew Boorde's claim that "Bryght-Hempston [is] among the noble ports and havens of the realm", Brighton never developed as a significant port: rather, it was considered as part of Shoreham. Nevertheless, the descriptions "Port of Brighthelmston" or "Port of Brighton" were sometimes used between the 14th and 19th centuries, as for example in 1766 when its notional limits were defined for customs purposes.
The East Cliff runs for several miles from Pool Valley towards Rottingdean and Saltdean, reaching 24 metres (80 ft) above sea level. The soil beneath it, a mixture of alluvium and clay with some flint and chalk rubble, has experienced erosion for many years. The cliff itself, like the rest of Brighton's soil, is chalk. Below this are thin layers of Upper and Lower Greensand separated by a thicker band of Gault clay. The land slopes upwards gradually from south to north towards the top of the Downs.
Main transport links developed along the floor of the Wellesbourne valley, from which the land climbs steeply—particularly on the east side. The earliest settlement was by the beach at the bottom of the valley, which was partly protected from erosion by an underwater shale-bar. Changes in sea level affected the foreshore several times: 40 acres (16 ha) disappeared in the first half of the 14th century, and the Great Storm of 1703 caused widespread destruction. The first sea defences were erected in 1723, and a century later a long sea-wall was built.
- See also: Climate of the United Kingdom
Brighton has a temperate climate: its Köppen climate classification is Cfb. It is characterised by mild, calm weather with high levels of sunshine, sea breezes and a "healthy, bracing air" attributed to the low level of tree cover. Average rainfall levels increase as the land rises: the 1958–1990 mean was 740 millimetres (29 in) on the seafront and about 1,000 millimetres (39 in) at the top of the South Downs above Brighton. Storms caused serious damage in 1703, 1806, 1824, 1836, 1848, 1850, 1896, 1910 and 1987. Snow is rare, but particularly severe falls were recorded in 1881 and 1967.
|Climate data for Brighton|
|Average high °C (°F)||7.8
|Average low °C (°F)||3.3
|Precipitation mm (inches)||88
|Source: Met Office|
|9.2 °C (48.6 °F)||8.7 °C (47.7 °F)||8.2 °C (46.8 °F)||9.6 °C (49.3 °F)||11.4 °C (52.5 °F)||13.6 °C (56.5 °F)||15.4 °C (59.7 °F)||16.9 °C (62.4 °F)||17.3 °C (63.1 °F)||16.3 °C (61.3 °F)||14.7 °C (58.5 °F)||12.0 °C (53.6 °F)||12.8 °C (55.0 °F)|
Boundaries and areas
|Date from||Parish area|
|c. 11th century||1,640 acres (660 ha)|
|31 October 1873||2,445 acres (989 ha)|
|1 October 1923||2,539 acres (1,027 ha)|
|1 April 1928||12,503 acres (5,060 ha)|
|1 April 1952||14,347 acres (5,806 ha)|
|31 March 1972||15,041 acres (6,087 ha)|
|1 April 1993||15,140 acres (6,130 ha)|
|1 April 1997||21,632 acres (8,754 ha)|
At the time of the Domesday survey in 1086, Brighton was in the Rape of Lewes and the Hundred of Welesmere. The new Hundred of Whalesbone, which covered the parishes of Brighton, West Blatchington, Preston and Hove, was formed in 1296. Parishes moved in and out several times, and by 1801 only Brighton and West Blatchington were included in the Hundred.
Brighton's ecclesiastical and civil parish boundaries were coterminous until 1873. Since then, the latter have changed several times as the urban area has expanded. In its original form, Brighton covered about 1,640 acres (660 ha) between the English Channel, Hove, Preston, Ovingdean and Rottingdean. The civil parish was first extended from 31 October 1873, when 905 acres (366 ha) was annexed from Preston. Its ecclesiastical parish was not affected.
On 1 October 1923, 94 acres (38 ha) were added to Brighton from Patcham parish: Brighton Corporation was developing the Moulsecoomb council estate there at the time. On 1 April 1928, Brighton became a county borough and grew by nearly five times by adding Ovingdean and Rottingdean parishes in their entirety and parts of Falmer, Patcham and West Blatchington. From 1 April 1952, more of Falmer and part of the adjacent Stanmer parish were added; 20 years later, land and marine territory associated with the new Brighton Marina development also became part of Brighton. Except for a small addition of rural land in 1993 (from Pyecombe parish), Brighton Borough's boundaries remained the same until it was joined to Hove Borough in 1997 to form the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove.
The old boundary between Brighton and Hove is most clearly seen on the seafront, where the King Edward Peace Statue (1912) straddles the border, and in a twitten called Boundary Passage which runs northwards from Western Road to Montpelier Road. There is a Grade II-listed parish boundary marker stone in this passageway. Between Western Road and the seafront, the boundary runs up Little Western Street (pavement on eastern side, in Brighton), but it is not visible. Northwards from Western Road, it runs to the west of Norfolk Road, Norfolk Terrace, Windlesham Road and Windlesham Gardens in the Montpelier area, then along the south side of Davigdor Road to Seven Dials. From there it runs along the west side of Dyke Road as far as Withdean Road in Withdean, at which point it crosses Dyke Road so that the section north of that is part of Hove parish. The boundary continues to follow Dyke Road towards Devil's Dyke on the South Downs.
The Royal Pavilion is a former royal palace built as a home for the Prince Regent during the early 19th century, under the direction of the architect John Nash, and is notable for its Indo-Saracenic architecture and Oriental interior. Other Indo-Saracenic buildings in Brighton include the Sassoon Mausoleum, now, with the bodies reburied elsewhere, in use as a chic supper club.
Brighton Marine Palace and Pier (long known as the Palace Pier) opened in 1899. It features a funfair, restaurants and arcade halls.
The West Pier was built in 1866 and is one of only two Grade I listed piers in the United Kingdom. It has been closed since 1975. For some time it was under consideration for restoration, but two fires in 2003, and other setbacks, led to these plans being abandoned. The Brighton i360 observation tower opened on 4 August 2016. At 162 metres (531.49 feet) high, and with an observation pod rising to 138 metres (452.75 feet), the i360 is Britain's highest observation tower outside London – taller even than the London Eye.
Brighton clocktower, built in 1888 for Queen Victoria's jubilee, stands at the intersection of Brighton's busiest thoroughfares.
Volk's Electric Railway runs along the inland edge of the beach from Brighton Pier to Black Rock and Brighton Marina. It was created in 1883 and is the world's oldest operating electric railway.
The Grand Hotel was built in 1864. The Brighton hotel bombing occurred there. Its nighttime blue lighting is particularly prominent along the foreshore.
Churches and places of worship
The 11th century (1086) St Nicholas Church is the oldest building in Brighton, commonly known as "The Mother Church". Other notable churches include the very tall brick-built St Bartholomew's (1874) designed by the architect Edmund Scott, St Peter's (1828), and St. Martin's, noted for its decorated interior. Brighton's Quakers run the Friends' Meeting House in the Lanes. There is an active Unitarian community based in a Grade 2 listed building in New Road, and a Spiritualist church in Norfolk Square. There are also a number of New Age outlets and groups.
Brighton-Hove has five synagogues: New Church Road Synagogue, Hove; Holland Road Synagogue, Hove; Brighton & Hove Progressive Synagogue, Hove; Brighton & Hove Reform Synagogue, Hove; Middle Street Synagogue; Brighton. The Middle Street Synagogue is a Grade II-listed building built in 1874–75. It is being gradually restored by English Heritage. There are also several mosques and Buddhist centres.
Brighton has become known as one of the least religious places in the UK, based upon analysis of the 2011 census which revealed that 42 per cent of the population profess no religion, far higher than the national average of 25%. As part of the Jedi census phenomenon, 2.6 per cent claimed their religion was Jedi Knight, the largest percentage in the country.
Brighton has a 5.4-mile (8.7 km) expanse of shingle beach, part of the unbroken 8-mile (13 km) section within the city limits. Neighbouring Hove is known for its hundreds of painted timber beach huts, but brick-walled chalets are also available on Brighton seafront, especially towards Rottingdean and Saltdean. Especially east of the Palace Pier, a flat sandy foreshore is exposed at low tide. The Palace Pier section of the beach has been awarded blue flag status. Part of the beach adjoining Madeira Drive, to the east of the city centre, has been redeveloped into a sports complex and opened to the public in March 2007, with courts for pursuits such as beach volleyball and ultimate Frisbee among others. The city council owns all the beaches, which are divided into named sections by groynes—the first of which were completed in 1724. Eastwards from the Hove boundary, the names are Boundary, Norfolk, Bedford, Metropole, Grand (referring to the four hotels with those names), Centre, King's, Old Ship, Volk's, Albion, Palace Pier, Aquarium, Athina (where the MS Athina B ran aground), Paston, Banjo, Duke's, Cliff, Crescent and Black Rock. Beyond Black Rock, the cliffs (part of the Brighton to Newhaven Cliffs Site of Special Scientific Interest) rise to more than 100 feet (30 m) and there are three small beaches at Ovingdean Gap, Rottingdean Gap and Saltdean Gap. All are connected by the Undercliff Walk, which has been affected by several cliff falls since 2000. Since the demolition in 1978 of the Black Rock open-air lido at the eastern end of Brighton's seafront, the area has been developed and now features one of Europe's largest marinas. However, the site of the pool itself remains empty except for a skate park and graffiti wall. Since 2003 a series of developments have been proposed but have come to nothing, including housing, a five-star hotel with a winter garden, and an 11,000-seat sports arena. The seafront is also home to many restaurants, sports facilities, amusement arcades, nightclubs and bars.
Brighton featured in a number of popular movies including Quadrophenia (1979), The End of the Affair (1999), Wimbledon (2004), MirrorMask (2005), Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008), The Young Victoria (2009), Brighton Rock (2010 and 1947) and The Boat that Rocked (2009). The Duke of York's Picturehouse, dating from 1910, was opened by Mrs Violet Melnotte-Wyatt. It is the country's oldest purpose-built cinema and was Brightons first Electric Bioscope, which still operates as an arthouse cinema. The Duke of York's Picturehouse expanded in 2012, adding two additional screens in a different location. The company is now occupying the upstairs of Komedia, situated on Gardner Street, central Brighton. There are two multiplex cinemas, the Odeon on North Street and Cineworld in the Marina.
Festivals and rallies
Each May the city hosts the Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe, the second largest arts festival in the UK (after Edinburgh). This includes processions such as the Children's Parade, outdoor spectaculars often involving pyrotechnics, and theatre, music and visual arts in venues throughout the city, some brought into this use exclusively for the festival. The earliest feature of the festival, the Artists' Open Houses, are homes of artists and craftspeople opened to the public as galleries, and usually selling the work of the occupants. Since 2002, these have been organised independently of the official Festival and Fringe.
Brighton Fringe runs alongside Brighton Festival, and has grown to be one of the largest fringe festivals in the world. Together with the street performers from Brighton Festival's "Streets of Brighton" events, and the Royal Mile-esque outdoor performances that make up "Fringe City", outdoor spectacles and events more than double during May.
Other festivals include The Great Escape, featuring three nights of live music in venues across the city; the Soundwaves Festival in June, which shows classical music composed in the 21st Century, and involves both amateur and professional performers; Paddle Round the Pier; Brighton Live which each September stages a week of free gigs in pubs to show local bands; Burning the Clocks, a winter solstice celebration; and Brighton Pride. For a number of years, Andrew Logan's Alternative Miss World extravaganza was held in the city.
The Kemptown area has its own small annual street festival, the Kemptown Carnival, and the Hanover area similarly has a "Hanover Day". Local resident Fatboy Slim puts on a "Big Beach Boutique" show most years. An inaugural White Nights (Nuit Blanche) all-night arts festival took place in October 2008 and continued for 4 years until it was postponed in 2012 due to a lack of European funding. 2009 saw the first Brighton Zine Fest celebrating zine and DIY culture within the city.
Brighton is the terminus of a number of London-to-Brighton rides, and runs, such as the veteran car run and bike ride. Transport rallies are also hosted on the seafront. Groups of mods and Rockers still bring their scooters and motorbikes to the town, but their gatherings are now much more sedate than the violent 1960s confrontations depicted in Quadrophenia.
Food and drink related festivals include the traditional Blessing of the Fisheries, where barbecued mackerel are eaten on the beach and the more recent Fiery Foods Chilli Festival. There is also a twice-yearly general food festival. The main Sussex beer festival is held in nearby Hove, and there is a smaller beer festival in the Hanover area. Foodies Festival also counts Brighton as one of its seven national venues, with the event taking place between 25–27 May at Hove Lawns and including top chefs such as Loyd Grossman.
Brighton is the home of the UK's first Walk of Fame which celebrates the many rich and famous people associated with the city.
Brighton museums include Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Preston Manor, Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton Toy and Model Museum, and Brighton Fishing Museum, the long established social epicentre of the seafront, which includes artefacts from the West Pier. The Royal Pavilion is also open to the public, serving as a museum to the British Regency.
Brighton has about 400 restaurants.
Theatres include the Brighton Dome and associated Pavilion Theatre, the expanded Komedia (primarily a comedy and music venue but also a theatre), the Old Market which was renovated and re-opened in 2010 and the Theatre Royal which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2007. There are also smaller theatres such as the Marlborough Theatre, the New Venture, and the Brighton Little Theatre. The city has the new purpose built Brighton Open Air Theatre, or B•O•A•T, which is due to open for the Brighton Festival in May 2015. It is unique in that its programme will be chosen by lottery to ensure that it remains accessible and open to all comers.
Brighton has several railway stations, many bus routes, coach services and taxis. A Rapid Transport System has been under consideration for some years. Trolleybuses, trams, ferries and hydrofoil services have operated in the past.
Brighton is connected to the national road network by the A23 (London Road) northwards, and by two east–west routes: the A259 along the coast and the A27 trunk route inland. The A23 joins the M23 motorway at Pease Pottage near Gatwick Airport. The A27 originally ran through the urban area along Old Shoreham Road and Lewes Road, but it now follows the route of the Brighton Bypass (opened in 1990) and the old alignment has become the A270.
A bypass was first proposed in 1932, six routes were submitted for approval in 1973, and the Department of the Environment published its recommended route in 1980. Public enquiries took place in 1983 and 1987, construction started in 1989 and the first section—between London Road at Patcham and the road to Devil's Dyke—opened in summer 1991. By 1985 there were about 5,000 parking spaces in central Brighton. The largest car parks are at London Road, King Street, and the Churchill Square/Regency Road/Russell Road complex. In 1969, a 520-space multi-storey car park was built beneath the central gardens of Regency Square.
Frequent trains operate from Brighton railway station. Many Brighton residents commute to work in London and destinations include London Victoria, London Bridge and St Pancras International. Most trains serve Gatwick Airport, and those operated by Thameslink continue to St Albans, Luton, Luton Airport Parkway and Bedford. The fastest service from London Victoria takes 51 minutes. The West Coastway Line serves stations to Hove, Worthing, Portsmouth and Southampton; and the East Coastway Line runs via Lewes to Newhaven, Eastbourne, Hastings and Ashford, Kent, crossing the landmark London Road viaduct en route and providing "a dramatic high-level view" of Brighton. A wider range of long-distance destinations was served until 2007–08 when rationalisation caused the ending of InterCity services via Kensington (Olympia) and Reading to Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. Twice-daily long-distance services to Bristol and Great Malvern are operated by Great Western Railway via the West Coastway Line.
Until deregulation in 1986, bus services in Brighton were provided by Southdown Motor Services and Brighton Borough Transport under a joint arrangement called "Brighton Area Transport Services". Southdown were part of the nationalised NBC group and were based at Freshfield Road in the Kemptown area; Brighton Borough Transport were owned by the council and used the former tram depot at Lewes Road as their headquarters. Joint tickets were available and revenue was shared. The Brighton & Hove Bus Company, owned by the Go-Ahead Group since 1993, now runs most bus services in Brighton. Its fleet has about 280 buses. Compass Travel, The Big Lemon, Metrobus, Stagecoach South and The Sussex Bus also operate some services to central Brighton. The city had 1,184 bus stops in 2012, 456 of which had a shelter. Real-time travel information displays are provided at many stops.
The only park and ride facility in Brighton is based at the Withdean Stadium. It does not offer a dedicated shuttle bus service: intending passengers must join the Brighton & Hove Bus Company's route 27 service to Saltdean—which travels via Brighton railway station, the Clock Tower and Old Steine—and pay standard fares. The 20-year City Plan released in January 2013 ruled out an official park-and-ride facility, stating it would be an "inefficient use of public money, particularly in an era of declining car use". Councillors and residents in Woodingdean and Rottingdean have claimed that streets and car parks in those areas have become unofficial park-and-ride sites: drivers park for free and take buses into the city centre.
Shoreham Airport is 9 miles (14 km) west of Brighton near the town of Shoreham-by-Sea. The airport has since rebranded Brighton (Shoreham) Airport.
Gatwick Airport is 22 miles (35 km) north on the A23; and regular coach and rail services operate from Brighton to the Airport.
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