In 2010, Brighton made history by becoming the first constituency to elect a Green MP – its leader, Caroline Lucas - to the House of Commons. But even before this, the town was known as an eco-hub, brimming with eclectic individuals living in a relatively liberal bubble.
Travelling to Brighton last year for a university break with friends, I didn’t know whether to believe the rumours that everyone would be sporting sandals and carrying eco-bags full of vegetables and rabbit-food muesli. In fact, we were amazed at the relaxed atmosphere, beautiful coastline and abundance of things to do. Unexpectedly, Brighton also seemed especially popular with European tourists, revelling in its ‘Britishness’ whilst looking somewhat dismayed when they dipped their feet into the freezing sea.
An awareness of sustainability is obvious, too; posters urged visitors to use eco-BBQs and locally-sourced charcoal if they felt like a burger or two on the beach. But measures like this highlight how much the locals take pride in the town’s green credentials. The strategy is working; Green Traveller now has a devoted guide to Brighton, while the resort was voted ‘Britain’s Green Capital’ in a 2010 Asda survey. Brighton also possesses numerous ‘green-accredited’ (by VisitBritain) hotels (including the lovely, four-star Thistle, available through our client Great Little Breaks, with its beachfront views and award-winning restaurant The Promenade), and it has been ranked in the top three of the national Sustainable Cities Index for the past three years.
Brighton’s beach is its chief draw, but by no means the place’s only attraction; a walk along the seafront brings you to the nearby Marina (top), for instance, a lively area stacked with restaurants, shops and entertainment. The amount of options across the whole town each day is incredible: from a morning brunch in Bills to watching fire-eaters on the beach by night. As my friends and I left Brighton, our sun-tanned faces glowed and our bags lay heavy with sticks of rock. We had experienced the joys of the English seaside, and already we were longing to walk down that famous pier another time.