Although a bit tatty in places Brighton is a stimulating and timeless mix of Graham Greene, fairground rides on the pier, England by the seaside, lary hen and stag nights, cute home-making shops, artists being arty and alternative dressers. And of course it's famous as the gay capital of Britain. The marina out to the east feels a bit cut off from it all.
One of Brighton's greatest assets is the diversity of its architecture: grand Georgian townhouses, the muddled Lanes of the Old Town, the tacky Palace Pier and George IV's lurid flight of the fancy and the Pavilion. It's a decent place to wander for a day and people watch. All is laid out on a series of hills fronted by a pebble beach where seagulls squall endlessly overhead.
Kemp Town is favoured by the gay community, artists and media folk while central Brighton and its Lanes boast plenty of characterful old boozers. There are loads of cheap cafes in the North Lanes, but the bar scene in Brighton is not particularly sophisticated as night life tends to be about getting heavily rather than stylishly loaded. Sadly, in our experience discerning drinkers are advised to give the establishments on the front itself a wide berth.