The United Kingdom is home to some of the world’s most illustrious academic institutions, with a host of colleges in London, Oxford and Cambridge topping global rankings. But Britain is more than these; there are many other charming university cities and towns worth a visit. Here’s our guide to six such places.
This small city has come a long way since 18th-century doctor Richard Russell’s writings on the medicinal benefits of sea-bathing sparked the transformation of a struggling fishing village into a stylish seaside getaway.
When a 2018 global survey crowned Brighton “the world’s most hipster city”, it outscored US hipster hotspots like Seattle and Portland on criteria of cool, including the number of vegan restaurants, coffee shops, vintage boutiques and vinyl record stores. If these are up your alley, look no further than Terre A Terre vegetarian restaurant, Marwood Bar & Coffeehouse, Hope & Harlequin and Rarekind Records respectively. If you’re visiting in May, you’ll want to catch The Brighton Festival, England’s biggest annual cultural extravaganza with over 1,000 performances.
Brighton is where you’ll find brightly coloured cottages on cosy lanes juxtaposed with elegant Georgian crescents and grand Victorian garden squares. Here, also, is a concentration of independent shops in The Lanes and North Lain, plus Britain’s highest number of pubs per head. Popular with the locals are the likes of Great Eastern and real ale beacon The Evening Star.
For many, though, Brighton’s deepest charm is a wonderful laissez-faire tolerance and love of quirkiness. It’s no surprise Prince Regent (later George IV) built his gloriously madcap Royal Pavilion seaside getaway here – a mash-up of Indian, Chinese and Georgian architecture that’s just as peculiar as the city’s bevy of flamboyant dressers.
Need a place to rest your head? Brighton offers the best of both worlds. Malmaison Brighton is pitched at modern sophisticates with its street-art-influenced décor complemented by views of bobbing yachts and iconic chalk cliffs. Meanwhile, Hotel du Vin Brighton brings elegant 1920s style to a 17th-century wine-merchant building close to two of Brighton’s most famous sights: the iconic Victorian pier with its old-fashioned fun rides, and the soaring 21st century i360 observation tower.