Brighton is located on the south coast of England and together with its immediate neighbour Hove forms the city of Brighton and Hove. Brighton is one of the largest and most famous seaside resorts in England.

With origins dating before Domesday, the ancient settlement of Brighthelmston emerged as an important health resort during the 18th century and a popular destination for day-trippers after the arrival of the railway in 1841. Brighton experienced rapid population growth reaching a peak of over 160,000 by 1961. Modern Brighton forms the part of a significant conurbation stretching along the coast West to Littlehampton, stretching to the east of Brighton, encompassing smaller, less built up areas like Rottingdean and Saltdean with a population of around 480,000.

Brighton is a popular tourist resort with numerous hotels, restaurants and entertainment facilities which additionally serve a substantial business conference industry. The modern city of Brighton & Hove is also an important educational centre with two universities and many English language schools.

In the Domesday Book, Brighton was called Bristelmestune and a rent of 4,000 herring was established. In June 1514 Brighthelmstone was burnt to the ground by French raiders during a war between England and France. Only part of St. Nicholas's Church and the street pattern of what is now The Lanes survived the attack. The first known drawing of Brighthelmstone was made in 1545 and depicts what is believed to be the raid of 1514.

Royal PavilionDuring the 1740s and 1750s Dr Richard Russell of Lewes began prescribing the medicinal use of the seawater at Brighton to his patients. By 1780, development of the Regency terraces had started and the fishing village quickly became the fashionable resort of Brighton. The growth of the town was further encouraged following the patronage of the Prince Regent (later King George IV) after his first visit in 1783.[5] He spent much of his leisure time in the town and constructed the exotic and expensive Royal Pavilion during the early part of his Regency.

The arrival of the railway in 1841 brought Brighton within the reach of day-trippers from London and rapid population growth from around 7,000 in 1801 to over 120,000 by 1901.[6] The Victorian era saw the building of many of the famous landmarks in Brighton including the Grand Hotel (1864), the West Pier (1866) and the Palace Pier (1899).

After a number of boundary changes made between 1873 and 1952, the land area of Brighton was increased significantly from 1,640 acres in 1854 to 14,347 acres in 1952.[7] New housing estates were established in the acquired areas including Moulsecoomb, Bevendean, Coldean and Whitehawk. Closer to the centre of town, a major slum-clearance development was initiated in the Hanover area. The replacement council housing, including Tarnerland near Richmond Street, stretches from the bottom of Albion Hill to the tower blocks at Mount Pleasant, and radically changed the local street layout.

More recently, gentrification of much of Brighton has seen a return of the highly fashionable image which had characterised the growth of the Regency period. Recent housing developments in the North Laine, for instance, have been kept in keeping with the local make up of the area.

In 1997 Brighton and Hove were joined together to form the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove, which in turn was granted city status by the Queen as part of the millennium celebrations in 2000.