Brighton: Arriving and Departing

Arriving by Air

The nearest major international airport to Brighton is London Gatwick (LGW), which is about half way between London and Brighton.  It is approximately 30 miles (40 km) from Gatwick to Brighton.  Gatwick has two terminals – North and South and a major railway station served by trains on the Brighton line, the Gatwick Express to London Victoria and many other places in southern England.

Getting to Brighton from the airport, there are the following transport options.  The train is best, at least four trains an hour, but a three hour gap in the middle of the night, approx 01:45 – 04:45, longer at weekends.

Bus / Coach:  National Express operate a very frequent service (at least hourly) from both terminals directly to Brighton.  For fares, timetables and online booking, visit their website.  Bus stops are signposted from Arrivals.

Train:  Therailway station is attached to the South terminal.  There are approximately 4 trains per hour directly to Brighton, journey time is appoximately 30 minutes.  Note that if you arrive at the North terminal, there is a free, automated shuttle running between terminals every 3 minutes.  Train fares vary depending on time of day, but are normally around £8-10.  Click information to research fares and timetables.

Taxi: Follow the signs from Arrivals.  Airport taxis are quite expensive – expect to pay approx £50 to central Brighton.

Rental Car: Follow the signs for A23 / M23 Southbound.  See ’Arriving by Car’ for further driving directions.

Arriving by Train

Brighton is very well served by trains from many parts of the country.  Direct services from London, it is easiest to travel from London Victoria station, from where there are several trains per hour, two of which are direct express services which take only 52 minutes.  There are also direct trains from Kings Cross and London Bridge, although these are less frequent and slower.

Brighton station is very centrally located.  It takes less than 10 minutes to walk to the centre of town or 15 mins from the seafront.  Simply walk out the front of the station, and follow the road south towards the sea in front of you (Queens Road).  Also out the front of the station is a taxi rank, populated the official licensed green and white Brighton taxi cabs.

Arriving by Car

The main route into Brighton from the north is via the M23/A23, which links it to the M25 London Orbital motorway.

From the east or west, the main route is the A27, which runs along the south coast of the UK.

The vast majority of visitors arrive by the A23.  While this provides a direct route into the centre of town, at peak times (i.e. rush hour and sunny weekends), the traffic into town is terrible, with long queues on a typical Saturday morning in summer.  If your hotel is situated to the west of the city centre (that is, Hove) avoid this crush, as follows; where the A23 gets to the edge of town, filter left and follow the signs for Worthing, A27.  You are now on the Brighton bypass. Take the first exit, about 1km up the hill, and follow the signs for Hove.  (This is also a good tip for motorists determined against all advice to drive into Brighton centre.  This route avoids the A23 town bottleneck.  But you will still have parking problems.  Seriously consider using the Park and Ride scheme mentioned in the next paragraph.)

Once in the town, you will find that it is almost impossible to park – most public car parks are full by 12:00 at weekends.  Brighton was recently awarded the dubious title of having the most parking tickets issued in the UK – so don’t be tempted to park illegally. There is a Park and Ride scheme operated by the local authority, whereby you can park your car on the edge of the city (at Withdean, signposted off the A23 just after you get into Brighton), and then pay a small fee to take a bus into the centre.

If you can do without a car,  do not drive to Brighton.  Driving around the town is horrible, even for natives, as there are so many one way systems, dead-end streets, speed bumps, traffic lights etc.

Brighton car parks are busy, but there’s usually more than  enough space at the 6 town centre NCPs to satisfy on the average weekend or weekday, but beware the bank holiday traffic can be hell, with long tailbacks into and out of the city..  There is also limited on-street parking.  Spaces are at a premium and the cost can be high, as much as £1 for 30mins. (around Brighton Station/Trafalgar Street for eg).   Again, beware because Brighton is renowned for the tow-away truck or wheel clamp brigage and the mini hitler traffic wardens who issue parking tickets like confetti!

January 31, 2013


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