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Brighton Rocks

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Brighton Fringe

Go on, name England’s biggest arts festival. We dare you. It’s not Edinburgh (that’s in Scotland). It’s not Glastonbury. And you won’t find it at Creamfields, or Reading or Leeds either. Isle of Wight perhaps? Nah. At this time of year, anyone who’s anyone books cheap train tickets to Brighton and heads for the south coast to lap up a serious dose of spring culture.

Brighton has always had the kind of reputation that other British towns and cities crave. It’s a tolerant, creative, multicultural kind of place, where anything goes. It has great markets, bars and restaurants. It’s child friendly, too. Just add a splash of sea salt and a whiff of sea air, and the image is complete.

So it’s perhaps no surprise that this year, from 4-26 May, England’s biggest fringe festival seems to take over the entire city, with a cavalcade of street artists, theatre, music, comedy, cabaret and more – giving you almost an entire month to get up to your neck in art and artists.

Growing old disgracefully

The sheer scale of it all is dazzling – with 370 performances and 154 events in 30 venues, including 28 unique commissions, premieres and exclusives, what’s not to like? Whatever your cultural taste, there’s something to whet the appetite.

In fact, this year Brighton Festival hits its 47th birthday, and like many children of the 60s, it clearly delights in growing old disgracefully – because it’s as fresh and vibrant as ever.

The Festival’s Guest Director is former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, and his trademark stamp of sleeves-rolled-up enthusiasm is splashed all over the programme of events. He’ll be there in person, of course, along with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bad Taste Company’s ‘Faust’, the monks from the Shaolin Temple, and ‘Cirkopolis’ from Cirque Éloize. To name just a handful, thankfully not all in the same place at the same time.

And to bust the myth that the arts is expensive and exclusive, the festival prides itself on free events, accessible events – as well as plentiful tickets for under a tenner.

Getting there and staying there

As it’s bang on the English south coast, trains to Brighton will whisk you from the main London terminus at Victoria in under an hour, as well as from Gatwick Airport which has its own mainline station at the South Terminal. Brighton station itself is just a short stroll from the beach, and you can even visit the famous Royal Pavilion on your way there.

When it comes to booking hotels in Brighton, you’re spoiled for choice – from traditional B&Bs (scary landladies went out with ‘kiss me quick’ hats, we’re glad to say) to the iconic grandeur of The Grand and uber chic modern haunts including myhotel. And of course you can earn loyalty points by booking your hotel right here with us.

Our recommendation? Book train tickets. Book event tickets. Book a Brighton hotel. Pack your red spotted hanky – and go!

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