Brighton is a seaside resort and one of the two main areas of the city of Brighton and Hove. Located on the southern coast of England, in the county of East Sussex, it is 47 miles south of London. King George IV spent much time in the town and constructed the Royal Pavilion there. Arrival of the railways in 1841 helped it become a popular destination for day-trippers from London. Brighton joined Hove to form the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove, which was granted city status in 2000. Brighton has been described as the Worlds "hippest city", "the happiest place to live in the UK", and the "unofficial gay capital of the UK".
In 1985, the Borough Council described three "myths" about Brighton's economy. Common beliefs were that most of the working population commuted to London every day; that tourism provided most of Brighton's jobs and income; or that the borough's residents were "composed entirely of wealthy theatricals and retired business people" rather than workers. Brighton has been an important centre for commerce and employment since the 18th century. It is home to several major companies, some of which employ thousands of people locally; as a retail centre it is of regional importance; creative, digital and new media businesses are increasingly significant.
Brighton and Hove's tourism industry contributes £380m to the economy and employs 20,000 people directly or indirectly; the city has 9,600 registered companies; and was identified as one of five "super-cities for the future".
Brighton's largest private sector employer is American Express, whose European headquarters are at John Street. As of 2012, about 3,000 people work there. Other major employers include Lloyds Bank, Legal & General, Asda (which has hypermarkets at Hollingbury and Brighton Marina), Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company and call-centre operator Inkfish. It was reported that about 1,500 of Gatwick Airport's 21,000 workers lived in the city of Brighton and Hove.
Brighton is a popular destination for conferences, exhibitions and trade fairs, and has a purpose-built conference centre—the Brighton Centre. Direct income from the Brighton Centre's 160 events per year is £8 million, and a further £50 million is generated indirectly by visitors spending money during their stay. Events range from political party conferences to concerts.
The Hollingbury Industrial Estate is one of the largest such facilities in Brighton; its focus is commercial and retail development, with a move towards small-scale industrial units and retail warehouses. Asda's superstore, MFI, and other retail units and the Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company are all located there.
Brighton has a high density of businesses involved in the media sector, particularly digital or "new media", and is known as "Silicon Beach". Over 250 new media business had been founded in Brighton. Brandwatch is a social media monitoring company based in offices near Brighton station. Computer game design company Black Rock Studio was founded in Brighton and was taken over by Disney Interactive Studios. The Gamer Network, whose portfolio of websites relating to computer gaming (including Eurogamer) and creative industries is based in Brighton.
Office accommodation in the city is characterised by the Trafalgar Place development, "now considered a prime office location", and Exion 27, a high-tech, energy-efficient office development at Hollingbury which houses some administrative departments of the University of Brighton.
Brighton is well known for the great shopping, with a high number of independent shops, which add to the character of the city. Walking from Brighton station towards the sea-front, first, is the North Laine area, stretching from Trafalgar Street, Kensington Gardens, Sydney Street, Gardner Street and Bond Street and is mostly pedestrianised. The North Laine area is a retail, leisure and the residential area immediately north of the Lanes. Its name derives from the Anglo-Saxon "Laine" meaning "fields", although the misnomer "North Lanes" is often used to describe the area. The North Laine contains a mix of businesses dominated by cafés, bars, theatres, and over 400 shops independent and avant-garde shops including an erotic shop and indoor flea markets.
The Lanes which is characterised by a labyrinth of narrow alleyways form a retail, leisure and residential area near the sea-front, following the street pattern of the original fishing village. The Lanes contain predominantly clothing stores, jewellers, antique shops, restaurants and pubs.
Churchill Square is a shopping centre with a floor space of 470,000 sq .ft. (44,000 m²) and over 80 shops, several restaurants and 1,600 car-parking spaces. It was built as a multi-level pedestrianised shopping centre. Further retail areas include Western Road and London Road, the latter of which is currently undergoing extensive regeneration in the form of new housing and commercial properties.
There are two weekly flea market / bootfairs in Brighton on Sunday mornings, one at Brighton Marina on the top open-air level of the car-park, and another at Brighton Racecourse.
Brighton was ranked #1154 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Brighton has a population of over 410,000 people. Brighton also forms part of the wider Brighton-Worthing-Littlehampton metropolitan area which has a population of over 769,000 people.