iQ in the city: Brighton

Brighton City guide

One of the south coast’s go-to destinations for culture, fun and entertainment, Brighton always has something new to check out. Home to two universities, the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex – and two iQ locations, Abacus House and the cosy Sawmills – the city (Brighton and Hove to be precise) is an exciting place to study with something most university cities lack: a beach!

Join us as we uncover some of our local favourites in our Brighton city guide.


The iQ city guide to Brighton



Duke of York’s Picturehouse – 5-15 min walk

The Duke of York’s on Preston Road is a cinema of note thought to be the country’s oldest continuously operating cinema, it dates back to 1910 and has the period grandeur to prove it. What’s more, it was voted the best cinema in the UK in 2012. That means going to see a movie at the Duke of York’s is a real experience, with a programme of films that goes far beyond your usual multiplex fare, including cult classics, foreign language and world cinema. Duke’s also hosts the annual Brighton film festival, CineCity.

Komedia – 13-25 min walk

One of many live entertainment venues around the city, Komedia on Gardner Street keeps things eclectic with a broad mix of comedy, music, club nights and even kids’ shows. Offering appearances by names you’ll know and plenty you won’t, it’s a good place to spot upcoming talent and has won numerous awards as a comedy venue, with the cabaret-like Krater Comedy Club showcasing multiple stand-ups each weekend.

British Airways i360 – 30-40 min walk

Need an overview of the city? Brighton’s version of the London Eye (except it’s not a wheel), the i360 is a large glass pod which glides up to a height of 450 feet, giving you a stunning view of the sea, cityscape and far, far beyond. Flights take around 25 minutes, and there’s even a little bar on board should you need a drink to calm your nerves. From time to time, they hold special events in the i360, like dinner nights, yoga classes and silent discos.

Sea Life Brighton – 20-30 min walk

For a great day of aquatic adventures, head down to Sea Life Brighton opposite the famous Brighton Pier. There is an impressive array of creatures to be seen in the aquarium, another of the city’s historic gems – it was built in 1872 and is the world’s oldest operating aquarium. Much more has been added to the experience since, including an ocean tunnel and glass-bottomed boat. If you like sharks (and even if you don’t), they also have the UK’s largest collection of sharks.


Food and drink

Dum Dum Donutterie – 20-30 min walk

If you’re after a more special doughnut experience – and let’s face it, who isn’t? – you should wend your way down to the Dum Dum Donutterie on Brighton Square. This is artisan doughnut-making in action, with a huge range of tempting flavours like Crême Brûlée and Banoffee, and even huge sizes (we hear there’s a 10-inch one). As their doughnuts are baked not fried, you can justify them to yourself as lower-fat too. Delivery is available, should you wish to get a box sent round to iQ reception (just a thought).

Foodilic – 18-30 min walk

This popular restaurant on North Street is a great place to have a healthy feed at a good price. The menu offers a choice of vegetarian and vegan dishes, including a variety of salads, and there are fresh juices and smoothies as well. The colourful all-you-can-eat buffet is well worth checking out if you’re really hungry, as is the take-away service. The brainchild of experienced chef Peter Ilic, the original North Street Foodilic has now been joined by a second one on Western Road – needless to say, this is a good thing.

Community Kitchen – 14-28 min walk

This social enterprise on Queen’s Road isn’t so much about eating food as learning to cook it – hosting a range of fun courses and classes to get you proficient in preparing all kinds of international cuisine, from Thai and Chinese to Cypriot and Scandinavian. If you’re not quite that fancy, there’s a ‘cooking on a budget’ course, as well as masterclasses from top local chefs and other fun tutorials like Instagram food photography.

Ohso Social  – 20-30 min walk

You won’t get much closer to the beach than Ohso Social, a lively place with a great sea view from its large terrace. Open early until late, it serves up a range of hearty breakfasts, including vegan and veggie options, which will set you up for the day ahead. Later on, there’s burgers, desserts, sharing platters and all the good stuff you need for a night out. DJs and live acts often pop up to keep you entertained too – Ohso being a place that knows how to party, and frequently does.



City Books – 28-40 min walk

This much-loved indie book shop on Western Road is one to look out for. Bigger than it appears on the outside, it’s more than a bookseller – regularly holding events with authors and securing plenty of signed copies, City Books more than competes with its big-name rivals. The team are both friendly and knowledgeable, creating a relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for discovering titles you didn’t know you wanted when you went in.

Infinity Foods – 12-24 min walk

With its ethically sourced products, green ethos and co-operative set up, could Infinity Foods be more Brighton? If you want to know you’re doing some good in the world when you shop, ditch the supermarkets and head down to this little place on North Road. They have organic fruit and vegetables, cruelty-free health and beauty products and a large range of vegan and gluten-free foods. The bakery section – including vegan pizza, brownies and muffins – gets a big thumbs-up.

Resident Music – 10-20 min walk

Brighton is blessed with an unusually high number of independent record stores, so if you’re looking to add to your music collection, you’ve chosen the right place to study. One of the city’s best-known and best-loved stores is Resident on Kensington Gardens – and its status is high enough to attract in-store performances and an endorsement from locally-based rock legend, Nick Cave. Sidestepping the intimidating, judgmental vibe of some record stores, Resident strives to be a friendly and stimulating place to enjoy any genre of music.

Yum Yum Oriental Market – 8-20 min walk

If you’re arriving in Brighton from the Far East, you won’t need to worry about not being able to find your local favourites. The city boasts several Asian supermarkets, including the Yum Yum Oriental Market. Not far from the main train station on Sydney Street, you can pick up all sorts of treats to create a reasonably-priced feast – and browsing is sure to provide some inspiration to try something new. It’s not just Chinese either, with ingredients from Japan, Thailand and Korea too.



Brighton’s main train station is located close to the city centre, around 10 minutes’ walk from Abacus House. Sawmills is closer to Brighton Oxford Road station, 15 minutes’ walk away. There are bus stops close to both our locations, with routes running all over the city and to the universities. You can find more information about public transport in Brighton here.

Your iQ team will be happy to help you get to know Brighton better, so please ask at Reception if you need any help. And if you find somewhere in town that you think everyone else should know about, let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using hashtag #MyiQLife


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