A history of Brighton’s filming locations

10 June, 2021

Did you know that sunny Brighton has a long history as a filmmaking city? It’s home to one of the UK’s oldest cinemas and is widely regarded as the birthplace of modern cinema, with a history of filmmakers stretching as far back as the late 1800s.

To this day, Brighton is a hotbed of cinematic activity packed with dynamic backdrops – from period buildings and rural beauty spots to dramatic seascapes and urban modernity. Brighton is a filmmaker’s playground.

For those who are less familiar with the city, we’ve pulled together just some of Brighton’s touchstone filming locations, all of which have been used for films and television series throughout the years. The bonus? All of these locations are on our doorstep here at Screen and Film School Brighton and are within walking distance of our central building near the beach.

Brighton Pier

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One of the city’s most essential tourist attractions, Brighton Pier (or the Palace Pier) is one of the best examples of the classic British pleasure pier, and still features much of its original Victorian architectural styling.

It’s been used in films numerous times, such as Carry On At Your Convenience, and BBC 1 cop drama ‘Cuffs’. But the most recent instance is when the one and only Harry Styles filmed there for upcoming Amazon Studios production My Policeman.

Did you know? The pier contains 85 miles of planking and was nearly completely destroyed by a storm during its construction in 1896.

 

Old Steine 

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Aside from being the location of Screen and Film School Brighton’s Central building, this location was used in Skream & Example’s ‘Shot Yourself In The Foot’ music video, which features multiple Brighton locations including The King & Queen pub, St James’ Street, Patterns nightclub (Ex-Audio) and North Laine.

Did you know? The Victoria Fountain on Old Steine was inaugurated on 25 May 1846 in celebration of the twenty-seventh birthday of Queen Victoria.

 

Quadrophenia Alley

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The setting for Phil Daniels’ and Leslie Ash’s notoriously intimate scene in Franc Roddam’s 1979 tale of youth and rebellion, Quadrophenia. The film features lots of other Brighton locations, including The Grand Hotel, Madeira Drive, the entrance to Brighton Sea Life Center and Beachy Head.

Did you know? A popular tourist shrine for Mods and Rockers alike, this unassuming alleyway is continuously being scrawled with tags and slogans from the cult classic – and is subsequently re-painted on a very regular basis!

 

Providence Place Gardens

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Situated just a hop, skip and a jump from our Providence Place building, this garden is a great spot to film if you’re looking for an airy, park-like green space with a backdrop of gritty, graffitied walls.

The gigantic St Bartholomew’s Church, which overlooks the gardens, is a great reference point if you ever get lost in the area and is said to have been built to the same size and dimensions as Noah’s Ark.

Did you know? Brighton is a mecca for graffiti artists, with lots of elevated real estate with which to display their craft. Take a stroll around the North Laine area to see some seriously impressive large-scale pieces. And of course, don’t forget to check out Banksy’s “Kissing Coppers” on the side of the Prince Albert pub on Trafalgar Street.

 

Royal Pavilion

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One of Brighton’s most iconic buildings, the Royal Pavilion, also known as the Brighton Pavilion, is a Grade I listed former royal residence. With its domes and minarets, its exterior offers a stunning backdrop for period dramas. Whilst its lavishly exotic interior is also available for filming by special request.

The Pavilion was used as a filming location for Richard Loncraine’s Richard III and Neil Jordan’s ‘The End Of The Affair’, starring Julianne Moore and Ralph Fiennes.

 

Brighton Bandstand

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Our bandstand is one of the finest examples of a Victorian bandstand still surviving in England today, and an essential location for filmmakers looking for a romantic spot on the beach.

During the summer months, it’s not unusual to see a video shoot taking place here, due to its period architecture and panoramic views of Brighton beach.

Did you know? The Beach Boys filmed a promo video here in 1971

 

North Laine

Various locations

The North Laine district is full of quirky shops, cafes, vintage boutiques, shabby chic furniture retailers, record stores and so much more! At first, it’s easy to get lost in the maze of narrow streets, but that’s all part of the fun! Gardner Street (pictured) is one of the most popular pedestrianised spots.

The colourful streets make North Laine a popular location for local musicians to shoot their music videos, as well as those from much further afield. In fact, New Orleans’ Hot Brass 8 Band filmed a roaming video for their version of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’ right here.

Did you know? From here, head south towards the seafront, crossing North Street, and you’ll find yourself in ‘The Lanes’ (also referred to as the South Lanes). It’s a popular tourist hotspot crammed with more twists, turns and Brighton quirkiness!

 

Brighton Train Station

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Sitting at the top of Queens Road, the station is featured in the original version of John Boulting’s original adaptation of Brighton Rock (1947), along with numerous other locations around Brighton which are still recognisable to this day.

Did you know? Brighton station was recently used to film a scene in Jessica Swale’s feature-length period drama ‘Summerland’, starring Gemma Arterton. 

 

Preston Park/Rockery

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Aside from being one of Brighton’s biggest open spaces, Preston Park is the spiritual home of Brighton Pride festival celebrations and the final destination of the annual Pride Parade.

It’s also home to 67 acres of playing fields, tennis courts, bowling greens, a cricket pitch, a cycle track, a children’s play area, a rose garden, a garden for the blind, a pond, two cafés and a vegetable garden.

Did you know? The park was used as a shooting location (as well as many other Brighton spots) in Ol Parker’s ‘Now Is Good’ (2012), starring Dakota Fanning. 

 

Madeira Drive

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This seafront road runs east from the Pier and is home to one of Brighton’s best live music venues, Concorde 2. It’s a hive of activity during the summer months, and is used for annual public events such as Brighton Marathon and the London to Brighton cycle ride.

It’s also the epicentre for the August bank holiday weekender, when hundreds of self-styled Mods take over the town on some of the most impressively elaborate scooters you’ve ever seen!

Did you know? As well as featuring in Quadrophenia, Madeira Drive was also notably used in Rowan Joffé’s remake of Brighton Rock (2011) – pictured.

 

Keep an eye on our news feed for more posts in the coming weeks which showcase more stunning shooting locations a little further afield including Beachy Head, Stanmer Park, the stunning South Downs National Park and much more.


 

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