So I'm going to be doing another review on one of my favorite places in England and that is the lovely Brighton!
I love this place so much, I first visited here in 2011 and I come here as often as I can because it is where my brother and his girlfriend live, and what I love the most about Brighton is that it has a young, lively atomsphere and I like the atomsphere so much that I am considering to move here at some point in my life, I do not know yet, but it will happen in the near future.
Brighton is located in Sussex, about 45- 1 hour away from London (depending on traffic because you have the M25 and Gatwick and Heathrow airports are within those areas and it can be a nightmare! Sometimes it has taken me 3 or 4 hours to get home because the traffic is so bad)
Brighton is by a beach and it is a city, I think that's why some people like it so much. I was actually considering to go to university here, but the university required A-Levels and I only had a BTEC National Diploma, so that was a bit unfortunate. But I liked the university I went to in the end, so I cannot complain much!
Shopping: Brighton is amazing for shopping with a wide range of High street and some designer stores. There is one big shopping centre in the middle of Brighton which is great, and even in the surrounding areas it has more stores. Brighton has basically any high street store you can think of. If you want to go to the designer sections, well I would not say designer but more exclusive brands like Russell and Bromley, Ted Baker, Cath Kidtson and Jack Wills, it is a little walk away from the shopping centre but they are together so it is not like you have to walk for miles and miles to get to a certain store.
One of the best places for shopping in Brighton is 'The Lanes.' What 'The Lanes' are they are aimed at antique and vintage, so they sell a lot of vintage and antique items, so if you are into that kind of thing then this is the place for you. One of my favorite vintage stores is 'Dirty Harry' got some good stuff from there as cheap as £20. Also one of my favorite places about 'The Lanes' is that they have an amazing sweet shop called 'Carnival' I buy a bag every time I go to Brighton. Best sweet shop in Brighton!
Eating Out: One of my favorite places to eat out in Brighton is that there is a place which sells bagels and they are the best bagels you will have. They are expensive about £3 but they are so nice!
They have a selection of cafes and restaurants in Brighton, one of the best places to go to a restaurant in Brighton is on Brighton Pier where you can have breakfast, lunch and/or dinner on the pier. I quite like it!
Nightlife: Brighton is the place to be for night life! It is known as a gay scene, so it famous for it's gay clubs and Brighton is even nicknamed 'the village of the gays' I went on a night out in Brighton for my 21st and it was the best night I had in ages. Oceana the night club by the sea front is expensive on saturdays (£10 entry) but it was my birthday so I was not bothered about the price as you're only 21 once! Also they have a good selection of pubs and bars too. When I first came to Brighton when I was visiting my brother and his girlfriend, we went to this pub/club on the beach and it was summer and the weather was hot so we were lucky and it is nice to club/party on the sea front in the summer.
One of the disadvantages about nightlife in Brighton is that if you walk around on a Sunday morning at 6am/7am the streets smell of vomit and alcohol, because are still out and about (more like passed out and very drunk) because as well being known for it's night scene, it is popular for Hen-dos as well. It's not pleasant seeing the vomit and drunks. Feel sorry for the cleaners on Sunday!
Hotels: Very good. There is a wide range from Holiday to the Hilton. Something for everyone what ever the budget or occasion.
The beach is the best thing about Brighton, especially in the summer, where you can BBQs, walk the dog/s, swim if you are brave! There is no sand, so it very pebbly.
Brighton is a nice place to visit or live. I do know much about living because I only visited, not lived, but rent can be a bit like London prices, but a little bit cheaper than London. For example, a one bedroom flat would cost about £600 a month excluding bills when it London it can cost up to 800-900 pounds.
Brighton is great all year round, but better in the summer, great for a British holiday even! Have a great visit!
Brighton is genuinely one of those English tourist destinations that can fall under the banner of being 'all things to all men'. The diversity of its entertainment, its population and its architecture make it a constantly changing environment to visit time and time again; its long history and plentiful museums and grand architectural crescents make it a lovely place for the historian; and it vibrant arts scene with dramatic, music and theatre performances make it a wonderful weekend destination. In addition, as all seaside resorts do - it offers plenty for the young family in the form of traditional seaside fun and a beach that stretches for miles. Students, clubbers, children, the retired folk - all rub along side by side with sophisticated shoppers in this wonderful destination.
~~History and Architecture~~
Brighton has a long and varied history as it has transformed itself from a simple fishing village of Brighthelmstone to a cosmopolitan city. Its first transformation came in around 1830, when George, Prince of Wales made Brighton the most fashionable place to be seen as he created the magnificent Royal Pavillion and invited the socialites of the period to come and spend time by the sea. Many of Brighton's beautiful and imposing town houses, set in tranquil squares, were built in this period.
In the thirties and forties, Brighton became a little less fashionable, but it was during this time that some of the lovely Art Deco buildings were built, including the fantastic Saltdene Lido. The fifties, sixties and seventies saw Brighton as a popular holiday destination for the Kiss-Me-Quick style of holidays; fish and chips, Butlins and traditional seaside fun were enjoyed until the end of the century, when Brighton saw yet another renaissance. This saw Brighton recreated as a cultural centre for artists; part bohemian and one hundred percent trendy, The newly created artists' quarter, clubs, bars and restaurants sprang up around the city, revitalising the area and turning it into one of the most fashionable beachfronts in Britain.
~~Culture, Museums and Art~~
*The Brighton Pavilion is perhaps the main attraction for those wanting a historical experience. Created in 1822 by architect John Nash, this was the palace that George, Prince of Wales used to entertain his royal guests and hold court. The structure itself stands out from the surrounding architecture like the Taj Mahal; with its domes, curves and spires, it has been compared to a Moorish palace or an Indian temple. Inside, the opulence continues as you walk from one gilded room to another, soaking up the atmosphere and history of the time as you go. The restoration of the Royal Pavilion was completed in 1991, at a cost of £10 million.
*The Brighton Museum and Art Gallery is located in the gardens of the Royal Pavilion, and contains galleries that include fashion and style, 20th century art and design, and world art. A lot of thought has gone into the creation of this museum and it is a really appealing visitor destination, featuring exciting interactive displays and historical collections that will appeal to all ages. Of particular interest is the Art Noveau collection in the 20th Century Decorative Art & Design gallery.
*Art Galleries in Brighton are too many to list. Small or large, they are found everywhere and are listed on www.brightonculture.co.uk website.
*Theatres include the Brighton Dome and the Theatre Royal, which had its 200th anniversary in 2007. There are also smaller theatres such as the Marlborough Theatre and Nightingale Theatre, both above pubs, which attract mostly local productions.
~~Beach Culture and Family Fun~~
The beach itself stretches out for an immense five miles right up to Hove. Brighton has both an upper and a lower promenade; the upper one running alongside the road, with the sea below and the rather ferocious cycle path on the opposite side. Cyclists in Brighton take their rights seriously, and you get a very aggressive response if you accidentally walk on the painted cycle path. Fish and chip shops, hotels and traditional sweet shops selling Brighton rock are found at this level. Much lower down, another paved path runs in parallel, but at sea level. Walking along this path allows you to look into art workshops and galleries, built into the brick arches of the upper promenade, or to sit at the quiet cafes that can be found at this level.
As well as providing the usual fun of paddling, swimming or just sunbathing, the beach front also has numerous beachside cafes, art galleries and shops, seafood stalls, sculptures and children's play areas. It is not unusual to see a sculptor constantly creating shapes out of large stones, small stalls selling photographs and tourist memorabilia, and musicians - all adding to the wonderful atmosphere along the seafront.
There are two piers in Brighton; the picturesque West Pier is now a silhouetted wreck against the sea after suffering two fires in 2003. Built in 1866, it is one of only two Grade 1 listed piers in the UK and has long been the centre of a campaign to restore it to it's former glory.
The Palace Pier opened in 1899. A traditional Victorian pier, this is the goal of most of the younger visitors, as it holds a fairground at the very end, an amusement arcade and many small stalls, together with various traditional food and drink outlets.
After the fun of the pier has been exhausted, it is nice to take a calming trip along the world's oldest operating electric railway. Volk's Electric Railway is a narrow gauge railway that runs the length of the seafront from the pier to Brighton Marina. It was originally created in 1883. It used to run right past the nudist beach, but that was a long time ago and things may have changed!
Brighton Sea Life Centre will take a little more time, but also holds a wealth of entertainment and education. Hidden away in the bowels of the earth, this sea life centre has more atmosphere than many others of its genre. The main aquarium hall, which is 224ft long, is the original 1872 listed building, with stone alcoves and echoing vaulted roofs. The rest of the visit contains a wonderful diversity of entertainment, from the underwater glass tunnel, to hands on experiences with various forms of undersea life - but the mystery and gloom that this Victorian Aquarium offers makes it head and shoulders above any of the others that I have visited.
Although Brighton has a traditional high street style centre, with a wide variety of large chain stores and other traditional shops, it is The Lanes complex that really attracts the discerning shopper. This area is near to the seafront, and is a maze of narrow alleyways that follow the street pattern of the original fishing village. The Lanes contain predominantly designer clothing shops, jewellers, antique shops, restaurants and pubs - all unique, without a car in sight, and with a strangely European feel.
~~Places to Eat~~
As you may expect from a cosmopolitan city such as Brighton, it is crammed full of wonderful places to eat and drink. There are far too many to mention, so I will just list a few of my favourites.
*Alfresco. With a beautiful location, right on the seafront and just opposite the ruins of the old West Pier, Alfresco is a modern beachfront restaurant set within an art deco style building, which offers contemporary Italian cuisine. The best thing about Alfresco is the curving design, which affords a 280 degree view of the sea, either inside in winter or outside on the curving balcony in summer. The perfect place to sit and watch the sun go down, with a chilled glass of white wine and a bowl of olives.
*Bill's Eatery. Café style dining in a unique old bus depot, this restaurant is always packed and offers snacks, light meals and delicious deserts of the very best quality.
*Food For Friends is a vegetarian restaurant with an amazing selection of delicious main courses and a relaxed atmosphere.
*Pompoko is a delicious Japanese restaurant located very centrally in The Lanes area. A cross between a restaurant, a café and a takeaway, this is a favourite amongst the locals.
~~Places to Stay~~
Although Brighton is full of accommodation of all types, ranging from the homely B&B to the cosmopolitan hotel, there is one place that has to be mentioned.
The Grand Hotel is symbolic of Brighton's Victorian splendour and for a long time has been THE place to stay. With 121 rooms contained within a really imposing seafront building and a fairly hefty price tag, this hotel is a magnificent building. Often remembered as being the site of the 1984 IRA bomb attack, and the attempt to assassinate Margaret Thatcher, the structure of the hotel is now as sound as ever and any stay there will combine luxury and history.
For those who want to make their stay a little cheaper, there are two campsites in Brighton; the Sheepcote Valley and the Blackberry Wood campsite.
I have so many memories of Brighton; from playing on the beach as a child, walking past the ruins of the Grand Hotel with my best friend after the IRA bombing, having a romantic first date there with my husband, taking my own children to the aquarium, and now as I am older, spending more civilised days out shopping and having lunch with friends.
I have seen it go through tatty times, wild times and now more sophisticated times - but I have always loved it and still think of a visit to Brighton as the perfect day out.
If you are reading this review, you can't have failed to notice that there are another 30+ reviews of this town. I can't claim that mine will be better, and hopefully it won't be worse, but it is my opinion and my review, so I hope it will be of some use.
I am an ex-Brighton resident and I still hold the place in high regard. I will never, ever pass up the opportunity to visit, and there will likely always be a little place in my heart for this seaside town! I experienced many things in Brighton, as a resident and a visitor so I will try to give a little overview of as much of it as possible (before I start getting boring, repetitive or just run out of steam!)- however, I hold my hands up now and say I have no knowledge of the Brighton hotels/ b&b's so you'd have to look elsewhere for advice on that.
Right, well first of all you'll need to get there. Public transport is advised!! Parking is very expensive in Brighton, presumably intentionally so to stop the roads getting clogged up. Brighton (and Hove) is actually a very small city, and gets easily congested. If possible, I'd definitely leave the car at home. If that's not possible, there is a reasonable amount of parking (NCP's etc) which are clearly signposted around the city, but as I say, will cost you dearly!
The train is an ideal way to get there- less than an hour from London and not unreasonably priced (I've often been lucky enough to have a Railcard, so you'll have to check with the rail companies for exact prices).
From the train station you can either head straight down Queens Road to the centre of town and the beach, or duck under the station and head straight into the Laines.
If you are unfamiliar with them, The Brighton Laines are mostly narrow windy streets crammed full of independent shops, cafes, bars, pubs, boutiques and so on. If I get too specific, chances are that by the time you're reading this it will all be out of date. However, suffice to say that if you're into vintage clothes, old records, bespoke jewellry, vegetarian food, kitsch ornaments, second hand books, comics or fancy shoes you will be absolutely spoilt for choice. Sadly shops do come and go, but another always springs up in the place of a departing business and there is a brilliant vibe down these streets. One thing to note is that there aren't any free cash machines (that I have seen!) in the Laines. Your best bet is to make sure you have your wallet full before you set off or be prepared to pay charges at ATMs.
If it's a sunny day, chances are you will spot people drinking out of yellow and blue striped cups- they're from Shakeaway, a milkshake shop which offers over 100 different flavours and well worth checking out! It's been there for a number of years now so I'm fairly confident it won't vanish into the abyss any time soon.
Other drinkeries worth a mention are Alley Cats, Rik-i-Tiks, The Hop Poles, Browns. As for eateries: Havana (expensive but worth it), Al Duomo, Donatellos, Waikikamoocow, Buddy's (24 hours!), The George are all worth checking out. They're probably worth googling to check out menus yourself as we'd be here all day if I went into detail about them all. I think it's fair enough to say though that you really don't have to go far in Brighton to find somwhere to eat, and there is so much choice, you might as well try something different whilst you're there!
Up in the main part of town, there is your more high street based shops, with Churchill Square at the middle of it all. Churchilll Square is a shopping mall which gathers together a wide range of stores under one large roof. A useful stop off for toilets if nothing else as they can be few and far between in Brighton! H&M, Accessorize, Dorothy Perkins, Superdrug, The Disney Store + many more can all be found here.
I am a music fan, and whilst I lived in Brighton (and since!) I have been to a wide variety of gigs in the city. There are a lot of music venues tucked away where you'd least expect to find them. Unfortunately some of them (the Freebutt and the Pressure Point) seem to often be at the point of closure due to noise problems with the neighbours. I guess this is a downside to small town/city like this. I have been to fantastic gigs at places ranging from The Brighton Centre to the Hobgoblin Pub, via the Concorde2. If you are visiting Brighton, a quick search on something like See Tickets should bring up any main events taking place during your stay, but a little more research may well dig up some more well hidden gems.
Chances are, if you're researching Brighton it's for a visit, rather than to live, but I may as well throw in my pennies worth regarding housing in Brighton whilst I am here! I lived in both shared houses and on my own whilst I was a resident and each time I moved I found that there was incredibly high demand for many of the properties available. It definitely pays to shop around for a while and not rush things as the last thing you want is to settle for a substandard student digs when you were actually after something much classier. But I suppose that advice can be applied anywhere, not just Brighton. One thing to bare in mind though is that Brighton really is quite small, and there is a fantastic bus system there. For almost two years of my time living there though I never even used a bus- I walked everywhere, as it was all so accessible. But the bus routes are comprehensive and regular- heck yes it would be nice to live on the seafront, but living a 20 minute walk away isn't all bad either.
Which brings me nicely to the last point of my review- the seaside! It would be criminal of me to write a review of Brighton and omit this! I know it's not for everyone, and yep, much of it is tacky, but that's just the way it is!! Take it or leave it!
I highly reccommend whiling away some time on the pier, playing on the 2p machines, rotting your teeth with some candyfloss and getting dizzy on the Waltzer. The bar on the Pier (Horatios) is not exactly what you'd call classy and I have always avoided it myself!! And yes, from time to time I have thought that it seemed a little overrun with children during term time and wondered "shouldn't you be in school?", but it's never spoilt my fun! Along the promenade there are plenty of bars and cafes as well as the obligatory fish and chip stalls. The beach itself, as you probably know, is rocky, rather than sandy. But take my word for it, you certainly can settle down there and get comfy for an afternoon!!
I think that's more than enough to keep you going- feel free to comment if you think I have been unclear on any points. I may have gotten overwhelmed with my affection for the place, but I hope it's been useful in someway if you're planning a trip there!
Yesterday, my boyfriend, his father, my daughter and I decided to visit Brighton. From Eastbourne this was only a short 30 minute drive, there are also bus services regularly from Eastbourne town centre that we have used before, which cost £5.50 return for an adult .
Now, it was raining when we went yesterday, so perhaps we didn't do so many of the traditional touristy things - however, I have been before in better weather and enjoyed all the traditional stuff - fish and chips on the beach etc , so I will try and include these in my review.
The reason most tourist probably visit Brighton is likely to be either the beach, or Brightons incredibly colourful diversity of people . One of the biggest Gay Pride festivals in the UK is the one in Brighton, and even whilst shopping, you'll see the rainbow flag flying everywhere - hotel windows, bar windows, and on a large number of car bumper stickers. We came across other less obvious signs too - a bin with two holes in the top labelled cum and butts - clearly designed of course for chewing gum, and cigarette butts . There was also a rather nice mosaic of a naked man set into the pavement.
Brighton is certainly a colourful place - just take a look at the shops in the 'Lanes' area - each shop is painted a different colour, with some buildings decorated with amazingly intricate and detailed graffiti . This is not the work of some pikey vandal - this is full scale artwork, planned and designed and possibly requiring scaffolding . Some of this was serious political graffiti, some of this was simple statements such as 'Unconditional Love' and some of this was brilliant cartoons.
We visited a fair few shops yesterday. Lets start with the Brighton Sausage Company - the faintly suggestive sign and bright blue shop front leading us into a shop rich with the smell of cooking meat . It has all the shelves full of pasta and olives, and an array of various cheeses that any traditional deli would have - but it specialises in sausages in a wide variety of flavours - Pork and Stilton, Smoked Pork and Mixed Peppers, Venison and Red Wine . The sausage rolls here are amazing - Costing £1.30 each, they had a traditional version, and a beef and horseradish version - we had some of the beef and horseradish versions and they were amazing . They were served warm, at just the right temperature to eat, and the pastry was golden, buttery, and perfectly flaky . The meat was rich and moistly flavoursome, with a scattering of mustard seeds and spices, some small pieces of onion and a definite horseradish kick .
Another shop we visited was Cyberdog - this shop was brilliant, full of flashing strobe lighting, and UV corners that made the clothing glow in the dark . This is amazing club wear for those with a desire to stand out, although the clothing was a little pricey.
Then, we found Cybercandy (www.cybercandy.co.uk) . Cybercandy has long been one of my favourite websites - I love American candy, and like to order some every so often . But frequent browsing of the website did not prepare me for the wonders in store - energy drinks based on popular cartoons and films for example, such as Slurm, Booty Sweat, Resident Evil Virus Antidote . They also sell a wide range of sweets from around the world - Japan, Australia, America - it's all here. I ended up buying a variety of things - Bacon flavour Mints, Booty Sweat, Mexican Spiced Mealworms . This is a great shop to go to to get novelty gift candy for stocking fillers, and I certainly hope to pay a visit again .
We then came across the China Arts shop - and so far, this is my favourite shop in Brighton - filled with all kinds of Oriental items - parasols, jade carvings of animals, Netsuke, Buddha, Guan Yin statues - everything Chinese . I'm part Chinese myself, and my mum and I both collect Chinese ornaments, and I adored this store - with something for every price range and taste , and run by the friendliest Chinese lady I've ever met . I spent a good 15 minutes just chatting away with her about the various items, and about the relevance of certain colours and numbers .
Of course, Brighton has all your standard shops too - New Look, Evens, Burtons - blah blah . I didn't bother going into any of these as they vary so little from town to town .
The beach in Brighton is shingle, and does hurt your feet a little if you attempt to paddle. However, it is very clean, and very very long, so there is plenty of space for you to sit and relax . The pier has the traditional amusement arcade full of machines, including my favourite coin pushers, as well as various rides . They also have a decent fish and chip stall, and you can get a huge fish and chip meal for just £6.
If you don't fancy fish and chips, there are a whole host of places to eat in Brighton, including many well known chain restaurants, such as Yo Sushi, Bella Italia , and Strada . However, why go all that way just to eat in the same restaurant you have in your own town - there are a large number of pubs serving real good quality food, some smaller independent cafe's, and some really good restaurants - one you may have heard of is Momma Cherri's, which featured on Ramseys Kitchen Nightmares a few years back, and was the only restaurant where I saw him praise the flavours of the food .
The Pavilion must be seen - you don;t have to go inside, but just take a stroll around the outside, and marvel at the minarets and towers of this Indian inspired palace . It's amazing to think that this building was commissioned by King George IV (before he was crowned) who had never travelled anywhere more exotic than Germany. It took 30 years and some £500,000 at the time, for it to be completed to his satisfaction, and it really is an amazing building. There are many amazing buildings in Brighton though - take a look at Roedean School , on the outskirts, or the wonderful houses on Royal Parade.
I have not fully explored Brighton yet - I feel like I've only gotten a small taste of the town, and that there is so much more still to see . I'm aiming to get down there for a night out some time, and will update the review when that happens.
So far though, I haven't found anything to dislike - 4 stars!
The last time I was in Brighton was a few years ago. There are several ways of getting there. One can take the train or take the car for instance. I went by car. Upon arriving in Brighton, what immediately caught my attention is the architecture. Compared to other seaside resorts around the world, the architecture in Brighton is poor.
For example the buildings and general town layout just seem to be symmetrically incorrect, set in the wrong direction or just plain ugly. The seaside and Brighton peer also lack appeal creating a very depressing atmosphere. This is not a place I could imagine living let alone last a day. While people from Brighton may be friendly, when visiting any location anywhere I first judge the appearance of the town and in this area Brighton fails miserably.
The only positive are the possibility of some fresh air and being able to walk along the sea especially for people coming from built up areas such as London. The fish and chips in Brighton is extremely fresh, I recommend anyone visiting to try it.
To sum things up, Brighton council should start a program to demolish the old tatty buildings that make up Brighton and replace them with modern and stylish architecture.
- BRIGHTON - A CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS -
This is my home and it is known as 'Britain's Coolest City', which is true, Brighton and Hove is a real party place. It is a 'posh' seaside City and you won't see many 'kiss me quick hats here'.
It is inhabited by a diverse, cosmopolitan, cross section of society and is known as the drugs death capital of England. Not a great claim to fame. Being so close to London it attracts the weekend trade who come up in their drones, particularly on Bank Holidays and the summer months.
The City is buzzing and the language students spill across the pavements like an army of ants. Brighton and Hove has an abundance of language schools which attract many students from all over the world. The City has huge magnetism and people from all over the globe are drawn to take a second home here. There are many famous and infamous people taking up residence in the party capital of the South. -
--THE BANGING BRIGHTON CLUB SCENE--
The club scene is excellent up here and the choice is fantastic being all spread within a half mile ratio of the city. The live music scene up here is second to none and many London bands are desperate to get a gig here. On a balmy summers evening you can wander along the seafront to the left of the Palace Pier and hear the music pumping out from the various night clubs all situated adjacent to each other along the stretch of the seafront which leads to Hove and on occasion you may have been lucky enough to have caught Norman Cook, or as he is otherwise known, by his DJ name, Fat boy Slim, doing his infamous and absolutely 'rammed', 'Big Beat Beach Boutique' along a popular stretch of 'Brighton Beach'. The atmosphere along the beach is electric and the clubbers spill out onto the pebbles with their drinks in hand, to light up a cigarette and take in some air.
The clubs go on well into the early hours and along the beach in the summer months beach parties and Bar-b-Q's are rife. So you can just party on and watch the sun come up. Just up from the beach you have West Street, famous for its Friday night antics. Up the whole stretch of the street, police cars and meat wagons lay in wait to round up the revellers who get a little out of hand as is the case every Friday. West Street is famous for its fighting and brawling and as the night wears on and the drink fuels the young and the not so young, who are on the lookout for an end of week fight, the waiting police pounce and scoop the trouble makers up and remove them from the streets before they can do any real harm. To the top of West Street you have Western road running in one direction and north road in the opposite. Again there are more clubs situated along this stretch and all the clubs are within walking distance of the town centre, as are the restaurants.
Again, there is an abundance of all kinds of eateries in Brighton and Hove. There is a huge assortment of great Italian restaurants here which are hugely popular with the home residents. Most of these have seating outside and there is a real feeling of the continent here when the sun comes out. The Thai and Japanese menu is also very popular, as is Greek and Chinese dining. There is a Street in Brighton, Preston Street that is devoted purely to restaurants and here you have everything including a huge selection of steak houses. The Brighton Marina is about an hours walk along the seafront and this has an amazing selection of different cuisines and even a floating restaurant on a Chinese barge and there is nothing better on a sultry evening when the sun is going down, than to sit outside one of these harbour restaurants to take in a glass of wine or a cold beer, whilst looking across the still, glistening sea. The Marina has a fantastic array of fashion shops and dining and there is also its own bowling alley, hotels, casino and nightclub. It's a wonderful place for a day and night out. There is a vast amount of Al Fresco dining along the seafront which is also dotted around and within the famous 'Brighton Lanes'.
--THE BRIGHTON LANES--
The Lanes are an interesting winding, labyrinth of alleyways which contain an assortment of eclectic shops. The old antique shop mingles with the high design studio and the hippy emporium. There are art jewellery shops that will design your jewellery for you and on the other end of the scale there are shops that specialise in antique Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian gold. My Husband bought my Georgian diamond engagement and Wedding ring from an Antique shop in the Lanes and they are absolutely stunning. I find it so much more special to have the rings with beautiful Georgian design and history to them. But whatever your taste, there is sure to be something to catch your eye here.
--THE BRIGHTON ROYAL PAVILION--
As you drive into Brighton along the London Road one of the first things that you will see before you hit the City and the Brighton Pier, will be the 'Hindoo-Gothic' Brighton, or, Royal Pavilion. This unique and impressive pavilion was erected in 1784 on instruction by Prince Regent and it is made to represent the Taj Mahal of India. This is a stunning sight and a bit of an oddity, which is lit up with flood lighting of bright green and certainly is an unusual and welcoming sight to see as you approach the City of Brighton and Hove. You can actually hire the Pavilion for your wedding and the interior is as lush as it could possibly be, with billowing drapes and antique Regency furniture of Chaises Lounges and great crystal chandeliers adorning the impressive high ceilings. It really is a stunning place to tie the proverbial Wedding knot. -
--THE BRIGHTON PIERS--
Brighton is a greedy City and sports not one, but two Piers. The wonderful Victorian West Pier which was once a figure of architectural glory has sadly been badly neglected by the Brighton Council over the years. There has been talk of restoration work for quite a while now but this is never going to happen. The shape of the pier is just too dilapidated now and girder by girder this great iron lady is quickly subsiding into the murky sea. All that is left now is a frail, spiny skeleton of the wonderful pier that this once was. The West Pier has an active 'save the West pier society' formed by Brighton die-hards but even their combined efforts and petitions cannot get their voices heard. It is criminal really as this pier has been a great landmark on the Brighton skyline. The saddest thing for me was the starlings used to circle the end of this pier at 6pm every day and it was the most fantastic sight to see this display of starlings, swooping and diving in unison in their thousands. The sky would go black as the starlings circled the end of the pier. I don't quite know why they did this but it was the most wonderful sight to behold. They have moved on now as there is no end of the pier anymore.-
The Palace pier, or as it is now called 'The Brighton Pier' is the usual naff candy flossed arcade full of noise and amusement machines. You can spend a fortune trying to grab that elusive fluffy toy that is just out of reach, or it will fall from the claws just as it is about to drop down the chute. It's a place where people are drawn to for a bit of light hearted fun and a stroll along the pier to look at the sea. At the end of the Palace Pier there is a pub called 'Horatios' which have brilliant Karaoke nights and this is a lot of fun. On the whole it is a way to while an hour or too and the whole of the front of the pier has stands which offer delicious crepes with all imaginable fillings going. Fresh donuts, fish and chips, Ice-cream, burgers and the predictable selection of varying size sticks of Brighton Rock. -
I love living here. It has everything here for me and more. I moved here from London and what a fantastic decision it was. It is a great place to bring up children with a brilliant choice of schools. The way of life is slower here and more laid back than the frantic pace of London. If I miss the smoke, which I do from time to time, all I have to do is to hop on a train and will be in Victoria in 50 minutes. Brighton is a wonderfully eccentric collection of characters and on a hot sunny day you may be lucky enough to see Brighton's famous surfing Jack Russell. He loves to surf and he rides the small waves with the salt spray tickling his whiskers.
There are all kinds of the bizarre and unusual in Brighton and people don't bat an eyelid to the peculiar goings on and the mad assortment of people that make up the population here. I like that about Brighton, it has a very much 'live and let live' attitude which I find very refreshing. There is no small mindedness or pettiness; it is a City full of artistic individuals who are drawn here for an alternate lifestyle. It's a fun place with tons going on and I feel myself very lucky to live here. There is nothing better than to wake up on a summer's morning and to look out of the window and see the sea; very grounding that is. -
Thank you for reading
BACKGROUND TO THIS REVIEW
The Star ratings listed against items below are a locals' opinion of a venue, place or activity, i.e. MINE!
You may, of course, be inclined to take no notice of them whatsoever!
Times are suggested for a leisurely visit, not including meals or spending lots of time in the shops.
I have bent the rules slightly regarding links to other sites, after all I'm not trying to actually sell you anything here - merely reduce the length of what has turned out to be a mammoth review. Secondarily, of course, admission prices and opening times change according to inflation and season, neither of which your reviewer can claim to have any control over!
The review is also rather selfish, in that it assumes that you, the reader, share MY interests, if you are looking for reviews of Brighton pubs and nightclubs then I am sorry but you are reading the wrong review. You are not entirely out of luck however, as I know that there are a good few reviews of just such places only a couple of clicks away from here.
Apologies to the many of you who possibly know the town and say; 'Richada you've left out this, that or the other' - I'm sorry, but this is MY review. I am sure that there are many interesting places not listed below. If you want a whole volume on the subject, the finest book in my possession is Timothy Carder's "The Encyclopaedia of Brighton", widely available in the town - I award it a 5 Star recommendation!
This review is written from the perspective of a 40 year old, born and bred Brightonian who has travelled widely in this country and enjoys visiting museums, historic towns and villages, country houses and various heritage sites. My review however probably has a slightly 'new dimension', let me, as briefly as I can, explain.
During my formative years, growing up in this town, my parents always had a rather jaded view of the place. They had met and moved down here from London when my fathers' business moved here in the late 1950's. They always regarded it as a rather 'seedy' place, in my mothers' words: "the kind of place a married man brings his girlfriend for a dirty weekend!" I was always very much brought up with the idea that we did not live here from choice and that almost anywhere would be a better place to live.
Mrs Richada and I now live here very much from choice!
My wife, as those of you who have read any of my previous reviews will know, is Polish. Myself, being a late starter in all things, it was only when she came to this country four years ago that I started to really SEE Brighton and enjoy it for what it is.
Like many people who have lived in their own home town for many years I tended just to take it for granted. You want to go shopping; you know where to go, where to park etc. My parents did not take me to the beach or onto the pier when I was young, several of the famous places that I list below they never took me to and in all honesty I just accepted their word that such and such a place (the Royal Pavilion for instance) was "just for tourists".
All of that changed almost over night when my wife first came here, herself on that occasion nominally at least, a tourist on a two week vacation in May 2001.
In truth, my view of it changed over the Christmas period of 2000. By that time we had started talking on the telephone and exchanging emails. She, having never been outside of Poland, although fluent English speaking, was fascinated to hear and more importantly SEE what life in England looked like.
A week before Christmas 2000, on the very day that Brighton & Hove were awarded city status, I snuck an afternoon off work and went on photographic assignment to capture the sights and scenes of the town of my birth. During those two hours walking and photographing on that freezing cold but sunny December day my eyes were opened to this town, through the viewfinder of my camera. I saw the totally familiar buildings and streets, shops even, in the eyes of a foreign tourist, i.e. for the very first time. I was truly amazed at the beauty and diversity on offer in this town, particularly in terms of architecture, and I only hope that I can pass on some of that to you in the form of what I am afraid is going to be a rather long review.
HOW TO GET HERE etc.
Parking in Brighton is notoriously difficult and VERY expensive. e.g. on street parking in the city centre is now £1.50 for 30 mins! The main NCP car parks are a little cheaper, but if you can get in there the two Churchill Square shopping centre car parks are much more reasonably priced at around £1.20 for two hours. These car parks are modern, safe and well lit.
Another option is to use the well sign posted park and ride car parks on the A23 to the north of town at Withdean Stadium or on the A270 at Brighton University.
As a local, I'll give you a tip, we use the big multi-storey car park at Brighton Marina - it is huge, again, safe and well lit - and completely free of charge. On a sunny day it is a very pleasant walk along the sea front to the pier and then to the centre of town. You could of course ride it on Volks Electric Railway - see below!
Our local authority have done everything they can to put you off taking a car into the city centre, when you see the huge queues of traffic heading south on the A23 on the outskirts of Brighton on a Sunny summer Sunday morning you will understand why!
WARNING: Do not risk parking where you should not - the tow away squads are very keen to make money here. ALSO! Unlike most towns of my acquaintance, Brighton and Hove charge for parking on Sundays! The council make a fortune out of this and from the fines slapped on out of towners not in the know. You will also find precious few single yellow lines around the town for this very reason, I have told you the ONLY free place that I know in this town in which you can legally park!
Our road system in the town centre also conspires against the unsuspecting motorist, a couple of one way systems, dozens of traffic lights plus bus and cycle lanes it is all very confusing to a stranger to the place.
The main railway station is very central, and within sight of the sea, there is little in Brighton that cannot be reached within a 30 minute walk of the station. Naturally this is one of the main hubs for the, now (it did not used to be!), very good "Brighton & Hove" bus service.
The town is also notoriously short of public toilets, this was a ridiculously short sighted money saving scheme on the part of the council around ten years ago. There are free toilets on the Pier and also in Churchill Square shopping Centre.
Don't be surprised if you can't understand what people in Brighton are talking about - it's not because they're Southerners with funny accents - foreign students outnumber locals during the summer months!
As in any big city beware drunks, beggars & muggers, although the town is a lot safer than it was say ten years ago. All the usual big city warnings after dark very much apply here; Brighton is not referred to as "London by the Sea" for nothing.
Finally before moving on to the "body" of the review, I must mention the cosmopolitan atmosphere in Brighton. We have large immigrant communities, even in winter you will hear all the worlds' languages spoken here. We also have one of the largest gay populations (in percentage terms) in Europe too.
The Gay Pride Parade, held in August, is really a sight to behold, whatever your sexual orientation. We have been twice now, it is a safe, fun afternoon, extremely colourful and with a continental "carnival" atmosphere - my 11 year old Polish sister in law had a ball at this free event!
Items that follow are roughly in alphabetical order, although for obvious reasons some link together and are therefore listed together.
1) *** (3 Star) AQUARIUM & DOLPHINARIUM - Now a "Sea Life Centre".
(2 hours) ON SEA FRONT OPPOSITE BRIGHTON PIER
(Re-opened as The Seal Life Centre following re-development 1999/2000)
The dolphins here of my youth are now long gone, maybe 30 years ago I once witnessed them sing "happy birthday" to a delighted child, although the splendid building and terraces are still here. On the upper decks are the usual fast food bars and amusements, whilst the aquarium is partly sub-terrainian. This location makes an ideal starting point for a walk (East) along Madeira Drive to Black Rock & the Marina - try travelling back on:
VOLK'S ELECTRIC RAILWAY *** (3 Stars).
This was opened on August 4th 1883 and was the first public electric railway in the country. There are future plans to extend into the Marina, building a new terminus there. The open sided electric carriages only run during the summer months. A return fare from the Marina (well Black Rock - a short walk away) to the Aquarium will cost you £2.50 for an adult - concessions apply for children and O.A.P.'s. (www.volkselectricrailway.co.uk will give you times and further prices, plus a full history lesson!)
2) ***** (5 Star) BRIGHTON MUSEUM & ART GALLERY (FREE admission)
(As much as 2 - 3 hours)
PART OF THE DOME COMPLEX, DIAGONALLY OPPOSITE FRONT ENTRANCE TO PAVILION
Originally this building and the Dome and Corn Exchange all making up one large complex housed the King's stables. On the outside it is beautifully preserved, complementing the style of the Royal Pavilion, whilst over the years the interiors have been sectionalised, modernised and turned into a first class modern museum, concert venue (the Dome) and multi-use area - the Corn Exchange.
The Museum, was totally re-furbished a couple of years ago, now taking up much of the area in which the library used to be housed. This was always a much underrated treasure in Brighton but is now a museum to be really proud of, worthy certainly of a review on its own, I am not going to go into any great detail here except to say that along with the Pavilion it is a "must see" when visiting Brighton.
The Museum is housed on two floors, the upper of which has many interconnecting galleries, plus a very good, and by local standards cheap, tea room. As a whole it contains good art galleries, mostly local scenes by famous artists, collections of ceramics, costume and also quite a lot of fashion may be of interest as are superbly reconstructed shop fronts. Of particular personal interest is the "modern" furniture displayed - including the famous "Marilyn Monroe Lips" sofa. Naturally in a local museum the development of the town is well covered, using both modern touch display computer screens and some fascinating good old fashioned models (particularly the Chain Pier).
3) **** (4 Star) BRIGHTON MARINA (FREE Admission)
(2hrs - 1/2 day)
SITUATED AT THE EASTERN END OF BRIGHTON SEA FRONT - FOLLOW MARINA SIGNS
A pleasant walk on a fine day can be taken over the locks and onto the eastern arm (breakwater), this rather feels as though you are walking "at sea" although I would not recommend it on a windy day! The opposite (western) breakwater is a shorter walk in which you can enjoy the sea air and a particularly good view of the splendid Kemp Town Terraces and Brighton Pier to the west. If you are so inclined, fishing day permits can be obtained from a small café building as you walk onto the western breakwater.
The shops in the Marina Square development are rather disappointing, although there are more of them now - far more up-market are the huge range of bars and restaurants, some expensive, some very good value, just about every cuisine of the world is available here! The large boats are interesting - as are some of the more upmarket apartments, those with moorings included, start at about £300,000 for a 2 bedroom one. The best cinema in town is also located here.
4) *** (3 Stars) THE CLOCK TOWER (1888)
(As long as it takes to view a clock tower!)
OPPOSITE THE BOOTS STORE, NORTH STREET, RIGHT IN THE CENTRE OF THE CITY.
The copper ball at the base of the mast was designed (by Magnus Volk) to rise up the mast to fall its' 16ft height on the hour. The noise it made when it fell was such that it scared so many horses, causing accidents, at this, always, the busiest junction in town, that a few years later it was fixed in its present position - never to rise or fall again! The Clock Tower was fully restored in time for the Millennium celebrations but is now being totally overshadowed by modern new developments on both corners opposite.
5) **** (4 Star) DOME & CORN EXCHANGE (1803-8)
IN PAVILION GROUNDS & FRONTING CHURCH STREET
Viewing this building from any direction the reason why it is called the Dome is plainly obvious; it is topped by a huge circular dome! This is one of our top two entertainment venues (with The Brighton Centre). Abba won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest in this very building! Top acts still perform regularly. It was built as the Pavilion stables to house 44 Royal horses, with grooms' accommodation above in the galleries. After suitable conversion, on 24th June 1867, the Dome was opened as a 2500 seat music hall.
The Corn Exchange was built as a riding school & used as such from 1850-68. A corn market was held here from 1868 to 1914 when it was requisitioned as a military hospital. Since the First World War it has been used as an exhibition hall.
This whole site has been totally refurbished and restored to the very highest standard, thanks to Lottery Grant. Along with the Pavilion it has to be regarded as the jewel in Brighton's crown!
6) *** (3 Star) NORTH LAINE
(1 - 2 hours)
SITUATED BEHIND (West of) LONDON ROAD NORTH OF CHURCH STREET and SOUTH OF TRAFALGAR STREET.
The way this area is viewed is going to depend entirely on your perspective! It was one of the poorest areas in the whole town, an area where partial slum clearance was carried out before restoration of many of the 1820's streets turned it into a "hot" area to live - extremely popular now with non-car owning commuters as it is adjacent to the railway station.
Since the early 1970's when the rejuvenation of this area got underway it has become a very cosmopolitan area of largely pedestrianised streets, terraced houses mixed with small, trendy shops, our favourite being the little "Chinese Supermarket". Saturday markets, largely antiques and junk stalls also take place here. Several pleasant "pavement cafes" and many tiny traditional town centre pubs are also to be found here. Also worth seeking out are some very pretty alleyways and restored 1800's terraced town houses - this is now a very trendy place to live in the city centre.
7) ** / **** (4 Star - in summer!) OLD STEINE & STEINE GARDENS
This is an area of gardens, mostly lawns, but with some excellent flower displays during the summer, from the Palace Pier up to St Peters Church at the foot of Ditchling Road. Lining the road on both sides are some truly wonderful bay fronted terraced houses, some, facing the Pavilion with flint facings. Unfortunately this area is the heart of Brighton's one way traffic system and is choked with traffic and fumes at most times of the day. At the sea end, the 1846 Victoria Fountain is well worth a look, so is the Mazda Fountain (if working) opposite the King & Queen pub. This pub's origins are older even than it looks (pre 1772) although it now attracts the very young drinkers from the Brighton University nearby, being known locally as a teenager's pub.
8) ***** (5 Stars) OLD TOWN - BETTER KNOWN AS "THE LANES"
THIS IS THE AREA CONTAINED BY EAST, NORTH & WEST STREETS & THE SEA FRONT
This is the oldest and most characterful part of the whole city, as I write this review Brighton turns out to have far more jewels than I had anticipated!
The Lanes is mostly a complex of pedestrianised alleyways, dating in layout from the thirteenth century, forming the original fishing village of Brighthelmstone which grew into the Brighton of today. It is now our most expensive and interesting shopping area, jewellery, antiques, art and specialist shops - a big draw particularly for American and Japanese tourists. Very old and modern architecture has been well and unusually integrated in this area, Bartholomews, where the Town Hall and Tourist Office are to be found, are the latest additions.
9) ** (2 Stars) THE OPEN MARKET
(How long do you need to shop for fruit & veg.?)
TO THE EAST OF LONDON ROAD - WEST OF DITCHLING ROAD, OPPOSITE THE LEVEL
A cheap local alternative to superstore shopping, some good locally grown & caught (fish) produce. Go early, tends to be rather smelly later in the day!
10) **** (4 Stars) PALACE PIER
(Adm. & deck chairs! - FREE)
SITUATED AT THE SOUTHERN END OF STEINE GARDENS AND IS THE MOST SOUTHERN POINT OF THE A23 LONDON to BRIGHTON ROAD.
This 1650ft long Grade II listed pier was completed in 1901 at the cost of £137,000. It has since seen continuos development and additions, is very well kept and has several cafes, amusement halls, bars & restaurants. On the sea end is a large fun fair, very popular and busy in the summer months.
A particular mention has to be made here of the superb free fire work display every Saturday evening through August - see notices on the pier for times and dates.
The derelict structure in the sea to the West is what was once, the really beautiful WEST PIER, now completely gutted by a series of fires and rusting away into the sea. This 1115ft pier was opened in October 1866 at the cost of £27,000. In 1974 it was saved from demolition, but has been closed since 1971 when it was condemned as being unsafe, remarkably it survived the great gale of 1987. In hindsight that was a pity, had it been totally destroyed that evening at least this once glorious attraction would have been spared the indignity of it all.
10) **** (4 Stars) PRESTON MANOR, CHURCH & PARK (www.prestonmanor.virtualmuseum.info)
(2 hours - 1/2 Day)
ON THE A23 LONDON ROAD - SIGNPOSTED (Approx. 3 miles) NORTH OF CITY CENTRE
This splendid manor house, along with the Pavilion is Council owned and run.
Preston Manor dates from 1250; the current house is mostly 1905, having been largely remodelled for the Thomas-Stanford family (local dignitaries). We visited recently and came away impressed, there is an "upstairs - downstairs" theme, showing the lifestyle of the masters and servants of the time, i.e. at the turn of the last century. The servants' quarters and below stairs kitchen are particularly popular. The house has a small attractive garden complete with pets' cemetery.
Behind the Manor is the beautiful ancient St Peters Church (1250) and graveyard. Here we have enjoyed the company of squirrels, foxes and rabbits, a pure delight for the children! The churchyard gives access to the 63 acre expanse of Preston Park, bordered by the busy A23 London Road, it has seen better days, however £200,000 of lottery cash has been grated for its improvement, which is well underway. This is Brighton's' main sporting centre, particularly for tennis & bowls. There is also a cycle track behind the Manor.
On the opposite side of the busy London Road is the enchanting "Rockery Gardens". A small landscaped park, climbing the hill to the railway line at the back, here you will find water falls, well stocked fish ponds with stepping stones from one side to the other and a breathtaking array of trees and rare shrubs. When visiting us in the summer this is another of my sister in law's favourite places. When an 11 year old child awards something a 5 Star rating it has to be worth visiting for an hour or so.
11) *** (3 Stars) RACE HILL & THE RACE COURSE
THE RACE HILL IS VISIBLE FROM MOST PARTS OF BRIGHTON BUT IS MOST EASILY FOUND BY DRIVING ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP OF ELM GROVE FROM THE LEVEL
You should now be enjoying the best available views of Brighton & Hove. The south side of the downs and the spectacular sweep of coastline right round to Selsey Bill (about 35 miles) if the sky is clear. On a really clear day, the Isle of Wight is just visible from here.
12) ***** (5 Stars) THE ROYAL PAVILION (www.royalpavilion.org.uk)
(2 hours - inside tour!)
This is Brighton's most spectacular attraction and the main reason why so many foreign tourists come here. My (now) wife, when I emailed to her, in Poland before we met, photographs of this extravagant palace, honestly believed that I was pulling her leg. "Such a building cannot possibly exist in England" she sent on a reply email!
Many residents have never been inside and begrudge supporting this building on the council tax! It originated as a farmhouse in 1787 and was transformed for Prince Regent (who later became George IV) by John Nash between 1815 and 1822. The Council has spent a fortune restoring this extraordinary palace to its present condition. Even locals, including myself and of course my Polish wife, who have been inside recently are very impressed with its' opulent interior. The Queen Adelaide Tea Rooms upstairs offer good value food and refreshment in the most extraordinary surroundings too!
We would thoroughly recommend visiting the adjacent shop. On offer, there are some unusual books, gifts and souvenirs, particularly enjoyable if you collect chinaware - it is extraordinarily well stocked.
Drunks apart, the unkempt appearance of the gardens in parts is supposedly authentic of the Regency period!
The whole Pavilion and grounds are particularly spectacular when floodlight on a fine evening.
My suggestion would be to make a whole day of this, seeing the Lanes, Museum, Piers / Sea Front and town centre whilst in the area.
(5 minutes walk from the Pavilion.)
13) **** (4 Stars) THE SEA FRONT - LOWER PROMENADE
(2hrs to 1/2 day - with Pier)
STEPS TO THE RIGHT (WEST) OF THE PALACE PIER LEAD DOWN TO THE LOWER PROM.
Vast sums of money have been spent landscaping & smartening this area, now known as "The Boardwalk" due to its wooden (decking) type pavement construction. This rejuvenation, in conjunction with the renovation of many of the "Arches" has been a great success. The Fishing Museum, located in one of the arches under the main South Coast Road is relatively new, but there are still local fishermen who pull their boats up the beach here. The National Museum of Penny Slot Machines is an unusually interesting little place too.
Lately much of Brighton's café culture has very successfully spread down here, away from traffic and fumes and adjacent to the beach, on a hot summers' day you could almost dream of being in the south of France.
I would suggest combining this with a visit to the Brighton Pier & possibly a trip on Volks Railway.
14) ***** (5 Stars) THEATRE ROYAL
(An evening out?)
SITUATED IN NEW ROAD TO THE WEST OF THE ROYAL PAVILION GROUNDS
This is a truly lovely old theatre, built in 1806. Outside the architecture blends into the rest of New Road, with a colonnaded pavement linking the theatre to adjacent cafes and restaurants. Inside it is a different world of plush, old English charm. The place itself is well worth seeing, but many of the productions here are Pre-London releases and it therefore has a high reputation for staging the latest plays with top line international actors treading its 200 year old boards.
I guess no town or city review would be complete without mentioning the shopping facilities.
WESTERN ROAD & CHURCHILL SQUARE
ABOVE CLOCK TOWER IN NORTH STREET TURN LEFT.
This is our "High Street" area. Churchill Square is a bright new shopping centre only opened in the autumn of 1999. Western Road is standard High Street shopping fare. If you really feel the need for an "M & S" then this is where you'll have to come!
Other areas of the town offer more interesting shopping opportunities - the Lanes, Queens Road, North Street and even St James's street and Kemptown. However hard you look though, you will not find one single proper department store - a disgrace in a city of over a quarter of a million inhabitants.
Here endeth my review of the town in which I was born!
There are many, many, places left out and I have tended to concentrate on the bits that I know as a visitor to the town that I would appreciate and find in some way interesting. There is an awful lot to do and see in this very lively seaside town, and unlike Blackpool or the Isle of Wight, it does not close down through the winter either - that is the time that we, who live here, reclaim our town from the tourists and really enjoy it!
Brighton to many is London-by-the-sea to others the destination for a dirty weekend. I have lived in Brighton for over 20 years, I even tried to leave once but soon realised what a mistake I?d made! Over the years the Town (now officially a city) has outgrown these popular preconceptions and has developed into one of the liveliest centres for tourism, culture and entertainment in the south of England. *HISTORY* Up until the 16th century Brighton was small but important fishing village with a population of 400 fishermen. But within a generation in the early 17th century Brighton became the largest town in Sussex. The town became known as a health spa due to the supposed medical properties of the seawater that would cure many diseases. The growing Royal interest of the Prince Regent (to become George IV) led to the building of a outlandish Palace the Royal Pavilion, on the outside taking its influences from the domed palaces of India. Later in the 19th century with the opening of the London to Brighton railway line in 1841 the town to became accessible en mass to ordinary people and it has prospered and grown to become one of the best-loved destinations for tourist and fun seekers. Brighton's history is evident all around you, as you move through the town from the superbly preserved Regency seafront you travel through Victorian and Edwardian architecture until you eventually reach the natural splendour of the South Downs. *MODERN BRIGHTON-GETTING THERE, LAYOUT AND MOVING AROUND* Brighton today has managed to diversify in the attractions it has to offer to such an extent that it is now a place where people come clubbing, for a pub-crawl or to have a meal. In addition it has become an important cultural centre, yearly hosting one of the largest arts festival in Europe second only to Edinburgh. A yearly film festival also taps into its long associations as a leading centre of the emerging British film industr
y. The best way to get to Brighton is by train. There is a regular service between London Victoria Station and Brighton mainline; the journey time is around an hour. There are also regular train services from Southampton and Portsmouth but connection to the eastern coast town become a little problematic after Eastbourne. Getting to Brighton by car is also easy enough, the main roads into the town include the M23/A23 or the A24 but the traffic in the centre can be a problem and parking is getting more difficult and more expensive every year. If you are determined to get there by car, get there early do not park illegally you will be fined! Probably the best option is to head for the big NCP car parks around Churchill square, but remember get there early! Before I describe the main attractions of the town I'll give you a quick idea of how the centre is laid out. When you step out of the beautiful Victorian mainline train station the town basically spreads out before you and leads down to the sea. If you walk straight down the road form the station along Queens Road within 10minutes you will reach on the town main reference point the Clocktower. Once here to your left going down North Road you will head down to the Level, turn left and you?ll rreach the Pavilion turning right will get you to the Palace Pier. If you keep on going past the Level you will start going uphill again towards Kemptown. About halfway down North Road if you turn right you will get to the famous Brighton Lanes. If at the Clocktower you got right you will enter Western road the main shopping road in Brighton as soon as you enter Western road you will see Churchill Square to your left with its new indoor shopping centre. Continuing on Western Road you will eventually get to Hove and pass a good selection of restaurant and pubs on the way. If at the Clocktower you go straight ahead you can follow West Street all the way down to the seafro
nt. The other area, which should be mentioned, is the North Laines, which you can find by taking one of the smaller streets to the right as you walk down into town from the Railway station. Brighton is not a huge place and all areas in the centre are accessible on foot. However if you wish there are plenty of busses crisscrossing the town and the Taxi are very reasonably priced compared to London, £5 will get you anywhere in the whole of Brighton and tips are not expected. Main taxi ranks can be found just outside the station or opposite Churchill square. *THE SEAFRONT AND THE MARINA* The seafront is dominated by a huge number of hotels that run along it. These hotels vary in standard from the 4/5 star Metropole and Grand to the more affordable smaller guesthouses. Brighton also has two piers, the Palace Pier still standing is a throwback to the old-fashioned seaside town where Mods and Rockers congregated on the beaches. On the pier you'll find plenty slot machine, arcade games, a fish and chip restaurant, snack bars and a fun fair at the very end. The West Pier was derelict for many years and recently was set on fire. It now stands like the skeletal remains of a great beast from prehistoric times inaccessible from the shore. The twisted metal of the support and the burnt out husk of the main structure still brings people to have a look. The main road along the seafront is not the only way to see it, if you go down one of the many sets of steps you will reach the lower promenade, which has been greatly redeveloped in the last few years. The old fishing boat sheds with their wide arched entrances now provide space for nightclubs, art galleries, rock and souvenir shops and a small fishing museum. There are also plenty of bars to choose from and when the weather is nice you can sit outside and have a drink and a snack looking out to the pebble beach and sea beyond. If you have small children the promenade
has also a large adventure style playground including a paddling pool and plenty of places to roller skate or skateboard and of course there is the beach, not sandy, you have to go to Shoreham and beyond for that, but still a fun place to mess around in the waves on a hot summers day. The new and impressive looking Marina complex including shops, café, pubs, hotels, restaurants, bowling hall and multiplex cinema is situated out of town along the coast going towards the village of Rottingdean. It is too far to walk but there are regular buses and plenty of free parking if you wish to take the car. Boat trips that take you along the coast and around the end of both piers can be hired from there. *THE PAVILION AND GARDENS* If you are in the town for a short period The Pavilion Palace and Gardens are certainly worth visiting. The Pavilion is a mad eccentric structure right in the centre of town. Its Indian domes and minarets take you completely by surprise situated amongst the classical Regency architecture of the rest of the town. You can enter the gardens and walk around the outside of the buildings for free but it is worth paying the reasonable entrance fee and going inside. The interior is again a shock. Plush Chinese inspired furniture and décor line all the rooms. Highlights include the main dining room with its huge Chinese dragon chandeliers hanging from the domed ceiling, the kitchens that where the largest and best appointed in Europe at the time they were built and the superbly decorated ballroom. Upstairs you can see the royal apartments including the rather austere bedroom used by Queen Victoria. The visit which should not last more than a hour is well worth it and the gift shop on the way out for once has a tasteful and reasonably priced selection of souvenirs. In the Summer months the Pavilion Gardens provide a green oasis in the busy town and you can sit on the lawn and idly pass the time. If you walk along t
he gardens you will also see the imposing building that was once the royal stables now converted to a large concert hall The Dome. Along a bit further is the newly refurbished Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. This is like a miniature V & A and Tate Modern rolled in to one with a splendid collection of modern art, furniture and fashion from across the world. Refurbished and re-opened last year it has been a huge success attracting many visitors and it is well worth a visit. Entry is free! *THEATRE, CINEMAS, CLUBS AND THE FESTIVAL* Brighton can rightly be considered the cultural centre of the south coast. It has always had a long association with the arts and many actors and celebrities have lived or still live here. It is not uncommon to see Fat Boy and Zoe, Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge), Mark Williams (Fast Show), Mark Liddle, 'Corrie' bad boy Brian Capron or ex-Bill (Burnside) Christopher Ellison around town. Recently Kate Blanchet bought a house here, I look forward to bumping in to her while I do my shopping! The town has a very arty feel to it and there are plenty of small venues for independent theatre companies as well as large venues like The Dome and The Centre for concerts and show. Recently the Komedia club in the North Laines has attracted top quality comedy stand up acts. The oldest theatre in town is the Theatre Royal a Victorian building largely still decorated in original style. Being so close to London it tends to get pre-premieres show from the West End for limited runs as well as all the top show as part of countrywide tours. Brighton and Hove was one of the early centres of cinema in the UK and at one time there were over 200 cinemas in the town mostly small privately run. Nowadays there are fewer, but with a large Virgin multiplex at the Marina and an Odeon Multiplex in the Brighton Centre on the seafront the town is well catered for. My favourite cinema though is the Duke of Yorks nominally a cinema
club (although you can join on the day) which specialises in art house and foreign film. It is an old Victorian building traditionally decorated apart from the giant can-can legs sticking out of its roof and you can get delicious homemade cakes and fresh filtered coffee at the interval! Another alternative newer specialist cinema Brighton Cinematheque (only sixty seats) also exists, run by a group of filmmakers and enthusiasts it show films outside of the mainstream. I'm not a regular club goer anymore so my knowledge of clubs in Brighton is now limited. All styles are catered for on different nights. Amongst the best known are The Zap Club, The Volks Room, The Concorde, The Funky Buddha Lounge, The Escape Club and The Honey Club all of which are on the net. For something a bit different try the Hanbury Ballroom Once a month on Saturday night for the Stick It On session where the club goers become the DJ?s see www.stickiton.co.uk The biggest cultural event in the Brighton calendar is the Arts Festival in May. Apart from Edinburgh this is the largest arts festival in Europe. There is a wide variety of attractions on offer classical concerts, jazz, poetry, book readings and discussions, Comedy, arts exhibitions, performance art. Every year the festival spills out on to the streets and all over town you will see street performers and street theatre, all easily accessible and all free. The festival starts off on the first May bank holiday with a huge parade through town, involving local schoolchildren and local youth groups accompanied by musical bands with wonderful costumes and banners. The whole town adopts a party atmosphere which keeps going until the end of festival fireworks display on the last bank holiday of the month. Even if the main festival events don?t take you fancy it is worth visiting the town at this time just to soak up the atmosphere. *FOOD AND DRINK* You are really spoilt for choice
in Brighton. The variety of restaurants and eating-places both fancy or cheap and cheerful is staggering. The different type of cuisine on offer include the usual Indian, Chinese, Italian, French, Thai but also catered for are Japanese, Korean, Cajun, Caribbean, Iranian, Lebanese, Tex/Mex, Mexican, Latin American, Spanish, North African, Mongolian as well as specialist Vegetarian, Vegan and Fish restaurants. The fast food sector is well represented with Burger Bars, Pizzerias, Fish and Chip and Kebab houses all over the centre of town. Ones I would personally recommend would be 'The Latin In the Lanes' on 10-11 Kings Road one of the longest established Italian/Continental restaurant in Brighton and still one of the best, specialising is seafood. For a meal on special occasion it can?t be beaten for quality even though it comes at a price. 'Terre A Terre' on 71 East Street - This is simply the best vegetarian restaurant in Brighton and it is regularly voted one of the top in the country. Don?t expect Soya burger or lentil stew, the food on offer is imaginative and superbly presented, catering for Vegans as well as vegetarians and there is also a fine and affordable selection of Organic wine. Good enough for a meat lover like me to (almost) be persuaded to give up. 'Kambi's' on Western Road was always Brighton best kept secret, but now people are catching on. Nestling between shops and fast food places on the busy Western road it looks like a Kebab shop from the outside but once you get past the counter and sit down at the back you will be treated to some of the best and authentic Persian and Lebanese food in the town. The décor is simple, the staff is friendly and you can bring your own wine making the meals considerably cheaper. Again vegetarians are well catered for and make sure you try the deserts! If you don't want to eat but just want to drink then the choice is just as good
. Brighton has always been a great place to enjoy real ale in its many traditional pubs many of which are regularly listed in the Good Beer guide. A great selection of real ale form all over the country can be found as well as the local brews from the Harveys Brewery in Lewes, King and Barnes from West Sussex and my own favourite Gales from Hampshire. For a good pint try The Basketmakers Arms tucked away in Gloucester Road at the bottom of the North Laines or The Greys on Southover Street, for a more usual selection of drinks The Yeoman on Guildford Road just up the hill from the main train station is great value and does some great pub food too. Alternatively The Windmill on Upper North Street will cater for punter of all ages. If you fancy listening to some great alternative music on an old-fashioned jukebox and want to try spotting some local indie pop idols try the 'Heart in Hand' on North Street. If you venture in to the centre of town close to the seafront the pubs get very loud and busy especially at the weekends and you?ll find the people tend to move from one to another or maybe on to the many clubs in the area. In recent years Brighton has become a popular destination for Stag and Hen nights so the centre of town over the weekends does get very crowded and very lively, if you're looking for a quiet drink with a local crowd then avoid the central area head towards the North Laines, Hove or Kemptown. Quite a few of the pubs in the town are nominally Gay pubs but straight customers are welcome. *SHOPPING* Like every other large town or city Brighton has the usual selection of high street stores. Since its opening the shopping centre on Churchill square is the centre for this kind of shopping, there or close by on Western Road you will find, M&S, Gap, Woolworths, Debenhams, Next, WH Smith, Waterstones, BHS and all the other well known high street names. If you're looking to do some more i
ndividual shopping there are a great selection of boutiques and specialist fashion shops in the North Laines. Here you will also find a good selection of second hand shops selling clothes, books, magazines and general collectibles. This is also the perfect area to sample a little street life, in the summer the small street get very busy and the multitude of small cafes and snack bars will allow you to indulge in some interesting peoplewacthing and Brighton certainly has a weird and wonderful mix of people! In this area you will also find a huge number of Antique stores usually cheaper than the more touristy ones in famous Brighton ?Lanes? area near the seafront. If you're out for a bargain try the antiques market by the station or in the North Laines on Saturday or Sunday morning, but you have to get there at the break of dawn to find the best pieces. The other famous shopping landmark in Brighton is The Lanes. These are a maze of small streets that map out the location of the original fishing village before the town expanded. You wont find any fishermen there today! The Lanes are a tourist attraction and must be seen but be warned that the shops and cafes around here can be quite expensive. The lanes themselves are quite a small area but extending out of them towards the seafront past Bartholomew Square where the Town Hall is situated are more small alley way and narrow roads with many art shops, eating place and pubs all leading to the seafront promenade. *OVERALL* Brighton has never been a sleepy seaside resort and now it has shed its dirty weekend image it is a vibrant, multicultural, multiethnic community that likes to live it up. There is a wonderful cosmopolitan mix in the town; apart from the usual tourists the town has a huge number of language schools that bring many foreign students to stay every year. Brighton has two universities (Brighton University and Sussex University) nearby and this ensu
res that the town has a high proportion of young people living and working here. The closeness to London makes it within commuting distance for many people and in recent years more and more people from London have decided to take advantage of slightly lower property prices in the town to live here while still working in London. This has added to the influx of young well-off people to the area. Brighton is also famous for its gay community and this also add much to the town's diversity and tolerance of the unconventional and the new. Brighton has everything you can want, culture, nightlife, entertainment, seaside, countryside, parks, shops, excellent restaurants and a colourful history. All these different elements make Brighton an exiting place to live. It is more than London-by-the-sea it is Brighton. I wouldn?t live anywhere else! *USEFUL INFORMATION* For tourist information check out Virtual Brighton the City guide to Brighton and Hove at http://www.brighton.co.uk/ Brighton and Hove has a great selection of Hotels, guesthouses and B & B to choose from, most times of the year if you should not have difficulty finding somewhere to stay but beware that Brighton does stage a number of big conference throughout the year that will affect price and availability, also the festival month of may will make it harder to find affordable accommodation, so it is always best to book in advance. Thanks for reading and rating this opinion! © Mauri 2003 **************************************************** If you want to take part, please include MY HOMETOWN in the title and include the following paragraph: This review is part of the HOMETOWN challenge where members are asked to write about any aspect of their hometown - or a town they'd like/not like to be their hometown. You can find all the participants by going to: http://members.dooyoo.co.uk/servlets/OpinionCo
Just a short train ride from the rather more hecitc and stress-inducing London, Brighton is London's more relaxed and fun sister. After having lived in Brighton for fours years as a student, I would argue it is the perfect place to spend time, doing...well not much. Trains leave twice hourly from London Victoria's Station, and take around fifty minutes to arrive. Stepping off the train, you immediately sense the different and more laid back atmosphere which Brighton boasts. If you are visiting for just a weekend, you have a number of accomdation options. You can take your big from any of the large hotels along the front which are all priced comparably ( The Old Ship, The Norfolk Jarvis, The Thistle etc). However, if you want something a bit cheaper and more unique, opt for one of numerous the B+B's around the New Steine. Then....the choice is yours. As the title of this review suggests, you can spend a lot of time in Brighton, doing nothing much at all and still have a fabulous time. Wonder around the Laines to absorb the alternative atmosphere, go for a walk along the seafront and the Palace Pier, sit on the beach and breath in the fresh air..the choice is yours! If I had to give one recommedation for a restauarant, I would say Picollos would suit many. Loctaed on Ship Street in the North Laines, this restaurant is particularly good value as they offer two courses for a set price...and the range is large. Enjoy!
Although im not actually living in Brighton at the moment because im away at University, I do have a great loyalty and admiration for the place, which is why im writing this op. By the way, if you're wondering why im a uni student staying in to write opinions on a Friday night rather than being out "on the piss" with the lads, it's simply cos last night was extremely messy - I don't make a regular habit of staying in at weekend's! Anyway before I get sidetracked any more, here goes: Until last October, ive lived in Brighton since birth. To be quite honest, I was pretty sad to leave come last October when I started my university course as I have so many good friends, as well as my close family in Brighton. In fact I think it's going to be quite difficult to summarise why Brighton's such a great place in this op as there's simply so many good things you can say about the place. As a young person, there's always been plenty to do in Brighton. The town centre is vibrant, with a vast array of shop's, both highstreet brands, as well as plenty of interesting yet expensive independent shops in the laines. As a shopaholic, Brighton is a great place to live, especially since the new Churchill Square shopping centre was opened a couple of years back. Brighton is also home to 3 cinemas (It was 4 until recently, but unfortunately the abc closed down) showing all of the latest films, as well as the classics. As an avid sportsman myself, the wide array of facilities and opponents in Brighton have been a godsend over the years. As a tennis player, there's a huge number of clubs to choose from, most of which cater for all ability levels. Furthermore, ive never had a shortage of opponents to play against, which meant I was rarely bored as a teenager. Personally, I think one of the best things about Brighton is the clubbing scene, which really is second to none. Because of the sheer number of clubs,
and club nights on offer, there's something to cater for everything, even for the most diverse of tastes. From Chopper Choons at the Zap on Wednesday to indie night in The Gloucester on Friday I guarantee you'll find something to cater for your own personal taste. Not only are the clubs great however, the bars and pubs are pretty good too. Last time I checked I was told that Brighton is home to around 600 pubs, although unfortunately because of the sheer number, I havent been to most of them! The town centre is home to many pre-club bars, most of which offer drinks promotions during the week, so it can be a pretty cheap destination for a cheap night out. My personal favourite is The Prodigal on Wednesday which offers a wide selection of drinks for only a pound! Although im at university in Exeter myself, I can imagine that Brighton would be a pretty cool place to study. The University of Sussex has been around since the 1960's, and is located extremely close to the south downs, making it an extremely green and attractive campus. The university of Sussex's reputation has also been improving immensely in recent years, now making it a popular option for some of the brightest students. Although The University of Brighton does not possess such a good academic reputation, it's still a popular university, and was voted university of the year in the Times good university guide, a couple of years back. However, if you're thinking of studying in Brighton be warned - it can be quite an expensive place to live! Because of it's close proximity to London, property prices in Brighton have skyrocketed in recent years to well above the national average. In fact a recent report found that Brighton is the second most expensive place to attend university, behind London. Depending on where about's you want to live, it's now almost impossible to pick up even a small studio flat in the City for less than £100,000. One thing that ive always admired about Brighton is its diversity. No matter what category you fit into, very few people will judge you here. Although many of you will know of Brighton as "the gay capital of Europe", the gay population is not as substantial as you may at first think. Personally I have no problem with gay's at all as I'm quite an open-minded fellow, however if you do then I recommend that you avoid the city's gay pride festival which is enjoyed by over 50,000 gay and lesbians each year. Although for most of the time Brighton could be described as an extremely friendly and "open-minded" place to live, unfortunately it does have quite a few significant social problems which I feel I must mention in this op in order to allow you to form an unbiased view of the place. As many of you may already know, Brighton has a huge homelessness problem, second only to London I think. Obviously this has not been helped in any way by the recent house price boom which has made the situation even worse. Secondly, unfortunately Brighton possesses quite a serious drug problem, although most people will rarely come across this I must stress. Thirdly, unfortunately Brighton can become quite a dangerous place at night, although I myself have never been affected by this. I have always found that if you keep yourself to yourself, you'll get few problems, however frighteningly, you do still hear of the occasional unprovoked attack. Still, most areas of Brighton are extremely safe places to live although there are a couple of council estates that I would not set foot in, in a million years! Anyway, enough about the bad points. I forgot to mention earlier that the quality of restaurants, and take-aways in Brighton is superb. Whatever your pallate, you'll find plenty to interest you. Whether you're into Italian, Chinese, Indian, or simply good old English grub, the quality of restaurants in Brighton coul
d simply be described as breathtaking. And it doesen't cost an arm or a leg either, there's plenty of places where you can happily eat out for under £10 per head. I really have enjoyed every minute of growing up in Brighton, and im almost certain i'll return after graduating in a couple of years time. There's so much to cater for even the most diverse of tastes so what are you waiting for? Head on down to Brighton! Thanks for reading, Tom ;-) p.s. I thought I should mention that Brighton is an excellent place to live if you commute to London on a daily basis. It's far cheaper to live in than the capital (although it's not cheap as such), and the road and rail link's with London are excellent.
When my friend told me she was taking me to Brighton for my hen weekend, my heart sank. You see, I’m just not the type for plastic souvenirs, the “British seaside” and kiss-me-quick hats. However, the main thing I would advise anyone is “Leave your preconceptions at home”!! Brighton is far, far more than the pier and the souvenir shops, and in fact there are very few souvenir shops at all! These days, the city is used as a major conference centre and has got very trendy, more upmarket, but still retains its sense of fun. I actually tried to be tacky and buy a kiss me quick hat, but it took me the best part of 2 days to find one! Here is a quick run down of what else is there… 1. Accommodation. The main hotels are all along the seafront, with B&Bs up the side streets going backwards from the coast. The most imposing hotel is the De Vere Grand (formerly just the Grand) which looks stunning with it’s white flower covered balconies jutting out towards the sea. However if your budget doesn’t quite stretch to that (£275 per night for a sea view room!), you still won’t be stuck for somewhere to stay as long as you book a bit in advance. With only about a week’s notice before August bank Holiday we were in a small B&B about 2 minute’s walk from the sea, but it was perfectly clean and comfortable, and £100 per night total for 4 people sharing. Be warned though – many hotels offer low rates, but equally the majority insist on a booking of at least 2 nights, and often 3 at Bank Holidays! Brighton and Hove tourist office issue an accommodation guide which is useful for planning where to stay. www.tourism.brighton.co.uk is a useful online resource as well. 2. Shopping. Brighton has 3 distinct areas for shopping. The Lanes, North Laine, and the main shopping centre. The Lanes is a jumble of tiny back streets, many of them too narrow for traffic, in which you will find jewellers,
upmarket clothing and craft shops, and some of the nicest restaurants and cafes. North Laine is a very long street with mainly ethnic / surfer type shops. Great if you want cheap t-shirts, but nothing really stands out, and this type of shop can be found in areas of most cities. The main shopping centre has all the major chain stores and department stores, but is very much aimed at residents not tourists, and unless you want to do very general shopping, I don’t think it’s worth a visit since there are so many more unique places. 3. The seafront. This is probably what impressed me most. I was expecting cheap, tacky, hundreds of deckchairs, lobster red brits and men with hankies on their heads. Instead, there was a wealth of facilities for all ages. The seafront “promenade” is set down from the road, so there is no traffic and you are more or less walking on the beach. The road above is supported by arches at sea level, which house shops (mainly local crafts, beach clothing, and souvenirs), bars and restaurants, as well as the fishing museum and some loos! The nearer you get to Palace Pier, the busier it gets, but even on a sunny bank holiday, I was amazed at the amount of space and it could have been the end of the season for the lack of hustle and bustle. Also at the seafront are many sporting facilities such as a beach volleyball court, a basketball court, a skateboard area and a pitch for playing boules. Although I haven’t been there, the general feel of the place was like the Los Angeles beaches I’ve seen on TV (although admittedly the people aren’t as glamourous!) 4. Eating out. The seafront bars are perfect for whiling away a sunny afternoon drinking cocktails and eating pizza / salad etc. For something a bit more substantial in the evening, The Lanes has everything you could ask for, from the chains like ASK and Pizza Express to French Bistros, Tapas Bars, Mexican restaurants, steak houses. You name
it, it’s probably there! However, almost every street you walk up will have some sort of bar or restaurant so you won’t get hungry! 5. Nightlife. This is where we went a bit wrong! We picked up a guide from the hotel and went to what as billed as a “80s and disco” night. It wouldn’t fail the trades description act, but the flyer portrayed it as quite a large club whereas in fact it was very small, very dark, and not as much fun as we thought (this was Club New York). What we should have done is head back to the seafront where the daytime bars turn into night-time clubs, and where the atmosphere is a lot more light-hearted and carefree. If you go to Brighton for the gay scene, the clubs are up by the Palace Pier, and easy to spot since nearly every building is flying the rainbow banner! 6. The Pier. This is where we decided to forget about images of the typical British seaside and just have fun! The first time we went, we went simply because it had started to pour with rain and we thought that eating chips on the pier in the rain would be rather fitting and traditional! As you walk along the pier you pass several souvenir shops, funfair games, the Brighton Rock shop, and lots of food stalls. There are 2 fairly large penny arcades, but these are extremely noisy and busy. The one bonus is that the second arcade has a cashpoint inside – useful to know. Carrying on up, there is a good fish and chip shop, and a couple of pubs, and finally the funfair. I’m pretty sure the only reason they make you buy tokens for rides rather than just pay cash is that “5 tokens” sounds a lot less than £2.50 for a 30 second rollercoaster ride. However, when we went back at a sunnier time we forgot about the expense and went on a few rides, before collapsing in the free deckchairs In conclusion, whether it’s wet or dry, there is plenty to do in Brighton. The sea is clean and clear, and well policed by life
guards if you are worried. Hotels, bars and pubs are plentiful, and the amount of attractions means that there appear to be far fewer people around than there are, and no queues for anything. My one complaint is that it was expensive. I’m not sure if this was more a matter of spending a lot since there was a lot to do, or whether things were generally overpriced, but to make the most of a weekend there, don’t do it on a budget!
After 10 years living in Cheshire, I'd kinda forgotten about the clean air that smells salty and stays with you all day. I'd forgotten about the pebbles and activity of our Southern gem. This weekend, my boyfriend (Bob Barley) visited Brighton, my homeland. Originally, the trip was planned for the purpose of seeing relatives, but as soon as I stepped out of the car, I knew I would have to visit all my favourite hotspots. On Sunday, we decided to visit Brighton and I suddenly realised why I had missed it so much. I felt as if I fitted in there, because so many people there come from different places. The sunshine helped refresh my memories of long, sunny days on the beach. My favourite aspect of Brighton is the shopping! The lanes, especially are so quaint as well as having all the high street stores. Everything there is a little more expensive than here in the North, but I'm willing to pay for that type of atmosphere. There people there are so friendly and laid-back. Brighton is also home to my football team (who got promoted this week!), so there's also a place for sports fans. All the friends I have in Brighton say it's one of the best places to go 'pubbing and clubbing'. I've been there for a night out a couple of times and I'd definitely agree. Restaurants such as the Cactus and 'Ask' are two of my favourites and there are clubs down every street. I suppose it's the atmosphere and cleanliness that makes Brighton different from any other city. The beaches have won awards for cleanliness, and the pier and attractions are a welcome break for everyone. We're already planning to go back.
We decided to spend a winter weekend in Brighton. We booked a room at a guest house on New Steine St, less than 50 metres from the sea front. It had been quite a while since I was last in Brighton so I was really looking forward to our weekend away. The drive from the M25 to the M23 then the A23 went smooth with no hold ups or delays. Once arriving in Brighton, the clear directions/signs to the seafront were easy to follow. With ease we found Marine Parade then New Steine St. Just as we had imagined, a beautiful Regency style courtyard, two rows of elegent houses facing each other, all proudly displaying hotel/guesthouse signs. Each small hotel unique in colour and style. Various pastel shades and window boxes eager to show off their early Spring bloom greeted us as we pulled up to our guest house. I also noticed the bright double yellow lines stretched out from top to bottom of the little street so sharply I parked up, only inches away from the entrance of our guest house. I switched on the hazzard lights of the car and with haste we took the 2 heavy bags of luggage from the boot and dropped them at the front door, all the while hoping we could check in to the guest house before moving the car on to a more suitable spot. Suddenly, as if by magic a traffic warden appeared complete with ticket dispenser and wide smile. My partner agreed to check in whilst I find a parking space. Ten minutes later...I was still driving around looking for a space. I drove along Marine Parade..up and down St James, in and out of courtyards, all to no avail. By this stage my worried partner was texting me to find out if I was lost! I found one space in all that time but it had big bold letters painted inside the prized vacancy, letting car owners know it was a space reserved for Motorbikes. I even considered sneaking the car into one of the larger hotels along the front, hotels with the luxury of a forecourt. Almost at the point of abandon
ing my car at the pier, I spotted a very small but not impossibly small, parking space in a quiet side street. I saw no yellow lines, no parking meters, no pay and display. Amazingly, I managed to manoeuvre the car into a space that was no bigger than my dinning room table. With a competent smirk I locked the car and returned to the guest house, who were by now arranging a search party in my absence. After a welcome cup of tea, I would have preferred something stronger but the welcome tray didnt extend to alcohol, we unpacked, showered and went out for the evening. Next morning, after a fantasic night out, we decided to go for a drive and see a little of the coast line but as I walked nearer to the car I couldn`t help but notice one of the infamous large white Brighton and Hove envelopes making itself at home on my windscreen. Then a dark, mysterious figure emerged from a nearby sheltered doorway..ready to issue me with yet another ticket...(£60 or £30 if paid with 14 days) Checking the time on the first ticket, I shuddered as I noticed it was issued only minutes after I had parked it the day before. Did that mean I had been watched the whole time as I had previously parked?? Apparently I had parked in a residential area. I would have happily paid the hourly going rate for our entire stay had I found a single parking space. On our last night in Brighton our hosts at the guest house kindly directed us towards a free car park in Kemptown. Kemptown is in the heart of Brighton`s nightlife. Although if you are based down by the sea front or further from the centre of town then it is a bit of a trek to and from your car especially if you have luggage or it is raining heavy!! (as in our case). All in all, I would say Brighton is a wonderful place to visit. The bars/clubs and restaurants are friendly, lively and stylish. We found the people there just as friendly. The historic buildings are well worth a look and the coastline and attrac
tions are on par with the best of British resorts. I will definately be going back there. However.. unless I already had an alloted parking space, I won`t even THINK about driving there!
With a view to a move and a new environment took the train to Brighton for a day out and recce. The first thing that entices you to this eclectic town is the high spacious airy welcoming station. It’s a hum of foreign dialect and expectation. Stations are always nice when theres only one destination and one platform. The exit to the station throws you into the throng of beach goers and Brightons unique inhabitants. Where as most summer resorts are a sea of tattooed DSS transients and kiss me quick single parents, this place has a bohemian feel with lots of cotton and thoughtful hippyesque faces. The beach is an endless patio of pebbles and deckchairs marked by buried groins and tatty piers. One looks so ghostly and gothic, you would think it was home made for a film set. The beach and pancake flat crystal blue sea gives it a special homely feel unlike any other British beach. I suspect it’s a real yawn in the heart of a gray winter, but im sure it has a creative eclectic heart that I want to find somewhere out there. The town center is a typical with the abstract Brighton Pavilion lurking in the trees to make you smile. Theres lots of little winding lazy lanes full of antique shops and alternative stuff. All the high street chains are there along with cute street cafes and warming cozy winebars. Down on the beach concourse there are lots of bars and clubs cut under the road that offer great summer time drinking and fraternizing. But because of the cities high gay population there is lots of dance music and camp venues. There are some real men live music places for the more down to earth. But you definitely have the sense of an access of drinking holes to sooth the first of the summer crowds. Brighton has a growing reputation in the entertainment scene of film and television. Some notable Celebes like Zoe Ball and Stephen Burkoff have affluent pads gathering shingle at the oceans edge. At least twenty names are s
cattered around the city, including the Brightons ubiquitous Chris Eubank. I loved the feel of the place and the fact that I could jog to Hove or the Downs pending on my mood if I was to live here. The wage rates are provincial where as the accommodation and rates were London metro and painful. I’m not sure how Brightonians survive on the negative wage parity here, please let me know how I can live on 14 grand a week here. Its 12-50 return on the ghastly Thamelink pit train that is suitably sweaty and grafittied on arrival. A monthly to London if you work in the capitol is an incredible 212 pounds and a rising.I suppose locals and Londoners know just how rank the service is by now. Anyhow had a great day out and would recommend to anyone who hasn’t been for a bit to give it a go and see how it’s wallowing in its new city status.
Nigel Richardson, in his superb book “Breakfast in Brighton” describes the town, oops, city, as not so much a place but a state of mind. I was born in Brighton, as was my father, and many previous generations winding back several hundred years. It remains for me the most satisfying, enigmatic, subversive and unusual place in Britain. It is cosmopolitan and not condemning. It takes pride in the fact that it is a place where people come to have fun. But to attribute this simply to its modern reputation of cool is to do down the past. Part of its beguiling mystery is its vibrant history. And I would like, if I may, to write a historical perspective of the town to complement the other more personal accounts that I have read in Dooyoo. Brighton’s development is widely acknowledged to have three distinct phases. The first boost was as a result of Dr Richard Russell’s, and his successors’, promotion of seawater cures and bathing. His 1850 Dissertation on the Use of Sea-Waters in the Affections of the Glands outlined the benefits of not only bathing in, but drinking, sea water. Although he had been probably been prescribing the waters to his patients since the 1830s, the Dissertation popularised the cure and Russell himself moved his practice from Lewes to Brighton to capitalise on his success. The treatment was not by any extent attractive. It involved a strict regime of rising early, bracing walks, obligatory bathing in the sea (immersion was compulsory) and also drinking the seawater at regular intervals during the day. Patients were offered the option of mixing it with milk if they found it unpalatable. Russell and his successors pretty much single-handedly invented the seaside by promoting its health benefits to the rich and famous. The second catalyst to expansion was the influence royal patronage and that powered the town’s fashionable and aristocratic heyday between 1790 and 1830. One of the aristocratic pati
ents of Russell was the ebolient Duke of Cumberland a brother to George III. On one fateful occasion in the late 18th century Prince George, Prince of Wales travelled to Brighton and fell in love with the place and transformed it into quite simply the most fashionable playground in Britain. He built his fabulous marine Pavilion. An oriental uber-palace with a magical domed exterior and a riot of different styles within. It must simply be seen to be believed. And with the palace came parties and people and debauchery. But George (or Prinny as he is still affectionately known in the town) also found a wife: the catholic Mrs Maria Fitzherbert. It was, in many ways, a turbulent marriage but also a great romance that was inevitably doomed. But between them they presided over an amazing period for Brighton as the town’s patron sinners. However, by the 1830s the Royal connection was waning, and although William IV and Queen Adelaide were frequent visitors, their court lacked the vibrancy and excess of George IV. Victoria disliked Brighton and visited the town only a few times before stripping the Pavilion of its fittings to help fund the purchase and construction of Osbourne House. The third major catalyst for change in Brighton was the construction of the London to Brighton railway which opened in 1841. The impact of the railways was two-fold: firstly the increased volume of visitors generated demand for more services and leisure facilities and secondly the railway required workers for the factories and to maintain the line and manufacture and repair locomotives. The opening of the railway line in 1841 put Brighton well ahead of its local resort competitors. Eastbourne and Hastings were not afforded such benefits until 1846. The railway also decreased the cost, time and discomfort of travelling from the capital thus making Brighton the closest and most accessible Sussex resort. However, the impact of the railways was not immediate. It was only after Rowla
nd Hill, who lived in Brighton and was fundamental to the development of the Post Office in Britain, became chairman of the company in 1848 that the railway’s potential was realised. He understood the potential of the railways for mass travel and instigated third-class travel to increase passengers and ran special bank holiday services from the capital by using four locomotives to power trains that carried up to 2000 travellers. The new breed of day-trippers tended to be lower middle class or artisans. The trainfare was still relatively expensive in the early years and this clearly excluded poorer, working class families. This group grew as disposable income rose and fares dropped. More significant, perhaps, is that these visitors came off-season during the summer, complementing the winter season from October to March still favoured by fashionable visitors. In many ways the railway’s impact on the permanent residents of the town was greater in the long run. By siting virtually all of its engineering works in the town the L.B.S.C.R completely transformed the industrial flavour of the town. The railways, and the three independent iron foundries that also existed were the only heavy industry in the town. The railways completely transformed the character of Brighton. The jobs, money, possibilities and people it brought to the town engendered two decades of considerable growth. So by 1900 the shape and nature of Brighton had been largely shaped. It was a seaside town with mass appeal close to London with a reputation for showing a little more leg. Graham Greene’s wonderful protrait of Brighton in “Brighton Rock” is a perfect picture of the town on a bank holiday. The crowds, the drinking, the laughs, the playful visitors. But also it exposes the dark underbelly of the town that existed beneath the glitz. The race-course ciminals, the razor gangs and gangsters who lived in poverty but fed off the glamour. In ̶
0;Hangover Square” by Patrick Hamilton we see more of the danker side but still it is obvious what Brighton exists for: people go there to have fun. And that’s what Brighton remains good at to this present day. Now that Brighton has two universities and all the entertainment needs that creates. Now that it has a vibrant gay community that is no longer clandestine but central to its identity. Now that it has three Labour MPs and a Labour council (sorry, couldn’t resist that) it seems to have come of age and is at once doing what it does best after several none too promising decades of decline. From the slot machines of the Palace Pier to the majestic decay of the West Pier, a stroll along the prom, in the shadows of the huge hotels, kicking the pebbles on the beach and maybe stopping for a drink along the way, remains a British institution. But that’s because, on the edge of Britain, things are done differently.