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Brighton in General
Member Name: rlaverty
Brighton in General
Advantages: Lots of choice for activities/eateries/pubs etc - something for everyone
Disadvantages: Expensive to park
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 If I get too specific, chances are that by the time you're reading this it will all be out of date.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!
Summary: Would never pass up an opportunity to visit, highly reccommended.
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