I love Brighton. I mean seriously, what is there not to like about Brighton? Funky street art? Check. Seaside location? Check. An abundance of delicious fish n chip shops, as well as unique cafe’s and upmarket restaurants? Check. Wonderful architecture? Check. Diverse night life? Check. Buzzing live music scene? Check. Cute streets lined with vintage shops? Check. Friendly open community? Check. Multi Coloured houses? Check. It has everything you want.
Except of course, the greedy bastards which in this case, I am of course referring to the seagulls- but unfortunately that is something you cannot avoid.
I want to live in Brighton. I want to live in a turquoise coloured house that has a garden filled with hanging lanterns and a tepee that my dogs terrorize. I want a house that is topsy turvy and is filled with gems from my travels. I want to wake up early and run along the sea front with the wind blowing in my hair and waking me to the very bone. I want to walk around Brighton, meandering through the maze of lanes and laines to my favourite funky cafe for breakfast whilst I write. I want to lunch on food from around the world, served by locals who are passionate about climate change and are covered in tattoos- works of art themselves. I want to spend evenings sipping cocktails in Caribbean bars that have a rum list longer than my arm, and early mornings listening to alternative genres and upcoming artists in venues tucked away into the town. I want to be able to live in a place that is aesthetically stunning, culturally and musically breathtaking and one I know like the back of my hand.
If you haven’t already noticed by now- I really like Brighton.
Moving to Surrey from Bahrain was a bit of a culture shock to say the least. However, when my school friends decided to take me on a day trip to Brighton, I immediately fell in love. Now it is a favourite past time of mine to come and spend a day here, or a night out, falling more and more in love with this vibrant, beautiful and friendly city. Most popularly known as a seaside destination for southerners, Brighton becomes overflowing with people when warm rays of sunshine descend onto the town, turning every open space into a haven of acoustic sessions and cosy picnics.
On my most recent visit to Brighton, my boyfriend and I unexpectedly picked one of the most anticipated and busy events of the year in Brighton: Gay Pride. Oblivious to us, we descended the steps into the main streets where thousands of people gathered sipping cider and smoking vogues whilst jiggling in time to the sound of blaring music. Men and woman donned bright colours and glitter, amazing fancy dress costumes and wide grins in excited fever for the floats to pass the merging crowds. It was wonderful to see everyone so happy, so free, all in unison celebrating life and their sexuality. The feeling was contagious as we made our way to the seafront, spotting works of Banksy sprayed on the street walls and famous charities dancing with joy on the parade.
You pass The Royal Pavilion to get to the sea front, which is a stunning architectural dream. Built as a holiday home for King George IV, this historic house looks as if it would be more comfortable in India or Morocco, as its domed rooftops, intricate lattice designs and ornate windows stand elegantly on the horizon. But this building seems so fitting in the town of Brighton, it oozes the individual character that Brighton is so renowned for and puts to question: did the Pavilion influence Brighton to be what it is now, or did Brighton influence the Pavilion in its design? One will never know. Stroll around its manicured gardens or lavish rooms to immerse yourself into Brighton’s colourful history.
The Brighton Museum and Art Gallery is situated in the Royal Pavilion garden, which houses fantastic collections narrating the city’s heritage as well as exhibiting themes such as fashion, style, design and fine art. Other art galleries to check out are; the Prescription Art Gallery -which focuses on urban contemporary art where you will find pieces of Banksy and unusual edgy art, as well as No Walls, which challenges the conventional views of a contemporary art gallery focusing on the experience, rather than the profits.
Reaching the seaside front, Brighton resembles any other coastal town. Flashing signs for casinos and aquariums point one way and unlucky fish are being fried in deep batter on every corner. Bars and pubs jostle for attention and seagulls nosedive for your chips when your not looking. The pebbles on the beach are a disappointment, but striped deck chairs are a plenty. Wander among the pier to lick delicious ice cream and slot rusty pennies into arcade entertainment to hopefully win prizes, or ride creaky roller coasters that hang you upside down over the rolling waves. You’ll spot the occasional surfer or mad family taking a dip in the ocean- I wouldn’t advise it unless you have had a few too many drinks and can’t feel the cold.
What really makes the seaside town of Brighton unique are the historical quaint narrow Lanes which filter through the seafront into the main centre of the town. Rich in history, the lanes are filled with wonderful cake shops like Choccywoccydoodah that create bespoke inventions of art you can eat, glamorous jewellery shops and cosy traditional pubs. Head to The Laines for less tourists and more locals, immersing yourself into the true Brighton scene. Here, vintage shops are a dozen and are treasure chests of troves and delights, restaurants are independent and own run, whilst bars encourage merrymaking all times of the day and night with their sassy cocktails and original music. The North Laine near North Street is by far the best street. If wanting to peruse the shops for a bargain, my favourites are: Beyond Retro, Dirty Harry and Dig for Victory.
My favourite places to dine are generally all in this area. Head over to Harry Ramsdens for fish and chips, and Burgers Brothers for the most juicy burgers in Brighton. Pop into the The Tea Cosy for a spot of afternoon tea in an extravagantly decorated location, and Flour Pot Bakery for fresh home cooked bread straight from the oven. Brighton is a gem for vegetarian food and Iydea is no exception. Notoriously known for its inventive cooking that varies daily, head here for a hearty meal, or Silo, where waste has been eliminated thanks to its environmentally concious ethos and their ingredients are fresh and in season. For international delicacy’s head over to Curry Leaf Cafe where Indian pub grub is it speciality, or to La Choza for Mexican street food that is sure to make your mouth water and your stomach grow. Wanting a more upmarket meal? No problem, Brighton has everything you could possible want. Head over to the French restaurant Plateau for a vast wine list and where sharing dishes are a plenty, or to 64 degrees where sophistication and attention to detail go hand in hand- make sure you book in advance.
Brighton is largely known for its diverse night life and embracing gay scene. However, with Brighton being such a compact town filled with only a number of venues, competition is fierce. With over four hundred watering holes to choose from, Brighton has a rich variety in choice. Head over to the Twisted Lemon which is a firm favourite with locals, The Blue Man that has North African flavours or Riki Tik Bar, a Caribbean bar on the seafront that boasts an extensive rum list. The Northern Lights bar is Scandinavian and offers a homely feel with its twinkling fairy lights adorned outside and enthusiastic staff whom encourage you to down vodka with red herring- a Scandinavian speciality. Unfortunately many of the quirky independent music venues and clubs are being forced to shut down, being replaced by mass commercial chains- such as the case with Digital. Although there are a few venues still standing that truly encapsulates Brighton’s vibes, which are: Volks with its varied line up, The Green Door Store which is all about up and coming artists, The Prince Albert and The Haunt– an old converted cinema now used to host new music and club nights with a difference.
As you can tell, Brighton is a real gem and a must visit when in the country.