Monday, 2 June 2008

Visit Hove actually!

Well as today is a grey Monday and I'm back at work after a week off so have a load of e-mails to go through, I thought I would have a break to write a blog post, and I noticed that Sarah has added a new category - Brighton Hidden Gems as a lot of people coming to Brighton go straight to the beach and miss a lot of the city, therefore I have decided to write to you about Hove.

I live in Hove, but it was only walking around the area with one of the press trips last month that made me realise just how much there is to see in the area. I took the group to see some of the Artist Open Houses (don't worry if you missed seeing them this May, as they'll be open again in December) and the journalists were impressed by the large Victorian houses, and surprised by the lovely big gardens some of them had, this includes the charming Claremont hotel. During a visit to the Happy House the journalists admired some of the photographs taken of the beach huts during our freak snow storm a couple of months ago, so much so that they insisted I take them to see the huts for themselves, which was fine by me as apart from seeing the colourful huts, the lovely wide promenade is also a great vantage point for admiring the Regency architecture of Adelaide Crescent and Brunswick Square.

And if you are into architecture then you must include a tour of Embassy Court. At the moment it is mainly only locals who go on the tours to have a nose around this notorious building, as for a while it was known for being a blot on the landscape, but now it has been lovingly restored to its former glory and is a superb example of the art deco movement. Former residents included Laurence Olivier and Keith Waterhouse, and the sun terrace gives fabulous views across the city, although in its hey-day it was a tequila bar and I think they should seriously consider reinstating it :)

Apart from the architecture, Hove is starting to dominate as the place for food fans to visit. Whether it's to shop at the Champagne boutique Toast or to sample some fine dining at Riddle & Finns, The Arrogant Frog or L'Eglise. Although I must just give a special mention to Graze as we visited this restaurant during the press trip, and I thoroughly enjoyed it as the d├ęcor is very stylish and there is a warm and welcoming atmosphere. As for the food, the restaurant has developed it's own grazing menu where they recommend you select three dishes which are all starter size. There are three categories – Seafood, Meat and Vegetarian (but don't feel you have to have one of each) And as someone who sometimes struggles to finish a main course, I really enjoyed it as although you are eating as least as much, because it is spread over three courses it is easier to manage and you get to try more things. Sadly we didn't have time to sample the desserts so I guess I'll just have to go back again :)

Oh and I nearly forgot to mention the Hove Museum and Art Gallery, which is certainly worth a look as outside there is an Indian Gate - The Jaipur Gate and inside there is the Wizard's attic for children as well the history of film including footage from the 1890s and 1900.

Just before I leave you, I should say thanks to Sarah for the images apart from the Embassy Court one, which is courtesy of Roger Bamber

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