Tuesday, 20 December 2011

A Festive Spin on the Brighton Wheel

And so this is Christmas (as John Lennon once said). Ok, well, so this is ‘nearly Christmas’ to be technically correct – but anyway it got us thinking about our top tip for an alternative thing to do in Brighton that doesn’t involve carols, shopping, grappling with the crowds or mince pies (much as we like carols, shopping and mince pies).

After a bit of heated discussion, we plumped for the rather stunning new(ish!) seafront landmark that is the Brighton Wheel – or the ‘Eye in the Sky’ or ‘Seaside Eye’ as its already affectionately known by some.

Enjoy panoramic views of Brighton's landmarks and coastline
With not a mince pie or bauble in site, the Brighton Wheel stands an impressive 50 metres above sea level and offers fantastic panoramic views of the city.

You can jump aboard a glass gondola pod for just £8 (£6.50 for children), where you can enjoy a stunning view of the city's landmarks & coastline, as you rotate not once but 3 times...(so if you miss anything you’ve got 2 more chances!)

Each gondola holds up to 6 adults and 2 children and is even licensed for weddings and civil ceremonies if you fancy getting hitched.

Brighton Wheel Opening Times
The Brighton Wheel is open 7 days a week from 10.00am - 11.00pm (boarding gates close at 10.45pm). So why not treat yourself to a festive spin this Christmas? The Brighton Wheel is open on Christmas Day from 11.00am - 6.00pm.

Of course, you can visit the wheel at any time of year – you can fnd out more at www.brightonwheel.com.

For more ideas on festive things to do check out our Christmas in Brighton section.

Merry Christmas from everyone at VisitBrighton. See you in 2012!


Monday, 12 December 2011

November's Flickr Winner!

Greeting Ladies and Gentlemen!
We have another fantastic Flickr winner! November’s ‘Love Film LoveBrighton’ competition had some stunning entries and we chose the winning image below because of the many film references within it. There’s Dirty Harry, Batman and a feel of the Goodfellas/Godfather-esque about it. We also love that this black and white image is of the North Laine and its vintage, second-hand shops.

The photo was taken by TBell0307 who has written about his image and his photographic inspiration:

I took this photo in the North Laine, Brighton which is one of my favourite places to photograph.

I am a big fan of street photography, taking it and looking at other peoples work. The North Laine is great for this as it has such a diverse range of shops and people. I like to spend a couple of hours there just photographing people going about there daily lives.

I have been into photography for about ten years now and use both film and digital. I love using black and white film and have even built my own dark room.

Our talented winner has won vouchers to spend at independent arts studio and shop LMNOP, as well as their beautiful 2012 Risograph Self Motivation Calendar. The calendar is a result of a competition for illustrations inspired by ‘Self Motivation’, with an aim to self motivate its users. It is colourful and creatively folded, and would make a wonderful addition to any Christmas stocking.

We hoped you’ve enjoyed this month’s competition winner, but remember that you can upload all your pictures of Brighton to be entered into December’s competition: ‘Love Christmas LoveBrighton’.

Peace out peeps


Friday, 9 December 2011

Shadi Danin

Wednesday night saw the launch of the newly refurbished and fantastic Shadi Danin Medi Spa in Hove (70 New Church Road). We are delighted that they have just become VisitBrighton Partners (Thanks to Jo Brooks PR for recommending us). As soon as I arrived I was ushered upstairs for a dreamy Thai Head and Shoulder massage in a spacious, candlelit room, very calm and peaceful. They do full body Thai massages as well which I hear are amazing too.

Then it was back downstairs to be shown the Japanese Taizen Bath (the only one in Europe). The bath is full of tiny stone ’SGE’ (Super Growth Energy) balls which are soaked in very hot water then drained. When heated these stones emit the same life-giving energy that we receive from sun and the earth. So we all rolled up our trousers and plunged our feet into the hot stones for 20 minutes, the result was amazing, I felt afterwards like I was walking on air; to immerse your whole body in this treatment must be heavenly! It is also very good for reducing body fat, reducing pain from injuries or other aches and pains as well as getting rid of all those nasty toxins.

Finally, much to my trepidation, I was persuaded to have an Obagi facial treatment (skin peal) unbeknownst to me being carried out in an upstairs room by a good friend!! Having stopped laughing nervously I faced the truth and went for it, stinging at first I thought ooooh noooo I don’t like this, but after a few minutes and some cooling lotion this subsided and my skin did feel amazingly smooth, a bit tingly but OK. Phew!

So, all in all Shadi Danin Medi Spa is a wonderful place, offering all kinds of treatments, one we didn’t try was the water tank that you run in (holding weights!) save that for another time!

For more information on all their treatments go to: www.shadidanin.com


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Vanessa Redgrave Joins 2012 Brighton Festival

And the Guest Director for the 2012 Brighton Festival is...drum roll please...Vanessa Redgrave!

Yes, the people at Brighton Festival have done it again. Following on from renowned sculptor Anish Kapoor in 2009, Brian Eno in 2010 and Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 2011, the legendary stage, screen and television actress and doyenne of the performing arts takes the Guest Artistic lead in this year's festivities.

A much loved and respected leading light of the acting world, Vanessa Redgrave rose to prominence in 1961 playing Rosalind in As You Like It with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Since then she has made more than 35 appearances on London's West End and Broadway and starred in more than 80 films. She is also a prominent political activist.

Keep your eyes peeled on the Brighton Festival website for special events featuring Vanessa Redgrave, plus the whole festival lineup.

Personally I can't wait - I'm especially looking forward to the new project from dreamthinkspeak - The Rest Is Silence - a textual and visual deconstruction of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Brighton Festival takes place every May conjuring up a spectacular medley of classical music, innovative theatre, contemporary dance, groundbreaking debates and striking visual art and film. This year's Festival will run from the 5 - 27 May 2012, alongside the Brighton Festival Fringe.

You can join the Festival on Facebook or follow them on Twitter for all the latest breaking news.

Or why not check out our Festivals in Brighton video for a taste of why Brighton is the place to be in May.



Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Coast to Coast

The city is well known as a haven for foodie fans so the arrival of a new restaurant or bar is always exciting, especially when you get both in the one venue!

Coast to Coast has recently opened at Brighton Marina and is an American restaurant & bar so we popped down to check it out. We were there for a cocktail masterclass and so we didn't sample any of the food although we did see some plates coming out and the smells were getting us salivating.

So when we arrived we headed straight to the bar area. Andy Pearson from the BBC's Saturday Kitchen has been involved and the end result is that this is a proper bar with comfortable booths creating a relaxed atmosphere. In a lot of restaurants the bar seems to have been added as an afterthought and so you just have a quick drink before going to your table, whereas here people are welcome to just pop in for a drink or stay and eat too.

While Coast to Coast is an American restaurant, Andy was keen to stress that this is not simply a gimmick but that every detail has been inspired by America and what Americans enjoy. Therefore you won't just find American brands behind the bar but international names that Americans enjoy drinking. However the most important thing he was anxious to get right was the quality of service. All staff have been rigorously trained in the art of mixology and can happily recommend drinks to customers so if you're not sure what you fancy they'll be able to help.

We had a great evening and will definitely be back again although I think next time I will have to treat myself to some food as well.


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Come along to Brighton's first ever Vintage and Retro clothes swap SWISH

Do you love vintage elegance and retro cool?

Then make a beeline for The Blind Tiger Club (formerly Hector’s House) on Grand Parade this Sunday 27th November at 12pm, where the lovely ladies of My Swish will be holding Brighton’s first ever vintage clothes swap!

Prospective Swishettes should bring 1-15 items of clothing, shoes or accessories to exchange for someone else’s pre-loved items. It’s a great way to grab unique pieces you can’t find on the high street. Wooden Hill Vintage will be showing swishettes how to combine vintage with High Street pieces to get the hottest looks of the season.

My Swish will be accepting items from periods up to the 1980s, as well as modern pieces that have a vintage or retro style.

Vintage teas from Roses All Over and goody bags are included in the ticket price of £5 in advance, £6 on the day.

The team here at LoveBrighton adore vintage finds and can't wait to swish and swap to our heart's content!

See www.myswish.co.uk for more details

Monday, 21 November 2011

Flickr Competition Winner!

At the end of October, we announced our very first LoveBrighton Flickr competition winner! The lovely MichelleBrighton took an enthralling picture of the seafront through a bus shelter, and had everyone in the office talking about it! Here she tells us a bit about herself and the image...

Siobhan :)

I was given a camera 6 months ago and since that point, it has travelled pretty much everywhere with me, I think my partner uses the word ‘obsessive’.

Brighton is a fantastic place to take photos. The range and character of the people, places and events means that there is always something interesting to capture. As I have been teaching myself photography this is great as it has given me plenty of scope to try out lots of different projects and ideas; extending from the more obvious shots of the nonetheless fantastic Pavilion, through to bloodthirsty, rampaging zombies!

Having said this, I particularly love the way having my camera with me makes me look more closely at the mundane everyday things and find their hidden interest, which is how I ended up taking the bus shelter picture. It was a gorgeous ‘Indian’ summer evening after work and I decided to take a stroll on the prom to catch a shot of the sunset with some local landmarks in the background. On the way to the pier, I noticed the graffiti writing in the dirt on the bus shelter window and liked the effect of the light from the setting sun behind it. I realised that I could get a picture of this with both the pier and the wheel in the background and I really liked the effect.

When I submitted the picture to the LoveBrighton group I had no idea that it would end up winning the competition, I was just enjoying going out and taking photos around my home town and having a place to share them. So when the notifying email arrived I was absolutely made up!

I’d like to thank the lovely people who run the Flickr group for prize and encourage anybody else out there who takes pictures around Brighton and wants to join in, to do so by joining the Flickr group and submitting to the pool… You never know, it could be you writing this blog next month!


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Some physics with your pint?

As Brighton was recently named the third geekiest city in the country it is no surprise that the Institute of Physics has decided to launch their latest campaign in Brighton.

The aim is to get people talking and thinking about gadgets and demonstrate how easy it is to take these technoligical wonders for granted, and the fact that physics plays a part in our everyday lives. As a bit of a geek I love the idea and will be keen to find out the answers to questions such as: "How many cassettes would you need to tape all the songs on a 32 GB MP3 player?"

Once you and your friends have argued over the possible answer you can find out the actual answer either by text message or by scanning the QR code. There is also a photo competition on Facebook and Twitter (@dotrythisathome) and the most imaginative photo (as judged by the IOP’s Physics in society team) posted wins a physics.org goody bag including a full set of beermats, Marvin & Milo book, and a few other freebies. The deadline for this is midnight on Sunday 11 December.


Friday, 11 November 2011

Royal Pavilion Ice Rink launch

Last night a couple of us were fortunate enough to attend the launch event for the Royal Pavilion Ice Rink. This is now the second year that the ice rink has been at the Royal Pavilion and it really does have a magical feel to it. The backdrop is of course stunning, particularly the way the building has been lit.

Plus if you are not an avid skater you can still visit the bar & restaurant and simply watch as others pirouette across the ice. But if you do want to skate it's all family friendly and there are even special penguin stabilisers, although I'm sure any unsteady adults could also use the penguins!

At last night's event aside from seeing the actual rink we were also treated to a sneak preview of Holiday on Ice. The 2012 show is called Tropicana and features music by the legendary Barry Manilow so I think it is safe to say that it is a tad camp...

Yes that's right that lady does have an orange on her head, where can I get one of those hats! As soon as I heard that the music was by Barry Manilow I was excited about the show but having seen this I am even more excited! Just so you can fully appreciate the outfits here is the professional shot taken by Andrew Hasson:

So whether you are a skating pro or a complete novice make sure you visit the ice rink which opens from tomorrow (12th November) until 22nd January. And Holiday on Ice - Tropicana: The Passion tour will be on at the Brighton Centre from the 13th - 29th January 2012.


Friday, 21 October 2011

Knitting – the new rock ‘n’ roll

The Hotel Pelirocco is a self proclaimed rock ‘n’ roll hotel. Described as a saucy stopover, guests can choose from nineteen themed rooms inspired by pop sub culture and maverick musicians. The playroom oozes sexy decadence, Betty’s boudoir pays homage to ‘50s pin up Betty Page and Pretty Vacant is a punk den with Sex Pistols’ influences.

Nestled among this hedonism is a new room with an unexpected theme - knitting. Traditionally conjuring up images of old women clicking needles and misshapen jumpers made by well-meaning mums, the Pelirocco banishes such old fashioned notions with this knit hit!

Photo credit Andy Nelson

Do Knit Disturb is crafted from floor to ceiling in woolly creations with a Brighton twist. Knitted seagulls hang from the ceiling and adorn the knitted stripy curtains. Pictures of woolly designs hang framed on the wall. Furnishings, including a bedside lamp and the telephone, have been given carefully crafted wool covers. The overall effect is far from fuddy duddy. Instead the room is guaranteed to raise a smile with its cheerful swipe at seaside décor all created out of 500 kilograms of yarn.

The designer behind the vivid room is Kate Jenkins of Cardigan, talented knitting and crochet artist. Kate spent a month transforming the Hotel Pelirocco room using her trademark style of bold patterns and fantastic lifelike items rendered in wool.

The VisitBrighton team took a peak at the new room yesterday. It is as cosy as to be expected of a room made of soft fluffy wool. Yet Do Knit Disturb also exudes a sassy tongue-in-cheek style, putting the fun into funky.

Any guests inspired by their surroundings can have a try at knitting from the comfort of their room, a set of needles and selection of wool balls is available on the dressing table.

Alix and Ruth - knit wits

We quickly decided to the leave knitting to the experts – it’s trickier than it looks!

For more themed rooms across the city have a look at:



Thursday, 20 October 2011

Brighton Early Music Festival

Brighton Early Music Festival (BREMF) kicks off at venues across the city on this Friday (21st October) and so the VisitBrighton blog guest spot is taken by Chloe Wennersten, a festival intern who has been getting involved behind the scenes as the final festival preparations take place. Chloe writes about her experiences at a rehearsal of the Festival’s own professional Orchestra, The BREMF Players.

The BREMF Players, directed by violinist Alison Bury and joined by soprano Julia Doyle, will be performing this Saturday 22nd October in St. George's Church, Brighton as part of the 2011 Brighton Early Music Festival. The first rehearsal for this eagerly anticipated concert took place yesterday in the beautiful setting of St. John's Church, Hampstead and, as one of this year's BREMF interns, I was fortunate enough to be involved in facilitating its smooth running. It was 9.30am: the biscuits, tea and coffee were at the ready, the music was out and the harpsichord was having its first tune of the day. We were ready for the orchestra! The musicians played and rehearsed with energy all day, no doubt helped by being bathed in the glorious autumnal sun that flowed through the church windows.

I had the opportunity to chat over lunch with the BREMF Players director, Alison Bury about the chosen programme for Saturday's concert. When asked what she was most looking forward to in the concert, she replied without hesitation that the orchestra was most excited about playing the Lully suite - she went on to explain that they rarely get to perform early French music such as this, yet it forms the basis of so much of what was to come in the 17th and 18th Centuries. To work with soprano Julia Doyle is also a privilege for Alison and the BREMF Players: "'Julia's vocal agility and flexibility make her the perfect singer for this programme. She makes the music dance." However, she went on to say that such a programme does present its own challenges when it comes to variety. To overcome this particular issue, Alison has included music that, even if not strictly for the dance, does have an incredible dance basis; "dance is one of the foundations of baroque music..." and the exploration of this is extremely satisfying for both musician and audience. St George’s Church in Kemp Town is the venue for Saturday's concert and that in itself is also something to look forward to. As Alison pointed out, although it is a 19th Century church, St George’s has an 18th Century feel and wonderful acoustics that are perfectly suited to dance music of the baroque.

The programme and vivacity and warmth evident in yesterday's rehearsal suggest that Saturday's concert is one not to be missed.

The BREMF Players perform at St George’s Church, St George’s Road, Kemp Town, Brighton on Saturday, 22nd October at 7.30pm. Brighton Early Music Festival runs until Sunday, 6th November, and includes 24 events covering 800 years of music, this year’s festival celebrates dance and its pervading influence on music over the centuries. For more information and tickets visit www.bremf.org.uk

By Chloe Wennersten

Images: BREMF Players wind: credit - Robert Piwko; Alison Bury: credit Lesley Aggar

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Yellowave's Indian Summer

Today we are going to hand over to a guest blogger - Katie Mintram, Director of the Nivea Sun Yellowave Beach Sports Centre to tell us about a fantastic inititive they have been involved with called Youthivate...

We’re contacted almost weekly by charities requesting money or support for their projects but unfortunately we can’t support them all as we put most of our efforts in to our own chosen charity ‘Passing It On’, who run the Super Heroes run on Brighton seafront.

However, back in August we were approached by a charity called Youthivate. Their project just seemed so real that it grabbed my attention. It was just two young women who were going out to some of the poorest areas in India to help youngsters play sport.

All they wanted were some balls so that kids could play volleyball. So we dug out a load of equipment including balls, a net, Yellowave T’shirts, hoodies, caps, score boards and a ball bag.

Just three weeks later we could see how the equipment was getting used. Lara and Hayley from Youthivate flew into Delhi and straight away they got to work. We were sent a simple photo of a street kid in Delhi playing with a Yellowave ball. It was so touching to see. These kids have such tough lives. Knocking a ball about was such a simple pleasure and a moments release from their daily deprived situation.

Lara and Hayley then travelled out to Tamil Nadu in Southern India. This tribal community suffer from severe poverty and don’t get to play much sport at all. In fact the girls in the school had NEVER had the opportunity. Youthivate’s aim was to remove some of these barriers and get the local children involved in sport, to help them improve their health and well being.

Straight away you could see what a benefit the equipment had been and most importantly how brilliant Lara and Hayley were with the kids. They clearly captivated the children’s attention. With just a few lessons they were able to play a mini tournament. The whole school came out to watch and cheer for their friends. In the final ‘The Green Stars’ took the first two sets and were crowned the champions!

What I loved about this project was that it was so instant and so simple – two enthusiastic women, 250 kids, a net and a few balls and so much positivity had come from it. Youthivate are continuing their work by travelling to other deprived areas to deliver all sorts of sport. Anyone who wants to check out their work can follow them at: www.youthivate.wordpress.com and check out the video here:

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Siobhan Says - Little Bay

I’ll be honest, I’m slightly biased. I visited the Little Bay Farringdon branch a few months ago and loved it (this was mainly due to the opera singer who put his leg up on my table and serenaded me whilst I ate my dinner), so I was extremely excited when I saw that Brighton would be getting its very own Little Bay branch.

I was even more excited when I booked a table for Saturday evening. The restaurant is fantastically decorated as a plush velveted theatre, with ornate neo-classical mouldings adorning booths which offer fantastic views of the pier and now the Brighton Wheel. The food is equally fantastic, with classics such as Moules Marinière, Shoulder of Lamb, Duck Breast and Salmon. Oh, and the chips, cooked in goose fat, are quite simply the crunchiest, tastiest chips you will ever eat.

The Little Bay restaurants are a popular London franchise, and really do offer fantastic value for money. My favourite aspect is that all starters are the same price. As are all mains, and so are the desserts. This means there is no guilt (or pride, depending on who’s buying you dinner) about ordering the most expensive thing on the menu. Everything is equal.

Along with reasonable prices, the house wine is delicious and the staff professional and friendly. The atmosphere is opulent but relaxed, and easily romantic with candles adorning every surface available. We were also entertained by a fantastic opera singer, who provided a background melody whilst also being funny but not intrusive.

The Little Bay truly is a restaurant for all events, be it a good value lunch, a romantic meal for two or for group parties. The only thing holding me back from recommending this restaurant is that I want it all to myself (and those who are buying me dinner!)

Check it out, and let us know what you think!

Siobhan :)

Friday, 7 October 2011

Friday treat

This lunchtime a couple of us were invited to a new restaurant in Brighton called The Coal Shed. The name comes from the fact that the food is all cooked in a special coal-fired oven which can reach incredible temperatures. The oven is very special and only a few restaurants in the UK use it including Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsey, this is the only restaurant in Sussex to have one.

To be honest I'm probably underselling the oven as cooking is not my forte but it did look impressive. So on to the food... while many people assume that everyone in Brighton must be a vegetarian, I am definitely not and do enjoy a piece of steak as a treat. Although I can honestly say that today's steak was in a league of it's own, very tender and packed full of flavour. While I would have happily eaten the meat just as it was but the Chimichurri sauce was recommended to us so we had to give it a try. The sauce was a mixture of herbs, garlic and chilli and was a perfect companion to the meat as it didn't overpower the flavours but simply enhanced them.

I'm started to worry that you will think all this sounds good to be true but I guess the only answer is for you to go and try it for yourselves! Oh but before I let you go and do that I should point out that the reason for the meat being so super scrummy is not just because of the style of cooking. Raz the owner painstakingly researched suppliers and only when he spoke to Garlic Wood Farm was he satisfied. Not only are they a local Sussex farm but they also breed Longhorn beef cows which the industry regard as the best.

Considering the restaurant only opened a couple of weeks ago it was great to see that it was almost full this lunchtime with lots of bookings for the rest of the weekend. I'm sure as the word spreads they will just get busier & busier.


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Love Photography Love Brighton

Greetings intrepid Brighton foragers!

Our brand new Flickr account LoveBrighton has launched this week! Our group offers the chance to share and see wonderful pictures of everyone’s favourite city by the sea.

Each month there’ll be competitions, offering the chance to win photography themed prizes, from canvas prints to photography master-classes. There will also be runners-up prizes of LoveBrighton merchandise!

Each month there is a theme to help give inspiration for photographs. October’s theme is Love India LoveBrighton. Other themes are listed on our Flickr page, alongside group discussions.

So if you’ve taken a great photo of Brighton in Brighton, share it in our LoveBrighton Flickr group today and spread the love!

See you soon!

Siobhan :)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

indian summer

My morning walk to work was pretty miserable. It rained. My shoes got wet. So wet I had to remove them when I arrived at the office. I’m going to be miserable, you might think. But no; for I knew I had a foot-warming exotic lunch to look forward to.

So, reapplying my feet to soggy shoes, I made my way to indian summer, looking forward to the promise of authentic Indian spices and curries just like mamaji (mother) used to make.

I’ll be honest, I love Indian food, and we all have our favourite local restaurant, with private booths, dim lighting and sounds of the sitar, so I did feel rather treasonous about dining at another. I was also dubious of eating a heavy curry for lunch (it’s surely a weekend treat, not a midweek staple).

I was however, pleasantly surprised. Warmly welcomed by owners Minesh and Byron, who started the restaurant in 2001, I soon learnt we were celebrating the restaurant’s 10th anniversary with a new menu in completely refurbished (trendy) surroundings.

The lunch menu (£10 for two courses – cheap for Brighton) was delicious. My starter of tomato & onion pakora was crispy and fresh, served with a cooling yogurt dip, and my main of Mamaji’s Chicken was delicious and light, with an undetectable mix of exotic flavours (it’s made to a secret recipe) and left me feeling comfortably full and warm – so much so, I completely forgot all about my squelchy shoes.

Looking at the restaurant’s menus, the food achieves exactly what it sets out to: simple, healthy, delicious dishes, inherited from generations of family cooking. Each dish is also listed with dietary requirements, so it is easy to see gluten, dairy and nut free as well as vegan dishes.

indian summer is a local gem, with friendly and knowledgeable staff, and has a whole host of events and offers throughout the year, so keep an eye their website. I’ll definitely be coming back, perhaps to try their Indian tapas.

Departing the restaurant I was greeted by a clear sky and a beaming sun, just like a true Indian Summer. See also our campaign for an Indian Summer, which celebrates, amongst many others, the anniversary of the India Gate.

Oh, and my feet are all dry :)

Happy eating,


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Brighton Art Fair

September seems to be challenging May to be become the month with the most events in it. The Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival and Brighton Digital Festival are still going strong and we've also had the Ace Cafe Reunion, National Speed Trials and Shakedown. But it's not over yet as this weekend it's the Brighton Art Fair (22-25 September).

The Art Fair is the biggest along the South Coast and it is always quite awe-inspiring seeing the Corn Exchange chock full of artistic talent. I appreciate that the art world can sometimes seem to be a little bit pretentious and high brow, however one of the main things I enjoy about the Art Fair is that it is so accessible. There is a wide range of art on display and while some of the pieces do have large price tags there is a lot of affordable work as well. Another bonus is the fact that the artists are there with their work to answer any questions.

There will be over 120 artists exhibiting and so to whet your appetite here are a couple you can look forward to: April Young

Ed Boxall

Sue Long

For more details go to: www.brightonartfair.co.uk, see you there!


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Brighton QR Treasure Hunt

This month a new festival is taking place in the city - the Brighton Digital Festival. Given the fact that we were recently named the third geekiest city in the country it's no surprise that we now have a geeky festival too!

There are a wide variety of events taking place including a QR Treasure Hunt around Brighton. For the non-geeks out there I will just quickly explain what a QR code is. They look a bit like a square barcode and anyone with a smart phone can download a free app which they can then use to scan the code. This then opens up a website, some text, contact details or anything along those lines. Here's one for you to try:

<span class=

So the clever people behind the Brighton Treasure Hunt Company and Sodaworks have decided to use these QR codes to give a 21st century twist to the traditional treasure hunt. Last week Siobhan and I were fortunate enough to join the test run. So once the teams were picked and we'd scared our poor team-mate Ben with our extreme competitiveness, we were off.

Each team was given a map with the 13 locations marked on it, then we had to hunt them down, scan the code and answer the question. Here's a tip: don't try and guess the answer to the questions you will need to follow the clues to find the answer (no one mention Quakergate!).

I've realised I need to be careful what photos I include as I don't want to give away where all the codes are but I think I can get away with this one...

Like all the best events this one ended in the pub where the winners were announced - sadly we didn't win but we were very gracious, not at all bitter and certainly didn't demand a recount ;)

Not having done a treasure hunt before and being a smartphone newbie I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. However being a tad on the geeky side I loved it, although I must try to stop squealing each time a QR code works! I think this has something for everyone as the geeks will like showing off with their phones, the quiz fans will enjoy the clues and it's also a great alternative way to view the city as it draws your attention to sights you would normally pass by.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone to try and as it's only £5 per person it's good value for money too.

For more information and to book your tickets go to http://qrtreasurehunt.co.uk.

So thank you to Marie and Georgie for letting us take part and well done on organising such a fun event:


Friday, 9 September 2011

Love Brighton! Love books!

I was an avid reader throughout childhood and immersed myself in many an adventure thanks to the turning of a page. Somehow work, family and Facebook ate into my reading time and finishing a book became a rarity.

In a bid to reclaim a link to literature, I joined a book club a few years ago (although I still sometimes fail to finish the books in time) and through my bibliophile friends I found out about City Reads.

City Reads is an annual city-wide project, revelling in the joy of reading and creating a shared experience for anyone wanting to take part.

Each year, the City Reads team chooses one book to be a focus of a month long series of events and reading outreach programmes. It’s a simple and brilliant idea. One book, one month, one community.

The chosen book for this year is The Long Song by Andrea Levy. During October, everyone in Brighton & Hove is urged to pick up a copy of the book and be part of City Reads 2011. The Long Song is written in the style of a memoir about life as a slave on a sugar plantation in Jamaica during the turbulent 1830s.

Levy deals with the harrowing nature of slavery without preaching. The story is surprisingly tender, life affirming and even funny in places. At the same time, Levy doesn’t shy away from the trauma of her subject matter. I was moved to tears by some turns of the tale. I’m not going to summarise the book. Just find a copy and read it for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

VisitBrighton supports the City Reads project and the team was proud to be invited to the launch event last night. The launch was held in The Old Market, a fabulous recently renovated venue in Hove. The Old Market is now a perfect space for cultural events and will be home to many of this year’s City Reads activities. Have a look at the Events Programme for more information.

Sarah Hutchings, City Reads Dierctor, at the launch event

The launch event brought together volunteers, sponsors, supporters and friends of the City Reads project in anticipation of the main events next month. As is proper for a celebration, there was cake. And what a cake! Emma Desbruslais and Dan Wilkinson of the The Rather Good Cake Company created a ginger sponge and sugar icing masterpiece which tasted as good as it looked.

Happy reading!


Thursday, 8 September 2011

Describe Brighton in 10 words

Sometimes one of our lovely Twitter follwers will get in touch to ask for some help, usually about things to do or where to eat etc. However today I was asked to describe Brighton in 10 words so I suggested:

cosmopolitan, vibrant, bohemian, quirky, fun, frivilous, liberated, creative, exotic & cultural

However I was intrigued to see what other people would come up with and so far we have had:
  • Seductive. In the more poetic sense, probably (@WorldofStephen)
  • Vibrant, Hilly, Fresh, Expensive, Cool, Diverse, Colourful, Arty, Buzzing and Welcoming (from @MaireMcSorley)
  • Cosmopolitan, city, steep hills, open minded, punky, night life, gay! (@sidney_vish)
  • Eclectic, inspiring, friendly, non-judgemental, cosmopolitan, vivacious, animated, unequalled, playful and irreverent (@tinathewife)
  • eclectic vibrant loud proud tasty and sunny! (@jezebeljinx)
  • Brighton and Hove allows you to be just you and all this by the splendid sea of the English Channel. (Of course we know @seas_it has gone over 10 words but it's so lovely we had to include it!)
  • Weird,Cool,Swaggerific,Hip Rock,Indie,Wild,Calm,Crazy,Lovely,Sickage!! (@F_is_4_Finisher)
I love the fact that we have all come up with different suggestions and there were only a couple of words which were repeated - cosmopolitan, vibrant, cool and eclectic.

Thanks to everyone who joined in, it certainly proved to be an interesting distraction for a Thursday afternoon and it's great to see that you all have your own reasons for loving Brighton!

If you don't alredy then follow us @Love_Brighton and tell us why you love Brighton, and Hove of course!


Friday, 19 August 2011

Sunsets at Devil's Dyke

We're enjoying a beautiful sunny day here in Brighton which means we should be in for another stunning sunset.

Of course many visitors will be sitting on the beach to watch the sun go down, but if you want to escape the city for a bit and sit on something a bit more comfy than our beloved pebbles, I suggest hopping on a bus to enjoy watching the sun set at Devil's Dyke.

People do sometimes forget that Brighton & Hove is not just a city by the sea, it is a city nestled in between the sea and the coutryside. Getting out into the country is easy as the number 77 goes from Brighton Pier, Churchill Square and Brighton Station and then breezes up to the Downs to enjoy watching the sun set and then catch the last bus back at 8.35pm NB The evening service will be available until 31st August and after that date the day service will change from daily to weekends only.

To get a flavour of the sights you see from the top of the bus you can download the podcast. For mroe details about the number 77 Downs bus go to: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/breezebuses or call 01273 292480.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Brighton vs Sydney

We had a rather odd press request yesterday asking us to compare Brighton with Sydney (don't ask!) so with our tongues firmly in our cheeks we decided to give it a go and this is what we came up with:

  1. Royal Pavilion vs Opera House
  2. Brighton Pier vs. Sydney Harbour Bridge (hey, that’s just a road really!)
  3. Sussex Sharks vs. sharks in the sea
  4. Mod fashion vs. “budgie smugglers”
  5. AMEX Stadium (brand new) vs. Olympic Stadium (12 years old)
  6. Brighton Best vs. Fosters
  7. Pebbles vs. sand (which is easier to clean from your toes?!)
  8. Hen & stags vs. Bruces and Sheilas
  9. Fish & Chips vs. A shrimp on the barbie
  10. Brighton Rock vs. Strictly Ballroom
What do you think? Are there are any others you would add to the list or have we completely lost it this time?


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

How times have changed...

Did you know that the Royal Pavilion & Brighton Museums team are on Flickr? There are loads of fantastic photos on there including some from the archives.

I particularly like this one of Gardner Street as it shows that the North Laine has flourished from a drab street into the vibrant, bustling shopping area it is today:

Gardner Street, Brighton, c1970
Gardner Street, circa 1970

Gardner Street, 2010


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Siobhan Says... The Next 24 Hours

Morning! I hope the head isn’t too achy from the night before, as we’re off to do an architectural tour of the city. Get those boots made for walking…

Brighton & Hove is famous for its Regency architecture; sweeping white crescents and grand open squares. We’ll start our tour of Georgian Brighton in Kemptown’s Lewes Crescent (right) and Sussex Square. I used to live here and will admit I am slightly biased, but this really is one of the most beautiful places in the city for architecture. In the centre lie the Kemptown Enclosures, private for residents with a key, so only a peek through the railings is available! Thomas Kemp, the designer of it all, lived in Lewes Crescent and an amble around the square and the crescent is a must, being a great place to play ‘Spot the Blue Plaque’.

We’ll then wander down to the Kemptown seafront on Marine Parade, perhaps stopping on the way for a coffee, a cake (I like cakes) and an antiques snoop in the Kemptown Trading Post & Coffee Shop. The view along the front shows Regency bay windows bumping along toward central Brighton, with unique designs such as the black tiles in Royal Crescent.

As we reach central Brighton, the Pier becomes visible as does the Old Steine, which leads us to the ultimate in Georgian luxury; the Royal Pavilion (left). Built for the Prince Regent between 1787 and 1823, this exotic pleasure palace is a must for any visitor to the city, and will lead our tour up to lunch time. We’ll then head to the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery for a cultural venture and a light lunch, or pop into one of the hundreds of cafes, restaurants and pubs in the city centre which offer fantastic food.

After lunch we’ll saunter back to the seafront and continue our tour toward Hove (actually), passing iconic architecture such as that of the Grand Hotel, before reaching Regency Square. Here we’ll admire the war cenotaph and pretend to be Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, who, along with her sister, tried to find a partner here, when it was used as a military camp from 1793. How romantic.

I digress. Next is Bedford Square, with houses painted an unusual light peach colour and exotic gardens. Further along still, we find Brunswick Square which also gives its name to a village of streets in this area between Brighton and Hove. Home to the grandest Palladian stretch of houses along the seafront, Brunswick Terrace and Square were built for the social elite from 1824, with central gardens well worth a visit.

We then take a final turn to the top end of Brunswick Square, turning left along Western Road to gain a fantastic view of Palmeira Square and Adelaide Crescent (right), opening in stunning white swathes of Georgian houses.

Have you had a wonderful 24 or 48 hours in Brighton & Hove? Do you have more ideas for your perfect weekend in Brighton? Share them with us!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Siobhan Says... The First 24 Hours

We couldn’t find a Simon, so I guess I’ll have to do. Here's my guide to the best 48 hours you will ever spend in the wonderful city-by-the-sea of Brighton & Hove; I hope it fits the bill!

Right, here goes… First thing’s first: everyone knows the reason why people come to Brighton is the beach. With over 648 billion pebbles, sandcastles are a no-no, but the beach is surprisingly comfortable, as evidenced by the 8 million tourists who lie on it each year. And I will admit to falling asleep, bonfires, barbeques and walking along it in storms. Spend as long as you like on the beach – all 48 hours if you feel like it – but definitely take a stroll on the pier.

The Brighton Pier is one of the beauties of Victorian engineering, with elegant ironwork all along the railings and benches. I’d definitely recommend changing a few quid and losing 2p after 2p in the penny arcades. There is a fun-fair at the end of the pier with dodgems, rollercoasters and haunted houses. For kids I’d go on the iconic helter skelter and for the more adventurous, perhaps the Turbo Coaster which leaves you dangling upside-down over the sea. Oh, and get a stick of Rock to take home!

After your pier escapades, fish and chips are a must, giving the true flavour of the seaside with lashings of salt and vinegar. Try the seafront with the Regency Restaurant or take a trip to the Lanes, through the narrow winding alleys full of jewellery shops (and great pubs) to find the Riddle & Finns. Easily my favourite restaurant in the whole of Brighton, this upmarket establishment will definitely satisfy the fishy taste buds.

A bit of bargain-hunting comes next with a trip to the North Laine and the many bohemian, antique and quirky clothing shops on offer to enjoy the constant cries of ‘I had one of those!’ Take time to really wind your way around these ladder of streets full of unique businesses. I think it might be time for a coffee and a cake at one of the numerous cafes, perhaps try Temptation, which really is tempting, or the FARM Market, where there is a quaint and cosy courtyard.

Still bursting with energy (of course you are!) you’ll then head off to Kemptown, ogling the Royal Pavilion as you go (don’t worry we’ll get there tomorrow), and take a walk up the flamboyant and bohemian high street that is St James’ Street, lined with small and independent businesses. Kemptown is Brighton’s gay quarter, and has great night-life with lively bars and great restaurants, and is where we’ll have our dinner at the Sawadee Thai restaurant. Yum.

Afterward let’s go for a boogie, if you’re not too knackered, along the seafront to Lola Lo, a lively night club offering great cocktails and sing-along club classics. If you feel like really singing along, a trip to karaoke haven Lucky Voice is in order, with private booths and waitress service, just make sure you’re ready for the cultural tour tomorrow!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Painting Pottery Cafe

One of the main benefits of working for VisitBrighton is that we get the opportunity to do things we might not otherwise think of doing.

Last night a few of us visited The Painting Pottery Cafe on North Road and to be honest before we went I was starting to wonder why I was going. I am not the most creative person and not particularly gifted when it comes to art & design, well unless you're impressed by stick men! But I thought I would go along and see what it's all about.

The Cafe is split over two floors, downstairs you can hire for private parties such as celebrations or team building sessions. This is also where they host workshops and where the potters wheels and kiln can be found. Upstairs is the cafe area where smaller groups or drop-ins can sit and get to work. We loved the fact that The Painting Pottery Cafe are working with Capers to provide drinks and snacks for their guests, which is a great example of local, independent businesses working together to benefit them and their customers.

But enough of that what about the actual painting... Well it's not all about pots and plates, there are a wide variety of items available to get arty with including coasters, teapots, mugs, plates and figurines. So if like myself you feel slightly daunted by the prospect of filling a large white plate with a beautiful picture or design you can opt for a model instead. So being a bit of a rock fan I was instantly drawn to the skull, which you can see below along with a picture of me pretending to know what I'm doing:

So once you've chosen your canvas and had a flick through some of the books & illustrations for inspiration it's time to actually pick up your brush and get stuck in. Once I'd got over my initial cautiousness and decided to just give it a go, I really enjoyed it. I'm not going to claim I've produced a masterpiece but then I don't think that's really the point. We all had a really enjoyable evening chatting and there was something very relaxing about doing the painting so that the time just seemed to fly by. To be honest most evenings I'll either watch the TV or sit on my computer so it was a welcome break to do something creative for a change.

Not only does painting pottery make for a fun and quirky night out it's also great for those on a budget. You just pay £5 studio cover so this includes the materials, the glazing etc and then you pay for whichever piece you choose to paint and as prices start from £3.50 you can have a fun night out for less than a tenner.

So here is the skull after I'd decided it was time to put my brush down:
This was how I left it last night, the skull will now be glazed and fired in the kiln ready for me to collect the finished article next week. So I will do another post then to show you how it turned out and I'll hopefully include pictures of some of my colleagues pieces as well as they were far more artistic than my effort!


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Family Friendly Brighton

A recent survey by Warburtons the bakers found that people wish they could spend more time with their family of course with the schools about to break up for the summer holidays they are about to get their wish!

While the thought of keeping the kids entertained for weeks can seem a daunting one a trip to Brighton & Hove will help ease the pressure. Of course family trips can be expensive but there are lots of free and good value for money things to do in the city, come rain or shine. Oh dear this is starting to sound like a press release! However having grown-up here I can honestly say there are lots of things to do, perhaps I should forget the spiel and just crack on with a few suggestions:

Fun for free:
  • Launch of British Beach Week with Chris Packham - Next week sees the start of the inaugural British Beach Week which celebrates everything coastal. And where better to launch it than Brighton!
  • Dinosaurs at Churchill Square - The Natural History Museums moving dinosaurs have arrived at Brighton's Churchill Square Shopping Centre.
  • Mr Watt, Grumpy Man of Metal - Hove Museum hosts Mr Watt and his many metal creations in this exhibition of metal pieces used to illustrate the popular books.
  • Pavilion Garden events - To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Pavilion Gardens Cafe there will be a range of free children's events through the summer including juggling, magic, storytelling and Punch & Judy.
  • Brighton Pier - This iconic attraction has free entry and free deckchairs plus lots of food & drink outlets, fairground attractions and arcades.
  • The Book Nook - The children's bookshop in Hove will be hosting a range of family friendly events over the summer including Superhero Day when there will be a prize for the best dressed superhero.

Admission payable:
  • Volks Railway - Britain's oldest electric railway is still running along Brighton beachfront and will take you from the Brighton Pier along to the Peter Pan play area or all the way to the Marina - and back again of course!
  • Brighton Toy & Model Museum - The museum has one of the largest collections of toys and models in the world, so take a step back to a simpler time when toys didn't need batteries to be cool!
  • Sea Life Brighton - Marvel as sharks and giant turtles glide above you as you walk through the underwater tunnel and why not take a ride on the glass-bottomed boat too. Money-saving tip - buy your tickets at the Visitor Information Centre rather than on the door as tickets are cheaper. Alternatively you could buy a combination ticket for the Sea Life and the Royal Pavilion.
  • Preston Manor - This charming manor house by Preston Park allows visitors to step back in time and experience life both upstairs and downstairs.
You can find more tips for planning a family break in Brighton on our website or by contacting the Visitor Information Centre.


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

This Morning in Brighton

No this isn't going to be a post about what I've been up to this morning!

On Monday 18th July the This Morning team are coming to Brighton and we're all invited to join them. Presenters Stacey Solomon and Brian Dowling will be on the beachfront by OhSo Social (down by the 'Kiss Wall') at 10am. They will be joined by comedian Dom Joly plus there will be music from the Overtones.

If that wasn't exciting enough the team are also on the look out for hunks in trunks - aren't we all? The winner on the day will then be put through to a grand final in Benidorm so if you would like to enter then please e-mail thismorning@itv.com by Friday 15th July.

So all in all there should be something there to cheer you up on a Monday morning!


Friday, 8 July 2011

Dinosaurs are alive in Brighton!

When I was younger one of my favourite days out was to the Natural History Museum (oh who am I kidding I still love it!) and of course the main reason for this was always the dinosaurs and I still feel a rush of excitement when I walk through the door and see Dippy the large cast of the Diplodicus.

However the trip that most sticks in my mind is the time they had a moving dinosaurs exhibition which featured an array of animatronic dinosaurs, so I was very excited to hear that these moving dinosaurs were coming to Brighton! And like most visitors to the city the dinosaurs headed straight for the shops... The exhibition is on now at the Churchill Square Shopping Centre and will be there until 4th September. I should of course point out that the exhibition is not on the same scale as the Natural History Museum becasue this is a smaller venue, however it is still well worth a visit and it does include the original bad boy - Tyrannosaurus Rex.

After visiting Churchill Square why not continue your dino themed day out with a visit to the Booth Museum of Natural History which includes a variety of dinosaur bones alongside a host of other natural history exhibits.

You could then round off your day with afternoon tea at the Hilton Brighton Metropole as while there are no dinosaurs in sight the building was designed by the same architect as the Natural History Museum - how's that for a link?!

L - Natural History Museum R - Hilton Brighton Metropole
I'm sure you all knew that anyway but thought I should clarify just in case!


Thursday, 30 June 2011

Game of Love – "I do" in white and blue!

The Seagulls’ new home is nearing completion! On the edge of the city, nestled snugly into the Downs, is the shiny 22,500 seat AMEX Community Stadium. Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club now has a modern, stylish and huge new ground – this is a football stadium for the Twenty First century. It’s also an impressive facility for concerts, conferences and events, such as weddings.

The stadium is the latest venue in the city to be licensed for weddings and civil partnerships. The first ceremony takes place in less than a fortnight. So this week the Brighton and Hove Register Office team was invited to take a tour and find out how the happy couples will be catered for Albion-style.

The city has a range of fabulous ceremony venues, including quite a few with eccentric character, like the Sea Life Centre and the Brighton Pier. The stadium adds to the list of quality quirky places to tie the knot.

Two of us on the VisitBrighton team are also registrars. Ruth and I joined with our ceremony colleagues for the trip to the stadium. On arrival we were led into the home stand, through spacious corridors, to make our way to the pitch. First impressions are “Wow!”
Looking good - the view from the stands

Everyone dashed to the edge of the lush green pitch to look around at the smart stands with seagull motif. For added comfort, all seats are cushioned with the same padding as the VIP seats at the Olympic stadium.
My friend Ruth testing one of Albion team seats - very comfy!

There is an emphasis on community and making the fans feel at home. Local artwork will be featured throughout the public spaces. A photo montage has been created using pictures sent in by Albion supporters and is on display in the public bar. From a distance the image is a player looking at the new stadium and close up you can clearly see the individual photos.

This picture captures the essence of the new stadium - attention to detail, pride in the football community and a sense of there being more to see than first meets the eye.

Indeed, the pitch may be the focus for the game but there is so much more going on at the stadium. Inside, we were first shown the eight rooms licensed for ceremonies, some overlooking the pitch and others looking out to the Downs. The latest furnishing and technology has been fitted throughout the building, it oozes style.

This room accommodates 500 guests - can you hear me at the back?

We also wandered through a labyrinth of corridors passing by a wide range of rooms for all occasions - massage rooms, laundry, media area (complete with computer banks and private bar), kit area, dope testing, ice baths and private viewing boxes to name but a few.

Brighton and Hove Registrars (not footballers)

And finally we stopped for a rest in the Albion players’ changing room. The registrar team couldn’t resist posing for a photo.

Rather overwhelmed, we exited the stadium into the evening sunshine. There’s no doubt the Seagulls have truly built a beautiful home for the beautiful game.