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: 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!