Travel Directory: Brighton
I’m back from my most recent travels to the UK and Denmark, which was primarily to see my old flat mate / most favourite Ginge get married in England. But when one needs to travel such a long way, it only makes sense to make a trip out of it. I hadn’t been back to visit the United Kingdom and Europe since my medical elective four years ago but I have such fond memories of turning London into my temporary home for 2 months and zipping to and fro to other cities and countries every chance I could get.
To allow me to continue reminiscing on my latest trip and share with you my highlights and little gems from each place, I give you my travel directories. First up is Brighton.
Food and drink
The Flour Pot Bakery
40 Sydney Street,
Brighton BN1 4EP
There are a few different locations to get your Flour Pot Bakery fix in the greater Brighton area, but its central, North Laines location is a great place to start the day with one of their artisanal carbs (in my case this beautifully flakey almond croissant) and a cup of coffee.
Don’t get me started on coffee in the U.K. Simply put, it just doesn’t taste like one from New Zealand. I don’t know why, but it won’t ever taste like the coffee of home, and you are just going to have to accept it (or drink no coffee all holiday). But yes, quality baking if that’s what you’re after.
17 Kensington Gardens,
Brighton BN1 4AL
Brighton is the home of hippies, vegetarians and vegans, and I’m not generalising. So if you are either of the latter, or thinking of exploring a meat-free and/or vegan lifestyle, Brighton is the place to do it. There are a number of vegetarian/vegan cafes and eateries situated throughout the North Laines. Iydea provides some generous and hearty versions of an English fry-up for breakfast and transitions to various hot lunch options later in the day.
Terre a Terre
71 East Street
Brighton BN1 1HQ
Terre a Terre has been serving up gourmet vegetarian food longer than I’ve been alive. And if you’ve ever wanted to experience vegetarian cuisine that is less salad and more indulgence, book yourself a table at Terre a Terre. Whilst the choice of names of the dishes are questionable (I ordered the ‘Sneaky Peking Steamers’), the food is tasty and generous. House-made guo bao were wrapped around Szechuan pepper marinated haloumi, pickled ginger, spring onion and bok choy with a chilli miso sauce. The chewiness of the guo bao contrasted with the meatiness of the haloumi and the bite of bok choy was a textural joy, and the flight of fermented veggies that accompanied it (lapsang souchong pickled watermelon and cucumber and kimchi) was a grazer’s delight. If you’re feeling hungry, or dining with someone prepared to help you finish your dinner to make room for dessert, they have a set menu for £34.50.
Wolfies of Hove
Even though it looks sort of close on the map, the bus ride to Hove will set you back at least half an hour from central Brighton. But situated near the Hove train station is Wolfies of Hove, an excellent quintessentially British fish and chip shop. Although they’re not as cheap as chips (hah, pun!) their hand cut chips and fresh, battered fish is a good way to enjoy this Blighty specialty. Drowning your fish and chips in vinegar is not a habit I understood, or adopted, until visiting Wolfies. But English malt-vinegar is something else entirely. I must have come across as extremely possessive, snatching back the communal bottle of malt-vinegar any time it strayed to far away from my pile of chips.
Other places to try fish and chips: Lucky Beach Cafe
Brighton Palace Pier
Brighton BN2 1TW
A modern reworking of the O.G. boardwalk cum amusement park that first inspired my desire to visit Brighton. It will be about as tacky and glorious as you can imagine. Is carnival food what you’re after? Step right up. They have free sun-loungers you can pull up to sunbathe on and watch the town go by. And if you find yourself in Brighton on a fine day, this is the place to watch the sun go down.
Hove Lawns / beach huts
Hove BN3 2PE
You haven’t been to Brighton until you’ve taken a picture in front of one of their many colourful buildings. Most famous of these, are the beach huts situated in front of the Hove Lawns.
Other colourful attractions: North Laines, Blaker Street
4/5 Pavilion Buildings
Brighton BN1 1EE
Hold your reservations until after you have visited the Royal Pavilion. As someone with a limited attention span for history, particularly when it relates to royalty, I was surprised by how enthralled I was by this palace. But that is probably because this is like, the Moulin Rouge of British royal palaces. Built by King George IV as his seaside-resort, the Royal Pavilion is accurately described as a pleasure dome, opulently decorated and designed with the Far East in mind. Cultural appropriation? Totally. Do I care? Not really. One of my favourite parts of the palace is staring up at the magnificent dragon-inspired roof in the banquet hall. The outside architecture is even stranger, drawing on India in its large domes and turrets. On a nice day the gardens surrounding the Royal Pavilion are a lovely place to walk around and have lunch in, if there aren’t too many school children running about.
Other things to see / do while at the Royal Pavilion: Pavilion Gardens, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, India Gate, Brighton Dome.
Brighton West Pier
Brighton BN1 2FL
I love staring at the eerie shadow of the old West Pier as it looms out of the sea. Sunny day, at sunset, even a gloomy day, the remaining carcass of the West Pier was one of my favourite things in Brighton. This was my prime motivation for visiting Brighton several years ago, and I’m sorry to say I wasn’t able to see it in its former glory before it was engulfed in a fire in 2013. Find yourself a spot on the beach or a sun lounger on the new pier and prepare to stare.
If you like twee design stores, independent boutiques and vintage clothing, with a healthy dose of street art interspersed, your first stop should be the North Laine area of Brighton.
The more high street shopping district that lies a little closer to the water than North Laine. There are plenty of shops, most of the buses you need to get anywhere run through here, and of course there are plenty of places to eat nearby.
A note: all photos featured have been taken by myself on my iPhone or my Minolta-X300 SLR on real film.