For those of you coming to Brighton for our conference, Prof Bobbie Farsides has produced this ‘Time Out’ guide just for you!
Time out in Brighton (and Hove)
If you have already looked at what to do and see in Brighton and Hove (as it is properly known) you will know that there is no shortage of websites from which to glean information. Brighton is known as the City by the Sea and has all that you need for urban living plus the sea and the surrounding Sussex Downs on our doorstep. If you have any association to Hove please forgive me for referring to Brighton from here on. Hove residents are rightly proud of their part of town which starts at the Peace Statue on the front. For reasons you must work out locals often refer to it as Hove Actually.
Brighton is a popular place to live. People born here tend to stay (if they can afford the housing costs) and university students find it hard to leave. In recent years lots of young families have migrated south from London attracted by the good state schools and slightly cheaper housing. If you want to know a bit more about the city and its residents you can get a pretty good local feel by looking at this website http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/category_idtxt__geog.aspx . Interestingly the neighbourhood I live in is not represented, so here is our local website http://www.roundhill.org.uk/main.php?sec=main&p=welcome which gives a pretty good sense of what it is like living in a mixed inner city area.
The parliamentary constituency of Brighton Pavilion has the country’s only Green MP Caroline Lucas and the City council is currently under Green control. The two universities make a substantial contribution to the local economy particularly though initiatives such as the University of Brighton’s CUPP scheme http://www.brighton.ac.uk/cupp/. Our local paper is the Argus which you can read on line at but please do not judge the average Brightonian by the comments made by some readers!
Parking is a nightmare in Brighton, expensive and difficult to find. However the NCP car park in North Road is very central and has a good deal after 5pm when you are allowed to park for £5.00 for the evening. There are lots of parking attendants patrolling the streets so don’t take any chances. Luckily public transport is good both to and around the city. http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/parking-and-travel/travel-transport-and-road-safety/buses-0
You can save money by avoiding walk up fares both on the trains which are run by http://www.southernrailway.com
You can order tickets on line and pick them up at your own local station. If you want to travel to London whilst in Brighton you can buy a Travelcard which includes buses and tubes and the Super Off Peak version is a bargain. Try and avoid travelling any distance before 9.00am
The local buses are very good but they are not cheap if you hop on and off paying as you go. It is well worth going to the bus company website and exploring their saver tickets which you can put on your smart phone or on a specially issued card. To get to and fro from the University you will need the 25 bus which luckily runs all day and night and is very frequent. If you have any bus related queries we will pass them on to our colleague Nina who is bus mad and whose picture appears on the side of one of the fleet. We should offer a prize if anyone manages to take a snap of Nina and family waving from the side of a double decker.
If public transport is not your thing there are lots of taxis. We tend to use this company as they hold the university accounts http://www.streamlinetaxis.org/. From a mobile phone call either 01273 747474 or 01273 204060.
The train from Brighton to Falmer is a very good option for getting from town to the conference and back as it drops you just by the University and takes just over ten minutes.
Luckily once in town everything is walkable.
You are most likely to want to hit the visitor spots during a short stay and there are no shortage of these, the most obvious being the seafront, with its two piers one of which is sadly a mere (and ever diminishing) skeleton of its former self http://tourism.brighton.co.uk/seafront/index.asp?url=Seafront . The Brighton Pier used to be known as the Palace Pier and you will find many locals stick with what they consider the ‘proper name’.
On a warm day the beach is packed with locals and day trippers from London long into the night. If you are lucky enough to encounter some sun (which has been rare this year) you can walk along the seafront boardwalk Eastwards towards Brighton Marina and on to Rottingdean on the undercliff path or westwards towards Hove Lagoon. It gets a lot quieter quite quickly in either direction. If you take the Hove route and fancy an ice cream Maroccos is a local favourite sometimes with long but surprisingly fast queues. http://www.marroccos.co.uk/.
Don’t leave without finding out why the Bandstand is a very special place for the conference organisers.
Wandering and maybe shopping
Having ‘done’ the sea front Brighton has two rather different areas known as Lanes or ‘Laines’ to explore. However before going to either it is worth at least walking past the Brighton Pavilion a fantastical royal palace built by the Prince Regent later George IV but now owned by the people of Brighton. I’m not going to put a picture as it is lovely to be surprised. It is well worth a visit and even a guided tour. I have been many times accompanying guests and have enjoyed it every time. For those with an interest in horticulture it is worth wandering though the surrounding gardens which have been replanted using the notes of the original gardener. Do not delay your garden visit until Saturday evening when the ‘Pav’ becomes a popular hangout for teenagers. To one side of the Pavilion is Brighton museum which is small but free and interesting with a nice little café. http://www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk/Museums/Pages/home.aspx
From the Pavilion you can easily pop over to The Lanes, an area of town famous for its tiny winding streets filled with jewellery shops, other independent vendors and a few carefully chosen high end chains. You will rarely see it as empty as the picture below but it is a good place to wander and only minutes from the seafront and Pavilion. There are many places to eat and drink within and around the Lanes.
I suspect many of you might really like the North Laine, a favorite area of the conference organizers and local students. It has a slightly bohemian feel and a good range of new and second hand shops http://www.northlaine.co.uk/ there are also lots of great places to sit and eat and drink or you can grab something to have on the move such as excellent falafel. It’s not a place for early birds, things start opening around 10.00am It is here you will find our local comic supplier Dave’s Comics www.davescomics.co.uk/ .
You really can shop till you drop in Brighton even if you don’t make it to the main Western Road and Churchill Centre where you will find the chain stores. For more information you can look at http://www.travellingshopaholic.com/a-locals-guide-to-shopping-in-brighton/
You can get a good sense of some of the niche retail at http://vintagebrighton.com
If eating is your thing you will be spoilt for choice and most tastes and budgets are catered for. There is a very large vegetarian cohort in the city and because of this you will be very well catered for if you prefer not to eat anything with a face. If you want a slap up vegetarian meal then book a table at Terre a Terre recently re-opened after a kitchen fire. http://terreaterre.co.uk/ For more day to day fare there are many good cafes and bistros, tapas bars and ethnic eateries. For a really swish curry book at Chilli Pickle http://www.thechillipickle.com/ . Fish eaters are also well catered for be it traditional fish and chips where I would recommend my local http://www.bardsleys-fishandchips.co.uk/ (off the tourist run but near the cinema I mention below and very good at what it does). we often take university visitors to The Regency on the seafront http://www.theregencyrestaurant.co.uk/ where they offer local style service in a prime tourist spot. There are posher fish options, the most established of which is English’s in the Lanes http://www.englishs.co.uk/, but they can be expensive. If you want good quality modern British food try any of the Gingerman group http://gingermanrestaurants.com/ . If you want to go out in a crowd and have a really good time eating Indonesian food and dancing in an improbable setting in the basement of a mansion block in Hove try the Bali Brasserie. These are rather random suggestions as there really is a lot of choice, so please do ask.
You can find out about what local people make of a vast range of eateries by looking at http://www.brighton-eating.com/ but if you would like a personal recommendation for any particular type of food please let me know and I’ll give you some tips.
Tea and coffee shops are in plentiful supply. Some favorites are Red Rooster and Metrodoco in Kemp Town, Coho, The Mock Turtle and …..in the Lanes, and in the North Lanes
Pubs are great meeting places especially since the smoking ban and they are often a good bet for a quick meal. When you visit Brighton will be in the middle of Ale Trail season. Keen beer drinkers acquire a passport and travel round the local hostelries sampling beers and collecting stamps, with stamps meaning prizes. Participating pubs will be working hard to ensure they have good local beer on tap. http://www.brightoncamra.org.uk/AleTrail.html
If you want to get out of the city centre it is only a short walk to the Hanover area which still has a local style pub on many street corners. http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page_id__5788.aspx it is also on the 25 or 23 bus route from the University. The Kemp Town area which starts to the East of the Pavilion and carries on towards the hospital along St James’s Street probably has the highest concentration of Gay Bars and clubs http://www.gaybrighton.com/ – check out The Bulldog for a classic old school Brighton Gay experience. St James’ street also some good pubs with reasonable food such as St James’ Tavern, Sidewinder and The Barley Mow.
If you like live performance, music and or dancing and can cope with late nights then you will be able to find a range of clubs, music venues and theatres. There are lots of listings websites e.g. http://whatson.brighton.co.uk/index.aspx
and you can usually pick up a copy of the listings magazine Latest as you come through the station. The Guardian newspaper Guide section on a Saturday will also tell you what is on. If you are wandering through the North Laine look at the gig list in the window of the amazing Resident Records and even better go in and buy something. http://www.resident-music.com/
We have two wonderful Picture House cinemas which show great films throughout the week, they each have a bar and serve great cake. http://www.picturehouses.co.uk/cinema/Duke_Of_Yorks/
If you opt for the Duke of York’s it is a large hundred year old cinema where you can even sit in a sofa on the balcony. The Dukes at Komedia is in the North Laine and is newer with excellent sound quality. There is also an Odeon in town and a Cineworld at the Marina if you need children’s films although the Duke of York’s has a kids club on Saturday morning.
Don’t forget to ask the student helpers about the club scene, they will know much more than me about where to go and when. If you do go clubbing be careful of your belongings, particularly mobile phones and sadly it is also wise to watch your drink.
For those who like a bit of exercise running is big round here. http://www.runbrighton.com/ the seafront is an obvious choice but if you prefer off road you can head for the South Downs directly from the University. There is also Stanmer Park ten minutes from the conference venue which would provide a great circuit for most abilities. If anyone would like specific advice on running routes or would like to join a run whilst in Brighton please feel free to contact Tom Farsides on firstname.lastname@example.org . If you prefer to walk you are similarly well served and can check out http://bahr.org.uk/.
There is a swimming pool in the centre of town The Prince Regents right next to the wonderful Jubilee Library (which has a decent selection of graphic novels).
There are also lots of places where you can drop in for a yoga class, zumba etc
We hope everyone will remain fit and well during their stay, and there will be a fair number of off duty doctors and medical students around the place. However, should you need it there is a drop in GP surgery by Brighton Station and Ashton’s is the late night pharmacy http://www.ashtonspharmacy.com/
Reading and Music
Finally, I always like to read a novel set in or around places I’m visiting. If you are tempted and have read the obvious ones then there are plenty more. http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page_id__9374_path__0p116p177p.aspx and once you arrive the Waterstone’s bookshop in town makes a point of promoting local authors and books set in and around Sussex. You could also pop in to the much loved Kemp Town book shop or City Books and help us support our local booksellers.
In terms of local music try Bat for Lashes, Nick Cave (Hove actually), The Maccabees, The Kooks, Fat Boy Slim, and if you have kids Rizzle Kicks.