Brighton is one of my top three favourite cities in the UK. It has everything a city should have, from the marina, to the pier, to the city centre and not only that it’s situated right by the sea.
The first time I ever went to Brighton was with work 19 years ago where we arrived into the city by train. I was extremely hungover from the previous night out in London with my boss, who totally led me astray, so the one-hour journey from London to Brighton was a bit of a blur.
We got a cab from the station and headed to North Laine where the meeting was. The first thing I noticed was the colour of the shops and houses from pink, yellow, blue, green, name a rainbow colour and there it was. It was a bit too bright for me with a headache from hell and no sleep but I immediately felt at home. My virgin experience of Brighton, 19 years ago, was,
‘I love this city.’
When one of my best friends moved to Brighton a few years ago I found myself heading down there on numerous occasions and each time I visited I found myself experiencing new things and new adventures.
Let me take you on a Brighton tour Define-Style; starting with The Marina.
I love the Marina and it is one of my favourite places to eat and drink. I’ve been there in all seasons and my favourite bar/restaurant is happily perched right on the marina called The Master Mariner. In the summer you can sit outside, overlooking the water, watching the world go by and in the winter they have log fires on, live music and wonderful food. It is definitely worth a visit.
It also has a function room upstairs for hire. I only know this as when I visited Brighton in August 2015 we gate crashed a wedding. I will never forget that night. Flying through the doors right in the middle of the bride’s father’s speech. The speech came to a halt, all eyes on us, but like a professional the father carried on with his speech whilst we pretended we were part of the wedding party to the point we even signed the wedding guest book wishing the bride and groom, who we didn’t know, all the best in their marriage.
Moving down the coast from the Marina is my favourite part of Brighton, Kemptown which is divided into Kemptown Village and Kemptown.
Kemptown village is very exclusive with small delis, quirky coffee shops, beautiful restaurants and sensational bars. I would recommend The Bristol which is overlooking the Brighton beach and is reasonably priced for drinks and food. The other place I would recommend for food and drink is The Thomas Kemp which is in the village prior to entering the town.
There are too many restaurants and bars to mention and it's impossible to visit them all, unless you're a local. You don't even need to eat or drink here, it's just a fabulous place to walk through. Very sassy and very classy.
Seeing is believing when you head out the village and into Kemptown itself. I have never in my life seen such diverse people and people watching is essential here. If you want a fabulous, diverse night out then don’t go anywhere except The Zone. I’ve been there twice now and had two of the funniest nights of my life on both occasions.
The first time I went to The Zone was in October 2016 and there was a private party going on. One which we were not invited to, hence the word 'private' but attended nevertheless.
Note on the door, ‘Private Party, guests only.’ Ignored the note and we all marched in. I bought the birthday girl a drink, gave her a cuddle and she let us all stay. Why I will never know as we caused absolute carnage and I think we were asked to leave in the end. We probably ruined her birthday. However, that aside it was a really great night, live singers and fabulous people.
The Zone has now been taken over by new management and this time (February 2018) we were allowed in where we witnessed the performance of the absolutely fabulous Sally Vate. She was live on stage in all her glory…drag queen extraordinaire and downing more free shots and drinks to the point that even I was impressed, but yet she still managed to stand up in his/her six inch heels and sing for three hours. If you are up for diversity and fun, then The Zone is for you.
For a night out, I would not go anywhere else except Kemptown. It has so much to offer.
Moving along from Kemptown, let's go to The Brighton Pier. What can I say? Plenty as always.
I’ve been here mostly when I’ve been with my daughter because she loves it. I’m a bit scared as it is quite high (for me) and above swirling seawater. Even writing this makes me panic. Also, don’t do what I did and wear high heels as the boardwalk has gaps in it and one time I got my high heels stuck in the gap and yes I shouldn’t be wearing heels on a pier, never mind a beach, but I did.
I think we paid £20.00 and my daughter got a wrist band which enabled her to go on as many rides as she wanted for the day. It is great for kids and adults too if you like rides. I can’t stand them although my daughter did make me go on the Waltzers. Never again... like ever. The edge of the Waltzers is right over the sea and I had visions of the carriage flying off the track and us spinning into the sea. I closed my eyes the whole time whilst praying the ride would end.
However, for all of you thrill seekers who enjoy rides, fresh doughtnuts, candy floss and junk food galore; look no further than the pier.
When you exit the pier, if you go down some steps it takes you to the Brighton Promenade. The Brighton Prom, Prom, Prom is like no other. It has unique small shops, art, bars and restaurants. The promenade stretches majestically along the Brighton beach and is colourful and eclectic with so much to do, (sorry had to use that word eclectic hahaha).
I have visited the Pier then sat on the Promenade and gone nowhere else. This is obviously if it's sunny and especially if I've had to spend all afternoon on the pier watching my daughter going on rides and making sure I waved at her every time she went round...and round...and round. It's hard work being me so my suggestion is you charge straight down the steps from the Pier to the Promenade and into the nearest bar for a cocktail.
Don't feel guilty either as there are rides and entertainment for the children all along the promenade too. Waving to your child going round...and round...and round on rides is so much easier with a cocktail in your hand.
The Brighton I360
I was lucky enough to be treated to this by my friend and it is definitely worth the experience. It is run and owned by British Airways and on arrival you go through Passport Control, I love Passport Control. 'Frisk me down Captain.'
There is a stunning bar and restaurant in the lobby of the I360 if you need a pre-flight drink or some food. It is basically like the London Eye and thankfully moves slowly but also goes very high. I do not like heights so found it really scary and had to sit down a lot, vertigo issues, but the views are amazing.
Be warned though, once through Passport Control. you get your picture taken prior to going on the I360 and then once you come off it they try and tempt you for £20.00 extra to buy the pictures, key rings, mugs etc. Overpriced nonsense.
I don’t normally do this on reviews but here is the video of my experience on the I360.
The city of course has everything every city has, bars, restaurants, high street shops etc but what every city doesn’t have is The Laines.
The Laines is basically what the name suggests, a small maze of lanes (spelt Laines in La Brighton) with boutique shops, art galleries, restaurants and of course the infamous Choccy Woccy Doodah. I do not like chocolate but if you do this place is fabulous even for a chocolate hater, like me. That is if you can get in, as every time I've been it’s is packed and you may know, I cannot stand crowded places; so crowded places and chocolate in one place is hell on earth.
My favourite place in the city and The Laines is North Laine. If I was going to suggest any place to go in the Brighton city it would be North Laine. See beginning of review. It is simply, cool as.
There are so many places to stay in Brighton it’s impossible to say so I can only go on my own experience. I went to Brighton in October 2016 and we stayed in a place called the Court Craven in Kemptown. Unfortunately, due to bad behaviour from me and the guy I was with, they wouldn’t let me stay there this time; or ever again actually. I didn't think we were that bad, but then again, I never do.
However, I will say, despite this, it is a really quirky hotel, reasonably priced and close to all amenities and I do fully recommend just don't say me or him recommended it as they won't let you stay. Oops.
This time, I found myself booked into at a hotel, once again in Kemptown, called Gulliver’s Art Hotel situated on Devonshire Place. It was a perfect location, literally 50 metres from the beach, clean, friendly and warm. I cannot tell you the cost as this time, for once, I didn’t pay.
So, there you have it.
Brighton is now truly Defined.
I like to end with a song so this is my song choice for this review.
It has many memories but particularly relates to a time in Brighton back in August 2015 with balconies involved, laughing so much we were crying, dancing 1980's style, spinning each other around so quickly that ornaments broke and music so loud the vibration knocked all the shelves over.
Now get yourselves to Brighton, take my guide with you and enjoy.