London can be pretty intense, and when it all proves to be too much I whisk myself away to Brighton for some much needed sea air and whimsical amusements. It’s an absolute godsend that just a 50 minute train ride away we have the land of eco-warriors, creatives and far too
many sausage dogs – a relaxing bohemian paradise for any Londoner.
So you’ve just impulse- bought a ticket and you’re now on your way to the city where the Green Party rules. What are you going to do with yourself for the next ten hours? You won’t be able to see the sea immediately (which may cause some panic) so get your head together and grab some breakfast. I’d advise making a bolt for Grocer and Grain where you’ll find good coffee, fresh juices and some delectable homemade treats from their bakery. Once you’re suitably filled up it’s time to make your way through The Lanes…I hope you’re in the mood for shopping.
Brighton is a maze of winding streets and some of the better places are slightly off the beaten track. Try not to follow the pack when it comes to walking around, instead see where your instinct takes you as you may just find a hidden treasure trove. Talking of treasure troves, Snooper’s Paradise is exactly that with two floors of trinkets and objects to choose from. You genuinely need to allow yourself a couple of hours for flicking through records, contemplating knick-knacks and getting your mojo on in the Berlin-style photobooth. It can get a little crowded here though so if you’re not feeling it head round the corner to the North Lane Antiques and Flea Market for a smaller, slightly wonkier floored version. .
After all that hunting, you’re gonna really need the beach. Plus, you’re pretty hungry and it’s surely illegal not to eat fish & chips whilst you’re at the seaside. I like to get mine on the pier, ensuring that the donut/ice cream stands are in close proximity for dessert. After, it’s time to hit the arcades for nostalgic photos and to turn all those pounds into pennies, for no reason other than the fact you were brought up wasting your money in them. DON’T EVEN LOOK AT THE 10P ONES AS THEY ARE JUST WRONG IN EVERY WAY. If it’s sunny, the beach is obviously the perfect relaxation spot but if the wind is getting the better of you, it’s probably time to head back into town for more shopping.
One of the hidden gems I referred to earlier is independent gallery and design shop Unlimited Shop. This is the place for discovering new designers and getting your print fix and owner Sara is always up for a chat about her latest talents. Vintage letterpress shop Mr Magpie is another quirky treat that you won’t come by very often. Other shops definitely worth a visit are The Daily Edit, PS Books, Abode and Utility but ultimately you can’t go wrong with anywhere you go (unless you end up on the high street.)
If you’re staying for dinner I’d recommend industrial styled café Silo. As well as a wonderful food and drinks menu this very special place is the first zero-waste restaurant, so you can feel dead proud of your good deed by eating as much as possible and going for the set menu. Follow up with drinks at The Seven Stars where you can choose from a multitude of craft beers and an array of “ginfusions”. There’s no better way to end the day before heading back to reality and dreaming of your next visit.