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5 Alternative things to do in Brighton

BY Owen Scott

22nd Aug 2023 Places To Visit

5 Alternative things to do in Brighton

Brighton is one of the most unconventional cities in the UK. Here are five of the best, alternative places to go in Brighton

Brighton is one of the most delightfully unconventional cities in the UK. When you walk down the street, people pass you by in colourful outfits and you’ll see some of the most interesting and exciting bars and cafes in the UK.

It’s an ideal place for an end-of-summer weekend and we’ve compiled a list of the best alternative things to do in Brighton.

1. Go to one of the city's quirky bars

CocktailBrighton has a wide range of bars, each with their own quirks. Credit: MaximFesenko

Whatever you’re in Brighton for, checking out the quirky bars is a must-do while you’re there. There’s a bar for everyone. If you’re a jazz fan, there’s a bar for you. If you’re an indie fan, you’ve struck gold.

The place to start is the Twisted Lemon’s cocktail hour, which you’ll find hidden down a little passage on Middle Street. Though the bar itself is small, the menu is not, with pages and pages of award-winning cocktails. There’s an intimate atmosphere that makes it a great place for conversation over some drinks.

From there, head to the Hobgoblin for a more lively atmosphere. The Hobgoblin is somewhat of a local institution and pub home to an exciting, arty crowd. Their beer garden is a great place to relax, if you’re visiting on a hot day.

There are bars everywhere you look in Brighton, so don’t limit yourself to just these two. 

2. Find a bargain in the North Laine

North LaneThe spelling of "Laine", in "North Laine" comes from a Sussex dialect. Credit: Antiquary

Any Brighton local could talk to you endlessly about the North Laine. The capital of alternative life in Brighton (in the same way as Shoreditch in London), the Laines are home to some of the best thrift shops in the city. Check out Starfish and Mammoth for some great vintage outfits.

"The true gem of the North Laine is Snoopers Paradise"

The true gem of the North Laine, however, is Snoopers Paradise. Snoopers Paradise is a flea-market with over 90 unique sellers, selling everything from shoes to beautiful Tiffany lamps. It’s almost impossible to walk out without buying something or without having spent an hour in there.

3. Explore Kemptown

KemptownKemptown is famous for its links to the LGBTQIA+ community. Credit: Dominic Alves

Known for its links to the LGBTQIA+ community, Kemptown has a strong community feel. If you’re looking to experience the “bohemian” atmosphere Brighton is famous for, without the hustle-and-bustle of the North Laine, Kemptown is the place.

Locally-owned coffee shops, bars and bookshops line its streets. The aptly named Kemptown Bookshop is a great place to find any book you need in a quiet, friendly shop. Café Rust is a great coffee shop to visit, if you’d like to read your book surrounded by some William Morris antiques.

"If you’re looking to experience the “bohemian” atmosphere Brighton is famous for, without the hustle-and-bustle of the North Laine, Kemptown is the place"

At night the area is livelier though, with a range of famous gay bars and independent pubs. Timeout describes Kemptown as much of a "must for outdoorsy types as it is for clubbers", so there really is something for everyone in this quirky corner of Brighton.

4. Visit the Sea Lanes

Brighton pierWhile the weather can make the sea unsafe, the beach is open all year. Credit: mg7

If you’re already in Kemptown, head down to the Sea Lanes by the beach. The Sea Lanes are a newly converted area, with a six-lane swimming pool by the sea. It’s a great place to take children or go for a swim yourself in the sun. The idea of the pool is to allow people to swim at all times of the year, as, sometimes, weather conditions can mean the sea is too unsafe to swim in.

After you finish, there is a bar you can relax in and there are yoga lessons available too. The Lanes are great for a relaxed day by the beach, whatever the weather so be sure not to miss them.

5. Find a bargain at the Open Market

The Open Market is another Brighton staple, starting at another site in 1919 and then moving to its current one in 1926.

The market is home to a range of stalls selling some of the best food in Brighton. One highlight is Smorl’s Houmous, which is centred around (as the name implies) houmous.

"Smorl's houmous may be the “best houmous you’ll ever eat”"

This family business uses local ingredients to create houmous that it feels is the “best houmous you’ll ever eat” and given how many shops stock their houmous, this boast just might be true.

The market has a range of antique shops and clothes shops too, so, once you’ve had your houmous you can find something stylish to wear or a piece of history to put in your house.

Banner credit: Brighton (wirestock)

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