I have a worrying fascination for old fashioned ironmongers - 'er, that's the shops, not the people! I'm not quite sure what it is about them as I'll never get around to using 99% of what they stock. I rather think it's the huge variety of shiny things on display. Compartmentalized and intriguing like some mysterious, chocolate stuffed advent calendar there are plenty of items you might never have seen before or even believed existed. In most peoples' everyday lives one seldom gets the chance to study an impressive array of brass letterboxes of porcelain doorknobs - well, a postman does, but only one at a time.
This is definitely the shop to visit when you are suffering from one of those "If only I had a ...." moments. You can fill in the gap yourselves but this might include - doorstop, decent lock, spare key, bulb for my torch, stencil paintbrush, a brass number 3 etc
This is the shop where overheard conversations often begin, "Have you got one of those things that slips under that bit that sticks out from underneath those funny..." You get my drift? Luckily there are plenty of knowledgable staff on hand to help you put into words exactly what it is you might be after.
Shop opening times.
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m to 5:30 pm
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
What to buy: One of those things that slips under...
What to pay: Pence to pounds.
Completely forgetting the dirty-mac attitude favoured in men’s naughty shops, Tickled sells sexy objects for ladies in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere without a shred of embarrassment. Handy for that quirkier Valentines gift or grab a fun prezzie for a girlfriend's birthday.
Such favourites as 'Wingless Vibaraing Eggs' (?!) and 'Pocket Rocket' (snigger ) - a visit to this little shop can be a good tonic in itself. ; )
What to buy: Ermm It's entirely a personal thing ; )
They also have a pretty collection of pretty make-up and travel bags.
What to pay: £3 and up.
Celebrating 60 years in business since their shop opened in 1948, Audrey's are renowned in Brighton and Hove for making the finest traditional handmade chocolates. Their speciality is fondant creams - I quote 'Traditional English Rose and Violets Creams are hand made in our kitchen to traditional recipes using the finest fondants, rose and violet oils, enrobed in plain chocolate and decorated with crystallized rose and violet petals'. Hmm, not usually my first choice out of the choccy box but even I'm interested! They also create the full range of hard and soft centred chocolates and in my humble opinion they produce the finest chocolate gingers I've ever tasted! Crystallised peppermints, chocolate covered orange peel, nuts and nougat, langue du chat...it's all waiting for you. Bring money and elasticated trousers.
What to buy: Chocolate gingers. Superbly good.
What to pay: The more you want the more you'll pay - but it is rather special!
Lying in the lovely little village of Ditchling, 'Chestertons' is one of the best food shops I've ever seen. All manner of local breads, meats cheeses, pates, jams and what-not compete for space against the more mundane items.
The place was so well arranged and displayed it seems a pity to take stuff to the counter.
They also have a small coffee shop area and a high-walled garden with a few tables as well.
I enjoyed a very plesant morning sausage bap there with some good strong coffee. The owner even undercharged me as she claimed I had not been given enough sausage in my bap by the staff. Can't say that I had noticed.
For a quality picnic, this just has to be the place to stock up !
Almost forgot - great olives.
Montezuma's was founded in 2000 by two lawyers who wanted the swap the dry and dusty for the delicious and delightful. When it first opened this single outlet it was the first high profile traditional chocolate shop in Brighton since the long established Audrey's and the successful Thorntons confectionery chain. But whereas the Audrey's was based on traditional excellence, and Thorntons on mass market appeal (and splendid toffee!), Montezuma's aimed at a trendier crowd using a more modern approach to chocolate making that drew upon exotic tastes and fair trade/organic practices.
There are now 6 stores in total scattered across south east England and all sell a mixture of fine organic chocolate bars, chunky slabs of chocolate and hand made truffles and other chocs. The range isn't as large as somewhere like Audreys who concentrate on the hand made side of the business specialising in ready prepared and customer selected boxes, so if you want an impressive box of wonderful traditional chocolates I'd go there. If however you want to spoil yourself, indulge the kids, grab a bar of 'chilli' choc or buy something as a dinner party pressie then Montezuma's will do very nicely thank-you.
Mon-Sat 0930-1800, Sun 1100-1700
What to buy: ...'er, chocolate?
Brighton Marina combines the charm of a fishing village with the bustle of a modern shopping area. There are many factory outlet shops, stores and a market place. Moreover restaurants, cafes and bars invite for a rest in teh picturesque surrounding.
If you are looking for a slightly more unusual shopping experience I would advise you to head to North Laines. There is usually a street market operating, also there could be some street performers to entertain you whilst you bustle you way through the area. There are some nice little one off cafes to enjoy lunch in.
If you need to buy some of the rather more boring things in life for the home such as batteries, hoover bags, dishcloths and such, I recommend you head down to the open market off London Road and find them much cheaper.
Although quite small, you can also find some reasonably priced fruit and veg, an organic shop, fresh fish, cheeses tools, bicycles, plants and all manner of odd bits and bobs.
The market also now has it's own internet cafe which also specialises in computer repairs etc...
The market has been there for years and has so far, survived competition from the large corporate supermarkets.
What to buy: Boring but essential household objects.
Fruit & Veg
Flowers and Plants
There are toilet facilities and a cafe
What to pay: Cheap!
Old Village in Duke Street, sells 'the best in French and Italian designer fashion'...
I have often peered into there doorway, lured in by their colourful and unusual window displays, but have resisted temptation - Until today that is. (With an imminent trip to Aruba on the cards, I have the excuse)!
Some of their stuff is way too frilly for me, but they have an eye for the most wonderful textures and colours around and today I found a skirt that had 'my name on it' ; )
Looking at their website, it really does not do the shop justice at all. Full of beautifully cut, very feminine clothes of every hue, it is a place to find that something different for a special occasion. Staff are charmingly helpful (even bringing a full length mirror into to the lady in the next cubicle to me, who did not wish to emerge in her tried on outfit in public!)
As I am going to a Cuban restaurant in Aruba next week, I opted for a really long gipsy/western type silk skirt with echos of flamenco, in an array of colour. They had only one of each colour in stock, so have the added bonus of it being unlikely that you'd see the same outfit walking around your local town, on someone else. The shop assistant was very patient with me as I couldn't decide which colour to go for. I loved them all and if mr. bank manager would have allowed, may have indulged in all three! (Well, we can dream can't we?)
This shop isn't cheap mind you, but as I say, I have an excuse ; )
I will photograph my newly bought treat, as soon as...
Recommended for a browse even if you don't buy.
What to buy: Long flowery, floaty skirts and dresses for wafting around in warm climates. Would go well with a large brimmed hat, some Chanel perfume and a picnic hamper ; )
They are one of the only UK stockists of 'Square' watches.
What to pay: A bit more than usual, but you will find unique things.
I discovered it is cheaper to buy some clothes and shoes from Brighton, than doing it in Bulgaria. I was really surprised because I didn't expect that. Even in sports shops like Adidas you can find goods in better prices. So, don't hesitate, just look around and visit them:)
Probably the best small bead shop in the South East of England. (Speaking as a big bead fan here!)
A wide range of beads, tons of inspirational creations and ideas to get your creative juices flowing...
Beads are imported from the Far East, India, USA and Europe. Staff are always welcoming and helpful, offering advice and suggestions to get you started in your beadmaking creations.
What to buy: Beads, of course!!!
Also there are some books and accessories available.
What to pay: prices start at only 1 penny for a single bead.... pick and mix as many as you like :)
Just as the name suggests, this shop offers the wonderful concept of both Retail and Therapy....
What to buy: There are many unusual and original gift and household items on offer for you to buy, each one lovingly crafted from recycled materials.... also, there is a therapy area - offering massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, Indian head massage, Swedish massage, Reiki and more..
What to pay: There is a real personal touch in this shop, and making a gift purchase needn't stretch the purse strings too much either - some items start from around a pound.
The Shops in these laines are so full of character that when you walk around the small lanes you almost feel like you have stepped back in time, especially in the south lanes.
The South Laines are the ones which most people know about, nearest to the highstreet and full of expensive shops!!
The north laines are the complete opposite, full of second hand and retro type of shops. The North Laines are where you will find the most original piece of clothing, or item, and also a piece of art
What to buy: Retro gear, or speciallist clothing, because brighton has lots of second hand shops selling everything from clothes, to shoes, to toys to jewelery to well everything....
What to pay: as much as you want... as little as a few pounds up to the hundreds depending on the shop you visit
This store has a complete range of CDs and vinyl catering for students, street cool, indie types. New and second hand as well as plenty of imports. One of the best places to get the hard to find import you've been lusting after.
A rabbit warren of antiques / junk in glass cabinets ,this place is like Steptoe and Sons house. Guarenteed to find something you like for about a fiver ,but you might have trouble finding it. Has a photography gallery upstairs ( if you can find them ) , perfect for killing those pesky hours till the Kensington opens.
What to buy: Junk
What to pay: Anything from a fiver to a score