Fun things to do in Brighton

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    WEST PIER MARKET - PURCHASE AMONGST THE PEBBLES!

    by themajor Written Jul 23, 2008

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    I ummed and ahhed about whether this should go into the shopping section but ultimately came to the conclusion that a stroll through an open market is rather more than that. And as the market in question is situated either side of the main beach walk it is pretty well unavoidable for those seeking to stroll along and by the side of the prom'. What can you find here? Well the main theme would have to be ethnic jewellery, with a scattering of local paintings, photos and paperbacks thrown in for good measure...but it's mainly clothing accessories and jewellery. Whether 'ethnic' is a byword for affordable, cheap, stylish or grungy I'll let you decide; but even I can find things I like here! Obviously of you're looking for a tiara you'd do better heading for the jewellers in Tunbridge Wells or Lewes but if you want something that is silver, plastic, resin based, bead bound or simply quirky then this is the place for you.

    The market takes place on Sundays, is set up in the morning (although I've never been there at the off to see exactly what time that might be) and carries on into the afternoon. I imagine that the better the weather and the greater the crowds the longer they stay open. Bear in mind that you cannot always count on exactly the same stalls being there each week or even in exactly the same place. If it's chucking it down with rain, think again! Suffice to say that a mid morning stroll on a sunny day should be just right.

    Open air ethnic Purchasing on the prom'
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    STREET ART - WHEN GRAFFITI GROWS UP

    by themajor Written Jul 1, 2008

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    There comes a point when certain old terms and descriptions don't really do things justice. I feel very strongly about graffiti for example. Within the confines of your own house, your own living room, your own personal space what you choose to display as 'art' is your business. However I don't like public areas defaced by tags/scrawl which I didn't choose to see, and worse still creating damage which cannot easily be removed. But there are artists whose work can enhance the areas in which we live and as long as they have the approval of those living in and around the area where their work is sited then I have no problem with it. This transcends graffiti and is, through it's sheer quality, street art.

    A CLOSE SHAVE BETTER THAN STONECLADDING! TIKI TOTEMS COLOUR IN THE CAR PARK BRIGHTON'S BORG
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    (EAT) ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK!

    by themajor Updated Jun 30, 2008

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    Whenever one visits a new destination the civilized traveller should always endeavor to sample the local delicacies. Therefore I am delighted to present a particular local delicacy that, in all honesty, is anything but delicate. Brighton Rock!

    Brighton Rock can - as the name suggests - only be found in Brighton. Traditionally it is stick of peppermint flavoured hard 'candy' that is coloured pink on the outside and white in the middle. It is notable for having the name of the resort in which you purchase it running the length of the entire stick. As a result, whenever you bite off a chunk the name will still be visible at the top of the remaining piece (see photo 2). Rock is a traditional sweet found at all British seaside resorts, and all will look the same and largely taste the same - the only difference being the actual name picked out in red through the white peppermint. Thus you can also buy Blackpool Rock (the most famous of all and featured in a George Formby comic song), Yarmouth Rock, Scarborough Rock etc. There are other flavours and shapes available but the pink peppermint stick is the traditional one. Available widely in pretty well all shops lining the seafront area (Photo 3 and 4) and in quite a few newsagents too.

    PS This is nothing to do with Edinburgh Rock! That is also a sweet but a totally different animal!!

    BRIGHTON ROCK (PINK = PEPPERMINT) BITING THROUGH BRIGHTON! LEVINGTONS BY THE WEST PIER TYPICAL ROCK SHOP
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    THE BRIGHTON CENTRE

    by themajor Updated Jun 25, 2008

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    When it first opened in 1977, the Brighton Centre was best described as (to quote W.S, Gilbert) 'Not pretty...massive!'. At the time it was one of the largest venues of it's kind in the UK and people were inclined to overlook it's ugliness as long as major stars kept coming to the town. Interesting to note that Bing Crosby gave his last live performance here on 10th October 1977. Apparently he wasn't feeling too good before the show but after a decent nap was able to go on and give a splendid performance. Four days later, at the age of 74, Bing died after a round of golf.

    Nowadays of course venues like the Brighton centre which were considered huge when first built have been lapped by superstadiums. However, the Centre still attracts renowned bands, so this - and the smaller 'Brighton Dome' - are the first places to look for the appearance of any major acts. Talking of which I once actually bumped into Paul McCartney here, and a very charming chap he was too!

    Political party and other conferences all take place at the Brighton Centre as do regular themed exhibitions open to the public (craft fairs, model railway exhibitions, vintage record collectors fairs, wedding fairs etc etc`) and of the course the annual 'Hoilday on Ice' spectacular. Well, it was fairly spectacular when I last went some years ago...

    The Brighton Centre Box Office is open from 10.00am - 5.30pm Tuesday-Saturday. When there is an event taking place in the venue, the Box Office is open from 10.00am to approx 9.00pm.

    Beach view - The Beach Boys were here Apr 2008.
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    THEATRE ROYAL - WHAT A PERFORMANCE!

    by themajor Updated Jun 21, 2008

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    First open to the public on Saturday, June 27th 1807, the Theatre Royal is Brighton's principal professional theatre venue. If you want to take in a play or a show then this is where you should look first as it plays host to many good touring productions as well as tranfers from London's West End. It goes without saying that the Theatre Royal, like so many similar establishments, lays claim to its own ghost. This is none other than Ellen Elizabeth Nye Chart the wife of a celebrated Victorian actor manager who carried on running the place following his demise. Her death in 1892 left the theatre with it's very own benign guardian spirit, otherwise known as the Grey Lady. Not perhaps the most original of ghostly names but one can't help thinking that the spiritual world is dealing with a rather limited colour range. An orange ghost would have been more eyecatching but really wouldn't have matched any of the interior decoration.

    I've spent many happy hours here watching plays serious and comic, opera, ballet, musicals and of course their own annual pantomime production which runs for several weeks over the Christmas period- you name it, they've had it! On one notable evening I was sitting in the Royal Circle awaiting the arrival of the Mayor and his party who were guests at a special performance. His sudden appearance at the top of the Circle was greeted by hundreds of turning heads which then witnessed an unfortunate stumble and a cascade of chocolate Maltesers bouncing down the stairs from an unfortunately open box. It was all rather delightful to behold. A torrent of bouncing chocolate balls making their way eagerly to the front row...

    Tickets for performances can be booked in person at the theatre or by using the theatre group booking number below - but do note that there will be a booking fee involved if you order tickets using it. Th website link should take you to a listing of current and future shows.

    The play's the thing!
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    VOLKS ELECTRIC RAILWAY - A WORLD FIRST!

    by themajor Updated Jun 19, 2008

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    Although seemingly small, and insignificant, the 125 year old Volks Electric Railway is rather important in the annals of history. Built by the Brighton born Magnus Volk (son of a German clockmaker) upon it's inaugural trip on On August 4th 1883 it became the world's very first public electric railway. Nowadays it ploughs a straight course that runs between it's station adjacent to Brighton Pier (Palace Pier) and opposite the Sea Life Centre (Brighton Aquarium) and it's 'end of line' Brighton Marina stop. There is a Half Way station at Peter Pan's playground. This isn't exactly one of the worlds great journeys -it does after all take up little more than 10 minutes or so of your time on a one-way trip - but it is jauntily refreshing and a great way to 'jet' (and I use that word very advisedly!) along the seafront on a warm Summer's day. If you like cushioned seats look elsewhere. If you want to experience a bit of history than you must take a trip!

    The trains operate weekdays from 10am to 5pm, and until 6pm on weekends and bank holidays, in the summer. For 2008 the season commences on Friday 21 March and finishes on Sunday 14 September. Four trains run every hour between Black Rock and Brighton Pier. An adult return ticket is about £2.50. The 125th anniversary celebrations will take place on Sunday 3 August!

    The old Volks home!
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    THE NATURIST (NUDIST) BEACH

    by themajor Written Jun 18, 2008

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    When the naturists were given their own area of Brighton beach in April 1980 there was all sorts of kerfuffle. It was played for all it was worth by those reflecting upon Brighton's age old saucy reputation but by and large locals were intrigued rather than fully supportive and most were interested to see what would happen. There was some significant opposition though and some local councillors were not at all keen - although it was indeed the brainchild of a 47 year old topless bathing councillor Eileen Jakes. On the opposing side Councillor John Blackman, called the whole idea a "flagrant exhibition of mammary glands". He went on... "I personally have got no objection to people showing their breasts and bosoms and general genitalia to one another. Jolly good luck to them but for heaven's sake they should go somewhere more private. What distresses me is that people naively believe what is good for the Continent is good for Britain." The vote supporting the establishment of the beach was eventually won but not without a fight.

    I can't say I've ever felt like subjecting anyone to my naked body, particularly as I have seen it too many times myself. But the beach is still going strong and I did manage to take a quick snap of the sign when all was deserted. I like VT but I am not going to risk getting myself arrested for loitering with intent! That's as much detail as you'll get!!

    Loosen those buttons, now!
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    a day in brighton

    by lchelle Written Apr 29, 2008

    check out the royal pavillion for some serious opulence, and then change it up and head for the alley ways near the ocean front. settle into one of the many pubs for a meal and a pint or grab some fish and chips and head to the beach.

    for something different, head into the town itself and find murals painted on walls, and anarchist bars serving dinner for five quid.

    during the summer, brits congregate here on the pebbled beach - deck chairs are available for hire if you'd like to join them (towels just don't cut it).

    as the sun goes down, head for the east pier (the west one burned down years ago) and challenge your mates on some of the arcade games before finding somewhere to bunk down for the night

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    Brighton Festival - May each year

    by elgar22 Written Apr 19, 2008

    If you come to Brighton in the first three weeks of May, try to fit in one or more of the festival activities. Starting with the fabulous childrens's parade on the first Saturday of May, there are endless events including theatre, dance, live music, beer festivals and my favourite - the Artists' open houses on the weekends.

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    Eat roast dinner on a Sunday

    by amapola66 Updated Feb 17, 2008

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    We do love our Sunday roasts here. Nothing like a humungous dinner with a pile of Sunday papers to read and a Bloody Mary.

    I am quite fussy re my Sunday roasts. If I go out to the pub for one, it must be good, have lots of veg and a good vegetarian option.

    I am going to give more details of where you can get a good Sunday roast here.

    Jan 08 - Hot tips for a decent Sunday roast :

    The Royal Sovereign Pub - Good, reasonably priced Sunday dinners (including a good veggy option), friendly staff and a roaring fire. Children welcome - what more could you want.

    The Dover Castle - Southover St - Pretty decent Sunday lunch, children welcome in the (small) conservatory (offers 3 veggy options).

    The Dorset bar and restaurant - The best Bloody Marys (Opera Singer approved!) and a decent Sunday lunch. Service sometimes rather slow, but an old historical bar full of character & personality in the thick of the North Lanes (one veggy option and many seafood dishes).

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    Brighton Festival

    by amapola66 Updated Feb 2, 2008

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    "Brighton Festival returns 3rd - 25th May 2008, bringing the best in world dance, theatre, classical and contemporary music as well as books & debates and street arts to everyone’s favourite City by the Sea"

    There is so much going on here during the Brighton Festival, I couldn't begin to tell you all about it. Music, Art, Dance, Talks, Theatre, Outdoor events etc etc Click on the link below to see this years information on what's going on.

    The 2006 festival I had tickets for Harold Budd; with The Balanescu Quartet, Bill Nelson (Bebop Deluxe), John Foxx (Ultravox), Jah Wobble (PIL), Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins). A landmark celebration of over 30 years of musical innovation. I hope to grab a few more shows along the way and defintiely some of the other events this year.

    The festival kicks off with the Childrens Parade (pictured), which has steadily grown in size to a really good natured colourful event, with all the local schools participating.

    The Independent newspaper says "Brighton's annual arts Festival is as characterful as the town itself"... and that about sums it up.

    There are numerous free outdoor events in the parks as well as the performances, - See you there maybe?

    Brighton Festival Childrens Parade
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    Brunswick Square

    by Gili_S Written Dec 26, 2007

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    This park was actually just in front of where I stayed in Brighton, or to be perfectly correct, this is in Hove (See my general tip) Anyhow, here on a sunny day you have a nice & relax picnic, and if it is really getting too hot, the beach is just a 2 minutes walk from here.

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    Ditchling beacon

    by sourbugger Written Sep 6, 2007

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    This well known beauty spot lies a few miles from Brighton, if you head directly north towards London. The hill is steepest on the north side which is approached on a narrow road from the delightful village of Ditchling.

    Beloved of walkers and ctclists, the hill is not especially big (3rd highest spot on the South Downs) but it still affords great views in all directions. The southerly slope into Brighton is much more gentle and passes through some quinessestially English pastoral landscapes.

    If you have to drive it (there is also a bus from Brighton which is sometimes open-topped) then there is antional trust car-park on the summit (two pounds)

    However you approach it, you won't be disappointed.

    Just a little footnote : The tour de France went over it in 1994. Some of them hadn't realised quite how steep it was. As a consequence they did not have their bikes set up with low gears and ended up pushing ! - much to the amusement of the spectators who knew better.

    I've included a profile of the whole London to Brighton route - guess which bit is the beacon.

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    Watch the Pride parade

    by adelinemmc Written Aug 19, 2007

    Brighton Pride is a big event and is well supported in the town. Usually the local police officers open the parade, followed by the firefighters and all the other floats.
    All the floats are sponsored by local businesses and the atmosphere is lovely.

    Usually takes place at the beginning of August.

    Pride 2007
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    The London to Brigton run

    by sourbugger Written Jul 12, 2007

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    The 55 odd miles from central London to the Brighton seafront (and it's basically due south all the way) have spawned a number of very watchable events - that normally finish on the seafront or at the Royal pavilion.

    The most famous is probably in November when the RAC organises the annual run for vintage cars. It's the oldest such event in the world. How some of those century old motors make it is still something of a mystery.

    There is also the London-Brighton Bike ride, a race and a massive charity event. That takes place in June. There is also a run for 'Classic cars' (pre 1982) and an Ultra-marathon. Unfortunately the ultra-marathon was cancelled in 2006, and I don't know if it will re-appear. Let's hope so.

    Made it to the finish ! next stop france.

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