I don’t know about you, but as soon as there’s even a micro particle of spring in the air, my thoughts immediately turn to adventure planning. So, today, with the seaside sun out for the third day running, and the temps hitting the mercury-shattering six degrees (!), what better time to round up my 10 favourite spots for discovering little-known Brighton, each one featured in my book Secret Brighton to inspire your next weekend adventure in Brighton. Enjoy!
1. A secret museum of curiosities in an old shop window
For a distraction mid-shopping-spree around Western Road, make a detour towards the pretty Upper North Street to discover this gem of a secret. Anna’s Museum isn’t a museum in the traditional sense – it’s an old shop window filled with curious pieces of natural history. It belongs to a young collector, Anna Rubenstein, who started collecting things aged four.
Discover more on page 52 of Secret Brighton.
2. Brighton’s most beautiful secret street
Like most Sussex towns, Brighton is filled with secret alleyways tucked between other streets. These are known locally as Twittens. This one called Camden Terrace is arguably the most beautiful – and surprisingly one of the least known and trodden. With its Mediterranean whitewashed houses and, it makes a nice detour from the main road into town from Brighton station.
Discover more on page 172 of Secret Brighton.
3 A miniature art gallery in a phonebox
When I researched these tiny listed buildings for my Secret Brighton guidebook they were dirty, derelict and covered in graffiti, so that’s how they appear in the book. They’ve since been newly painted the traditional bright tomato-red colour and turned into a the Dog and Bone Gallery!
Discover more on page 254 of Secret Brighton.
4. Inside the secret collections at Brighton’s miniature museum of Natural History
As Brighton’s most eccentric, off-the-beaten-path museum, The Booth Museum of Natural History is an unusual gem in itself, but it’s also the setting for one of the city’s most intriguing tours – which offers curious visitors the chance to see inside its ‘secret’ stores – filled with 1 million objects relating to the natural world that don’t fit into the museum cabinets.
Discover more on page 248 of Secret Brighton.
5. A Buddhist village in Hove
There’s a mansion on Lansdown Road which passers by might not know is home to a thriving buddhist community! Walk up the drive and enter the lush gardens and you find yourself in a peaceful haven, the bustle of western road shops behind you. There’s a café, a bookshop, some meditation rooms, a shrine and the largest statue of Buddha in East Sussex.
Discover more on page 118 of Secret Brighton.
6. My secret Brighton garden
Hidden behind Preston Manor – a little-known manor house on the way in to Brighton – is what I like to call ‘my secret Brighton garden‘. Seriously, hardly anyone knows about it – and I only discovered it after 15 years living in Brighton. It was once a kitchen garden for the manor house and is open all the time for wandering. There’s a lily pond to discover and a pet cemetery in one of the corners.
Discover more on page 242 of Secret Brighton.
7. Underground dining room and bar in a smugglers’ tunnel
Deep underneath the Old Ship Hotel in a vast complex of old smugglers’ tunnels is this private dining room and bar. The rooms are mainly open for private dining events, but occasionally open to the public for cocktail parties.
Discover more on page 292 of Secret Brighton.
8. Little Fridge Library
Hidden up a little-known alleyway in Kemptown off the main high street is a small white fridge beneath a cottage window. The words painted in black on the front read ‘Little Fridge Library’. Open it up and sure enough the shelves are stocked with books, which are free to take and pass on.
Discover more on page 132 of Secret Brighton.
9. A little-known walk around a haunting Victorian burial ground
The Woodvale Cemetery is set on 15 hectares in the middle of Brighton but you hardly notice it, and it’s unlikely you’ll encounter another soul on a wander around. Follow the ‘Tomb Trail’ signs which takes you along winding steep paths lined with ivy-covered gravestones, through a wildflower meados and into the newer part of the cemetery.
Discover more on page 136 of Secret Brighton.
10. Discovering a hidden City Orchard
Hidden from plain sight in the middle of a housing estate is this little-known orchard. It’s set in three acres of wild landscape overlooking Brighton, and has 200 fruit trees, which could reap around three to four tonnes of fruit a year!
Discover more on page 158 of Secret Brighton.
Want all of my Brighton secrets?
My collection of local secrets, insider advice and little-known urban anecdotes. It’s the ultimate guide to Brighton unknown. For my 15 or so years in Brighton, everything has been personally vetted, visited and experienced by me! Available for your bookshelf – click here for more!