It’s that time of year again; the days are getting shorter, the clocks have gone back, the rusty leaves are floating off the trees, everyone’s shoulders are moving ever so closer to their ears. We might not be so inclined to eat ice cream in the park or sunbathe on the beach, but there are plenty of activities to take their place…
Life on the road with the biggest rock star on earth, David Bowie, is the subject of Rock n Roll with Me, the latest exhibition at Brighton Museum. It’s a treasure trove of rare photographs and video taken on tour by Bowie’s close friend and travelling companion Geoff MacCormack between 1973-76 taking us on the Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and the Diamond Dogs’ tours across the USA, Japan and the UK via Russia (on the Trans-Siberian Express), and behind the scenes of the making Bowie’s first major film The Man Who Fell to Earth, and the recording of Station to Station. Book tickets here.
Purveyors of overlooked and underrated film, White Wall Cinema, continue their socially distanced screenings at Wagner Hall in central Brighton. Here are some upcoming screenings:
For Black History Month:
28 October, When We Were Kings, a documentary about a key black cultural event of the 70s – Muhammad Ali’s fight with George Foreman in Zaire, which became known as Rumble in the Jungle. Includes footage of its companion concert featuring James Brown and BB King.
6 November, Block Party, a documentary in which comedian Dave Chappelle taking a bus of people from his hometown of Ohio to a surprise block party in Brooklyn featuring some of the greatest black music artists of their generation including Kanye West, Mos Def, Jill Scott, Erykah Baduh, The Roots, Common, John Legend and more with an almost unthinkable re-uniting of Lauryn Hill & The Fugees.
30 October, 70s sci-fi horror film Invasion of the Body Snatchers
31 October, Tim Burton’s famous Beetlejuice
Listings are updated regularly here.
The Brighton and Hove Camera Club has transformed a part of the beach a little east of the West Pier into an outdoor photography gallery for its annual winter exhibition – this year’s theme is ‘Our City’. On until 2021.
Until 8 November, the Cameron Contemporary Gallery tucked up a Hove side street, is hosting a collection of electrifying paintings by Luke Hannam, followed by its winter exhibition which starts 14 November.
Pretend to browse around Brighton’s cabinet of curiosities – and maybe have a snoop around the secret collections too – until it reopens next year.
Get in the Christmas spirit
There’s no better way to kick off your seaside Christmas than with a cosy walk around this cool city neighbourhood, a heart-warming mug of hot chocolate here, a browse around the shops, an afternoon tipple at one of these cosy bars, perhaps? Or, if you’re feeling hardy, you could buy some fizzy wine and a piping hot bag of chips from one of the seafront chippies to enjoy wrapped up on the beach.
In keeping with the cozy Christmas theme, my favourite winter cafes and restaurants include:
- Find hearty plates of sausage and mash and a roaring fire at Shakespeare’s Head, a proper cosy pub near Seven Dials
- Bincho Yakitori is a tiny Japanese tapas restaurant with a buzzy atmosphere and the world’s best fried chicken
- The new Oeuf Cafe in Hove, for brunch Wes Anderson style
- Find incredibly comforting free-range and organise fried egg sandwiches at Fika, a food shack in Hove
- Look no further than The Grand Hotel for a proper, unpretentious afternoon tea with no more than 20 loose leaf teas to choose from
- Seafront restaurant, The Copper Clam, is an overlooked gem serving delicious seafood with a view of the forgotten west pier.
On 21 November, the city’s artists turn their houses into miniature art galleries that open to the public for socially distanced viewings and Christmas shopping every weekend until 13 December.
For cosy days at home, children will love losing themselves in book one of the children’s magical adventure series set in Brighton – Way And The Witch: Giggling Zombies In Brighton. Find out more here.
Now is usually the time to get your skates on when the Pavilion hosts an ice rink where you can skate with the background of this Regency party palace. There’s also a spot to treat yourself to a hot dog or a mulled wine. Although its opening dates haven’t been confirmed, the rink also hasn’t said it won’t open. Check here for updates and fingers crossed.
On weekends through December, Leonardslee Gardens, about a 30 mins drive from Brighton in West Sussex is hosting an immersive Christmas light trail featuring a giant silver moon floating above the lake, light and lantern displays and large-scale projections onto the estate house.
Off-beat feel-good activities
Warm the winter cockles with a Finnish-style beach-side sauna session!
Immerse yourself in the space outside the Pavilion with the experimental Mindful Garden audio tour which encourages you to think about the people and plants, the sounds and sensations, the questions and the qualities that make up this historic garden.
Sign up to Flavours of Uzbekistan on 19 November, a unique cookery course at the Community Kitchen where find out how to cook traditional autumnal dishes from Uzbekistan and learn how the nation’s food has been influenced by many cultures from China to Turkey to Russia or even Korea.
Bid farewell to autumn and hello to winter with a stroll around a haunting Victorian burial ground inside Brighton’s city of the dead, a 70-acre cemetery complex. Read more here.
Every Thursday morning, the Unitarian Church hosts Music for Aardvarks and other Mammals – a groovy weekly alternative music class that adults love as much as kids! Also at the Unitarian Church, every Thursday evening from 7pm-10pm you can enjoy socially distanced Argentine Tango Milonga class.
Arm yourself with a copy of Secret Brighton, and explore the city’s off-beat treasures, some ideas here.