Where to start! No one anticipated this going on for so long. How have you been getting through it? To stay optimistic, I’ve been trying to see Brighton as an outdoor adventure playground; a temporary alternative to our usual cultural entertainments, coffee meet-ups and social get togethers. Seeing as my week of walks post at the start of the first lockdown, was popular. Here’s are five more ideas for outdoor adventures in Brighton during lockdown, including where to get take-away snacks, I hope you’ll enjoy:
1. Explore a different neighbourhood. When you live somewhere for a long time, it’s easy to forget to slow down and take in your surroundings. My series of hidden walks around 5 neighbourhoods of Brighton and Hove offers some inspiration. One of my favourites is around the ‘Notting Hill of Brighton’, with the most beautiful – and expensive – homes in Brighton and Hove. Hunting out the city’s hidden streets is a good way to discover a new part of town, too. I also discovered this magical ‘mindful’ walk around the Pavilion Gardens which is a nice way to appreciate this usually busy place.
2. Take yourself on a culture date. There are a few places in Brighton for an outdoor culture fix outside. I often recommend this miniature natural history museum in a beautiful old shop window. It’s fun to see how the collection changes over time. Art-wise, it’s nice to walk over to Brighton’s tiniest art gallery in two old red London phone boxes. It’s hard to imagine they were once ever derelict and exhibits change regularly. Meanwhile, on the seafront close to the West Pier is an outdoor gallery, which every year hosts the Brighton and Hove Camera Club annual exhibition.
3. Find the quiet spots. Near Preston Park is my secret Brighton garden nearby, with its lily pond and bizarre miniature pet graveyard; and this magical waterfall that isn’t on any tourist maps. Hidden from plain sight in the middle of an inner-city Brighton housing estate are three acres of lush, wild landscape overlooking the city and the sea, where you’ll find a secret city orchard with a distant sea view.
4. Discover secret Brighton. A treasure hunt for ghost signs and also these lovely old shop entrance mosaics (there are lots to find!) are fun reasons to explore the city. Another idea is to head to Kemp Town to find remains of Brighton’s perilous ‘floating’ railway – basically a train on legs – that once ran through the sea. Apparently, you can follow the tracks all the way to the village of Rottingdean three miles away, but I’ve not done this yet. Or you could get this book.
5. Grab a take-out treat. You’ll still find the odd cafe and restaurant in the city open for takeaways. Here are a few favourites: Ottolenghi-inspired lunch in Fiveways; falafels from Smorl’s in the Open Market, where you’ll find lots of other little shops open for things like fruit and vegetables, eggs, Greek food, honey, refills etc. The authentic French bakery, the Real Patisserie has the most delicious pastries, quiches and sandwiches, and also serves coffee. These four great cafes (except Chard, which has since closed down) are open for takeout coffees, pastries and bread. The pay-as-you-feel Gardner Cafe in the North Laine serves vegan salads, available from 1pm, Wednesday to Sunday; or you could comfort eat with some fish and chips from the oldest chippy in the city, Bardsley’s, open for takeaway.
Bonus idea: PRETEND YOU’RE ON HOLIDAY!
If walking around your local area is dead to you, it’s OK to just pretend you’re on holiday. Some ideas: a night in Split, Croatia; a wander around this Greek island, a trip to Cape Town, a South African road trip, camping near Brighton, a stay in this floating home near Brighton, or sightseeing in Florence.