Seeing as this post was so popular, with my walking boots, I bring you more Brighton walk inspiration: my five favourite hidden walks in Brighton and Hove. Over the years I’ve discovered some great routes off the beaten path, away from the crowds. My Instagram feed is full of photos of the city I’ve snapped on my walks. In fact, I’ve so many pictures, curiosities and urban anecdotes to share, I’m creating a hidden Brighton walks series in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned.
Even before the lockdown, one of my favourite things to do in Brighton is to put my boots on and walk, especially around little-known streets. It’s a lovely thing to do in any season, to slow down, look up, and take it all in. I’ve discovered many cool corners of the city and spotted little details better had I been whizzing past on a bike or in a car. So without further ado, here are my five favourite hidden walks in Brighton and Hove. Follow me!
Hidden Brighton Walk 1: Fiveways to London Road
This is the favourite part of a walk I do all the time into the centre of town, from my home, mostly through backstreets which I totally lose myself in. From Fiveways, head down Preston Drove and turn left to walk through Blaker’s Park down to the community garden at the end of Cleveland Road.
Do a quick left then right over Stanford Avenue, with all its beautiful grand villa houses, onto Southdown Avenue, to wander and weave through the Preston Park conservation area. Head past the Open House Pub, over the London Road Station railway bridge, and onto the leafy Shaftesbury Road.
Turn right onto Clyde Road, and you reach your destination by Preston Circus close to London Road: the Duke of York’s cinema, the oldest cinema in the country (featured in my guidebook, Secret Brighton).
Hidden Brighton Walk 2 – Seven Dials to Montpelier
My next favourite streets to wander around are between Dyke Road and Montpelier Terrace/Upper North Street in the Seven Dials area – which I call the ‘Notting Hill’ of Brighton. Start at Seven Dials with all its cool little independent shops, cafes and restaurants, and head south along Dyke Road, past the miniature plant shop, Hi-Cacti, up to Clifton Road where we turn right. Here, get ready to be transported.
The houses in this neighbourhood will make your jaw drop and I guarantee you’ll go into a trance and start imagining what it would be like to live around here. At the end of Clifton Road, you come to a cosy pub on your right called The Crescent and the Little Mustard Shop opposite. At which point it’s up to you which way to go.
Head straight on and you’ll come to this miniature outdoor art gallery and the pretty Powis Square, or turn left onto Clifton Hill, another gorgeous street for a stroll and home to this incredible home with its own statue… research needed!
This route eventually takes you to Victoria Street for a lovely view down to the sea. Find your way onto Upper North Street, and you’ll eventually come to this museum in a shop window.
Follow my full self-guided hidden walk around Seven Dials here.
Hidden Brighton walk 3 – Brunswick Town to Hove Lawns
This is a nice one for a Saturday morning. As it means you’re near The Real Patisserie for treats. Brunswick Town is one of the first upper-class housing developments to have been built in the seaside city. Today it stretches east to west roughly from the Lion and Lobster pub on Sillwood Street and this classic cafe to Grand Avenue by Hove Lawns. It’s easy to spend a lazy morning or afternoon wandering and weaving up and down any of the streets in between.
Cross Street is a must for a peek at the mysterious Oliver’s Clock Shop and Waterloo Street, where you’ll find St Andrew’s, an Italian Renaissance-style church designed by Charles Barry, the same man who designed the Houses of Parliament in London no less.
What’s fun about St Andrew’s is that to see inside – it’s got the most incredible ceiling, and I don’t usually get excited by church interiors – you have to get the key from the Southern Belle pub opposite (see my book Secret Brighton for more information).
Near here, Brunswick Street East is a hidden street in itself, filled with unique mews houses, as well as a quirky-looking bike hire and repair shop G Whizz Cycles, a secret juice bar, a cute corner pub called the Bottom’s Rest, and one of my favourite cosy restaurants, the Little Fish Market.
Head further west and you’ll come to two of Brighton and Hove’s most beautiful squares: Brunswick Square, a nice place to escape the summer crowds, then Palmeira Square (above) which leads onto Adelaide Crescent which takes you down to Hove Lawns and the sea.
Follow my full self-guided hidden walk around Hove’s Brunswick Town, here.
Hidden Brighton Walk 4 – Hanover to KempTown
I don’t know Hanover that well, but it’s nice to just follow your nose on a wander around here. It’s Brighton’s hilliest and most colourful neighbourhood so you’ll probably want to walk slowly to save your energy for the hilly bits. It’s also home to a pub with the best sunset view.
Start at the bottom of Elm Grove just opposite The Level, walk about half way up until you get to xxx street, then turn right and start meandering around the streets of colourful seaside cottages and converted old corner shops.
If you head up to Queen’s Park Road you’ll find an architectural curiosity known as the Pepper pot – an elaborate water tower. Head downhill from here along past Queen’s Park and you’ll eventually come down into Kemp Town.
Hidden Brighton Walk 5 – Preston Park to Denmark Villas
This is a bit of a random walk, with interesting things at the start around Preston Park and Preston Village and then towards the end once you get to Wilbury Villas, but not a lot in between that and Miller’s Road. It’s great if you need to go from here to Hove on foot and miss out the busy centre of town. I used to do this walk every week for an appointment I had in Wilbury Road, so got to know the areas I walked through pretty well.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I love a house with a turret! There are lots in Brighton and Hove, including this one on the Upper Drive at the junction with Old Shoreham Road. Carry on along the Upper Drive, and turn left onto The Drive, where you’ll spot a quirky shop called The Conservatory on the right with its view down to Eton Mews.
If you go straight on here, you’ll come to this cool mural outside a block of flats called Bowen Court.
But if you take a left and the next right, you get to walk along Wilbury Road lined with beautiful grand homes.