Last week, I took you on a secret stroll around the backstreets of Seven Dials. Next up in my series of hidden walks in Brighton and Hove, we’re wandering and weaving around Brunswick Town in Hove. It’s an upmarket area close to the seafront, home to Regency-era architecture, independent cafes, restaurants, bars and shops.
Brunswick Town was one of the first upper-class housing developments to have been built in the seaside city – the first was Kemp Town. Today, it stretches east to west roughly from by the Paris House pub on Western Road and the Lion and Lobster pub on Sillwood Street and this classic cafe, over to Grand Avenue by Hove Lawns with its colourful beach huts.
It’s easy to spend a lazy morning or afternoon wandering and weaving up and down any of the streets in between. This is a nice one to do at the weekend as it means you’re near The Real Patisserie for treats.
I like to start at the Western Road end of Waterloo Street for a quick peek up Cross Street – the first on the left as you walk towards the sea – to peek at the mysterious Oliver’s Clock Shop, which is never open when I walk past but looks intriguing with its window full of antique time pieces.
Back on Waterloo Street, walk almost to the end, admiring all the whitewashed Regency houses as you stroll…
…until you get to St Andrew’s, an Italian Renaissance style church designed by Charles Barry, the architect of London’s Houses of Parliament. Rumour has it he’s buried in the crypt below…
Fun facts: To see inside – its hiding an incredible painted ceiling – you have to get the key from the Southern Belle pub opposite (see my book Secret Brighton for more information). Waterloo Street is home to this lovely holiday apartment.
Almost at the end turn right onto Brunswick Street East. This is one of my favourite Brighton backstreets, a hidden Brighton and Hove street in itself, filled with unique mews houses, a shop, a pub and a restaurant.
Along here you’ll find a quirky second-hand bike hire and repair shop called G Whizz Cycles, a secret juice bar called the You Juice Garage Cafe, a cute corner pub called the Bottom’s Rest, and one of my favourite cosy restaurants for special occasions, the Little Fish Market.
Head to the top of the street until you get to the top and see the Paris House pub on your right – which when its open, hosts gypsy jazz nights and serves generous cheese and cold meat platters to enjoy with your crisp rose or heart-warming glass of red.
Fun fact: I once went on a hunt around Brighton for ghost signs and discovered that if you look closely at the Paris House building just above the first-floor window, you’ll see a ghost sign which reads The Western Hotel, a clue to its former life as a hotel with a saloon.
Turn left onto Western Road, and a couple of shops along you’ll come to the Real Patisserie for pastries, coffee and treats. Stocked up, head further west until you get to Brunswick Square with its seaview garden most people don’t know is open to the public. This is also the setting for a summer festival and a nice place to escape the summer crowds.
It’s nice to walk up and around the square to admire the architecture. If you’re intrigued to know what an entire house on Brunswick Square would once have looked like inside, find The Regency Townhouse at number 13, a complete Regency home which is being developed into a house museum. They do regular house tours and host events including Regency cooking courses, run by Paul Couchman, The Regency Cook.
Make your way back up to Western Road and head further west. Have a pitstop at this time-capsule chocolate shop on Holland Road – it’s been here since the 1960s – and then meander to the stunning Palmeira Square which leads down onto Adelaide Terrace and eventually Hove Lawns.