Travelogue – The Lanes, Brighton
I’ve spent many a day and weekend in Brighton, in fact our recent family get together was a little flick through my brother and I’s memory book of younger boozier and clubbier days.
The Lanes is a network of narrow lanes, strangely, that weave around an area just back from the sea front and bounded by the larger more conventional shopping streets of North Street and East Street, and Ship Street to the west where the Hotel Du Vin sits at the bottom within a collection of revitalized Tudor and gothic buildings. Further north of The Lanes is, not to be confused, North Laine, a rather more alternative shopping nirvana.
The Lanes was perfect for us, and the warm weather helped immeasurably as we got lost in narrow passages that twisted this way and that, and sometimes opened up into large squares, and sometimes didn’t. We window shopped, and proper shopped, and took plenty of pit stops for coffee, food and adult beverages.
The Lanes were originally constructed in the late 18th century but much of it is more recent, and development continues. There are some very lovely olde English kodak-moment spots, but equally some less desirable, graffiti clad areas too. Many properties are shouting to be re-developed but commercial and shopping opportunities are tough these days and I suspect some of these possibly listed buildings are not cheap.
The best thing about Brighton’s Lanes was the individualistic and self-sufficient nature of it all. Independent owned cafes, record shops, galleries, book stores, clothes shops and a proficiency of jewellers and watch shops line both sides of alleyways with pubs and restaurants nicely intermingled. There was even, much to my Mum’s delight, a stamp shop.
There was a load of eating and drinking choices, even to suit the eclectic tastes that we presented. A vegetarian, a 9-year old, a dog and a couple of simple, nothing-fancy, eaters. We ate great pizza at Al Doumo one night and upped the budget the next at English’s. Pho and Riddle & Finns are on my list for next time.
There was also ice creams at Boho Gelato and Cloud 9, and there was plenty of refreshments taken at a few of the many historic hostelries. The Hotel Du Vin satisfied our breakfast and late night drinking needs, and friendly and amenable, we would definitely stay there again.
It was a lovely few days. The family were all together and to that end it didn’t much matter where we were, but The Lanes added to the experience and those little streets oozed character and gave a sense of actually being on holiday.