Pizza and Paintings in England Part 2: Brighton

Brighton I am in love with you!! Before visiting Brighton my opinion of it was limited to the fact that I knew it sits by the water and that Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging was filmed here, providing pre-teen Billie the false idea that there was a cute English boy around every corner, but that was it. I wasn’t aware of how colourful, lively, beautiful and vegan friendly the city is.

People have been travelling from London to Brighton for beach getaways since the railway arrived here in 1841, meaning that the pebbled beach is one of the main sights in the area. Coming from Sydney where the beaches have the finest sand, sparkling blue water and a shining sun, the beach at Brighton definitely seems like a bit of a joke, but this city has a lot more to offer than just its beach.

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Brighton oozes a combination of bohemian, cosmopolitan and hedonistic vibes and is a city with many faces. Burlesque meets contemporary design as the southeast’s grottiest hostels share thin walls with kinky boutique hotels. Brighton definitely has a charm as you will stumble across offbeat designers, hidden cafes, nooks and crannies covered in graffiti art and dingy flea markets and is a treasure trove for vintage lovers. Brighton is also home to more gentrified coves where beautiful houses sit and more upmarket cafes and restaurants as it is a place that caters to pretty much everyone.

To stop us all from getting confused here I’ll quickly explain the difference between the lanes and North Laine. The lanes are the quaint twisting and turning maze-like passageways that live between North Street, East Street and Ship Street and is the oldest part of the city. This is where to go if you want to put a creative edge into your shopping as the lanes are home to a mixture of antique shops, jewellers and designer boutiques. The Laines, however, refer to the bohemian criss-cross streets in the heart of the cultural quarter of the city. Shopping in North Laine Brighton is a real mix of the ethical, exotic and funky.

Brighton is definitely a tourist hot spot and although it is an all season city, Summer is definitely the most popular which is the good thing about travelling at the end of Spring, right before Summer starts as you have to compete with less tourists on the streets. Walking around on a Tuesday while people are still at work and school means that it feels like you have the city pretty much all to yourself.

I spent the whole day wandering through the streets, taking in the fresh ocean air and admiring the architecture I was surrounded by and the bunting that trails through the sky from building to building. The secret is to really roam freely and keep your eyes peeled for things that are hidden in corners and small lane ways.

As I was strolling along I was stopped in my tracks by the word “Vegan!”, a word I had been missing desperately after staying in a not-so-vegan-friendly English town. Needless so say I ran straight inside the restaurant called VBites and ordered the foods that I had been craving. Not only do they serve food that varies from cakes, burgers and a full english breakfast but they also sell vegan products to take home.

Whenever I come across somewhere that caters to Vegans when I’m travelling I tend to go a bit ham when ordering… hence the Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, the Margherita Pizza, the Jacket Potato with cheeze and Nachos. I was definitely harbouring a massive food baby by the end of it but man was it worth it.

Another place that I ran into completely by accident while trawling through the twists and turns of the lanes was the infamous chocolate shop, Choccywoccydoodah. I feel like Choccywoccydoodah is more than a chocolate shop though, as the chocolate inside are amazing works of art. Seriously, my little eyes couldn’t believe that what I was looking at was made out of chocolate. Being vegan I couldn’t eat any of it, but that didn’t detract from the joy of ogling these amazing creations.

The ground floor shop is just the start as upstairs you will find the cake garden complete with garden shed, the Witches kitchen, the Bar du Chocolate cafe and the infamous Empire Room, complete with Tigers head throne.

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Although I couldn’t see myself living in Notting Hill, Brighton is definitely somewhere I could see myself in the not too distant future, even if just temporarily. I felt at home amongst the eclectic array of people, shops and buildings. I hope you enjoyed the small insight into Brighton, my next travel post will be about my trip to Ireland! I have no idea how I’ll write it all out yet, I did so much in such a short amount of time but I’ll figure it out!

Until next time,

Billie x

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