I hope you find this guide useful and easy to use, here are a few things to bear in mind:
- All the establishments are listed alphabetically and there is a quick reference index at the back of the book.
- Most of the guest houses and hotels are approved by the Tourist Board and can be identified by their diamond or star ratings. Diamonds are awarded to guest houses and B&Bs and stars are the equivalent for hotels. The highest award is five.
- The prices given for the hotels are on a per person, per night basis unless otherwise stated.
- The percentages given for vegetarian and vegan food are rough guidelines. Restaurants are constantly amending their menus. Obviously Viva! can’t take responsiblity for any changes!
Brighton – it's the place to be. Look on any bus and it will tell you so. Ask any clubber and they’ll agree. Survey summer trippers and they’ll give the idea a big thumbs up.
But the place to be what? For decades it was the place to be naughtily sexy, as generations of lovers, their hormones throbbing, headed to the sea for anonymity and amour. If you couldn’t afford Paris then Brighton was a good second choice.
The Prince Regent started the trend, sowing his regal wild oats amid the splendour of his Nash-designed Royal Pavilion. A Disneyesque composite of Oriental styles which never really existed – a fantasy to rival Disney World but conceived and executed before Walt ever drew a breath. And it’s all still here so step inside and savour the decadence. The beauty of the music room, the splendour of the dining hall and the opulence of the drawing rooms was how Prinny impressed his conquests.
For the lesser monied who flocked to the sea after him, eager to bask in his reflected glory, it was a chip supper, a squeaky mattress and breakfast sharp at eight. Perhaps it still is.
Brighton is the place not to obey authority and people steadfastly refuse to call it Brighton & Hove, despite the council’s efforts. But the feeling is mutual so those that live on the other side of the floral clock will never fail to remind you of where they come from – Hove, actually.
Brighton is the place to be a raver with probably the best selection of clubs in one small area after Ibiza. It’s the place to be an antiquarian, poking around the Lanes looking for bargains and never finding any – but having a wonderful time nevertheless. And it’s the place which inflicted a plague on the rest of the country – the knockerboys. Door to door antique buyers with their own brand of communication: No love, it’s a pile of old tat but I’ll take it off your hands for a tenner!
It’s the place to be a perpetual student, arriving to take a degree at one of the two universities and never leaving, eventually becoming a website designer. Clydeside had its shipbuilders, Brighton has its website designers.
With more pubs than you can shake a stick at, it’s the place to experience a little of Graham Greene’s 1930s Brighton Rock sleaze. Sit quietly in a corner seat in dozens of the little back street drinkers and you’ll still hear Pinky throwing his weight around, preparing to take on the London mob.
Brighton is a place to be yourself. If you want to walk down the street looking like Carmen Miranda, wear a ball gown, tights and flippers or sell the Big Issue with a tap dance routine, this is the place to do it – and no one will even look twice at you.
But above all Brighton is the place to be a vegetarian. What other town’s most popular up-market restaurant is veggie? Where else would you find an entirely veggie pub? And in what other town could you gain discounts of up to 25 per cent off restaurant bills by being a member of a great, campaigning, national vegetarian and vegan group – a group that is succeeding in its determination to save animals? Where else but Brighton! Viva! Brighton! Viva! Viva!.