Oh I do like to be beside the sea-side!
So continuing the theme from last week, here's another blog post about where you can source some awesomely unique bits for your home as well as have a fantastic day out (as long as it's not raining)!
Brighton. This place really does have a special place in my heart. I've spent many days here as a student and more recently visiting close friends with the kids and we are never disappointed when we visit this vibrant, artistic and relaxed town. There is so much to see and experience and if you keep reading you'll find out how your home can benefit from a trip to this sea-side town. I am going to take you on a little walking tour from where I started, ending at Brighton Pier and give some practical suggestions on the way. Here we go..
Our journey begins near St Peter's Church, just beyond London Road if you're driving into town. For parking I would suggest using DASH. You can hire a private drive or street space in the streets surrounding central Brighton for the day. You may have a ten or fifteen minute walk but you could pay as little as £5 for the day. What a bargain! From St George's Place we travel down a cute little street called Trafalgar Road where you can choose from some new little cafes, admire some impressive street art and also discover two wonderful antique shops: Bellerophon and Swag.
Bellerophon stock a range of antiques from 19th century to 20th midcentury and they pride themselves on careful and loving restoration of unique pieces. As we walked in I spotted some interesting little drawers in the far corner which turned out to be a dentist's cabinet from the Second World War. Talk about furniture with a story! Beautifully restored, these drawers could serve the right craftsman who could put those cute compact drawers to good use. These will set you back around £400. Belleraphon also had some lovely original metal lights which I'm much more keen to purchase from an antique seller rather than from a department store. We have some ship's lights in our living room that we sourced from an antique shop in Greenwich which we adore. They had some nice colourful oil paintings too which my friend quite liked and did you notice the yellow picture rail and skirting board?!
Our next stop is Swag which you can find down the same street and on the same side of the road. Their pieces are definitely a bit more on the dramatic side and what hits you when you walk through the door are some fantastic gold mirrors on the left wall. I honestly believe that a gold mirror looks good on any wall and injects a bit of drama and life into a space. Although we hadn't ventured that far yet we all enjoyed a rest on some nicely upholstered chairs and leather sofas and such reasonable prices considering their age and quality. I'm sure on my last visit they have some cool circus signs too. The great thing about all these places is that the stock is constantly changing so you're always in for a little surprise which I love!
When you leave Swag you're going to walk across the street and turn down Sydney Street where you can peruse countless independant shops and then turn a quick right left to continue onto Kensington gardens. This narrow little street bursting with vegan cafes, vintage clothes, bookshops and sweet shops is definitely one of my favourite streets that Brighton has to offer. One place that can't be missed is Snoopers Paradise. You can't miss the pink neon sign or the stalls in front selling silver jewellery and handcraft wooden gifts. Enter at your peril. It is huge and you may get lost but the upside is that you may leave with a bargain!
Next we move onto Gardner Street where I can recommend a good pit stop if you haven't already been tempted into the many cafes you've already walked past. It was a pretty hot day so we stopped for waffles and ice cream at the sublime and delicious Gelato Gusto. Obviously the kids were pleased with that decision! Next I slightly backtrack on myself to Upper Gardner Street which was the part of my journey I was most excited about.
I really needed that rest before heading to Upper Gardner Street. I was excited about going back here as we had previously bought a leather chair and desk from a yard here which unfortunately had relocated and I didn't get a chance to visit. I just remember the whole street being an antiques heaven. I vividly remembered a retro vintage furniture shop that I was dying to go back to called Era. It did not disappoint. A really gorgeous range of furniture and signs from 1950s, 60s and 70s and restored to an incredible quality. I'm planning a Mad-Men inspired reception room when the renovations are complete and I am definitely coming back here. They deliver to London too so I'd definitely recommend a peak in here if you love midcentury. I was visiting on a Saturday and I was delighted by the stalls on street too as there was many a bargain to be had there.
The last port of call from here is heading north again back towards Gloucester road where they are many treasure troves to delve into so take your time (and a full purse). If you love prints and more modern home accessories take a look in Junkfunk. You can continue looking and eating and coming across wonderful things on the street like this fantastic Chaise Lounge which John is still cross at me for not bringing home to reupholster (I personally like the tattered look!)
We're nearing the end of the walking tour now and basically you just head south to reach the sea. You'll hit North Street and be bombarded with the usual high street shops which for me burst the wonderfully cool Brighton bubble but once you hit the beach you cannot resist the retro feeling that takes over again. You MUST visit the pier. I just love strolling over the wooden boards and imagining previous generations visiting Brighton for afternoon tea or the locals strolling there on their lunch break. I always find an incredible bittersweet feeling as you look out towards the haunting west pier (which fell into disrepair in the mid-seventies) and imagine the ghost dances of those that used to meet for first dates there or get engaged and possibly even break up there.
From there (and totally depending on where you've parked) stroll down Old Steine so you can see the grandiose and impressive Royal Pavillion. Built as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV, this historic house mixes Regency grandeur with the visual style of India and China. Yes you read that properly! Completely breath taking architecture and also a wonderful museum so if you have time you can go there for further inspiration. Brighton does not disappoint, there is something for everyone and I can't wait to go back again as soon as possible.
DISCLAIMER: All photography is my own unless otherwise stated.