This Thursday, a good chunk of the music industry will be making their way to Brighton for the start of this year’s Great Escape. On the one hand, it’s a music convention with talks, seminars and networking. On the other hand, it’s a multi-venue festival jamboree with hundreds of bands from around the world playing to locals and industry folk.
This will be my fifth year of covering the festival (I’m part of the MusicOMH crew this year) and I’ve been to Brighton enough times now to suss out where the best places are in the city that don’t necessarily revolve around music. So, here is a list of places to eat, things to see and do and more for the newcomer.
Pavillion Gardens - If the weather is good (that’s a big if right there), sometimes the best thing to do is to sit down in the Pavilion Gardens and watch the world go by. The backdrop is pretty spectacular anyway, what with it being outside the Royal Pavilion and Museums, one of the city’s best landmarks. Don’t take it from me, take it from this random Trip Advisor comment:
Full credit to Brighton for the condition of this magnificent building. Whilst it is somewhat sobering to see how the rich wasted funds it is history and that it is the way it was. Worth every penny of admission. The detail of exhibits, furniture, decor and the terrific information system is first class.
This is about fifteen minutes walk from the station – in fact, if you just went downhill towards the beach from the station (and took a left) the chances are you’ll find it easily.
Northern Lights - Every year that I do Great Escape, I end up here. The first year I went, when the conferencing was held at the huge Thistle hotel, this was fairly close by. It’s basically a Nordic pub but the food they do is authentically Scandinavian. And yes, they have a lot of Finlandia (this was of relevance to my Finnish fiancée the first year we went down). It’s quite well hidden on Little East Street, a stone’s throw away from the busy high street.
Brighton Flea Market - For those who like a lot of vintage things, you can’t go wrong with the Flea Market. A few years ago I managed to buy a really, cheap, knackered polyphonic keyboard from what seemed like a forgotten era for £1. It didn’t matter that it was rubbish. I still enjoyed playing this wonky instrument for at least a year. It’s finding stuff like that that makes going to the Lanes so enjoyable.
The beach - It seems bloody obvious but walking along the beach will uncover a variety of things to do. There are a few pubs and bars along the strip (including venues taking part in Great Escape such as Coalition and Digital), tourist shops to get Brighton rock or otherwise and some pretty good fish and chip shops. The only downside is that I’ve never been when it hasn’t been windy.
I hope that is of use to at least one person. Hope to see you down by the seaside?