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Kemptown is often considered as Brighton’s mischievous cousin. It is a vibrant, edgy, and queer neighborhood that offers a unique and fun experience. Located east of Brighton Palace Pier, Kemptown stretches along the seafront from St. James Street to the stunning Regency buildings of the Kemp Town Estate. This affluent pocket has been home to celebrities like Cate Blanchett and Nick Cave, and it even inspired Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
However, Kemptown is not just known for its historical significance. It is a contemporary neighborhood that caters to all types of pleasure seekers. The area is famous for its Pride celebrations in August, but it also offers a variety of events throughout the year, such as the Mod Weekender and the Brighton Speed Trials. Additionally, Kemptown has seen the addition of exciting attractions like Sea Lanes and Soho House’s Brighton outpost.
There are plenty of things to do in Kemptown. For fans of drag performances, there are several gay bars, pubs, and clubs that offer entertainment all week long. Legends on the seafront is a popular spot for drag shows, while The Queen’s Arms is known for its cabaret performances. If you’re looking for a unique experience, Proud serves drag bottomless brunches every weekend.
One of the newest attractions in Kemptown is Sea Lanes, a regenerated beachfront area that includes the National Open Water Swimming Centre. Visitors can take a dip in the 50m-long, six-lane pool and then enjoy a decadent brunch sandwich from Fika or a craft beer at Bison Beach Bar. The sunset views from here are breathtaking. If you have more time to relax, head to the hidden festival-like area of Beach Box Spa for a rejuvenating sauna-and-dip experience.
For those who appreciate art and history, the Secret Garden is a must-visit. Located in the former pleasure garden of 32 Sussex Square, this hidden gem is surrounded by mature foliage. The garden is open every Sunday during the summer and is known for its sculpture installations. Don’t forget to visit the cafe, which offers innovative cakes like quince bakewell and roasted peach and fennel cream sponge.
When it comes to dining, Kemptown has a wide range of options to suit every taste. Purezza, the UK’s first vegan pizzeria, offers delicious vegan pizzas with an impressive imitation of mozzarella. Café Rust is a standout brunch spot with opulent decor and a menu that includes modern brunch classics and ever-changing specials. DaddyLonglegs, located near the marina, is a refined gastropub that serves intriguing, balanced dishes and has a huge garden.
The Black Dove is considered the best drinking den in Kemptown. With its vegan drinks, welcoming atmosphere, and authentic decor, it guarantees a good night out. Tørstigbar is a low- and no-alcohol bar that offers a selection of non-alcoholic alternatives for those who prefer not to drink alcohol. Hand in Hand is a tiny pub and microbrewery that attracts customers with its quirky interior and popular local pub game called Toad in the Hole.
For shopping enthusiasts, Kemptown offers some unique options. Kemptown Bookshop, Brighton’s longest-running independent bookshop, offers an excellent selection of books and has an upstairs cafe that doubles as a workspace. Brighton Flea Market is a treasure trove of all sorts of items, from vintage jewelry to second-hand fondue sets.
When it comes to accommodation, Kemptown has options to suit different budgets. The Lanes Hotel, a three-star Regency townhouse located on the seafront, offers value for money with its modern facilities and traditional style. For a more luxurious experience, Drakes is the most upmarket hotel in Kemptown and has hosted famous guests like Kylie Minogue, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Woody Allen.
In conclusion, Kemptown is a vibrant and inclusive neighborhood that offers a unique and exciting experience for travelers. From drag shows and beachfront swimming pools to hidden gardens and vegan pizzerias, there is something for everyone in Kemptown. So, next time you visit Brighton, make sure to turn left at the seafront and explore all that Kemptown has to offer.