Brighton & Hove is a city filled with love and joy. It’s bold and colourful and full of bird poo. There are seaside areas but also countryside areas. Old fashioned places and modern places. The seaside has fun games to interact with for adults and kids. There’s a beautiful and astonishingly nice beach and an amazing pier. It’s nice to swim in the sea.
You have to watch out for all the seagulls. You can’t eat food outside. The weather can be really bad. Sometimes there’s antisocial behaviour in the park. It’s generally a really nice place to live but if you compare it to California it’s not as good.
You might find this guidebook useful if you live in Liverpool or America and you don’t know anything about Brighton & Hove, or if you just moved here. It could also be useful if you live here and don’t pay attention. If you think that Brighton & Hove is boring and you don’t think much of it then this book will show you why you are wrong. Let us give your empty brain some knowledge. For example, you might not know that the donuts on the pier are the best donuts in Brighton & Hove and you might not know that shopping in Brighton & Hove takes forever. You probably don’t know about the secret hole in the bushes near the Amex Stadium or the secret hideouts we made in the park.
You probably don’t know that children like swimming in the sea in any weather. That we need more lie-ins and not to be woken up every single day at 7am. You don’t know how hard it is when everyone tells you to do things at the same time.
You don’t know that kids like us have lots of ideas and can do lots of things you wouldn’t expect. Being a child gives you more imagination. You don’t know any of these things but that’s ok. This book is here to help you.
We recommend you read this guidebook on a bench at the seaside or at the library. You could read it in the arcade at the pier where the seagulls can’t get you or on some big rocks on the beach that are shaped like seats. You could read it in Queen’s Park and then go for a nice walk. We don’t recommend reading this guidebook if you are falling through the air or standing in the middle of the road. Don’t read it in the sea or on the moon. Don’t read and drive at the same time. Don’t read on a hill on a windy day or the guidebook will just fly away.
When you are finished reading we recommend you use this book as a rag or to make paper aeroplanes or for doodling. Or you can just read it again so you can remember it better and then pass it on to someone else who needs it. Give a copy to Simon the Lollipop Man and another to Matt the Ice Cream Man. Give one to Tom Holland and one to Donald Trump. Give one to Harry Kane and one to Tilly’s sister who is 19 and lives in London with her mum half the time and thinks Brighton & Hove is boring. All these people need to read this book.
Welcome to the Book of Brighton & Hove. Our city is a place of wonder and bravery. We love it here and you should too.
Brighton & Hove is a little city right next to the sea
Where everyone can be who they want to be
It has lots of nature, games and other things to see
Seagulls landing on your knee, watch out for the pee
Everyone loves Brighton & Hove and let us tell you why,
They cry with happiness when they see the seaside
The quality of the fish and chips is very, very high
Everyone in Brighton & Hove is happy before they die
This is our city, we’ve lived here all our lives
In this lovely place right next to the seaside
And yet never by the Palace Pier have we seen a dolphin dive
You know you can believe us because we never tell lies
The pavilion was built by a king in 1967. It held Spanish soldiers because it was a hospital in World War I. It’s got big domes like India and onions. We think it’s impressive and important. Every year in December there’s an ice rink with such good hot chocolate.
This is a court house where people go to a court of guilt. It was built in 1987 as a place for deciding what’s to be built or not. People get their birth certificate inside, to show that they exist. My mum got married here. It got raided by French humans and it happened in 1514. We’ve never been inside.
This is a statue of a mum. This statue is a tribute to mums because they take care of us and protect us with all their hearts. In the statue she is wearing a scarf because mums always wear scarves.
The AMEX Stadium was built by American Express in July 2011 (the same year as us). It’s for playing sports. There is a big snack bar. It is an interesting shape and colour. It is really loud and fun for watching football. We think it’s an amazing place.
This is a statue of a man.
It represents Black Lives Matter. We made it because of all the racism around.
Dotty the Dog
This is a statue in Queen’s Park dog area in honour of Dotty the dog. It is a statue of a dog playing with a ball and looking happy. This statue exists to remind people of their dogs. It represents the love that pets give us.
Cool Shape Theatre
This is a university for art and there’s lots of shows here and Blu & the Magic Web was put on there. It is a great place to go if you like music and art. It’s a cool shape. Extraordinary.
Built in 1895 for viewing the history. It has artifacts like the eyeballs of extinct animals. If you go inside you will see a million stuffed creatures. It has dead butterflies in, and Mr Jam the Pomeranian’s skull. We think there’s a cyclops kitten in the loft there. We think it looks old. It’s not very interesting because it’s not interactive.
My statue is about an NHS worker next to the Royal Sussex Hospital. It was made to indicate all the NHS people that died to save us from COVID.
This sculpture of a blossom tree represents nature and the season of spring. We put it in the park to calm people down.
This is a creative house boat made out of an old rollercoaster ride. It was built in 1990. We think it’s old and weird.
This is the i360 and it is ok. We think people built this because people wanted to see the city and how beautiful the sea is. It cost £46 million. We think it looks cool but some people might not like it. How about you?
The Ruins of the Past
A ruined broken-down pier. Built in 1916. It was burnt down by the teenagers or drunk people set it on fire or the previous owner of the other pier set it on fire. It’s a popular place for taking sunset pictures because of the beautiful lighting. It doesn’t do anything anymore. An old former shadow of itself. Good for murmurations.
At the top of Falmer Road there’s a tree house that was abandoned a long time ago. It’s very peaceful and not many people know about it because it is really dark there. It’s a good place to go if you are sad and need some alone time.
A Haunted House
There is an abandoned overgrown house in Stanmer. It is actually quite creepy and feels like a haunted house. A lot of children know about it but adults don’t really pay attention.
A Tree With a Hole in the Side
In Stanmer Woods in between two paths there is a tree with rocks around. It has a hole in the side with a mushroom hanging on top. Children call it the pathway to the fantasy world. They always imagine fairies, pirates and more come out. People don’t really know about it because it is hidden. It’s nice here because it’s very calm.
The Tent Place
This place is by East Brighton Park. Walk up to the fields, past the sheep. Keep walking along until you find some stairs. If you go down these stairs then you will find either tents or blackberries. If you don’t find tents then continue going down. The tents are where homeless people live.
There’s a bomb crater in Peacehaven. It’s covered in grass and has a fence around it. It’s very interesting because it’s a part of local history. Not many people know about it because Peacehaven is a very small place.
There’s a road right next to Portslade Station which has a really creepy alley and there’s a buggy next to a tree that has been there for a lot of years and I believe at the end of the alleyway there’s a wormhole to the multiverse.
This is ant city. You are never alone because all your ant friends are here. No one knows about it because no one cares about the ants except us.
A Magic Place
If you open your door to take the bin out you can see it. It is dark with a spot of light but it is magical. Everyone can see it but does not look for the magic in it.
The Broken Car
In the woods at the racecourse there is an abandoned car. It is interesting because the pieces are everywhere. No one knows about it because it is very hidden.
The Mysterious Garage
On the way to Budgens there is a garage and no one has any idea what is behind it. It could be anything. It might be something to do with Budgens like food supplies but it might be something else.
This is a fountain with three fishes blasting out water in the bowl. You might see it in the Old Steine if you are relaxing in the park. It is very satisfying to watch the water fall and it is a nice place to have an ice cream. People don’t know about it because they are too busy with getting on and off buses and going to work.
A BMX Track
This is an old bike track near the racecourse and it was a professional bike track but now it’s all over grown. It’s special because it used to be professional. Not very many people know about it because it’s tucked away in fog and grassland.
The Donut Statue
The secret of the legendary donut hides in plain sight at the edge of the seashore. Because the huge pier steals all the attention the donut goes unseen. It’s a great place to feel a bit relaxed with the constant noise of the sea resonating around the area. Also, if you like mobile gaming, it’s even a Pokestop in Pokemon Go! And with that what’s not to love about the statue of the donut?
If you get away from the city centre you will find the ordinary streets of Brighton & Hove, like the streets near our schools where we live. Everyone is friendly on these streets and most of our friends live nearby. The kids are always running around. There’s a WhatsApp group where all the neighbours give stuff for free. We know the old man who shouts at the binmen and the man who walks around in his dressing gown and the hundred year old lady who drives a silver car and is always smoking. We know the people two doors down with the three-legged huskie. We know the lady that give us lots of sweets at Halloween. We know Foggy and Cookie. We know the cat that likes to sit on the motorcycle. We call him Motor Cat. We know that the people over the road are getting a divorce.
There are big fields opposite our houses and a wood full of trees close to the Budgens. There are plants and small flowers. There’s a blocked-off road where we can play football. There’s a skip full of rubbish and a sprinkler in the neighbour’s garden. There’s a bench that people sit on to calm themselves. We love the corner shop with the peeling paint. We love the car full of teddy bears that never moves. We love the creepy house even though it’s creepy. We love riding down the hill but we don’t love riding back up it. We wish the pavements were wider and though there are some trees we wish there were more. It’s all very calm. The sunrises and the sunsets look beautiful from up here. Sometimes you can hear the horses neighing on the hill. There are foxes on our streets and we like them when they’re not screaming.
Sometimes it gets way too noisy. The dogs bark and the seagulls squawk. There’s a cat that wakes us up trying to climb the wisteria. People fight about the bins and all the litter. At 9pm every night all the teenagers go up to the skatepark at the end of the road and they shout all the way there. We wish the roads weren’t so busy. We wish people didn’t drive so fast. We wish there weren’t so many cars parked on the street. The drivers are so dangerous. We remember when the front of someone’s car got smashed in. We remember the ambulances and the police cars. We remember when someone died. We remember all the accidents. But we also remember when we found a baby hedgehog and set it free. We remember when the cat caught a rainbow lizard and when a baby seagull flew into the garden and we had to wrap it in a towel. One time the living room was flooded because the upstairs neighbour left the shower on! One time someone stole all the apples from the apple tree! One time a dog started a car! We remember listening to the samba drummers practicing for Kemptown Carnival and we remember the party we had when Harry and Meghan got married. We remember the parade. Every year there’s a street party with lots of food and a lucky dip and when it snowed we had a snowball fight and everybody joined in.
There are plenty of things on our streets that you probably wouldn’t notice. Things like coffee cups and crisp packets. Cables and weeds. Old bikes and birds and ants. There is pollution. Cracks in the pavement. Battered floor paint. Old pennies. CCTV cameras. The ghosts of dead cats. Spilled drugs. Crumbs and stones. Microbes. Mould. Covid 19. Wi-Fi networks. Shadows. Satellite signals. Electricity. Music.
The best place on our streets is the new community centre we designed ourselves. It’s a place for the whole community full of things we didn’t have near us before. It’s animal friendly and open every day from 12pm to 12am. Every room has its own special part.
There’s a painting room where you can paint anything and a gaming room and a spa with a jacuzzi. There’s a cinema and a skate park and lots of trampolines. There are beds for resting and an outdoor pond where everyone can relax. There are stairs up one side and slides down the other and loads of different coloured lights everywhere lighting it up from top to bottom.
There’s a tree hotel with lots of rooms for everyone to stay in and a library shaped like a book. There’s a haunted castle and a WWE arena and virtual reality room. There’s a play area especially for kids under 10 and there’s a rollercoaster for older people. People who like chilling can go to the chill zone and people who like art can go to the art studio. There’s a doctor if you need a doctor, and there’s a dentist and a vet and also a therapist.
There’s a cat café and a pet store where you can borrow a pet if you want to, and in the pet store there’s a babysitter so kids can stay there and play with the animals while their parents go to appointments. There’s a rock climbing wall and a zip line and at the bottom of the slides is a ball pit. There’s an underground water park with tube slides and rapids and a wave machine. There are tents to rest in and picnic blankets to lie on. There are Astroturf football pitches and a basketball court. There is a fountain in the shape of a cat.
There really is something for everyone there. You can have fun or just relax. It’s a place that everyone can go to. And the best thing about it is that it’s all totally free.
The best place to hide a tiger is Hove Cemetery because it would scare people and they would think it was a ghost.
The place to run in an emergency is the health centre because it is very calm.
The best place to have a party is on the beach because you have a lot of space and you can go for a swim.
The most dangerous place is River Adur.
The worst place is Portslade Station because it is dirty.
The best place to hide is in Sainsbury’s because you can hide in the shelves.
The best place to bury treasure is in the cemetery because there is a tiger guarding it.
Happy Valley is the best place because you get to enjoy the outdoors without technology.
The Nuffield will be here the longest because it’s really important.
The bus stop makes us angriest because it takes so long.
The best place to film a music video is the skatepark to do gangster roadman stuff.
Falmer Road Junction is the most dangerous place.
The safest place is the school because there are teachers and people around.
The place that makes us most proud is the sea because we are a seaside town and we are proud of that.
The best place to build a skyscraper is in the sea.
The worst place is the Sea Life centre because all the animals are stuck in tanks.
The best place to run to in an emergency is Budgens because you can get emergency food.
The best place for a big party is the Pavilion because it is giant, fancy and old.
The scariest place is the police station in Kemptown because the police could arrest you.
The happiest place is Brighton Pier as there are lots of fun rides and you can get ice cream.
The best place for a plane to land is Brighton racecourse because there is a lot of space to land.
The place that makes us most proud is the pier because it is unique.
The place that will disappear first is the beach because the water levels are rising.
The place that will last the longest is Queen’s Park because whatever happens there will still be some left.
A Noisy Walk
Start at Brighton Racecourse and end at Brighton Swimming School. Look out for cars and for swans. You will hear loud beeping noises. The most difficult part is all the roads. The most interesting part is the start because you can see the whole of Brighton & Hove.
A Water Walk
Start your walk at St Luke’s Primary then make your way to Queen’s Park and wade through the water. Watch the tranquil water go by. Listen to the quacking ducks and birds and even swans going about their daily business. Feel the wind on your face and truly be calm.
The Joyous Walk
The joyous walk is a walk that will take you all over Brighton & Hove. You begin at Queen’s Park, then travel all over town passing the Sea Life centre, the pier, lots of cafes and restaurants with much more. This walk could take you a week if you visit all the fun-packed sights. You will want to take money, a bag, snacks and friends. With this walk you could go home with a hundred souvenirs.
A Jumpy Walk
Start by going straight up Warren Road and doing 10 jumping jacks. Then go to Woodingdean and spin 11 times. Go to the Nuffield hospital car park and act like a car. Then we can go to either McDonald’s or Uncle Sam’s to eat. When the walk is over we can go to Happy Valley and play amazing games.
A Night Walk
Start at Benfield school and walk to the River Adur for a lovely sunset. Now it’s dark walk along the beach then go to Vale Park and make sure to pet eight dogs. Then go home and have a nice sleep.
An Invisible Walk
If one day you wake up and you are invisible this is the walk you should do. First eat fish and chips for breakfast and watch YouTube (no one can tell you not to). Then go to the Sea Life centre and look at the fish. Then go to the park and practice with your roller-skates. If you fall over no one can see you. Then go to a random person’s house and steal their lunch. For the next 12 hours you should just interrupt important meetings. Then find an old abandoned shop and use the unsold mattresses to make an enormous fort and the walk ends when you go to sleep in it.
When you are on your walks you should try and photograph all of these things:
Before we go, we have a few questions to ask you:
Thank you for reading our guide to Brighton & Hove. It’s a good place to live now and we think it will be better in the future.
In the future there will be lots of new things that will make Brighton & Hove more interesting, and more things for children because at the moment if you look around Brighton & Hove it’s mainly for adults.
In the future there will be more electric cars and people will walk more. There will be bridge escalators underground and trams. The city will be much quieter because people will be more aware of noise pollution.
The weather will be hotter and more extreme because of climate change. Already it’s quite extreme.
Our schools will still be here but the teachers will all be robots and they’ll have accessible ramps for the robots to walk up.
Most of us won’t be here anymore. You might find us in Scotland, being actors in Kingston-upon-Thames, or in California being fashion designers and dancers. You might find us in Cornwall being car mechanics. Some of us will still be here though, still exploring Brighton & Hove and finding things we haven’t seen before.
Wherever we are remember us, and remember what we showed you. This is a memento from a moment in time. This is what it was like to live in Brighton & Hove in 2022.
The Book of Brighton & Hove was created by Year 5 children from Benfield Primary School, Queen’s Park Primary School, St Luke’s Primary School and Woodingdean Primary School in collaboration with Andy Field & Beckie Darlington
The book’s editors were Ava-Rose, Bo, Evie, Flo, Joel, Phoebe, Rudie, Sam, Sammy, Seb, Stanley and Tilly
The Book of Brighton & Hove was commissioned by Brighton Festival, Caravan Assembly, Heart of Glass and LOOKOUT Brighton
The Book of Brighton & Hove is part of a series of guidebooks written by children, which began with The Book of St Helens. You can read that book here: www.heartofglass.org.uk/tbosh