Doing driving lessons around Brighton & Hove, you get to see things and have conversations about our lovely city and all of it’s grandeur. Then, a seagull pooped through an open window… good times.
Here are 12 cool quirks of Brighton & Hove, which if you’re a true local, you should know about. If not, what are you playing at?!
The Disco Bunny is a free spirit, not owned, belonging or resident in any one country. He went pretty viral in 2016 for his ability to bring people of any age, gender, ethnicity, or anything else together in an impromptu show of joy, dance, and expression.
You can’t mention Disco Bunny without mentioning his predecessor, the OG and true Brighton local: Disco Pete. Although he officially retired in 2018, he blessed Brighton for years with his iconic flame attire and white glove combo, and a festival wouldn’t be complete unless he was present. I still remember being a kid and seeing him in town doing his thing. What a guy.
Did you know that the top of Hanover/Racecourse/Whitehawk area is one huge ancient monument? It’s called Whitehawk Camp, and it’s home to one of Britain’s earliest stone age monuments.
While it’s thought that roughly 5,000 years ago these cave-people versions of us didn’t live here, but chose to develop this site to embellish in a bit of feasting, burials and other activities of a ritual nature. These types of ancient building works are called “causewayed enclosures”, and you can read more about them just by Googling it bro!
Since the age of 14, Zack Pinsent decided clothing from our time era wasn’t for him. Since then, he’s been honing his skills crafting beautiful bespoke period clothing so that he can express himself better through his attire, and has even created a successful business out of his love for period clothing. Let’s be honest, he rocks it well and definitely has swag!
The Royal Pavillion's Secret Tunnel
Underneath the Pavillion, there’s a tunnel which leads to the Brighton Dome next door. The reason it was built? So that the Prince Regent (the guy who had the Pavillion built for himself) could travel to the dome (which at the time was a grand stable for his horses) without being seen, as at the time he was pretty unpopular and self-conscious of his weight, so didn’t want to be seen by the public.
You’ll hear him before you see him. But then when you do see him you won’t know it’s him who you’re hearing.
When Tim Bat (AKA Birdyman) is not juggling umbrellas, performing cabaret, or captivating audiences in other fun ways, he likes to emulate bird noises with his
annoying ingenious birdy whistle. He has memorable interactions with members of the public while performing his birdsong, and the Laine wouldn’t be the same without bumping into him every now and then. Eccentric, quirky, funny… Tim is pure Brighton and deserves a spot on this list.
Brighton is full of Jedis
Brighton is awash with spirituality. Grab a crystal in the North Laine or take a palm reading or tarot by the Pier. But Brighton doesn’t do god. It’s a city without a cathedral, after all. Second only to Norwich, 42.4% of citizens said they have no religion in the 2011 census. But 1% said they were Jedis. That’s by far the highest Jedi population in the country. Which is a cool accolade, right?
Saint James Tavern was the first pub in Brighton to serve this exclusive golden liquor in 1996, after a wager between some friends.
The recipe was orginally blended in Florence, Italy, some 500 years ago, and since then it hasn’t changed much. Featuring Italian brandy flavoured with citrus and vanilla spice, it’s thought that some of the most influential characters of the Renaissance period – Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael – enjoyed this drink. These days, it’s served in 95% of Brighton & Hove City’s boozers for the likes of Gary from accounts to get absolutely pickled on his stag-do while dressed as a teenage mutant ninja turtle.
Crafted by local fisherman Rory McCormack using cement, flint, and pebbles he found on the beach, it’s only when you get up close to the statues that you realise the true intricate design and individuality of each sculpture. The whole thing oozes creativity!
God-Carved-Calves (and quads)
If a national survey was conducted where the average muscle mass in people’s legs were measured, Brightoners would surely win. While there are some flat areas, there’s almost always some kind of incline of varying steepness which you have to traverse in order to get to your destination. The above is a photo is
a random stock photo I found online of your average Hanover resident’s legs.
Brighton Morris Men
Brighton Morris Men welcome the opportunity to dance with all who share the love of dancing regardless of race, gender, sexuality, background, kit or face paint. Their energetic display of dance while wearing typical morris garments of tied smocks, military baldrics, bells and bloomers, can be seen outside pubs in around Brighton & Hove, and sometimes further afield with other morris sides. They’re also available for a wide variety of parties and other events.
Allegedly, morris dancing dates back to the 15th century, when a horticulturist named Mr Morris Coppice was enjoying a pint at the pub with his mates like he normally did. However, he grew bored of arguing about the Assizes of Bread and Ale, the carbon content of the soil along with the vagaries of cow manure, or the 82 years’ war with France and whether the army would be back before Christmas. The lads decided to do some Celtic circle dancing until Morris interrupted and argued they do something instead with the shaved staves and the pack of crocheted hankies he had on him. Thus, morris dancing was born, and developed and grew to the phenomenon it is today.
What do you think about that origin story?
Brighton Morris Men have continued this tradition of pubs and attempting wicked dance moves.
Haunted Castle-Themed Tunnel
So this one’s a couple of km north of Brighton, next to the A23 – close enough.
The tunnel was built in 1843 – a time in which steam trains were still relatively new. Because of this, people were worried about the prospect of going through such a long tunnel at such high speed. The castle-like folly was built to “reassure” passengers about to enter the tunnel for the first time that they weren’t about to descend into the depths of Hell. Either that or the owner of the land managed to blag himself a sweet deal with the government at the time.
In 1861, multiple errors involving the timings of trains and signals given, led to two trains crashing in the tunnel resulting in 23 deaths and 176 injuries. To this day, visitors still report sightings of two ghostly figures walking hand-in-hand into the entrance of the tunnel.