Consider the style of shopping in Brighton as a sort of trip into the bygone days of British retail. Many neighborhoods of Brighton consist of streets lined with old properties that have been renovated and converted into small one-off shops dedicated to selling antiques, vintage fashion, and retro items or second-hand goods the profits from which go to fund charitable organizations.
If that's not your idea of shopping, don't panic. There are one or two places in Brighton where you'll find quality shops stocking not previously worn fashion wear and when you discover the city's one and only mall, you may well start singing hallelujah. Shopping in Brighton is an experience you have to embrace for what it is and if you want more than what's on offer, then the best thing to do is catch the train to London and do your shopping there.
The shops in Brighton are not easy to navigate if you have a suitcase with you. Just getting in and out of the doors of some with a couple of shopping bags is a major accomplishment. If you don't want to feel as if you're competing on an army obstacle course, the best thing to do is leave your baggage at a Bounce luggage storage facility in Brighton. They'll be stored in a luggage locker that's security tagged and insured which you can access whenever you need to stow away your latest purchases.
Where To Go Shopping In Brighton
Unless you’ve just purchased a day return ticket to the British capital to do your shopping there, continue reading and you’ll discover where to go shopping in Brighton and what each different neighborhood has as far as retail outlets are concerned.
Brighton City Centre
Brighton city centre does have some independent stores but is mostly given over to the hospitality industry. Among the many pubs, restaurants, and cafes in central Brighton if you search hard enough you'll come across stores like Primark, Snowsafe, a shop dedicated to selling skiing equipment, and several off-licenses where you can purchase discounted booze and a selection of the ever-present charity shops.
East Street Arcade
The East Street Arcade is a mini-mall on Brighton city centre's East Street. There are around 20 independent shops in the arcade, most of which are dedicated to high-end fashion. There are also a couple of expensive jewelry stores, one-offs like specialist tobacconists selling hand-rolled cigars, and an old-fashioned sweet shop with both traditional and retro sweets. If it starts to rain when you're out shopping in Brighton city centre this is not a bad place to get undercover until it stops.
Churchill Square Shopping Centre
If Brighton city centre leaves you feeling totally deprived, head for Churchill Square where you'll be able to get a proper retail fix in the Churchill Square Shopping Centre.
Churchill Square Shopping Centre is a two-story indoor mall housing over 80 different retailers. It's bright, spacious, and modern, and unless you thrive on the antiquated, one of the best places to go shopping in Brighton.
In the Churchill Square Shopping Centre, there are chain stores like Zara, Ernest Jones, Foot Locker, Fossil, and H&M, so you'll definitely be able to encounter the latest on-trend shoes and clothes rather than something that went out of fashion five years ago.
The centre opens seven days of the week from nine in the morning until seven in the evening. Sunday trading hours are shorter and the centre only opens from eleven until five. Allow a few hours to get around the centre as it's big and usually very busy.
The Lanes is one of the most character-filled parts of Brighton and is the place to get in touch with how retail used to be before malls arrived in the UK. Yes, it's a bit like shopping down memory lane.
Take a wander along the famous lanes and you'll come across store after store each stocking totally different items. There are antique shops, art galleries, confectioners, bakers, vintage clothes shops, and designer-label boutiques.
The Lanes is an area that is still undergoing a metamorphosis and many of the properties are being renovated. New stores are opening there all the time and not all of them are independent traders. The big-name brands are starting to get in the action too. Even if you prefer mall shopping, it's worth having a browse around The Lanes as its eclectic character makes exploring enjoyable, especially if you stop off at one of the cafes for cake and a cup of tea.
London Road is one of Brighton's main thoroughfares and runs through a mainly neglected residential area of the city.
If you're going sightseeing under your own steam and using the local buses to explore, they're one of the best ways of getting around Brighton. If you end up here, you may well decide to stay on board and make the return journey without getting off.
While there are shops on London Road, they're typically not really worth the bother of going out of your way for. On this Brighton street, you'll come across discount stores like Poundstretcher, Poundland, and Bargain Buys which is not where you're going to find any good quality or unique souvenirs. You'll also find that every other shop on London Road is a charity shop so the best thing to do unless you're truly adventurous, is avoid this area when shopping in Brighton.
North Laine is one of the more popular shopping areas in Brighton. Although it is mainly residential, North Laine is known for its hip bohemian atmosphere. Forget finding chain stores in North Laine. All the shops here, and there are about 300 or so, are independent traders.
Many local artists and artisans also have their workshops in North Laines and use their premises as mini art galleries to showcase their work. Take a stroll around and you'll come across unique handmade jewelry, oil and watercolor paintings of Brighton and Hove as well as the Sussex countryside. This is a great place to pick up a unique souvenir as there's lots of hand-crafted pottery and glass and metalware for sale.
Brighton's North Laine district also has its fair share of vintage fashion shops, but they're complemented by up-and-coming designers who have their own boutiques, so as well as the vintage, you can get something new that no one else will have.
Brighton Marina has become the it place to go shopping in Brighton over the past couple of years and where the pseudo posh go to see and be seen.
At the marina, the shops line the waterfront and are dispersed between the trendy cafes and restaurants. Here you can expect to pay a little more for whatever you buy from the not overly vast selection of fashion boutiques, art galleries showcasing local artists, and artisan stores.
Kemptown is in essence very similar to North Laines shopping-wise. In this neighborhood of Brighton that is home to the city's LGBT community, there are many small boutique-style stores stocking both vintage clothes and fashion created by yet to be famous designers.
Wine shops, bakeries, and delicatessens are plentiful in Kemptown too, so there's no struggle in finding delicious food to take home, and just about every outlet stocks sticks of the famous Brighton rock so you can pick up some of that at the same time.
Brighton Open Market
Everyone who visits Brighton should go to Brighton's Open Market at least once. The market is located on Marshalls Row in the London Road area of the city so there's no need to dress up for this shopping occasion. Think of it as heading to the Brighton Bronx and you'll be fully prepared to tackle any eventuality. That's not to say you won't get great customer service there, you will.
Brighton's Open Market is an undercover market containing over forty permanent traders and a dozen or so art workshops where you can purchase affordable artwork ranging in price from a few pounds to a couple of hundred. The market is also where to get some of the best street food in Brighton as there are food trucks and pop-ups serving all kinds of international cuisine.
Take a stroll down the seafront in Brighton and between the amusement arcades and the Brighton Pier, you'll find niche stores selling all kinds of souvenir items, some of which are totally tacky and others that are not. You'll come across a great selection of kiosk-style premises offering traditional British seaside sweets like coconut mushrooms and nougat. They also sell an incredible selection of around 30 or more different flavors of rock which is the same as the American candy called rock candy. Unless you want a t-shirt or cap stating I Luv Brighton, you'll need to go somewhere else to do some serious shopping.
Snoopers Attic is a type of flea market located in Kensington Gardens in North Laine. Think vintage or retro market for this truly amazing place and you'll be on the right track. If you're looking for an oddity or a unique item of clothing and don't care that it's been pre-used or made from regenerated fabrics, Snoopers Attic is the place to go shopping in Brighton for you. You have to search hard to find what you're looking for here, so it's a kind of snoopers paradise or Aladdin's cave that will eventually turn up a treasure or two if you keep looking long enough.
Most visitors to Brighton will head to Hove at least once during their stay. This town in East Sussex neighbors Brighton and the two are often inexorably linked together but are in reality total contrasts.
Go shopping in Hove and it's a real old British town experience that has nothing to do with malls or big commercial outlet villages. The shopping in Hove is concentrated on the pedestrianized main street which is just a five-minute walk from Hove train station.
When the weather is good, Hove centre has a Mediterranean air and you'll find the cafes make use of the traffic-free thoroughfare by setting out tables and chairs for their customers. They're ideal spots to have a rest between exploring the shops.
There are a variety of well-known fashion stores in Hove centre along with individual boutiques, second-hand, and antique shops plus art galleries with more or less affordable prices.
While shopping in Brighton doesn't compare with shopping in London or even any of the UK's major cities, it does have a style all of its own that can become quite addictive. If you're someone who loves bargain hunting or making vintage finds, you'll be in your element in Brighton. And, don't forget to keep your hands free for all your shopping bags by storing your luggage before you set out on your shopping exploits.