North Laine – a guide for visiting this amazing part of Brighton in 2023


Brighton is an amazing city to visit - the vast beach and sea air make you feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of London, even though you're only a short distance on the train away.

However, that's not to say that Brighton is nothing but beach walks and sea air. The city is packed with interesting establishments, many of which can be found within the North Laine area. This part of Brighton is renowned for being fun and exciting, and if you're visiting the city you'll probably want to spend as much time wandering around here as you do on the sand. We wanted to publish a guide highlighting North Laine and the best things to see and do in the area for 2023, let's get into the guide:

Where is North Laine?

You'll find The North Laine stretching along Trafalgar Street, Kensington Gardens, Sydney Street, Gardner Street and Bond Street. It's hard to believe it now, but at one point this area was considered to be a slum area, but now it is regarded by most as being as Brighton's bohemian and cultural quarter. If you're arriving from the railway station, you'll find Trafalgar Street under the bridge and down the hill to the right of the station exit. The artistic graffiti along the walls should let you know that you're heading to the right area.


What is the difference between 'The Lanes' and 'The Laines'?

The first point we need to address is that there are a few areas of Brighton known as 'The Lane' or 'The Laine', and it can get a little bit confusing if you're trying to navigate your way around the city for the first time.


In short, 'The Lanes' refers to the passageways which connect North Street, East Street, and Ship Street. They're among the oldest areas of the city, so some people may recommend that you pay them a visit, and they're especially attractive at night when they are lit up. The Lanes are situated to the South of North Laine.


However, 'The Laines' with an 'i' refers to an area of Brighton which dates back to Medieval Times. This area was divided into 5 Laines -  North, West, East, Little and Hilly - and was once used as open farming plots ('Laine' is the word for an open tract of land in Sussex dialect). The North Laine sits between the railway station and North Street.

What is there to see and do along North Laine?

Probably the most useful way to breakdown what there is to see and do within the North Laine area is to go street by street, so let's do that:

Trafalgar Street

As you head down Trafalgar St, one of the first establishments you'll pass on your right is the Prince Albert pub. This pub is well known for having a Banksy piece on its wall called 'Kissing Coppers' back in 2004, which sold for almost $600k. Further along on the same side, Toasted is a pretty great coffee shop, as is Blend & Brew just a little further down. Cafe del golfo on the opposite side of the street does really good food and is a nice place to sit with a coffee and sandwich. If you're not looking for coffee, the Rawlab juice bar serves up vegan cold-pressed juices which will make you feel alive. If raw juice sounds too healthy, the Lord Nelson Inn across the street has an excellent selection of beers at a very reasonable price. If it's food you're looking for, North Laine Café serves up a delicious brunch as does Bread & Milk. For later in the day, Cut Your Wolf Loose is not to be missed for a cocktail in a cool environment.

Sydney Street

Turning South from Trafalgar Street you'll find Syndey Street, which still has food and drinks but is much more about vintage, stylish shops. For example, the first stop on your right as you walk down Sydney Street is The Wax Factor, an old-school record store which is full to the brim with obscure CDs from all eras. To Be Worn Again is a vintage clothing shop full of eclectic and quirky items, whereas the Sugarhill Boutique a little further down the road is perfect if you're looking for a brand new item of clothing. As for other vintage clothing shops, Dirty Harry and Flock towards the end of the street are excellent and lots fun to explore. Beyond Retro is right at the bottom of Sydney Street and is one of the most popular vintage shops in the entire city - it's fantastic to visit and there is plenty you can buy from their website too. There are also some smaller shops like All About Aud. It's not just vintage clothing down here though - The Green Dragon is a good pub, and Si Signore is a nice Italian restaurant. Falafel does exactly what you'd expect and does it brilliantly, and the Pelicano Coffee Co. is a quirky place to grab a great cup of coffee.

Kensington Gardens

As you reach the end of Sydney Street and head round the corner to the right (past the chippy, which does a good cod and chips), you'll soon find the Kensington Gardens area of The North Laine. The real highlight here for locals and visitors alike is Snoopers Paradise, a very fun and interesting flea market that houses items from more than 90 different sellers. You've got everything here from vintage clothing to quirky ornaments. A real bargain hunter's dream! The spiritual store called Two Feathers is a very relaxing and interesting place to visit, and is great to explore if you're interested in things like crystals. Oddballs is also really fun - here you'll find games, juggling equipment and more. Basically, anything that is fun, you'll probably find it in Oddballs. If all of this shopping has made you hungry, Wai Kika Moo Kau does some of the best vegan/vegetarian food you'll ever try (bold statement but we're sticking to it). If you're into music, Resident Records along here is one of the best music shops going.

Upper Gardner Street/Gardner Street

Running parallel to Kensington Gardens is Upper Gardner Street - although this is a much quieter part of The North Laine, there is still plenty to see and do along here. The North Laine Bazaar features more than 50 stalls which sell everything from antique furniture to jewellery, but even if you're not buying something it is really fun to explore. There is a high turnover of stock so if you like a bargain and you're interested in antiques, it is worth visiting the fleamarket as many times as you can during your time in Brighton. SOUVLUCKY towards the bottom of the street serves up delicious Greek food and is a nice place to grab a Gyros. From here it's just a short walk down to Gardner Street, home to some great food places (we love The Dorset, Kooks, and of course Gelato Gusto) as well as some other interesting places to check out like the Bird & Blend Tea Co., Pearls Bubble Tea, and the Brighton CBD shop which sells a range of products, including some of the great CBD drinks we included in a recent guide. You'll often spot a local known as 'Birdyman', who walks around selling bird whistles. Yep, that's Brighton for you.

Bond Street

If you keep walking straight down Gardner Street you'll reach Bond Street, the last part of The North Laine. Here you'll find some really cool bars and pubs, so it's a perfect last stop. William the Fourth is laidback and has some nice outdoor seating, and Dead Wax Social has a dive bar vibe and always has good music. Right at the bottom of Bond Street you'll find the Wetherspoons - not exactly fitting the independent spirit of the rest of The North Laine, and probably an establishment to skip (unless you've spent all your money with the aforementioned independent businesses and you need a cheap pint, in which case it seems acceptable).

Also to see - London Road

London Road is about a 20-minute walk to the North of North Laine, but we wanted to include a mention of this area as we feel it has a very similar feel to North Laine. You'll find an interesting mix of places to eat along London Road, some of which feel like they could exist in North Laine because they have the same sort of vibe - places like Fatto a Mano, which serves up very straightforward and delicious pizzas, or Yefsis of Greece, a great Greek restaurant which is known for big portions. The Open Market is also well worth visiting, especially if you're a fan of street food dishes and love to buy handmade items which are made locally. Duke of York's Picturehouse located at the head of London Road is a must-visit for film buffs - this cinema is apparently the oldest cinema in continuous use in Britain and shows a great mix of movies throughout the year. Even if you don't fancy watching a film, the building itself is Grade II listed and worth a visit on its own. Lastly, if you're heading up this way from North Laine and you're looking for a great bar with live music and comedy, the Caroline of Brunswick bar is an absolute must-visit. This place is packed to the brim with personality and fun, and it just has a cool, gritty feel to it.
Even if you feel pooped after your visit to North Laine, we'd recommend heading to London Road for a while!

Hiring push bikes and electric bikes in Brighton

North Laine is actually a great area for cycling as the council recently introduced Cycle contraflows which allow cyclists to travel both ways down the streets which are only one way for cars. The same contraflows can be found on other streets across Brighton such as Campbell Road, Hampden Road, and Trafalgar Street. If you want to explore North Laine and the rest of Brighton on a bike but you don't have a bike with you, then there are plenty of places where you can hire either a push bike or an electric bike from. Here are some of the best options:


  • Cannonball Bikes - an excellent range of e-bikes to choose from, with options for people who want something simple or something more advanced. Prices start from £45 for a 4 hour rental
  • All Bikes Electric - really affordable rental and great for a standard no frills electric bike, hire prices start from £35 per day
  • Beryl Bikes - this scheme relaunched in early 2023 and seems to be sticking around unlike the previous scheme. Hiring a Beryl electric bike will cost you 15p per minute, which is quite handy if you're getting from A to B around the city. The bikes are rather clunky but still a good choice
Hopefully, this guide has inspired you to visit this brilliant area of Brighton. If you're looking for other great places to in this part of England, we've got a guide all about visiting Sussex. We've also got a guide about the lovely town of Petworth.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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