How have I never written a post about the most hyggeligt places in my hometown? I wrote a while ago about my old favourite pub in Brighton, Northern Lights, which has unfortunately since closed down. I’m still gutted – there’s another bar in its place, but the magic has gone. Just goes to show that hygge is intangible, and you can’t just conjure it out of nowhere. That beautiful little cottage on Little East Street is still standing, but I would never choose to go there anymore. But things change and life goes on, and Brighton remains abundant with hygge in all sorts of places – here are a few of my top picks.
The Blue Man
Ohhh this one is a beauty. The Blue Man is a tiny little North African bar on Queen’s Road on the walk down from Brighton Station to the seafront. It is THE cosiest spot in Brighton for post-work drinks and snacks. Try the sferia (the Algerian dumplings) and the North African tapas, and grab one of the tables upstairs so you can enjoy all of the Saharan desert nomad decorations by candlelight. There’s also an intimate performance area downstairs used for regular music and comedy nights, so it’s always worth checking out what’s on before your visit. Hygge is pretty much a given here.
Duke of York’s cinema
If you’re looking to catch a film in Brighton, head to Duke of York’s. It’s part of the Picturehouse chain, and it shows the perfect mix of mainstream, independent and arthouse cinema, all in beautiful art deco surroundings. You can grab a drink on the balcony before your screening and look out over Preston Circus, or pick up a slice of cake and a glass of wine before settling down to watch your film. Look out for the legs on the roof!
Preston Park rockery
I used to LOVE this place as a kid. It’s directly opposite Preston Park (Brighton’s best park in my opinion), which is always packed in the summer and great for an autumnal Sunday walk for conker collecting and leaf spotting, and a much more peaceful spot for quiet reflection. There’s a lot to explore in a relatively small area, but the stepping stones over the pond are a must, and take yourself up to the very top for beautiful views over all the trees. When I was a child, I used to beg my mum to take us here so I could pretend I was an explorer in the jungle, and there’s a part of me that still gets that little pang of adventurer spirit when I walk past it.
When you’re from my neck of the woods, you’re from Brighton or you’re from Hove, Actually. I’m very much a Brightonian, but Hove seafront definitely brings the hygge. Brighton’s is always awash with tourists, neon signs, buskers, candyfloss and doughnuts – don’t get me wrong, I love it, but Hove’s promenade is a lot more sedate. I love the colourful beach huts, and the stroll to Marrocco’s for homemade ice cream is totally worth it.
The Hop and Vine (300)
I actually have no idea what this place is called now – I still call it The Hop and Vine, but all the signs have changed to 300, so who bloody knows. It’s great for a drink after work, but more than that it’s brilliant for a Sunday roast. I was almost tempted not to mention this place, because it feels like a secret I really, really want to keep, but if you’re willing to travel out of the town centre (it’s about 20 minutes out of town on the 26 or 46 bus route) to Fiveways, you’ll get the most amazing (and HUGE) Sunday roast imaginable, with a great cocktail selection too. Preston Park Tavern is another good option if you find yourself up in north Brighton.
OK, I know this is another pub, but Brighton does pubs brilliantly. I once read that Brighton has a different place to drink for every day of the year, and I totally buy that. Open House is right next to London Road Station, and my favourite thing about it is its beautiful garden. The heated booths are perfect for winter, but it’s at its best on a summer evening with all the draped fairy lights and canopies of flowers.
Riddle & Finns
If you’re even remotely into fish or seafood, you need to check out Riddle & Finns. There are two: the original restaurant in The Lanes, and a second on the seafront. I prefer the original, with its green tiles and ornate candelabras, especially on a rainy afternoon. The set menu is amazing value, with two courses for £14.95 every weekday from 12-7pm, or a mindblowingly good a la carte menu (the smoked haddock with colcannon is my personal favourite). Riddle & Finns also demonstrates that champagne CAN be hyggeligt, with a massive champagne and sparkling wine list. This place is perfect for afternoon hygge with no fairy lights required – just candlelight, simple décor and amazing food.
I absolutely love my hometown, and there are so many other places I could’ve mentioned in this post… maybe one day I’ll do a part two? So now it’s over to you! What are the most hyggeligt places in your hometown?