Parks in Brighton

tombourlet 2 months ago Brighton
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Having spent 13 years living in Brighton, I’m always surprised by the number of parks I keep finding hidden away. However, it’s not until I started cycling in my spare time did I find half of these hidden gems. I’ve tried to cover them all, from unbelievable to basic, with some of the most important specifications so you can work out where to walk the dog, have a picnic or play a game of football.

Preston Park

Preston Park is easily one of the biggest and most famous parks in Brighton, complete with 8 tennis courts, 2 basketball courts, 4 football pitches and a great children’s playground. It even has a softball pitch and a cycle velodrome!

But perhaps one of the biggest appeals to Preston park is something located right next door, the Rockery. This is a hill area alongside the park that contains a pond filled with fish, beautiful flowers and some great views of the entirety of Brighton. In fact, it’s the largest municipal rock garden in the UK!

Size: Large

Playground: Yes

Pond: Yes, at the Rockery

Central Location: Fairly central, just a short walk from London Road.

Amount Of Nature: High

Birds: occasional, nothing notable

Safety: High safety levels

Cultural Events:  Gay Pride

Café’s: Yes, 2 of them

Rating: 9 out of 10

Stanmer Park

This park is a hugely popular location for weddings and events, with Stanmer House the venue for my office Christmas party a couple of years ago. The building is surrounded by greenery, while you might also want to visit the tea rooms for some afternoon tea. This is a huge nature reserve in the Falmer area of Brighton, so you’ll need a bus ride out to here.

This nature reserve covers around 464 acres of land, while there is also a large population of bats (yep, that might scare away a few people). There are some decent bike lanes, making this popular for those with mountain bikes wanting to get off the usual course. There are also public toilets and two football pitches.

Size: Large

Playground: No

Pond: No

Central Location: No, but a bus will take you there quite quickly from the centre of town.

Amount Of Nature: Plenty of it, the area is incredibly large.

Birds: Yes, plus bats!

Safety: Completely safe

Cultural Events: Boundary festival

Café’s: No

Rating: 8 out of 10

Queen’s Park

I can’t believe how long it took for me to visit this park, especially after living in Kemptown for a number of years, but I’m not convinced it’s easily one of the best parks in Brighton and easily the best in Kemptown.

The pond is absolutely filled with life, where families come along and throw bread for the ducks, geese and swans who happily eat it all up. There are also plenty of squirrels that come down confidently and love being fed nuts.

The park also has 6 tennis courts, not something I spotted at first.

Size: Large

Playground: Yes

Pond: Yes

Central Location: Kemptown based, so slightly out of the way for people based in the centre, but worth the walk if you haven’t been here before.

Amount Of Nature: Relatively high

Birds: Plenty of birds and squirrels galore. You also get a lot of ducks, geese and swans in the pond!

Safety: I have never known of any safety issues in this park, often seen as a friendly and calm area.

Cultural Events: Carols in the Park at Christmas time, Picnic in the Park in June

Café’s: Yes

Rating: 8 out of 10

The Level

An incredibly popular park during the summer months, found along Lewes road, the Level is perhaps most notable for having a large skatepark, the biggest in Brighton, with the others being in Hove Lagoon and Hollingdean skate park.

But perhaps one of the most important factors when I’m going to spend a day in a park is that there are a large number of toilets available to the public with no charge. They also have baby changing facilities. The Level has an area to play chess, as well as table tennis tables (albeit you will have to bring your own equipment obviously).

Size: Medium

Playground: Yes

Pond: No

Central Location: 7 minute walk from Brighton station

Amount Of Nature: Low, more focused on an open area for sports and games

Birds: Minimal

Safety: During the day it is absolutely fine. In the evening it did have a not so great reputation (but not a bad one), so they made a number of changes in 2017 to combat these, including adding lighting and CCTV cameras.

Cultural Events: A huge number throughout the year. One of the biggest is Level Best Festival in September.

Café’s: Yes

Rating: 7 out of 10

Hollingdean Park

The home to an amazing skate park and a famous wild park local nature reserve, not to mention a sizeable golf course, Hollingdean park certainly has its appeal. It’s size is the most significant factor, being around 5 times the size of Preston Park, however its location far from town helps with all that open space and purely residential areas surrounding the parks.

To get here, you just need a bus or train to Moolsecoomb, or you can alternatively head up Ditchling road. It also has a bowling green, regularly visited by elder members of Brighton. It’s also got a great walkway if you fancy a stroll in the countryside.

Size: Massive

Playground: Yes

Pond: No

Central Location: Far from town

Amount Of Nature: Plenty of it

Birds: Yes, lots of them, more than just pigeons

Safety: Completely safe

Cultural Events: None that I know of

Café’s: No

Rating: 7 out of 10

East Brighton Park

Heading towards Brighton Marina, East Brighton Park is a bit further away for those who are central based, passing through Kemptown to the home of Whitehawk F.C. The park covers 60 acres, making it one of the biggest parks in Brighton, which is part of the reason why it is host to ParkRun, with the course covering 5km around on 3 clockwise laps.

The park is also home to a caravan club site, making it a popular option for those looking for a staycation and looking to embrace the outdoors over a hotel.

In regards to sporting areas, this is a great option, with 2 tennis courts, 2 football pitches and 2 cricket fields (some of the only in Brighton surprisingly). There are also public toilets.

Size: Large

Playground: Yes

Pond: No

Central Location: If you walked from Brighton station, it would take just under an hour, so central isn’t the right word. If you do walk, go via Kemptown rather than Hannover, to avoid the steep hill.

Amount Of Nature: While it is a huge area, it is largely open fields for sports or dog walking rather than wildlife and nature.

Birds: Minimal

Safety: Relatively safe, but the caravan park has had some bad situations in the past.

Cultural Events: Big little tent festival

Café’s: Yes

Rating: 6 out of 10

St Ann’s Well Gardens

I used to live right alongside this park and walked a neighbour’s dog here every weekend (Poppet) who was a well known staffy, with the cutest smile. The park was a decent size, while there are plenty of squirrels to feed in the trees.

There are 8 tennis courts, however they are largely all used during the summer months, so you have to get there early if you fancy a game on a hot Saturday.

Size: Medium

Playground: Yes

Pond: Yes, with some fish in.

Central Location: Relatively central, Hove based so a bit of a walk from the centre of town.

Amount Of Nature: Medium

Birds: Mainly just pigeons

Safety: Safe, but it is open all night and sometimes has the occasional drunk person at night.

Cultural Events: St Ann’s Well Gardens Spring Festival

Café’s: Yes

Rating: 6 out of 10

Dyke Road Park

One of the biggest appeals to Dyke Road park is the open air theatre, which hosts a number of events throughout the year. A fair number of these performances are ballet based, due to the close proximity with Brighton Ballet School, located inside the park.

The park also has an impressive 6 tennis courts, where the Seb Puga tennis academy is located. The rose garden is seen as a bit of a hidden gem within the park, while if you have time then you might want to stroll over to the Booth museum of wildlife.

Size: Medium

Playground: Yes

Pond: No

Central Location: Located very close to Preston Park

Amount Of Nature: Medium

Birds: You can spot some interesting birds in the trees beyond just your usual pigeon.

Safety: Safe as far as I’m aware

Cultural Events: Plenty of events at the open air theatre.

Café’s: Yes

Rating: 6 out of 10

Blakers Park

Blakers park has been available to the public for almost 130 years, offering plenty of wildlife and a great place to walk the dog. If you visited during the 90’s, you could be forgiven for thinking North West section looked a bit rundown, however it has now been converted into a bluebell woods thanks to a group of volunteers, which look amazing in the Spring.

As with many of the other parks in Brighton, this one also contains 2 tennis courts, however they are reserved for club games on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings. The main point of interest is the Victorian clock tower.

Size: Medium-to-small

Playground: Yes

Pond: No

Central Location: Located close to Preston Park, North of London Road station.

Amount Of Nature: Minimal

Birds: Small amount

Safety: A generally safe area, mainly dog walkers.

Cultural Events: None that I know of.

Café’s: Yes

Rating: 5 out of 10

Old Steine Gardens

While this is a very beautiful area, completed with the large fountain in the middle, it is tainted by being very small and surrounded by cars, meaning you never truly feel like you’ve left the pollution and madness of the city centre.

The flowers are well looked after and are a key aspect of this park, while there are a number of monuments to check out if you have time. The park is incredibly central, at the entrance to Kemptown.

Size: Small

Playground: No

Pond: No

Central Location: Yes

Amount Of Nature: Minimal at best, but some very nice flowers.

Birds: None

Safety: This area isn’t dangerous, but the benches are often mainly filled with drunk individuals during the afternoon.

Cultural Events: Probably the best part about this park, there are regular events taking place here, often circulating around alcohol, which is always a winner. Brighton Fringe is celebrated here, while free the nipple is another notable event.

Café’s: Yes, but very close to the road.

Rating: 4 out of 10

William Clarke Park

This park gets lively when it celebrates the annual festival, as people of all ages come together to celebrate over a few too many drinks. This is arguably the most narrow park in Brighton, running over a straight strip of land.

It also has the nickname of ‘The Patch’ by locals, which is why it now has the festival named PatchFest. The park went through a huge amount of redevelopment in 2017

Size: A very narrow park

Playground: Yes

Pond: No

Central Location: There are plenty more central located parks, this is more popular for locals.

Amount Of Nature: Minimal

Birds: Minimal

Safety: Generally safe

Cultural Events: Patchfest

Café’s: No

Rating: 3 out of 10

Regency Square

To describe this area as a park might be reaching, but it is an option if you need to walk the dog and you live down the road. It’s also the home to Hotel Pelirocco, the most bizarre yet cool hotel in Brighton. It’s also at the foot of the British Airways i360.

Oddly, type in Regency Square park and the only options Google will offer is around the carpark, a popular place for people visiting Hove to park their car, considering the ridiculously small amount of areas you can park!

Size: Small

Playground: No

Pond: No

Central Location: Yes, albeit to the West in Hove.

Amount Of Nature: Minimal

Birds: Unlikely to spot more than a pigeon or a seagull.

Safety: A safe and posh area.

Cultural Events: None that I know of.

Café’s: No.

Rating: 2 out of 10

Written by | tombourlet

Tom Bourlet is the creator of Spaghetti Traveller and has been addicted to travelling ever since taking a roadtrip across the USA.

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