This maze of small streets and tiny alleyways may look small compared to the other great shopping venues in the UK, but the stores are mostly upscale, first-class and very fashionable. One prime shopping venue is the Regent Arcade, which houses a lot of great shops all under one roof. The arcade is elegantly decorated with flowing water ornaments, beautiful plants and soft, piped-in music. It’s the perfect ambiance for purchasing designer wear from Patrick Cox, Moschino and Versace.
The Lanes hosts many classy clothing stores that cater exclusively to women or men. For instance, there’s Karen Millen, where the ladies can purchase clothes for evening occasions and special events, and Reiss, where the gentlemen can get their fill of stylish modern suits, trousers and shirts for every occasion.
On the other hand, if you fancy designer clothes but prefer not to spend too much, the place to visit is Revisions. It’s a small shop and its main claim to fame is that it sells grand second hand designer clothes from the likes of Dior, Gucci, Prada, Armani, Chanel, Westwood, Galliano and Ralph Lauren. But Revisions isn’t only a great place to visit for great bargains as people can actually make money here by selling their old clothes. You simply leave your clothes on consignment and the shop will sell it for you for a 50% commission.
If feet are your fetish and shoes are your thing, head towards Buffalo, a specialty shop which rose to fame when some of their wacky creations were worn by the Spice Girls. Buffalo is famous for its kitten heel mules, glittering platform trainers and crocodile print knee-high boots.
For special gifts, the shop called Earthly Artefacts will present a lot of great choices. If you have children tagging along, take them to Fishers Collectables, which has hundreds of popular soft toys. And for an added boost of energy, there’s nothing like loading up on chocolates and candies at Audrey Chocolatiers and MP’s Fudgery.
Choccywoccydoodah probably offers the wackiest cakes in the south, if not the world. They have special cakes for every occasion, including birthdays, weddings, engagements, retirements or christenings. Their spiky chocolate fetish cake has received rave reviews while their three-tiered gateaux complete with iced vegetable decorations has raised some eyebrows but is nonetheless a delicious delight.
For specialty chocolates, Montezuma’s Chocolates is head and shoulders above everyone else in Brighton. Their chocolate turtles are simply irresistible and one should not let a visit to The Lanes go by without buying a few. The same goes for their giant buttons and for their unique crystallized orange dripping in chocolate. All their chocolates are hand-made and contain only the finest organic ingredients.
Finally, if you’re after a herbal remedy to help relieve stress, fatigue or a simple headache, pay a visit to Culpepper, a herbal specialist that opened in 1927 and is still going strong to this day. The shop specializes in spices, potpourri and essential oils. Their mustard baths and massage kits are also very popular.
Meanwhile, shopping at North Laine provides an entirely different experience. It is the shopping district of choice for the serious bargain hunter. Second-hand stores and wacky boutiques abound in North Laine, offering everything from wacky clothes to giant kites and from retro music to homeopathic remedies.
You might say that the shop called Blackout represents the North Laine shopping district perfectly. Blackout is virtually a kingdom of kitsch, with such diverse offerings as Eskimo slippers and Hello Kitty purses. If you’re looking to buy something weird, this is the place to visit. They have some pretty unique home accessories and a great deal of inessential bits and bobs from all corners of the world.
Rokit is the place for second-hand clothes. Originally located at London’s trendy Camden Town, Rokit has a wide range of coats, denims, Hawaiian and Cuban shirts as well as scarves, tracksuits and their own line of flared jeans.
Jump the Gun is known for its chic and authentic mod wear, particularly when it comes to interesting shirts, including Ben Sherman shirts and parkas. Fans of Paul Weller will love this place as the man himself has been known to buy a few shirts from here every now and then.
Greenwich Village is stocked with Asian-style goodies, including beautiful saris, Indian jewellery and a wide array of bindis. They also sell Oriental furniture, parasols, music and wind-chimes.