A small apology: over the next few months we’re going to be talking quite a lot about Hove. We’ll admit that it’s not entirely without self-interest; we’re opening a new site at Hove Town Hall in October. But we do genuinely love Hove and the creative business superstars that frequent its Lawns and armada of bakeries
Here’s nine of our favourite things about the area that is definitely, definitely, definitely not Brighton.
From the outside Unithai looks like a non-descript Thai supermarket. But take a stroll out the back and you’ll find wobbly tables and a thumb-sized kitchen serving up proper Thai scram. It’s only open until 15.30 and be prepared to scooch up next to someone if you go at lunch; it’s a local legend and is always busy.
2. HOVE LAWNS
Yes, it hosts festivals most of the summer and it’s best to not dwell on just how coated the grass is with dog wee, but Hove Lawns has a community all of its own. Shout out to the rain-splattered lunatics doing Military Fitness classes in February.
3. HOVE TOWN HALL
We’re honestly not just saying this because we’re about to move into part of the building. Hove Town Hall is a totem of Brutalist architecture and, though some say it’s a dreary throwback to the not-so-swinging 70s, we think its an essential part of the local furniture.
4. Art shop & pottery
Art Shop & Pottery hasn't been open long, but it’s already beloved of Hove’s artistic community. Offering all the paints and trinkets any aspiring Hockney or Kahlo could desire, it also runs a rich program of painting, clay and pottery glasses. Also, Alan – the fabulously-mustachioed guy that runs it – is hero around these parts.
5. HOVE LAGOON
If wake-boarding is your bag, then Hove Lagoon with its network of jumps and pulleys is a little slice of endorphin-packed heaven. A major tip from us: it’s popular with dog walkers, outside of high season the water can get pretty gnarly. Unless you want to be bathing your woofer for days, don’t let them anywhere near the water.
6. Booth's Museum of Natural History
Edward Booth was Victorian ornithologist and over his lifetime collected over 300 stuffed birds. This was the beginning of a collection of birds, fossils, insects, plants and bones, which now make up Booth’s museum. It’s kinda tucked away and not many people really know it’s there, but worth a flying (sorry) visit.
7. V&H Cafe
Woken up with a six-pint hangover clanging between your ears like a jackhammer in concrete? V+H Cafe is the best chance you’ve got of getting cured before work. Despite using hyper-local produce their prices are totally reasonable and you can fire up a smoothie along with your healthy (ish) fry-up. It’s mega for vegans too, with their homemade baked beans and sautéed chestnut mushrooms manna for those who can’t face another Linda McCartney sausage.
8. LANDSDOWNE PLACE HOTEL
For years. the Landsdowne Place Hotel has sat crumbling and unused; presumably waiting for a developer to come along and raze in pursuit of a block of identikit flats. It’s recently been sold and it will be sad to see it go; no other building in town exudes that ambience of doomed seaside romance quite so perfectly.
9. Sugardough Bakery
Come for the almond croissants, stay for the everything. Best bakery in Hove or Brighton.