Brighton is one of the biggest centre’s for street art and graffiti in the UK. Indeed on any trip to the south coast city you cannot fail to see streets and buildings full of art.
Some of it admittedly is quite raw. This is a city with more graffiti than street art. A lot of the alleys between the streets of the old fishing town are littered in an uncurated way interspersed with more substantive murals on the sides of buildings and hidden away in the streets.
Just a short journey by train into London, it’s hard not to link the two scenes. For years artists from Brighton have traveled to London and vice versa. Both however have evolved in their own way. Whereas London has become sanistised and controlled. Brighton like Bristol, in the most part remains untamed.
As a result the art is less accessible to the more general public, it’s audience is the graffiti writers and urban art connoisseurs who have maintained a grip on the city’s scene. With the exception of a few murals which might have been commissioned, the majority of the work on display throughout the city is lettering and throw ups.
That’s not to say that for any lover of the urban art scene, Brighton isn’t worth the time, it absolutely is. From the station a short wander into the town will soon reveal its wonders, the Prince Albert Pub on Trafalgar Street is just a few minutes walk adorned as it is with a giant tribute to musicians of days gone by. It’s also the original location of Banksy’s famous ‘Kissing Policemen‘ of which there is a replica on display. Such is the allure of Banksy’s work, even the replica is covered in perspex.
Around the area, the streets of the old town penned in between Queens Road and London Road, are narrow, warren like and full of vibrancy. In particular places such as Gloucester Road, Kensington Street, Orange Row, Regent Street and North Road are full of works on the walls whilst a bit further north in the area between London Road and New England Street, the courtyards of sixties office blocks provide an uncurated canvas for writers.
Of particular note, Brighton favourites such as SNUB and REQ, can frequentely be seen. We’ve got a soft spot for both here on Inspiring City having interviewed both as they put on shows in London. SNUB’s work in particular can be seen all over the place, his iconic image is that of the 2000AD character Mongrol who he has adopted over the years. You can read the interview with SNUB here and the interview with REQ here these are artists who have often been described as pioneers of the street art scene as we know it today.
Brighton is certainly one of the top places in the country in terms of seeing urban art, it has a creative feel and a bohemian vibe. The art on the walls might not be to everyone’s taste but it does contribute to giving the city it’s unique feel.
Top places to find street art in Brighton
Turn out of the station and take a left, Trafalgar Street takes you into the centre of the Brighton village. As you move down the street a number of roads and alleys branch of in a kind of grid system so it’s pretty easy to explore. The Prince Albert Pub is an obvious highlight with it’s replica Banksy and it’s tribute to fallen musicians.
Running between Trafalgar Street and Gloucester Road, this street is more an alley really with an access road that leads to a parking area. Needless to say that such spaces are favourites for artists and it is full of works.
Another cross cutting street, Gloucester Road intersects a lot of the other smaller streets and runs parallel to Trafalgar Street and North Road. Works can often be seen towards the southern end of the road on the corners of junctions with other streets and in alleys.
Running vertically from North Road to Gloucester Road, Kensington Street is known as graffiti alley and is a good place to find murals.
Another of the cross cutting roadways, North Road runs horizontally from Queens Drive to Marlborough Place intersecting a lot of the smaller roads runnig vertically up towards Gloucester Road. Keep looking left and right along the streets and you are bound to see street art.
A small alley leading from North Road, Orange Row is packed with graffiti painted onto the houses and shops which back onto it.
Running south from North Road towards Church Street, some impressive larger murals can be found on Regent Street.
One of the main arteries through Brighton, art can be seen along it’s route notable at the Hobgoblin pub and the Presuming ED coffee house. London Road is also a good access point for any number of streets where street art can be found with the likes of York Hill, Cheapside and Trafalgar Street all accessible from it.
Providence Place / Elder Place / St. Peter’s Street / York Hill
The area sandwiched between London Road and New England Street is a series of access streets serving the buildings backing on to the busier thoroughfares. As such there is plenty of graffiti to see and in the area around Elder Place and York Hill the old sixties office blocks have found themselves slowly being covered.
Outside of the main part of the city, graffiti and street art can be found dotted around many of the side streets slightly off the beaten track from the main concentration of works in the old town
All images in this piece were taken on Sunday 26 February 2017. For other posts about street art in England check out:
- Where to find street art in Bristol
- Where to find street art in Manchester
- Where to find street art in London
- Where to find street art in Sheffield
And to find out more about Brighton in general check out Rose’s guide here.