Green with envy: Brighton’s parks and open spaces are something to behold
You can’t turn around too many corners in Brighton without the colour green flashing across your eyes or indeed the word green coming up in conversation.
Putting politics to one side, we are fortunate enough to have a variety of open spaces and areas which show all shades of the green spectrum, particularly at this time of the year, when everywhere is in bloom and thriving.
This makes for a fertile ground of creativity for filmmakers and artists of all kinds, inspiration can be found in the most subtle of places. As well as that, the picturesque corners of our home city also provide refuge points for some much-needed calm and quiet for all residents – in this – one of the UK’s most thriving urban areas.
Here are our picks of some of the more remarkable green places that can be found around Brighton, Hove and the wider Sussex region, where to find them and what makes them worth visiting:
Blink and you’ll miss it: what makes this historic palace so special, amongst many other traits, is how central it is. If you take a bus or taxi from our Old Steine home at the bottom of Grand Parade, you’ll get a superb view of the back of the Pavillion and its welcoming gardens and grounds.
On foot, you can comfortably visit this exotic wonder, as well as the seaside, the Pier and the labyrinthine Lanes all in one day. The Pavillion was built as a coastal pleasure palace for King George IV, and its gloriously unusual architecture mixes Regency grandeur with the visual style of India and China, making it a favourite for selfies, photographs and short films alike.
If the weather permits, lunchtime crowds gather on the well-clipped lawns to battle it out with our resident seagulls for their sandwiches and chips.
To contrast the BN1 postcode location of the Royal Pavillion, a day trip will be in order if you want to visit the famous humped cliffs that make up Seven Sisters Country Park in Seaford.
Possibly the most dramatic and photogenic stretch of the well-trodden South Downs Way, the lower reaches of the cliffs is made up of a meandering river valley, which is thronged by seabirds, paddle boarders and hikers, before eventually opening out at the coast, where the full scope of the Seven Sisters cliff tops come into view.
From the perspective of a filmmaker, this is the place to be. The following headline-grabbers all set up production here: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Atonement, Now Is Good, Foyle’s War and Poirot, to name but a few.
The South Downs
Staying on the same track as the chalky cliffs, the South Downs are a winding stretch of hills that extend for 260 square miles across the south-eastern coastal counties of England.
Beginning in Hampshire, snaking west through Sussex before a final finish in Eastbourne. Fortunately for all of us in Brighton, the highly accessible, pretty parkland and pathways envelope the entire city to the north. The hills protect us, inspire us and always welcome us home whenever we return.
Although the bedrock of the hills is chalk, the variety and splendour of green on display across its surface is never-ending: escarpments, rolling hills, forests, riverbanks and valleys are all found here. The perfect excuse to explore, travel and of course, to film.
Come back to the Brighton, head south from the South Downs and before entering the city itself you will pass the glorious, majestic Preston Park.
A multifunctional, versatile green space that we can all be proud to live so close to. It is the largest urban park in the city and whether you want to sit and enjoy the panoramic views, play a variety of sports, picnic, meet for coffee, or enjoy live music, this park is a haven for all. Two notable things about the park that make it extra special: it is home to the ‘Preston Twins’ – widely considered to be the largest and oldest Elm trees in the world.
As well as that, our annual pride festival ends its celebratory journey in the grounds of the park – spilling out there with colour, pomp and ceremony, before carrying on well into the evening with live performances from iconic acts such as the recent Kylie, Britney and Pet Shop Boys extravaganzas.
We could happily add to that list Queen’s Park, Hove Park, Hove Lawns and Stanmer Park – the possibilities are endless for a green retreat. Screen and Film School Brighton students have all of this on their doorstep, should they require some recreational downtime during their studies, or if they ever need some artistic inspiration or green-themed filming locations.