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Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom
July 21, 2012
From journal Brighton and nearby
March 30, 2005
It’s a bustling place which, despite the narrowness of some of the streets, still manages to host licensed street traders. Their presence helps create a special atmosphere for this part of town and adds an informal feel to the busy streets. The Laines probably houses the largest number of independent record shops that I’ve ever seen in such a small area, selling a wide range of vinyl for the purists and popular and variously more obscure music on CD. Even if you’re not buying, it’s worth a poke round, because most do a good trade in new and "previously used" albums.
If music isn’t your taste, then try the secondhand bookshops – these have always fascinated me, and the smell of an antiquarian bookshop is indescribable (a sweet fustiness is the closest I get). There’s always an atmosphere of quiet respect as people pore over the bowing bookshelves.
The Laines really is the place to go if you’re looking for antiques or memorabilia. There are small select furniture shops, specialist fireplace centres, bric-a-brac stalls, and a large emporium that will take you hours to fully explore.
The jewellery shops offer good-quality, locally fashioned pieces, and considering they’re not produced in large quantities, many of these are offered at competitive prices. Some are highly wearable, and others are just wacky and worthy of an inspection. Victorian costume jewellery is also prevalent and affordable.
You’ll find some clothes shops reminiscent of Carnaby Street in the '60s; indeed, some of the items will date from that era. It’s just incredible that the moths have been kept at bay and youngsters still want to buy this gear as original. If you fancy designer wear, then you don’t need to walk far – you’ll find this somewhere in the Laines.
Some days, flea markets are set up on the Laines. Here you may just find a bargain if you’re prepared to rummage around and bargain hard. I was just amazed at how quickly the local council cleared up the street debris after such an event.
There are adverts for alternative medicine, masseurs, shops selling handmade soap, herbalists, numerous coffee shops and breakfast bars, and candle-makers. You can create your own design on plates, invest in expensive handmade rugs, or purchase pricey home-knitted jumpers. There’s a very interesting off-license selling a wide variety of bottled beers and some great little food emporiums.
As we wandered the Laines, we couldn’t help but sense a strong bohemian feel to the place, and time just flew by as we inspected the tremendous variety of shops in this compact area of Brighton.
From journal Spring Time in Brighton
February 17, 2005
The Lanes are medieval streets that wind and twist around the old centre of Brighton near the Pavillion. Shops sit close together and sell an eclectic range of things, from diamond necklaces to fresh ravioli to guns from the Napoleonic wars. The whole area is a warren of narrow, pedestrianised streets (good luck trying to fit a car in there) that make you feel miles away from the busy hub of activity on Brighton's main streets.
We often wander down here in the early mornings, when it’s the calmest. The Lanes can get very crowded, so I would not recommend someone do this after lunch, and especially not on a sunny summer day. It gets too crowded.
Window shopping is all part of the fun - unless of course you can afford to whack out hundreds for antique jewels. Although, if you have your heart set on finding a special souvenir, you can find some pretty little trinkets that look rather impressive in the Lanes’ many antique shops. The trick is to look around, as the wears in the shops change frequently. If you can't find what you're looking for in the window then pop inside the shop, as they often have much more displayed inside.
Unfortunately, bartering is not much of an option unless you REALLY know your stuff (like the going rate of a 1920s emerald tiara). The shop owners are professionals. It would be better to choose something a bit less pricey (like an Art Deco toothpick, perhaps).
From journal Brighton: Enjoying the Atmosphere
Riverview, New Brunswick
August 9, 2003
These are the original streets of the city which were originally called Brighthelmstone. When George IV took up residence at the Pavilion, the name of the city became Brighton and as it grew, the Lanes fell into disrepair. Fortunately, they were rejuvenated. Fortunately, the local traders' association offers a map as it does get confusing in there. A charming shopping area.
From journal Travels in Sussex and Kent
by Cheryl Morgan
December 26, 2000
From Churchill Square (which any bus or cab can find for you) walk east past the Clock Tower into North Street. Just before you reach the Royal Pavilion and Hannington's department store there is a small turning on the right into House Lane. Go down here, and you will find yourself in a maze of twisty alleyways, all alike in that they are filled with small specialist shops.
Because The Lanes are now a tourist attraction, most of the establishments there are pretty up market. The favoured options for merchandise are jewellery, antiques and designer clothes. These places have some absolutely wonderful stuff, but sadly much of it is also very expensive. However, there area few unusual and more affordable places such as the hand-made pasta shop and the herbalist's. Personally I find the area more of a place to browse and dream than to actually part with money, but who says you have to buy anything to enjoy shopping?
Another excellent feature of The Lanes is that the area is crammed with coffee shops, the more pleasant type of pub, and restaurants. If your feet are tired after a long day's browsing, there is no shortage of options for a pleasant lunch.
From journal Brighton by Fairy Lights