Travel: The darker side of Brighton
With its sunny pebble beaches, world-famous pier and its huge gay nightlife, you might think the only fright you’re likely to have in Brighton is a cheeky seagull pinching your ice-cream or a the shock of who you took back to the hotel after a drunken night at Revenge. But think again, because this popular resort is not all it seems.
It’s usually the seaside or the nightlife that attracts visitors to the UK’s favourite city-by-the-sea. But for those after a darker experience, Brighton, with its scary sewer tours or spine-chilling churchyards, will unnerve even the bravest of thrill seekers. We went for a trip with a difference to seek them out.
You might be surprised to learn that Brighton is awash with haunted landmarks and spooky ghost tours, making it a must-see for visitors after an alternative, bone chilling holiday
If haunted houses and grisly ghouls are your cup of tea then Brighton’s heart-stopping attraction Fear Brighton, which opens this June, could be just for you. Fear is a brand new all year round live action horror experience, set in an amazing gothic, gargoyle covered building.
This spine-tingling fully themed and decorated live action horror maze designed to take you on a dark and nervous journey through the entire building, is not for the faint hearted. The Fear Brighton experience is a daring journey of pure terror, set in a gothic building steeped in ghoulish history the live action house of horrors has zombies, freaks and spooks lurking in the dark for victims.
If this isn’t gruesome enough for you it might help to know that Peter James, one of the UK’s most treasured crime and thriller novelists, chose his hometown Brighton as the setting for his latest book Not Dead Yet.
James lists his favourite hair-raising spots as St Nicholas Church, dating back to the 11th century, the wild peaks of Devil’s Dyke, Britain’s oldest railway, Volks railway and the mysterious tunnels that run under the Royal Pavilion.
If you think you have the bottle why not take a tour of one of James’ favourite scary spots, the unused and abandoned Brighton Sewers. Here you may well uncover the secrets of the city’s old Victorian sewerage system, on this award-winning tour.
Horror fans with a penchant for all things historical might prefer to embark on a spooky guided ghost tour. Brighton Walks’ Ghost Walk, visits ancient churchyards and secret catacombs, while master storyteller Rob Marks dressed in full Victorian costume, leads guests through the narrow alleys and passages of the Lanes.
Or if more traditional haunted houses are more your thing, why not visit spooky Preston Manor, which is recognised as Brighton’s most haunted house and offers special ghost tours by prior appointment.
For a truly ghoulish experience you could also pay a visit to The Old Police Cells Museum, which offers a fascinating glimpse into one of the darkest takes of police history when the first (and only) chief constable of Brighton was murdered in office.
Then why not finish the day with a sunset stroll along Brighton Beach to gasp at the eerie remains of the West Pier silhouette, or board the Ghost Train on Brighton Pier for some true fairground chills.