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Brighton Seven Dials – A Guide to this Neighbourhood Gem

a green and old georgian buildings in the clifton area of Brighton

Brighton is a vibrant coastal city in the South of England, and like all major cities, is separated into distinct areas, or little villages within their own right. Nestled within this bustling city is a charming and somewhat hidden gem known as the Seven Dials or ‘The Dials’ as the locals call it.

Named after its distinctive roundabout that connects seven streets, this neighbourhood boasts a unique character and a friendly atmosphere, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring Brighton. It is around a mile from the beach, up in the hills that slop upwards to the South Downs and has wonderful distant sea views, history and culture.

Brighton Seven Dials: A Guide

a pub on the corner of brighton seven dials

The Seven Dials area began to take shape in the 19th century, developing around its central roundabout, which was designed for ease of traffic flow in a time long before motor vehicles dominated the roads.

This roundabout, with its seven spokes, has become more than just a traffic feature; it’s a symbol of the community’s interconnectedness and diversity. The neighbourhood has grown to be a delightful blend of residential areas, local businesses, and green spaces, creating a village-like feel within the larger urban landscape of Brighton.

a street leading down towards the sea in brighton

The beauty of Seven Dials is that is a walkable distance from many of Brighton’s main attractions, with Brighton station just down the road and the city centre shops and seaside only a 15-minute walk away. This makes it the perfect location to live and visit Brighton, with quick access to everything the city has to offer, but away from the main touristy areas.

Seven Dials is celebrated for its rich cultural tapestry, with an array of independent shops, cafes, and pubs that reflect the eclectic spirit of Brighton. The area is a haven for those who love to explore off the beaten path, offering everything from vintage clothing stores and artisan bakeries to cosy coffee shops and international cuisine, and even a mini art gallery.

Things to Do in Seven Dials

stoney point coffee shop in seven dials, brighton

One of the best ways to explore Seven Dials is on foot, of course! If you love architecture and the eclectic nature of Brighton, you won’t be disappointed. I walked up the hill from the Bandstand on Brighton seafront, grabbed a coffee from Stoney Point and headed towards St Ann’s Well Gardens.

St Ann’s Well Park

Despite its urban setting, the Seven Dials boasts several green spaces where residents and visitors can enjoy a moment of tranquillity away from the city bustle and St Ann’s Well Gardens is one of the best.

There is a wide range of trees and plants giving the gardens their unique character and providing shelter and tranquillity for wildlife. It is known for its chalybeate (iron-bearing) spring, which is now named St. Ann’s Well.

a shop front showing items and taxidermy

Whilst walking around you should head towards Anna’s Museum, a little natural history collection displayed in a shop window. It changes regularly and features taxidermy, bones, eggs and other items. Nearby is the fabulous Nowhere Man where you can grab a coffee, pancake and bagel.

As with anywhere in Brighton, it is always a joy to walk around the lanes, back streets and little alleys. The architecture in the Seven Dials is a delightful mix, showcasing the area’s historical evolution.

From Regency and Victorian-era buildings to modern developments, the neighbourhood’s architectural diversity adds to its charm. Even the iconic roundabout at the heart of the Seven Dials has become a popular visited landmark.

the dog and bone gallery in seven dials brighton

You will get a sense of the eclectic vibe of Seven Dials whilst on foot, including the Dog and Bone Gallery which is set up in 2 old phone boxes on the edge of Powis Square.

The owner of the Little Mustard gift shop, which is situated around the corner on Clifton Hill, used to cycle past the derelict phone boxes and decided to find out who owned them. He hired them out, did them up, and now features artwork inside which he sells in his shop. Genius!

The Booth Museum, Duke Road Park and Brighton Open Air Theatre

The booth museum of natural history in brighton on Dykes road

Towards the northern part of Seven Dials, you’ll find the Booth Museum which lies opposite Dyke Road Park and the Open Air Theatre.

The Booth Museum was founded in 1874 by naturalist and collector, Edward Thomas Booth. In 1971 the Booth became a Museum of Natural History. It is now home to a huge collection of 525,000 insects, 50,000 minerals and rocks, 30,000 plants and 5,000 microscopic slides. It is free to enter and a great way to spend an hour or two whilst in this part of the city.

Dykes road park

Dyke Park Road sits opposite The Booth, which includes paths winding through ornamental shrubs and trees, a cafe with views of the sea and a large park for kids. In the middle of this park sits the Brighton Open Air Theatre, an old bowling green, which can sit up to 400 people and hosts a wide range of performances such as music, comedy, dance and opera.

Brighton open air theatre

Seven Dials Brighton Restaurants and Cafes

One of the things that Brighton Seven Dials excels in is food, pubs and the coffee culture! The neighbourhood is dotted with eateries that serve a wide range of culinary delights, from traditional English fare to exotic dishes from around the world. Many of these establishments prioritize locally sourced ingredients, offering fresh, seasonal menus that change throughout the year.

a blue door on the corner of seven dials roundabout

The area’s pubs range from historic inns offering a cosy, traditional atmosphere to modern bars serving craft beers and creative cocktails. These establishments often host live music, quiz nights, and other events, providing a lively and welcoming environment for both locals and visitors.

Some of my favourites include;

Red Snapper

This popular Thai restaurant is known for its authentic cuisine and vibrant atmosphere. Nestled in the heart of the Seven Dials neighbourhood, this eatery stands out for its dedication to offering a genuine Thai dining experience.

Red Snapper caters to various tastes with a menu that boasts a wide array of traditional dishes, from spicy curries and flavorful stir-fries to fresh seafood creations. It is BYOB and can get quite noisy, but that just adds to the inviting ambience!

Shakespeares Head

the shakespeare's head in seven dials

The ‘Shakies’ is a small pub that recently got a makeover. It is a quintessential English pub where you can get bangers and mash, a pint and a good craic!

Murasaki

murasaki restaurant in seven dials

A small Japanese restaurant which is known for its authentic and meticulously prepared cuisine. It has a Japandi-style interior, with a relaxing vibe and serves all the best Japanese cuisine such as tempura, katsu, sushi, noodles and rice.

The Crescent Pub

the cresent pub in brighton

Set in the back streets of Seven Dials, the Crescent Pub is a relaxed pub with an outdoor terrace and a fire for the colder months. It also serves traditional British Pub food including burgers, Fizz Friday and a bit of chargrilled chicken tikka.

Puck

Puck coffee shop in seven dials

Not just a coffee shop, Puck also houses a tiny record shop upstairs. This is one of the best places to sit and enjoy a good coffee whilst watching the noisy world of Seven Dials go by.

Seven Dials Brighton Shops

the storefronts of treasure and trash and kate langdale florists in seven dials

Among the cobbled streets and Victorian architecture, you’ll find a selection of boutique shops offering unique finds that are a far cry from the mainstream retail experience. Whether you’re in search of a rare vintage outfit, handmade jewellery, or local artwork, the Seven Dials’ shops provide a treasure trove of unique items.

Don’t miss…

Treasure and Trash

treasure and trash in seven dials

A quaint little antique shop, Treasure and Trash has everything from vintage furniture to teapots. It’s like a tiny Aladdin’s Cave nestled in the heart of Seven Dials and I love popping in here for a good old rummage.

Kate Langdale Florist

kate langdale florist shop in seven dials

Next door to Treasure and Trash, you can’t miss Kate Langdale Florist. Only open occasionally, Kate has been creating bunches of flowers for over 35 years from her pastel pink florist studio. She hosts appointments, flower workshops and 1-1 tutorials, and creates floral installations for any event.

Hi Cacti

hi cacti shop in seven dials

You can’t miss Hi Cacti with its yellow storefront and colourful decor. A shop dedicated to Cacti and houseplants, Hi Cacti is run by ex-Texas resident Sabine Palermo which will explain the love of cacti. It’s not all prickly plants though. Here you will find concrete pots, pillow covers and book bags, perfect to carry Sabine’s book – Hi Cacti: Growing Houseplants & Happiness.

Salvage and Sawdust Vintage

salvage and sawdust co shop in seven dials

Seven Dials definitely has a vintage theme and Salvage and Sawdust continues this. Here you’ll find vintage items like classic French workwear, military jackets and antique pieces. They also have their own branded t-shirts. They also serve roasted coffee and homemade cakes, which are delicious!

The Feminist Bookshop

the feminist bookshop in seven dials

Brighton has plenty of bookshops, but not many were started in the founder’s front room! Ruth, the founder, started this as a feminist book club which spiralled and in 2019, she decided to open up her own shop. It features books either written by female authors or have a feminist theme.

Seven Cellars

The best wine shop in town? Seven Cellars sells fine wine, craft beers, spirits and nibbles and also has its own wine club subscription. The shop itself is floor-to-ceiling wine and hosts the occasional tasting night.

Where to Stay in Seven Dials

a yellow front door in seven dials

As with most of Brighton, there are many B&Bs and Airbnbs situated around Seven Dials. For a more upscale experience, consider staying in one of Brighton’s luxury hotels along the seafront and enjoy the short walk or bus ride into Seven Dials. The Grand Brighton and Hotel du Vin are notable mentions, offering premium services and amenities.

Living in Seven Dials

clifton villas near seven dials of brighton

For those considering making Seven Dials their home, the neighbourhood offers a balanced lifestyle that combines the convenience of city living with the charm of a close-knit community. The area boasts a range of housing options, from period properties with character to modern apartments, catering to diverse tastes and budgets.

Moreover, the presence of reputable schools, parks, and essential amenities makes it an attractive place for families, professionals, and creatives alike.

grand architecture in seven dials, brighton

Seven Dials is more than just a neighbourhood in Brighton; it’s a microcosm of what makes the city so special. With its rich history, cultural diversity, and vibrant community spirit, Seven Dials offers a unique slice of Brighton life that is both welcoming and intriguing.

So next time you’re in Brighton, take a detour from the usual tourist spots and discover the charm and character of the Seven Dials – you won’t be disappointed.

How far is Seven Dials from Brighton city centre?

Seven Dials is located just a short walk northwest of Brighton city centre, making it easily accessible on foot or by public transportation.

Is Seven Dials suitable for families?

Yes, Seven Dials is a family-friendly area with a strong sense of community, parks, and family-oriented activities and services.

Are there any annual events or festivals in Seven Dials?

While Seven Dials itself may not host large festivals, it participates in city-wide events like the Brighton Festival, and local businesses often hold special events and promotions.

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