These are probably my favourite benches in all of Brighton, but at time of writing, are currently inaccessible, as the mid-level promenade East of the pier is closed indefinitely for maintenance work. I really hope they open it again one day, because these benches are part of a truly wonderful place.
The benches run all the way along the mid-level promenade (visible here, the area above the arches but below the top road)
Some sections are under shelter (as seen in the above picture), others are open (as seen in the picture below).
They’re not even the most comfortable benches! Quite bucket-like in shape, with a lean just slightly too far back, and slats which don’t really come out far enough along the back of your legs, they weren’t especially designed with ergonomics in mind, but I still love them. The intricacy of the surrounding elements (see the shelter in the image above and the arm rests), and the overall atmosphere of the place makes them something quite special.
I particularly feel the weight of history here, (although I’m sure there are many other much more historic benches out there)… The thousands upon thousands of tourists and locals who have stopped here over the last 100+ years to rest their weary legs and look out across the sea and pier. The strange feeling of the mid level promenade with it’s asphalt flooring, almost like you’re on a roof. Brighton’s iconic minty-green paint adorning all metal nearby.
I’ve never lived in a part of Brighton anywhere near these benches, and they’re not particularly en-route anywhere — being on the middle level, the only reason you’d be here is for the simple enjoyment of the space. I particularly like coming here in winter, when you would often have the entire promenade to yourself, and I have perhaps spent more time sat on these benches just sitting and thinking than anywhere else.
Also, (and this may just be me, but I doubt it), if anyone coming out of the main hospital with a bad (or good) diagnosis feels the need to run down to the sea afterwards, these are the first relatively private place which they will arrive to sit and have some time alone. I know I’ve done it and I feel sure others have too.
Comfort of bench: As described above… actually not great. 4/10
Capacity of bench: Literally hundreds. Seriously. Bring all your friends. Have a really long, spread out bench-party.
View from bench: Just the best. Whatever the season. 9/10
Accessibility of bench: There is a ramp up to this mid level at the East end, but as far as I can remember, no ramp down at the other end, and I don’t think there’s a ramp down from the top road at all. The alternative is lots of steps. The surface is smooth and flat the whole way. 6/10
Adventure level: I always think it feels like a mini-urban adventure getting over here, as I don’t live very close by, but realistically, low. About 20-25 minutes walk from the train station, and buses pass by regularly on the road above. 1/10.