For a long time I thought Hove promenade was my favourite place in the world. It still might be, I’m just a bit less overwhelmed with love for it than I once was, a bit like the honeymoon period is over, but we’re still very happy together.
Its vast wide expanse full of happy, sun-seeking people in the summer months, and just me and some hardy runners in the winter… The sea on one side and the grassy lawns and beautiful regency houses of Brunswick Square on the other. The different lights throughout the seasons, amplified by the contrast between the sea, the wide, dark concrete, and the elegant, pale buildings opposite.
And what would a place like this be without places to stop and sit?
Probably my favourite of all the benches is this one, where someone has thoughtfully removed the top railing… on all the other benches, when you’re sitting in them, this railing is positioned such that it precisely covers the horizon line… I’ve always been curious to know who removed this railing, and whether it was an official Brighton & Hove council act, or one rebellious person, late at night, with a hacksaw, wanting to make their favourite bench perfect.
The issue with the horizon line aside, all these benches are pretty good, if standard, council style. The slats are made out of some kind of weird (possibly recycled) black plastic, and the supports (and railings, and bollards, and everything else nearby) are painted in Hove’s austere, dark green. The benches themselves are fairly comfortable, in an unremarkable way. The plastic tends to accumulate water puddles after rain worse than wood would, but that’s okay.
The benches are dispersed enough that you never feel like you’re sat too close to anyone else (a lot of people come down here for quiet thinking time it seems, especially in the colder months), although the benches are short enough that if a stranger comes and sits next to you at ANY time other than super peak summer season, it’s really weird and uncomfortable.
There are other benches on the opposite side of the prom but they’re inferior in almost every way so I shall not speak of them here. (Their only redeeming feature is that they’re a little more sheltered from the sea)
Most of the benches have little memorial plaques on them, which is nice. I’d like a bench with my name on it one day, maybe one down here. It’s just a pity I have to wait till I die to get one.
Comfort of bench: 6/10
Capacity of bench: not more than 4 without things getting uncomfortable
View from bench: wonderful, no matter what the weather (although sometimes things can get a bit hectic for these hardy benches, see below) 9/10
Accessibility of bench: Super easy to get to, wide, flat promenade, although not possibly to drive close to the benches. 9/10
Adventure level: Low. Central Hove. About 25 mins walk from either Brighton or Hove train stations. 1/10