Although the whole of Brighton and Hove is well known for being a friendly place for LGBT people to live, Kemptown is often seen as a focal point for LGBT people especially when it comes to nightlife. A few well known bars like the Bulldog on St James Street or Charles Street on the seafront see LGBT people flocking to them from all over the country but raucous bars and fabulous nightlife is not all Kemptown has to offer.
During the day, Kemptown is a great place to go to browse antique shops and flea markets as well as having a pub that brews its own beer, a lovely independent bookshop and some interesting little cafes, coffee shops and tea rooms.
Like the rest of Brighton and Hove, Kemptown has an eclectic mix of architecture from the grand Regency buildings of Sussex Square and Lewes Crescent to the smaller Victorian style houses on the side streets.
Fittingly, for its reputation for quirkiness, Kemptown has a slightly strange history. It started back in 1808 when the black tiled royal crescent was built, but it proved unpopular. As the style of the houses wasn't the King's cup of tea, they were seen as unfashionable.
In 1828, the property developer Thomas Kemp proposed a much grander scheme for houses that intended for affluent, as already existing houses weren't perceived as elegant or big enough for them. Due to financial issues only Arundel Terrace, Chichester Terrace, Lewes Crescent and Sussex Square were included in the final estate plan. The project was completed in 1855, even though Thomas Kemp had to flee England to escape his creditors.
A pub nearby bears his name and serves a rather good lunch menu.
Kemptown is awash with events and festivals all year round from the legendary Brighton Pride event, which actually focuses on Preston Park but has many smaller festivities in Kemptown, and Brighton Bear Weekend, which celebrates the large hairy members of the gay community, to pub quizzes, yoga classes and live music.
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