Kemp Town is the hub of Brighton's Gay Village and around St James's Street and elsewhere in Kemp Town you'll find a host of gay friendly and gay owned Brighton B&Bs and Hotels. Gay Bars, shops, clubs and gay friendly cafes are all here aplenty in buzzing Kemp Town. Some of the finest of Brighton's restaurants are in the Kemp Town area too - checkout the Kemp Town pages of the Argus Food & Drink Guide!
The area sits east of Brighton Pier running parallel to the seafront between the Pier and Brighton Marina. Here you'll find some of the most spectacular of Brighton and Hove's Regency architecture. The area is named after one of the most famous Regency speculators in the area - Thomas Read Kemp. No trip to Brighton is complete without a tour of the glorious Regency crescents and squares of Kemp Town including the very first crescent ever to be built facing the sea - Royal Crescent.
The Kemp Town area of Brighton east of the Pier is at the very heart of the city's early Regency history for here you will find the stunning Regency facades of Sussex Square, Lewes Crescent and Royal Crescent. The influence of Bath's building boom architecture is clear in the Kemp Town area and Brighton followed Bath in its process of resort development. Like Bath, in Brighton it was the speculator developers who constructed small estates and in Kemp Town's case Thomas Reed Kemp (1782-1840) was the speculator responsible. Kemp heralded from a Sussex landed family and served as MP for Lewes and Arundel.
Planning however was by local architects C.A.Busby and the Wilds, a father and son team who were heavily influenced by John Nash and his London West End work. Busby and Wilds designed many of Kemp Town's glorious Regency Squares and Crescents including Sussex Square, Lewes Cresent, Arundel Terrace and Chichester Terrace between 1823 to 1850. Thomas Kemp wasn't the only early speculator at work on Kemp Town's construction. Another was J.B.Otto, a West Indian merchant who is responsible for the construction of Kemp Town's first magnificent Regency crescent - Royal Crescent built between 1798 and 1807 and facing directly to the sea, the first crescent to do so.
Without Brighton's Royal Patronage and increasing demand for residential accommodation, Kemp would not have been able to push forward his building projects east of the centre into Kemp Town. However, huge amounts of funds were needed and the now Grade I listed Lewes Crescent was not finally completed until the mid 1850s. That project saw Kemp pushed to bankruptcy.
Taking a tour around Kemp Town's spectacular Regency architecture you'll spot a number of Plaques on the side of houses on Royal Crescent and elsewhere. Numerous celebrities have lived in this sought after area including Sir Laurence Olivier on Royal Crescent, the great comedian Max Miller on Burlington Street and the actress Anna Neagle on Lewes Crescent. You can download a Plaque Trail for Kemp Town via the Brighton Regency Society's weblink right.
Kemp Town is Brighton's Gay Village and sits at the heart of Brighton's gay scene. The area boasts a choice of gay friendly clubs, bars, beauty parlours, specialist shops and Brighton Gay Friendly hotels and B&Bs, with many accommodations gay owned.
Find a choice of gay shops around the St James's Street area plus a good sprinkling of techno clubs. Gay friendly bars in Brighton you won't have trouble finding - the list is huge. A choice sit along St James's Street including Candy Bar, Cafe 22 (a gift shop and cafe) and Bulldog. Some double up as clubs and some sit adjacent or within gay friendly Brighton Hotels. See a full listing of Brighton and Hove's gay friendly pubs, shops, clubs and bars via the Brighton and Hove Gay Guide weblink right. Marine Parade also offers an excellent choice including Charles Street Bar/Cafe, the R Bar & Lizard Lounge and the Amsterdam Bar, Hotel and Sauna.