Experience life away from Brighton’s major tourist center while wandering the architecturally impressive streets of this elegant neighborhood.
Although just a short walk from Brighton’s bustling city center and popular tourist attractions, the residential neighborhood of Montpelier has an air of laidback sophistication. Walk its tree-shaded streets, admire the grandiose homes and watch locals go about their daily activities. Montpelier started as farmland for sheep grazing before being developed into one of the city’s most up-market areas in the 1800s. It merges with Clifton Hill and the two are often classed as one neighborhood.
The neighborhood’s streets showcase some exquisite examples of Regency, Victorian and Italianate architecture. Stroll along Montpelier Crescent, a row of 38 houses designed by architect Amon Henry Wilds and notable for their Corinthian pilasters, decorative capitals and pediments. Powis Square is one of the city’s only inland enclosed squares with terraced houses characterized by curved bay windows. Villas and stucco-clad terraces are also common throughout the neighborhood.
Consider visiting some of the interesting churches in the neighborhood. The Gothic revival-style St. Michael’s Church has stained-glass windows designed by William Morris, who pioneered the Arts and Crafts movement. St. Nicholas' Church is a 900-year-old Norman monument. Don’t miss the view of St. Mary Magdalen Church and the English Channel from Victoria Street.
Western Road forms the commercial district of Montpelier and is home to amenities such as beauty parlors, fashion outlets, homeware stores and supermarkets. Find coffeehouses, fast-food joints, traditional British pubs and restaurants that serve international cuisine. Catch glimpses down to Brighton Beach via the side streets. St. Ann’s Well Gardens is a great place to spend some time on a sunny day and is popular among picnickers and birdwatchers.
Reach Montpelier by walking for about 10 minutes from Brighton’s city center. A pleasant way to get here is along the seafront promenade and then up through Regency Square. Public buses stop on the neighborhood’s main thoroughfares and Brighton train station is less than a mile (1.6 kilometers) away.