In the middle of town, huddled between London Road and The Level, you’ll find Brighton’s bustling Open Market. Home to a glut of gorgeous little independent cafés, restaurants, and food stalls, Bohemian retail therapy, a grocery market, and what is personally my favourite shop in the whole of Brighton!
As you enter from the London Road end, you walk past Sunbirds – an absolutely glorious Mediterranean delicatessen. Dishes served vary from delicious veggie mezes to delectable chicken wraps. They squeeze garden-fresh fruits and vegetables into invigorating, fortifying juices – perfect for the winter! My obsession is the ginger, apple, and carrot blend! The fun doesn’t stop there – for dessert you have a choice from a selection of homemade marshmallows, baklava, and other honey and almond treats!
There’s somewhere to get your photos developed. I recently got a disposable camera I’ve had gathering dust for years developed, not expecting it to have worked at all. You’ll find the shutterbugs there particularly discreet. Nobody said anything about the very lewd photo of me standing in stitches between three of my friends mooning the camera.
“As you walk around the corner you begin to feel as though you’ve entered the Grand Bazaar! Leather, bronze, and silver. Antiquity and antipasti. More food! A hive full of honey-products – Green Valleys provides various local raw honey products.”
As you walk around the corner you begin to feel as though you’ve entered the Grand Bazaar! Leather, bronze, and silver. Antiquity and antipasti. More food! A hive full of honey-products – Green Valleys provides various local raw honey products.
The most sustainable shop in Brighton is next, Wastenot is completely zero-waste. They sell dried whole foods, loose organic produce, and dispensers of cleaning and beauty products so you can refill and recycle. Not to mention plastic-free homeware to reduce your impact on the environment! You’ll also find Brighton Apothecary, a useful little store full of herbs and tinctures.
Get your peaches! There for your oranges. Shop around for your bananas. In the summer, without fail, someone is selling Victoria plums – the Empress of all plums. Why go to the supermarket for your fruits, and inefficiently spend your money, when you could pop down to the Open Market every week and grab a bowl of mixed fruit, locally sourced, for a quid or two?
You’ll find a second-hand book stall, shelves and tables brimming with the Classics, dystopia, cult fiction, poetry, crime and thriller, and I suppose other genres too! Unfortunately, since Covid the bookshop has had to downsize. You will still find the proprietors interested and interesting – always happy to help you find what you’re looking for. If they don’t have it, they’ll make a note and try to get it in for you! Drama, fiction, realism or myth – whatever your gig, it’s a place worth frequenting.
There’s handmade cards and other craft stalls. You can buy these beautiful cards there with wildflower seeds in them! You just tear the card into smaller pieces and plant. A two-in-one gift! Get your vintage clothing fix, there’s hemp handbags, and spot the shop with all your sewing materials and accoutrements – Buttons & Bows Haberdashery. The Market Florist is particularly good, and the staff are very friendly and helpful.
Saving the best for last, gravitate slowly towards the hemp clothing. You’ll smell the incense first! The Open Market is home to the most Brightonian shop in Brighton, OmThings. They’ve got crystals, tapestries, and sari-fabric bags. Tibetan singing bowls, gold, frankincense, myrrh, the wardrobe to Narnia, the fountain of youth, and oil burners! It’s safe to say I love this shop!
They sell quality affordable jewelry, hippie car bumper stickers, and have an impeccable ethereal taste in music creating the most serene atmosphere whilst you’re shopping! If you’re struggling to think of the perfect gift for my birthday, you now know where to go!
Originally published in Only In Brighton magazine.