Now that we're mid November, hopefully you'll agree that it's not too early to start planning Christmas. And if, like me, you try to use your consumer voice to make animal and environmentally friendly choices then I think that a Christmas shopping trip to Brighton may just be in order!
Brighton has gained a reputation as being one of the greenest, kindest cities in the country and with good reason. It's higgledy piggledy streets are jam packed with independent shops and vegetarian eateries, staffed by conscious minded folk who really go above and beyond to source products of sound ethical origin. So now I'm in my tenth year of being a Brighton resident, I thought it was time to put together this handy 'Where To?' guide for those of you planning to visit this awesome city for a spot of festive shopping!
Grab a juice and a snack
So you've made it to Brighton...where first? I'd suggest that your first stop should be Iydea to grab yourself a hot drink or juice and a slice of something delicious to eat while you plan for your day of shopping ahead. Iydea recently won the accolade of best cafe in the Brighton and Hove Foodie Awards as well as the Vegetarian Society’s National Best Eating Out Award. Located in Kensington Gardens, this veggie cafe is definitely one to check out and perfectly situated for the next part of your day.
Hit the Laines
Now that you are refreshed and ready to shop, naturally your first stop has got to be Brighton's infamous North and South Laines. Full of quirky boutiques, beautiful locally crafted wares and hard to find books, these streets are Brighton's heart when it comes to shopping. Some key shops that you cannot afford to miss are the legendary Vegetarian Shoes (no explanation needed!), the slightly more niche but fascinating Beads Unlimited for the crafty person in your life and the Hippy Clothing Company for some gorgeous items. Finally, I'd say you can't be in the lanes without nipping into Infinity Foods to see if anything tasty grabs your attention...organic local chutney to go with some dairy-free cheese perhaps?
Time for lunch
You've found some perfect presents and maybe a little something for yourself! but now, you're getting a little tired and hungry. That's fine, it's lunch time and the choice of where to go is a veritable smorgasbord of culinary delights. I'd highly recommend both Terra Terre and Food for Friends. These eateries are Brighton's most famous and well regarded vegetarian / vegan restaurants and as such can get very busy so it might be worth booking a table in advance - especially at the weekend. It's worth the effort though as with some amazing flavours and combinations of food, an unforgettable dining experience is guaranteed.
Beyond the Laines
Now you're fed, perhaps you've still got a few presents left to find but have exhausted all the laines has to offer? Don't panic! There are loads of shops beyond the winding maze of the laines that are worth venturing further afield for. Staying fairly central, first up is The Fair Shop, one of the countries only shops to specialise in fair trade and ethical fashion. Then on a slightly different tangent, Berts Homestore is full of fun kitchenware that might help inspire some healthy eating!
Finally, if you need to escape the hustle and bustle of central Brighton, why not hop on a bus to the marina and pop into Love That Stuff, an exclusive fair trade shop which stocks a variety of items from clothes to accessories and furnishings.
So there you have it, rawgaia's definite guide to shopping for a cruelty free Christmas in Brighton. And if you can't make it to Brighton this year for whatever reason, maybe it's a bit far! There's always the cruelty-free online shopping experience instead!
I hope you found it helpful and that you have a very Merry Christmas shopping experience... Just over 5 weeks left, time to get those gifts. :)