The Lanes

The Lanes, signpost on North StreetThe Lanes represents one of the oldest parts of Brighton, with a medieval street plan that survived the town's destruction in 1514, and its one of the oldest "living" medieval street layouts in the UK.

The area is a mass of huddled buildings intersected by a labyrinth of lanes and alleyways constructed for and by people who knew that the only people who'd be visiting their homes and shops would be other locals, travelling on foot. There's no car access to much of the place, and so far the area's defied online mapping.

The Lanes is now occupied by a seething froth of little shops and niche businesses, including an improbable number of jewelers, and the shopping in this area and in North Laine together make up one of the main reasons that people visit Brighton.

The antiquity of The Lanes becomes evident when you study how Brighton's roads are named. North Street is called North Street because it's North of The Lanes. Western Road is West of The Lanes, South Street is a tiny little road squeezed in between The Lanes and the seafront. 

If you're visiting The Lanes, bear in mind that you'll almost certainly get lost, and budget your time there accordingly. People won't think that you're a wimp if you bring a compass.