Morden Hall Park

Absolute December News


Waugh Thistleton architects have won planning permission on behalf of McLaren Property for their student housing scheme at 106 Lewes Road, Brighton. The double height ground floor will have communal facilities, a communal south facing external terrace at third floor level with views towards the coast, with 44 studio apartments on the four floors above.

From the drawings, the building looks solid and monolithic, with windows carved away to reveal the depth of the facade. Clad in light coloured bricks, the scheme pays reference to the regency style of architecture predominant in the Brighton area.

The island site is roughly triangular in shape, with studio apartments that circle a generous, naturally lit staircase. Each studio has two windows, an en-suite bathroom pod, storage space, a desk and a kitchenette cleverly integrated to make the rooms as spacious as possible.
The scheme is set for completion in Autumn 2017.


kuoni travel shop

Planning a worldwide holiday has just got a new lease of life, with Kuoni Travel Shop, which has opened on Dukes Lane, Brighton.

The new shop is modern and luxurious with a champagne fridge and coffee area. It has a calm and inviting atmosphere, with travel artefacts from around the world, a lounge area, travel library, video screen and large desks where the customers and travel experts can plan holidays together.

You are certainly in good hands here, as the new store is staffed by a team of four personal travel experts, who’ve been handpicked by Kuoni because of their outstanding customer service skills and travel knowledge.

Store Manager, Stephen Payne said: “Every Kuoni store is completely individual, so customers can expect something quite different.  All of us here in Brighton have a passion for travel since a young age and we are looking forward to sharing our own experiences and knowledge with anyone in the area looking to make their next holiday extra special. We want to provide the very best service for our customers and create long-standing memories for anyone that walks through the door.”

A wide range of holidays will be on offer from cruise, ski, weddings & honeymoons, short-breaks, villas, fly-drives, safaris, beach holidays and tours which span over 88 countries in the Far East, Indian Ocean, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, USA and more, but if you want something extra special and out of the ordinary, the experts can plan just about anything!

TEL: 01273 796139
Kuoni Brighton
21 Dukes Lane Brighton, BN1 1BG


Although this date has been and gone, with everything going on in the news regarding Charlie Sheen, I thought it prudent to just commend this event and keep it fresh in all our minds.

Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s largest HIV and sexual health charity, launched its fourth annual National HIV Testing Week in Brighton and Hove on the 25th – 27th November. It was great to see so many locals wearing the distinctive orange and blue testing week t-shirts.

HIV diagnosis has increased in Sussex an everywhere, so events like this are super important and to continue checking and being safe onwards.

National HIV Testing Week Ambassador Dr Christian Jessen said: “The fact that diagnoses have increased is encouraging in one sense. If you get tested and receive a positive diagnosis, you can now immediately go onto treatment, and if you are on medication you are classed as ‘undetectable’ and the virus cannot be passed on. Most concerning to me is the fact that nearly one  in six people with HIV do not realise they have it, so they are putting their own health at risk and HIV could unknowingly be passed on.”


Brighton’s most exciting new arts and music venue Patterns will host the brand spanking new ‘Dirty Bare’ night on the first Tuesday of every month. The glamorous night, started by one of the venue’s very own Bar Managers and Brighton based burlesque star – Lady Marmaduke – is set to bring some cheeky fun to our city.

Featuring artists such World Burlesque Games Winner Coco Deville, compère extraordinaire Dolly Rocket, everyone’s favourite boylesque sex symbol Dave Barnes the Bear, the sizzling siren Cherry Shakewell, exotic drag queen Xavier Xarah, Lou Safire, and of course Lady Marmaduke, these nights are sure to be kooky and highly spirited!


The Collector Earl's Garden Rill Pond

Although the Castle gates have now closed for the winter period, this is in fact the busiest time of year for Arundel Castle’s garden team.

It has been all hands on trowels with the team planting a record number of spring bulbs – 72,000 in total throughout the 40 acres of stunning gardens and grounds!

With such a big task at hand, the team enlisted the help of the West Sussex Girl Guides, who turned up in all-weather (and let’s face it, the weather has been vile), to help plant tulip bulbs in large Italianate terracotta pots.

This year’s selection includes 50 different types of tulips such as ‘Lilac Time’ and ‘Purple Prince’ with 24 brand new varieties for 2016.

The walled area of the gardens will showcase a staggering 30,000 tulips in vibrant colours and of every variety.

Martin Duncan, Head Gardener commented: “The garden team has worked tirelessly to plant even more bulbs this year and it was great to have the West Sussex Girl Guides on hand to help! I’m sure I speak for everybody when I say how much we’re looking forward to showing off the fruits of our labour with visitors come spring 2016!”

Stuart Nathan Planting thousands of Snakes Head Fratillaries

To add to the tulip splendour, The Organic Kitchen is currently being prepped and planted with ‘Negrita’, ‘Francoise’ and the stunning ‘Curly Sue’, a glorious mixture of spring blooms.

Arundel Castle is now closed to visitors for the winter period and will re-open on Good Friday 25 March 2016, when all these bulbs should have flowered and a riot of extures and colowur ill great you.

For more information on the Castle or to arrange a private tour of the gardens, please visit:


ibiza soul week

It’s that time of year when we want to go out and have a shimmy, but sometimes the amazing choice we get in our city is a little daunting and somewhat overwhelming….particularly when we get to a certain age and don’t want to be hanging out with a bunch of teenagers.

So, here is a heads up for all you funky people. Check out Paul Meltdown Clarke’s Facebook pages for what’s going on over the festive period and beyond. Having started to DJ in 1977 at the Seven Stars in Brighton, he continued to play jazz-funk-soul for 11 years and as well as being known nationally, he became #1 DJ on the south coast. He was resident at the Inn Place, Papillon & Busbys on a Sunday, which was voted #10 in Blues & Soul’s top clubs. So he has quite the music CV.

With gigs ranging from Carl Cox events, local places to dance the night away and everything in between both near and far (he sure knows a good Ibiza party too!), check out his upcoming itinerary….


costa book awards

Brighton based poet Neil Rollinson has been shortlisted for the 2015 costa book awards!

The Costa Book Awards is the only major UK book prize that is open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland and also, uniquely, recognises the most enjoyable books across five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book – published in the last year.

Originally established in 1971 by Whitbread Plc, Costa announced its takeover of the sponsorship of one of the UK’s most prestigious book prizes in 2006. 2015 marks the 44th year of the Book Awards.

This year’s Costa Book Awards attracted 638 entries. Judges on this year’s panels (three per category) included writers Matt Haig, Louise Doughty and Martyn Bedford, poet and children’s author Julia Copus and biographer and broadcaster Penny Junor….. so it is a big deal that our Brighton based boy, Neil Rollinson has been shortlisted for the award.

Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on Monday 4th January 2016.  The overall winner of the 2015 Costa Book of the Year will receive £30,000 and will be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in central London on Tuesday 26th January 2016.



Forming an integral part of Kew Green Hotels’ £3.5 million development of Brighton’s seafront Holiday Inn, Stock Burger Co. opens on 11th December. It will offer guests and locals alike a unique standalone venue (with separate off-street entrance) where they can eat, drink and socialise in stylish, lively and comfortable surroundings.

As the name suggests, the house specialty is burgers but these are no ordinary burgers. They are aiming for the the crème de la crème of burgers here.

Diners can select from a variety of specialty burgers, including Pulled Beef Brisket and what must be the ultimate all-day Breakfast, complete with fried egg, sweet cured streaky bacon, beef tomato, Portobello mushroom, HP sauce and baconnaise, or they can create their own.

There will be a huge collection of craft beers spearheaded by a draft selection supplied by Naked Beer Co., the Brighton Bier Brewery and Marston’s.


I am a Saturday night TV junkie. Strictly, X Factor, I’m A Celebrity.. these are all my guilty pleasures.

So, I am very excited about that the X Factor tour will be coming to The Brighton Centre on the 22nd and 23rd February and suggest that if this is your thing get booking tickets quickly.

The top seven acts taking to the stage on this year’s live arena tour are: Anton Stephans, 4th Impact, Reggie ‘N’ Bollie, Louisa Johnson, Lauren Murray, Che Chesterman and Mason Noise.  Can’t wait!

Tickets from £19.50 (subject to booking fee) are on sale now.

Tickets including limited availability Family Tickets (4 tickets maximum 2 adults) are available from The Brighton Centre box office and the official hotlines listed below.

TEL: 01273 290131
Box Office: 0844 847 1515
Brighton Centre, Kings Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 2GR


garden walks

The National Trust has revealed some of the best places for wintry walks and some of these are right on our doorstep in East Sussex. From Boxing Day onwards these are the best that will be open…. The perfect way to enjoy our countryside in picture-postcard landscapes. Wrap up warm and burn off that Christmas excess of food and drink. Here are the best off:


With whirls of rolling mist and frost glistening on the neatly clipped hedges, Rudyard Kipling’s English country garden is transformed in winter. Pick up an estate walking leaflet to take in the spirit of this special place on three walks – Puck’s Walk follows famous characters from Kipling’s Puck of Pook’s Hill published in 1906, ironmaster’s walk takes in the local history of iron production in the area and the Dudwell Farm walk winds through Bateman’s estate and the local village of Burwash.

Garden, tea room and shop open 11am-4pm daily, house open 11.30am-3.30pm between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Boxing Day walk and breakfast 10am-12pm, New Year’s Day walk and breakfast 11am-1pm. All tickets £17.50 per person, booking essential on 01435 882302

Birling Gap

Stunning winter light dances over the sea at sunrise and sunset, whilst winter visiting birds, peregrines and fulmars can be spotted during a bracing daytime cliff top walk, over the Seven Sisters downland or along the beach. There are excellent photo opportunities of sea birds, wildlife and winter seascapes all along the Seven Sisters and in particular from the viewing platform next to the café.

Countryside and coast open daily dawn until dusk throughout winter. Cafe and shop open 10am-4pm, except Boxing Day and New Year’s Day when the opening times are 10am-3pm.

Bodiam Castle

Wander the grounds and see the castle in all its winter beauty or try the audio adventure, A Knight’s Peril, in a frosty landscape. On weekdays, join a medieval character for hourly guided tours inside the castle walls, alternating between high status spaces like the Great Hall and low status spaces like the kitchen. At weekends explore the castle at your leisure with medieval characters on hand to bring the medieval world to life.

On Boxing Day morning join a guided tour of the grounds to have the castle all to yourself before it opens to visitors, and end the stroll with breakfast snacks in the tea room.

Throughout winter – castle grounds, tea room and shop 10am-5pm or dusk if earlier (castle open from 10.30am). Medieval character tours run on the hour weekdays only, 11am-3pm. Boxing Day walk with breakfast bap and hot drink, Saturday 26 December 9am-10.15am. All tickets £15 per person, booking essential on 01580 831324.

Sheffield Park and Garden

With its reflective lakes and impressive tree collection from around the world, Sheffield Park is particularly beautiful in winter. After the leaves fall, the garden gives way to dramatic winter vistas and the lakes are transformed by mist, frost and ice.

walks in the park

Adding to the sculptural forms of the trees in winter, a series of willow shapes and frames are dotted around the garden as part of A Winter’s Trail.

Explore the lesser-known parts of the estate on a guided hike on New Year’s Day. One of the longest serving members of the team will add colour to the history of the garden, its owners and their legacies – you won’t find any of these stories in any guide book.

Parkland open daily from dawn until dusk. Garden, tea room and shop open 10am-4pm daily between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day and throughout January. A Winter’s Trail runs until Sunday 31 January, £1 per trail.

New Year’s Day holly hike, 11am-1pm, £6 per person with booking recommended on 01825 790231 Standen House and Garden

With the trees laid bare the formation of the Arts & Crafts inspired hillside garden is revealed each winter. Perched at the top of the garden, the new viewing platform on Rock Top Walk provides the perfect vantage point for views of the garden and dramatic wintery scenery over the High Weald, Ashdown Forest and East Grinstead. Additional woodland walking guides can be picked up from visitor reception.

On Boxing Day, join the head gardener on a guided walk of some of the estate’s special areas, including Hollybush woodland.  Part of the Forest Ridge of the High Weald and one of the most wooded areas in Britain, Hollybush is home to a large collection of ancient trees, one of which is said to be rarer than a Giant Panda. On New Year’s Eve a guided woodland walk will help to blow the festive cobwebs away and start the New Year refreshed.

Throughout January, see areas of the house not normally open to the public – including the cellar and water tower – on a behind closed doors tour.
Garden, shop and Barn Café open 10am-4pm, house open 11am-3pm between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Boxing Day stroll, Saturday 26 December, 12pm-1pm. New Year’s Eve Woodland Walk, Thursday 31 December, 12pm-1pm. Both walks are free with no booking needed, meet on Goose Green.

During January the garden, shop and Barn Café open 10am-4pm. The house is open weekends in January between 11am-3pm (last entry at 2.30pm). Entry to the house mid-week as part of a behind closed door tours only. Behind closed doors tours run Monday-Friday from 4 January to 29 January, every 30 minutes from 11am-2.30pm. Places limited to ten people per tour.

Please share photos of your own favourite atmospheric winter landscapes and walking adventures with the National Trust:

On Twitter by tweeting @southeastnt
On Facebook
On Instagram by sending photos to southeastnt


Brighton is well known for being a bit of a Hippy city (among other things), where we have a fair few healthy eaters, vegetarians and vegans.

Let’s hear a cheer for the new restaurant 1847 which has just arrived in the North Laines. With a huge selection of gluten free and vegan options which are truly delicious, hearty and filling and a variety of vegan wines…. I think even the meat eaters may be paying a visit.

1847 Vegetarian Restaurant, North Road, (corner of North Road and Cheltenham Place), North Laine, Brighton, BN1 1YW

TEL: 01273 677776