Edinburgh

Some would say that it’s not fair to compare Brighton with a capital city. As regular readers know, I’m not one of those people! On a recent trip to Scotland’s capital with my mate Rick, I saw for myself exactly why Edinburgh’s reputation for beautiful architecture, amazing scenery and bad weather is well deserved. So, what can Brighton learn from Edinburgh and vice versa?

Brighton and Edinburgh share a strong connection with regards to neo-classical architecture. Edinburgh’s Georgian buildings and Brighton’s Regency are amongst the finest. In examining this connection, one of the cities’ greatest differences emerges – their respective choices of building material. One might easily assume that solid stone lies beneath the painted facades of Brighton’s great squares, crescents and terraces. In fact, stuccoed bungaroush is often below. Bungaroush is the mix of flint from the beach and surrounding fields with lime that forms many of the walls holding Brighton up. Stucco was used externally as a render to produce stone-like details. Edinburgh’s unpainted stone is clearly the real deal.

As Selma Montford from the Brighton Society often tells me, good new buildings in established areas are about ingredients, not recipes. Such a formula encourages both architectural progress and community cohesion. I saw some great examples of this in Edinburgh that followed the rule by featuring high quality stone and appropriate window arrangements – modern takes on their eighteenth century counterparts. Tesco on Church Road in Hove flies in the face of this rule by having absolutely nothing in common with its Victorian neighbours and is disastrous as a result. One of the UK’s most architecturally (and politically) controversial buildings is the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. I loved bits of it. I hated bits of it. I’m undecided overall. Across the road is Holyrood Palace at the foot of the Royal Mile. At the top is Edinburgh Castle which enjoys panoramic views of the city, its surrounding hills and distant coast.

I suppose that I could point out that Edinburgh’s amazing centre does not necessarily reflect the quality of the areas that I did not see during my trip. However, Brighton’s Lanes and North Laine are more fun as places to shop than anywhere in Edinburgh. Also, the proximity of the sea to the centre of Brighton really is unbeatable. I thoroughly recommend Edinburgh as a holiday destination though for me, there’s no place like home. Brighton wins once again!