The North Laine VS Kemptown

Image via Cool Places

Brightonians and otherwise love Brighton’s North Laine – it’s a true staple of the town and a representation of what we have to offer here in terms of culture, food and fashion. But is it better than Brighton’s lesser known, cool sibling, Kemptown? We’ve put them to the test in 6 categories to see which comes out on top…

1. Flea Markets

Both areas of Brighton have popular flea markets… but which is better?

Image via We Love Brighton

Image via We Love Brighton

The North Laine

The North Laine’s Antique and Flea Market is well known for having lots of hidden gems. As you enter the market you’ll be led down a sloping path into a treasure trove of goodies, from vintage jackets to old toys and ancient football flyers. Despite what it may look like from the outside, the interior is huge, looking after hundreds of antiques inside. It’s clear to see that this place has a lot of character as well as a huge selection of stuff.

The verdict: 4/5

Image via Culture Trip

Image via Culture Trip

Kemptown

Kemptown is host to the vibrant Brighton Flea Market. Its bright pink exterior certainly makes it stand out along a road of pubs (and the neon sign in the window helps too!) But is it as good as the North Laine’s flea market upon entry? Despite looking similar in size, Kemptown’s flea market is a little smaller. Although that hasn’t stopped the owners from filling it to the brim with old treasures. The items on offer are much the same, with Brighton Flea Market offering a little more furniture. Big bonus points go to Kemptown here for offering 3 for £10 on old prints (including car adverts, smoking adverts, pin up girls and cult films) so even us students can afford something…

The verdict: 4/5

2. Eateries

Where’s the best place to eat in Brighton?

Image via TravelMag

Image via TravelMag

The North Laine

When it comes to food, I almost always find myself heading towards the North Laine. With so much choice, from delis to gourmet eateries, it really does have everything. Whatever you fancy, you can be fairly certain that the North Laine will be able to cater to your tastes: Burgers, falafel, baguettes, cakes, chips… the whole lot can be found down here! Unfortunately, the interiors of these delightful eateries are often on the small side, so if you’re looking for a sit down meal – this isn’t the place for you.

The verdict: 4.5/5 (minus 0.5 for the tiny shop interiors)

Image via The Argus

Image via The Argus

Kemptown

Despite not having quite so many food options, Kemptown gives the North Laine a pretty good run for its money. It may not be bursting with falafel, but it does have a lot of eat in restaurants, which the laines don’t offer. With plenty of Italian eateries offering lunch time deals as cheap as £3.95, Belgian chips, a gelato parlour, Thai places and even a Turkish restaurant, you are spoiled for choice down St James St. It may have less of an on-the-go selection but you can sit down in a lovely restaurant for not much money at all, which I think is equally good.

The verdict: 4.5/5 (minus 0.5 for mostly being restaurants)

3. Shopping

The North Laine is known for its great shopping prospects…but can Kemptown beat it?

Image via ModCulture

Image via ModCulture

The North Laine

When it comes to vintage shopping, The North Laine is near enough unbeatable. With copious vintage clothing shops offering cheap checked shirts and fun frilly dresses, it’s hard to go wrong here. If clothes aren’t your thing why not browse one of the many record shops? Or take a look at some comics? Or explore old vintage souvenirs?

The verdict: 5/5 (for obvious reasons)

Image via Kemptown Insider

Image via Kemptown Insider

Kemptown

Unless you fancy doing your grocery shopping on a day out, there’s really not much point coming to Kemptown for shopping. With St James St and its surroundings mostly being filled with phone fixing shops, you won’t find many vintage bargains here. It does however get some bonus points for having lots of charity shops, (well we had to give it something…)

The verdict: 2/5

4. Coffee

The people of Brighton have some of the best coffee in the world…but where is it better?

Image via We Love Brighton

Image via We Love Brighton

The North Laine

Ah the North Laine, is this where your lead collapses? Unfortunately, despite having so much going on down there, the North Laine really does lose points for its lack of coffee shops. Sure you can get a coffee in any old restaurant, but sometimes you just want somewhere that specialises in making really good coffee. Plus, it loses extra points for having a Costa and a Caffe Nero down there…

The verdict: 2/5

Image via TripAdvisor

Image via TripAdvisor

Kemptown

The people of Kemptown clearly love their coffee. Almost every other shop walking up St James St is a quirky coffee house, (or at least it feels that way). So if you’re looking for somewhere to serve up great quality coffee look no further than the heart of Kemptown.

The verdict: 5/5

5. Bars

With stag and hen go-ers flooding in every weekend, Brighton is renowned for its watering holes, but which area has the best ones?

Image via brewedinbrighton.co.uk

Image via brewedinbrighton.co.uk

The North Laine

The Laines are home to some of the best brew houses in Brighton, including The North Laine Brewery itself. Another gem is The Office, a bar with 50+ gins on offer! That being said, it’s not like there are so many that you’re spoiled for choice.

The verdict: 4/5

Image via TripAdvisor

Image via TripAdvisor

Kemptown

With just as much choice as the North Laine, Kemptown is a strong contender in the bars department. With a selection of quirky bars and old fashioned pubs, there’s a lot to choose between here.

The verdict: 4/5

6. Busy-ness

We all know Brighton fills up in the Summer, but which location is best to avoid the crowds of tourist?

Image via Trivago

Image via Trivago

The North Laine

If you’re hoping to avoid the packed, sweaty groups of day trippers and holiday goers, The North Laine is not for you. As one of Brighton’s most popular tourist attractions, it’s rarely quiet down there so be prepared.

The verdict: 1/5

Image via Must Love Festivals

Image via Must Love Festivals

Kemptown

The lesser known friend of the North Laine, Kemptown is quite a bit less busy during the Summer months. Despite that, it’s still never going to be entirely tourist free (nowhere in Brighton ever is), but it’s got enough wiggle room to weave through the hoards of sun worshippers!

The verdict: 3/5*

*This rating does not account for Brighton Pride, when Kemptown is packed to the brim (pictured).

The Ultimate Verdict

So after putting both Kemptown and the North Laine through six categories, we’ve totted up the scores to work out who the ultimate winner is…

…It’s Kemptown! The underdog finished in first with a well deserved 22.5/30, whereas the North Laine fell short with a respectable 20.5/30. Of course, we at the Brighton Journal love both locations with all our hearts but if you’re weighing up which area you ought to visit next time you’re wondering around the city, keep Kemptown in mind.

 

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