There are some things about Brighton that, contrary to popular belief, are simply not true. Brighton is not filled with retirees or Londoners who, weary of the big city, relocated to the seaside and commute to work every day. And tourism is not the city's economic mainstay.
On the other hand, there is much about Brighton's reputation that is true. It has been voted the happiest place to live in the UK; it also claims the title of hippest city.
Maybe that's why so many Brighton residents are dusting off their roller skates and heading to... to where, exactly?
Superprof skated through town to find the best places to roller skate in Brighton and Hove.
Roller Skate the Seafront
Brighton being a seaside resort town, developing the seafront as a leisure and entertainment hotspot was a no-brainer. Equally logical is the idea that skaters of all types would flock there to show off their moves.
Here, we need to make a distinction between inline skates and roller skating.
While both embrace the same concept - boots with wheels affixed, inline skates, also known as rollerblading has always been more of a niche sport, one that's been practised for decades. They exploded onto the market in the mid-1980s and became so popular that they virtually catapulted two-axle roller skates into oblivion.
In Brighton as in other UK cities where roller-something-ing is a favoured pastime, roller skating has returned with a vengeance. So, as we mention all of the places you might roller skate, know that inline skaters are welcome too. Now, back to the seaside.
Brighton's miles-long promenade is ideal for casual skating. The pavement is level and well-maintained, and it's seldom so crowded that you would be considered a safety hazard as you glide by. Just do it safely, please!
By contrast, the pier certainly would have too many pedestrians enjoying themselves for you to skate safely so, if you wanted to ride The Booster or the carousel, you might want to bring a change of shoes.
If the weather is fine and you feel the urge to roller skate at the seafront, you'll surely meet other happy skaters enjoying the day. If you're feeling less-than-steady on your skates - how long was your skating hiatus? - they'll likely give you some tips or even prop you up until you regain your skating legs.
You may even run across Asha Kirby's skating class. She teaches a two-hour class that covers how to push off, turn and stop. She also teaches her students how to fall down safely, something most of us dusting our skates off need to relearn.
You should know that the Seafront Office doesn't explicitly promote roller skating, but then again, this web page predates the pandemic and the resurgence of rollerskating. They may soon update it to reflect this rediscovered pastime.
It's your turn to chime in: keeping in mind how outdoorsy Leeds is, would you care to venture a guess as to what their roller skating scene is like?
Roller Skate in the Park
Unsurprisingly, Brighton and Hove has a decent assortment of skateparks; we'll cover them in just a mo because we'd like to kick off this segment with city parks, starting with Preston.
This 63-acre, perpetually green expanse of nature is home to the world's oldest velodrome. It hosts events throughout the year, including a circus, a sports festival and a parkrun, held every Saturday.
It sounds like a busy place; one that wouldn't welcome hordes of wheel-booted guests whizzing down their paths. On the contrary, skaters often make their rounds there and, as long as they don't frighten or injure any pedestrians, they are more than welcome.
If Preston is a bit out of your way, you might consider visiting The Level. It is substantially smaller - occupying only about eight acres in the middle of the city, but it has recently been redone.
Formerly a site of much royal activity, including Queen Victoria's coronation, it is now a public meeting and gathering place. The Brighton Urban Free Festival was held there; people often head to this park to celebrate bank holidays, relaxing by the pond or strolling through the rose garden.
Those with wheels on their feet usually head straight to the skatepark.
This skatepark has been around for a long time. In fact, it's been there since the last time roller skates were the wheels on everyone's wishlist. That would be 1978, in case you were wondering. As old as it was, the park was considered jaded, especially compared to all of the other skateparks in the area but, after receiving a £2.2 infusion of funds, the venue was completely redone.
Today, it's open for skateboarding and rollerblading, as well as BMX and scooter riders. There are even wheelchair-accessible ramps among the many features!
You might feel like an anachronism in your roller skates but don't worry about it. Since the rollerskating craze struck, everyone from Manchester and further north to Sussex and all the way south is rediscovering roller skates. You'll be in good company.
So now, with your confidence bolstered, you'll surely want to know about the other skateparks in Brighton. They're all listed in this table.
Brighton and Hove Skate Parks
|Park Name||Features||Location||Mixed Ability? Y/N|
|Hove Lagoon||flat banks, quarter pipes, a mini ramp, |
driveway hubba and pyramid section with blocks, a curved manny pad and benches
Sussex BN3 4LX
|Hollingdean Skatepark||rails, stairs, flat banks, quarter pipe, small bowl with pool coping extension||Hollingdean Park|
|Woodingdean Skatepark||a bowl / mini ramp section, flat banks, quarter pipes, rails||Bexhill Road, Brighton, West Sussex, BN2 6QB||Y|
|Saltdean Oval||Flat banks, hubba, pyramid box, quarter pipe, two street obstacles||Arundel Drive East|
Saltdean, East Sussex, BN2 8SL
|BYC Skatepark |
|rails, blocks, flat banks, a mini ramp|
|64 Edward Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 0JR||No, but they provide lessons|
Roller Skate in a Rink
As I write this, I flash back on younger days, when Friday and Saturday evenings were spent at the roller rink. To this day, I can hear the sound of wheels across the wooden floor during those brief seconds as the DJ switched from one track to the next...
For many a teenager, not so long ago, roller rinks were the social scene. You went there to see and be seen, to fit in your clique and to look on with envy at those who had better skate clothes and moves than you did.
Unlike skateparks, roller rinks seem quaint. There are no ramps, banks or stairs; certainly no hubba or quarter pipes. Just a large, flat oval wherein people skate the perimeter while those wanting to do tricks - jumps, twirls or fancy footwork command the centre.
Roller rinks were a great place to have birthday parties or parties for any occasion. If you didn't have skates, you could rent them and, if you tired of going 'round and 'round (or doing tricks), you could ease up to the snack bar and enjoy a cool drink while soaking up the vibe.
Why is that all written in the past tense? You can still do all of those things and more at skating rinks. They're just not as popular or plentiful as they once were; after all, how can skating counter-clockwise for an hour compare to insert name of your fav game here.
But now, after over a year of restricted movement and isolation, people are keen to get out, get moving and engage in social activity to whatever level this infernal virus will allow. That's part of the reason that rollerskating has made such a comeback over the past year.
Can you picture yourself at the roller rink?
Unfortunately, if you too want to ride that wave, you will have to head into London to rollerskate. Brighton has a lot to offer skaters but all of their venues are out of doors.
Roller Skate in Your Kitchen?
As previously mentioned, roller skating has made a big comeback thanks to the pandemic. At least one good thing came out of this awful virus! Bored out of their minds and craving physical activity, ingenious skating enthusiasts have found a way to skate in the smallest of spaces.
YouTube and TikTok are home to a wide selection of videos demonstrating how you too can get a decent skate in without ever leaving home. Granted, they aren't as fun as skating around outdoors with the wind in your hair but if you miss the feel of wheels under your feet, there's nothing wrong with practising your moves at home.
Small-space exercises you can do on roller skates include:
- front wheel balancing
- toes in/toes out - as done in the film Footloose
- running in place
- squat-kicks - so much easier to do on skates!
- downward dog, either with your feet braced or, for an extra challenge, letting your feet travel out and pulling them back in
- front-to-back and back-to-front crossovers
- the Charleston, a dance from the Roaring 20s
- the Downtown
Ideally, the floor should be uncarpeted; otherwise, there would be no point in lacing up your skates. Perhaps your kitchen or bathroom might serve well. If not, you could try the hallway and, if you have one, your patio or balcony.
No matter where you get your skate on, remember that safety is as important as having fun so don't forget your knee and elbow pads and, of course, your helmet.
Now, find out where Cardiff skaters go to show off their moves.
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