The Neighbourhood of Fiveways
This week we are ensconced in the peaceful tree-lined neighbourhood of Fiveways, Brighton. The community is situated high on a hill overlooking the city. Although it’s a suburb of the city, it’s only a half hour stroll to the bohemian streets of North Laine, Brighton’s most vibrant area. In fact, Fiveways refers to the locality centred around the intersection of Preston Drove and Ditching Road where five roads meet.
At the intersection, there are a cluster of specialist indie shops, hip cafes and takeaways. Fiveways Pub and the excellent Italian restaurant, Rustico are situated on Ditchling Road in the heart of the village. Additionally, there are some great pubs only a short walk away including the Prestonville and the Cleveland Arms. Fiveways is also blessed with an excellent bakery. At Ravens the freshly-baked bloomers are delicious and the jam doughnuts, without doubt, the best in Brighton!
Our companion for the week is Benji, a sweet ginger cat, who sleeps a lot. When he is awake, he likes an abundance of strokes and is very vocal (especially early in the mornings!) Every now and again he ventures out into the garden for a mosey round. In fact, we’ve known him for many years and consequently, he didn’t seem too surprised to see us back again! Between working on the blog and taking walks in the nearby parks, we’ve been watching the US Open Tennis. Additionally, of course, we’ve been hanging out with the lovely Benji.
Into the Woods
Here in Fiveways, we are not only well placed to get into the city, but we are only a stone’s throw from Hollingbury and Burstead Woods. Backing onto a large field on Ditchling Road, the woods offer an escape into nature and a peaceful environment to take a walk or partake in some meditation. Additionally, nearby Blakers Park has views of the sea and city skyline.
Preston Park – Brighton’s Largest Green Space
Also within walking distance, Preston Park is Brighton’s largest green space and encompasses sixty-three acres. It’s a popular spot for dog-walking, picnics and sports such as football, tennis, bowls, cricket and cycling. Preston Park is, in fact, the starting point for Brighton Marathon. It is also where the Brighton’s massive Pride parade finishes and the party kicks off. Indeed, there are many other events and festivals held in the park throughout the year.
We should also mention that one of our favourite cafes, Rust, is situated close to the park. The café has a relaxed vibe and as its name indicates, a rustic décor. Tasty breakfasts and substantial sandwiches, as well as excellent coffee are served (just in case you happen to be in the area!)
The Duke of York’s Picture House
The Duke of York’s Picture House at Preston Circus offers a refreshing alternative to the huge multiplex cinemas. The cinema has oodles of character and a great atmosphere in which to watch a movie. Additionally, there’s a bar and also a café which serves extremely palatable pizza from local establishment, Pizza Face.
The cinema’s programme includes a wide range of indie movies, foreign films and documentaries as well as a scattering of carefully chosen mainstream releases. Additionally, live performances from stages around the world are screened. In fact, we have been to the Duke of York’s many times and it’s always a treat to see a movie there.
Upstairs and Downstairs at Preston Manor
Preston Manor is situated in the park’s grounds and a visit provides a fascinating insight into life in the Edwardian era. The original structure dates back to the 13th century. It was re-built in 1738, although part of the original building remains inside. In 1905 the building was renovated. During Edwardian times, the house was owned by the Stanfords, apparently the most wealthy family in Sussex. A visit reveals the difference between life upstairs and downstairs – the elegance of the original furnishings and décor upstairs compared to the functional servant’s quarters downstairs.
A Ghostly Presence
Another fascinating aspect of Preston Manor is that it is known to be haunted. Throughout the ages, there have been all kinds of sightings from disembodied hands on the bedposts to ghostly figures seen on the staircase. Additionally, strange noises have been heard from a clothes cupboard and lights have been known to switch themselves on and off. Apparently, the TV show, Most Haunted, was filmed at the manor and there was a substantial amount of paranormal activity present during the recording.
The Best of Both Worlds
Fiveways is one of the neighbourhoods of Brighton that tourists don’t tend to make it to, but it’s a great place to live. As a matter of fact, locals have the best of both worlds with green spaces aplenty and close proximity to the delights of Brighton. The hub has a village vibe and there’s a strong community spirit. Indeed, we always enjoy housesitting here and to be honest, it would be worth coming to Fiveways for the doughnuts alone!
We have been housesitting for around eight years now and it has revolutionised our lives. Not only have we met some adorable pets, but also some lovely people, who we have stayed in contact with over the years. Many of our housesits are arranged by word of mouth, through friends and people we have housesat for previously. We also use TrustedHousesitters, one of the largest housesitting websites around, who offer housesits worldwide.
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