A special coastal town
If you love being by the sea and a traditional seaside town, you will certainly enjoy being in Hove. Situated just west of Brighton, the two areas became linked for local government administration in 1999 and were given city status in 2001. Although part of the ‘twin’ city, Hove is much quieter and more tranquil than Brighton and has certainly retained its own character.
The seafront at Hove is really attractive with elegant Regency buildings painted in a Hove Cream (it really is the colour name!) and there are plenty of attractive green areas and broad leafy avenues. Hove has good schools which include seven primary schools, four secondary schools and several independent schools. It is not surprising that Hove is proving a popular place to live with both young people and families. For young people, Hove is currently one of the most popular choices in the country!
From small beginnings
Hove was just a small fishing village with a single street, when the church of St Andrew was built in the 12th century. It remained like that for centuries but gained notoriety as a major smuggling centre and the Ship Inn became a famous rendezvous for smugglers. In 1831 a coastguard station was opened in Hove Street next to the Ship Inn in an attempt to stem the smuggling.
In the 1820s, when living by the sea first became popular, Brunswick Square was built. This lovely horseshoe of large four-storey Regency buildings was Hove’s first housing estate and had its own riding stables and theatre. More leafy avenues of Regency houses were built on both sides of the main road and these were followed by Victorian and Edwardian terraces as Hove developed. To the horror of their owners, a gas works with two gasometers and a tall chimneys was built near St Andrew’s church to supply the rapidly developing Brighton.
Hove remained the quieter, more genteel town and grew at a much slower rate. A walk around today, will soon reveal excellent examples of the different architectural styles. Many of these large houses have now been converted into attractive flats with generously sized rooms and high ceilings.
An attractive place to live
Hove town centre was renovated in the late 1990s when the popular George Street was pedestrianised. Western Road is where all the popular chain stores can be found and a few little gems like a shop specialising in English and French cheeses and charcuterie. Church Road is another popular shopping street with an eclectic selection of shops including a couple of good book shops and coffee houses. Hove has some good restaurants and a number of pubs including the George Payne where the chandeliers are made from china tea cups!
The beaches in Hove are usually quieter than the ones in Brighton which are the ones always featured on sunny day news stories on television! The beaches they are still stony – but this is not something that bothers too many people! The beach front stretches from Hove Lawns to Hove Lagoon near Portslade with numerous brightly painted beach huts strung along the back of the beach. There is the chance to enjoy water sports including wake boarding, windsurfing and kayaking at Hove Lagoon and these are available with or without tuition. Hove Lawns is a spacious public garden that runs along the esplanade for about a kilometre and is used by dog walkers and joggers but also hosts music festivals and sunset parties. Hove has plenty of activities including a skateboard park and model yacht club at the Lagoon.
And wonderful to be by the sea
It is great to make the most of being by the sea and of course it is a proven fact that it is good for health. Sunrise and sunset are particularly special times to be by the coast and the esplanade is popular for a bracing walk. The latest attraction on the seafront is the Hove Plinth which opened in April 2018. Every 12-18 months there will be a new sculpture placed on the plinth and the first is a celebration of Hove past and present entitled ‘Constellation’ by Jonathan Wright.
Walkers enjoy the promenade and for cyclists there is a special cycle lane and others in the centre. Hove also has a couple of bowling clubs and tennis courts – so there are plenty of opportunities to keep fit! Work has begun on the refurbishment of one of the main sports centres. For cricket fans of course, Hove is the home of the Sussex Country Cricket team.
There are many very attractive parts to Hove such as the mid-19th century Palmeira Square with its attractive floral clock, Poets’ Corner and the Grade Two listed Blatchington windmill. There are numerous green spaces including Wish Park and Well Gardens. The larger Hove Park, has its own miniature railway and a natural feature called Goldstone Rock which is a craggy rock of sandstone and flint, speckled with gold.
Good transport network
Hove has four railway stations and certainly offers residents a good train network with frequent services to Southampton, Portsmouth and Bristol. There is a good commuter service to London Victoria which takes 70 minutes and for business and holiday travel, the train journey to London Gatwick takes just 30 minutes. Hove also has a good bus service and relatively easy parking facilities.
Not the cheapest property prices
Bordered by Brighton to the east, house prices are certainly as high as the south east, but are a little lower if you look at properties on the western fringes of Hove – nearer to Portslade.
There is a millionaires’ row of mansions overlooking Hove Lagoon that have been owned by Paul McCartney and singer Adele to name but two. The nearby Big Beach Cafe is owned by another local celeb – Fatboy Slim. There are several property developments currently in Hove, but the one that has been attracting attention is the creation of 1,000 new homes for lower income families living in the city. The first three sites have already been ear-marked and work begins on the first phase in 2019.
The rental market in Hove is also buoyant and again, prices do match those found in the south east with a one bedroomed flat costing £800- £1,300 pcm and a three bedroomed house between £1,300-£2,300 pcm.
For those who love being by the sea and have always wanted to buy a traditional beach hut, there are always ones on the market – and prices begin at £18,000.