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  • Writer's picturetimeless travels

More city secrets from the Secret Guides

Two more ‘secret’ guides have been added to the growing list of titles in this wonderful collection by Jonglez Publishing and Secret Brighton and Secret Liverpool are worthy additions. Written by local experts, the guides are intended for curious travellers and city enthusiasts as well as the local inhabitants themselves. They are full of places that are unusual and different even in sites that are more well-known.

Secret Brighton: An Unusual Guide, for example, includes 18 options on the Brighton seafront alone, from Victorian sewers to an electric lightening plaque, while central Brighton highlights a beautiful synagogue, a taxidermy museum in a shop window as well as a timeball on the Brighton clock tower.

Written by Ellie Seymour, a journalist who has lived in Brighton for 15 years, she is well placed to know the undiscovered or hidden places of the city. She’s also writes the blog, Ellie & Co, featuring curiosities from Brighton and beyond. Away from the clichéd seaside sights, Brighton is full of hidden treasures which are revealed to residents and travellers who like to wander off the beaten path. These include a hidden city orchard, a forgotten railway line in the sea, Brighton’s only waterfall and a hidden pet cemetery. She also highlights where you can borrow books from a secret library in a fridge, unearth a long forgotten mural, tap the nose of a gargoyle and make a wish, step inside a secret walled garden and play glow-in-the-dark miniature golf with dinosaur.

Secret Liverpool: An Unusual Guide is no less entertaining. Written by Mike Keating who was born, educated and lives in Liverpool, his keen interest in the local heritage and history of the city shines through in his choices for the guide.

His recommendations include the hideaway of a suspected assassin and the desecrated grave of a self-professed Jack the Ripper, tracking down the birthplace of rail travel and the oldest pavilion at a first-class cricket ground. You can marvel at a life-size replica of the world’s first submarine and the original home of the Epsom Derby, or be astounded by burial stones older than Stonehenge and one of the earliest human settlements to be found anywhere in the UK.

You can take a turn on John Lennon’s first musical instrument, meet toads that sing, discover World War II’s best-kept secret and the world’s first (and smallest) skyscraper, toast the UK’s greatest female athlete in a brew named in her honour or go for a spin on the only purpose-built F1 race track in the country. You can also discover for yourself the haunts of slave traders, privateers and press-gangs.

For tourists and locals who have outgrown Hop on–Hop off bus excursions, river cruises and Beatles tours, Secret Liverpool is an indispensable guide to the curiosities of ‘England’s finest Victorian city’, designed for people who prefer to customise their own itinerary or simply wander where the mood takes them.

Whilst we currently live in a time when travel is not possible, these guides can help fill a gap for those with itchy feet and a thirst for knowledge about other cities in the UK outside of the capital. They are the perfect companion for those ready to discover the unusual and underground and see cities through new eyes. Thoroughly recommended.


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