Today we welcome a guest post from Tim Carter of Black Cat Treasure Hunts, who set up creative and original treasure hunts across Brighton. Tim tells us a bit about the work that goes into compiling a treasure hunt and how it is a great opportuntiy to showcase some of the less-well known aspects of the city... 

As a writer of personalised treasure hunts I can often be found walking around the city looking for new; or checking existing, clues. One of the big selling points to groups coming to Brighton for the first time is to let them know that the city is a compact one. It is a great advantage to me to not only include the must see attractions like the Royal Pavilion, The Lanes, the Pier and the North Laine but also, depending on the route, some less well known streets too. Completing a treasure hunt is an unusual, but nevertheless highly effective way to explore Brighton and have a lot of fun doing so.

Trafalgar Terrace, Brighton

The narrow and unspoilt Trafalgar Terrace with its pretty, pastel coloured houses, for example, is a hidden, little short cut to the busiest part of the North Laine. It has a couple of good clues of its own and new visitors and Brightonians alike are not always aware of this one.

Brighton Bandstand

"It`s not where you start, it's where you finish." This is one of those quotes you don`t really know who made, but in the case of a treasure hunt in Brighton both are important to me. I am often asked to choose start/finish places by groups or companies who have little knowledge of the city. Over the West side, the Bandstand on the seafront makes a brilliant place to start with its view and the fact that you can have wedding ceremonies there always makes it interesting for hen party groups.

Deciding on a pub to finish at with so many to choose from can be tricky when you are doing so for someone else. However, I am a sucker for a nice roof garden allied to a strategically placed, convenient finishing point. Grand Central close to the station ticks all the boxes if you are heading off afterwards, whilst The Mesmerist is not only close to the seafront but also has those roof garden heaters. Perfect if you are taking part in a late Winter/early Spring treasure hunt and it is a bit fresh.

Brass plaque in Brighton

Cryptic clues but with easy answers when you are in the right place is my goal for the style of treasure hunt I produce. The layout of attractions and interesting or quirky places within Brighton is absolutely key to achieving that aim. Hidden, but in plain sight as you take in the sights links very well with my format. I like to surprise with questions about things that are so close and yet you may not be aware of. For example, the musicians' tunnel next to Brighton Sea Life and the bronze plaque about Tom Sayers, a champion bareknuckle boxer from Brighton, tucked away on the outside of the Guitar, Amp and Keyboard centre in the North Laine.

Curvaceous Spiderman street art in Brighton

Brighton has an ever growing reputation for brilliant street art. The North Laine is a good place to start, but there are gems all over the city. My personal favourite artists are The Postman (actually two people!), Glimmer Twin 32 and Minty (see left). Apart from musicians in the North Laine you can find their work on the beach and near The Lanes too. Great art will definitely feature in a question or two. I do have to keep an eye on this ever changing landscape though!

Pink Cow in Brighton

Quirky Objects = Quirky Questions. A Brighton itinerary by definition will take you past all sorts of weird and wonderful things to see or look out for. A giant, pink spiky snail above Punktured or the huge red stiletto and stripy stockings above Komedia, both in Gardner St, a colourful buffalo (left) outside the Chilli Pickle in Jubilee Square and Larry the Brighton Lobster on the beachfront path are just a few of the things that will heighten your mood and take your visit up a level.

Blue Plaques. In my opinion, blue plaques on a treasure hunt are akin to owning a cat. I do not like to rely on them, but I am happy that they are always around. If a blue plaque enhances a route I will include one or two. Look out for Anita Roddick`s one in the bustling Kensington Gardens. People love to know a bit more about the original Body Shop site. Another favourite of mine is slightly off the regular routes, but I will use it given half the chance and that is one about a guy called Michael Trotabas (North Place). He was a special operations executive in France during World War II.

Outside Brighton Fishing Museum

History Is All Around and Fascinating. I think when you are visiting a new city you want to take a route through it that shows off why it is so special. Historical references are one way of doing this and Brighton is blessed with all sorts of interesting options. Why did the maharajah donate the Indian Arch (next to the Royal Pavilion) to the people of Brighton? What exactly did the Prince Regent use The Market Inn for (in The Lanes)? Combine it with a blue plaque from above like the one about Clementina Black (on the outside of The Ivy in Ship Street) who was a multi-talented modern woman of her times including being a suffragist.

Using the Physical Aspects of a Route (You will become an Instagram champion). An itinerary should give you the opportunity to physically experience a place as well as visually. Brighton is excellent for this. The boats outside Brighton Fishing Museum are there to generate fun for all ages. So too is the aquamarine coloured, giant doughnut, running parallel to the pier. Take that classic Instagram photo of a family member with their head in the middle. Go on... you know you want to!

The Lanes Hotel, Brighton

Let`s Get Personal. A personalised treasure hunt for a birthday or hen party or team building event requires personalised questions and challenges. I look at finding out about the participants or who the treasure hunt is for before adapting routes and questions to suit. Do you like classic films and afternoon teas maybe?...I will be looking to guide you up Charlotte St...look up for a Humphrey Bogart statue from `Casablanca` on the corner and then half way up the same street is an amusing `Back To The Future` style plaque on the outside of a bed and breakfast. At the top you come to Metrodeco, a 30`s style tea house.

Seafront photo exhibition, Brighton

Right Place/Right Time. If you don`t know things are there you might miss something that you will really enjoy looking at. A well curated route will build in timings that are suitable and agreed. Time will be built in to get to all the places that you might want to see. You might enjoy going to the highly popular Brighton beach of course, but if you are going to the i360 you will come across the annually changing display of excellent photos on the beach by the city`s photographic club. Well worth 5 minutes of your time and a question on your treasure hunt.

Thank you Tim!

See below to find out more about Black Cat Treasure Hunts and book your own experience.  


Black Cat Treasure Hunts
Treasure Hunt
Group doing treasure hunt

Black Cat Treasure Hunts set up creative and original treasure hunts across Brighton. These bespoke and personalised treasure hunts are perfect for team building and all types of celebrations (from birthdays to hen parties) and can be arranged by emailing me (Tim) on:



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