This gothic chapel Airbnb in Brighton is the coolest place to stay for Halloween

We stayed in one of Brighton's most unique boltholes
The bedroom brighton airbnb

A weekend break in Brighton has long been synonymous with hen parties and fish and chips on the beach. But in the last few years the bohemian tide has begun to shift, the town's restaurants have started to button up a bit and the rise in digital nomads has seen new-gen hybrid hotels and spaces come to the shore like Selina, a hostel meets hotel with co-working desks, and the recently opened Brighton Beach House from Soho House. 

I'm here for the weekend to discover it all, along with a stay in what might be one of the most unusual Airbnbs in Brighton. Spending the night in a gothic chapel could sound like the stuff of dark romance or spooky Halloween nightmares, depending on your penchant for historic and mysterious homes. Either way, I'm here for the adventure. 

Set the scene

Hidden down a quiet mews off one of Brighton's busies streets, a large heavy door opens onto a grand wooden staircase, polished and worn with age. Despite the fact the walls and the door are painted in the deepest darkest charcoal grey, the space surprisingly doesn't feel dark. Light beams down from a window out of view, giving a sense of church-like serenity. Feeling like Alice entering wonderland, I venture up the steps to discover a large Mexican-style red neon cross by Andy Doig Neon’s on the first floor. Above, a whimsical cascade of hundreds of crystal glasses pour down through the stair well, forming an impressive chandelier. 

A few more steps and I reach the bedroom. Now the name of the listing ‘The Chapel’ is fully realised. The 15ft ceiling is arched like a small Puritan church, while the dark walls make it seem like the tar painted barrel of a boat. In the dark space, the bed sheets on the large Victorian-style bed glow dove-white. The effect is gothic, but totally romantic at the same time. Rock and roll vs. Victorian aesthetics play tug of war throughout the space as period details are offset by quirky design features. The whole place, in fact, has its quirks; the wear and tear of years of use becoming part of the experience. Instead of towel hooks, a series of knives appear as though thrown into the walls. Heavy trunks are filled with hidden games and books. On closer inspection the chandelier above the bed is made of black lego bricks. At the furthest side of the room, a clawfoot bathtub sits under a floor-to-ceiling stained glass window. Having a bath below the open stained glass window, looking up at blue sky, with bustling street below, is quite an experience.

The backstory

Church Street, where the flat resides, is one of the oldest streets in Brighton. The backstory of the property is shrouded in mystery. Originally built on the site of the former Trinity Independent Presbyterian Church that dates back to 1825, the Airbnb ‘Chapel’ itself is said to have been built in 1875 and may well have been one of the church’s congregation houses or even part of the church itself. It’s very possible the stained glass windows were original from this time. 

Food & drink

The flat is furnished with a small kitchen bar with fridge, coffee machine, sink, kettle and teas. Just enough to supply basic needs when staying, but clearly operating on the assumption that you won’t be eating at home – many of Brighton's best restaurants are within easy walking distance.

Address: Church St, Brighton BN1 1UD

Price: From around £100 per night