Brighton is packed with culture and history, from its iconic piers and pavilion to its historic association with our railways and the great British summer holiday.

But for all its well-known fame, it is still exciting when you stumble upon a small treasure that reminds you how deep into history this great city ventures.

Last month the Kemp Town team at Brand Vaughan valued the central portion of a two-bedroom Georgian house in Rottingdean, but it wasn’t just the beauty of the property itself or the stunning views of the famous windmill that made the house that extra bit more alluring, instead, it was what lay beyond an inconspicuous door hidden away beneath the staircase, a door that opened into history.

“Through the doorway and down the winding staircase I found myself standing in an arched tunnel,“ says Mike Everett of Brand Vaughan.

“Though decorated through the years, its curved brick ceiling and walls were still teeming with history and intrigue, the charm of a different time became stronger the more you looked around.

“What was this tunnel used for and what is its connection to Brighton’s past?

In what started out as a simple small scale evasion of duty, smuggling throughout the 18th century turned into an industry of immense proportions with Brighton and the Sussex coast at the very heart.

Smugglers’ boats would moor up alongside the cliffs to bring their contraband cargoes, usually spices, tea, brandy and gin along with silk and lace, ashore, transporting them through a maze of caves and tunnels dug into the cliff into the cellars of houses and inns, all the while evading the watchful eyes of the coast guards and customs.

“Unfortunately, most of the ‘smugglers tunnels’ in the area have been closed up or lost to time, making this particular find all the more special.”

Built in 1815 and situated opposite the village green, the two double-bedroom Georgian property has a spacious hallway, two large living rooms and a large kitchen and a lower ground floor with a 23ft x 10ft tunnel room and a bathroom. There are gardens to the front and rear.

For full details contact Brand Vaughan on 01273 683111 or visit