This should properly be called the London and East Sussex report but I wasn’t sure that had the same ring to it! I split my week’s vacation time right down the middle and enjoyed both places equally.
Newcomers to this blog might want to stay tuned to hear about vegetarian restaurants in London; otherwise, you will be faced with my random vacation photos!
We took a non-stop overnight flight and arrived at 9 am. We were pleased to have pre-ordered the vegetarian meals, and had light, healthy food at weird hours during the night! We vowed to stay awake until at least 9 pm to get acclimated. However, we couldn’t do anything that required a lot of energy after getting next-to-no sleep! So we took a train down to Brighton to have a look around. I love all the little shops in Brighton – there are two sets of pedestrian shopping alleyways called The Lanes, and Rom drooled over the merchandise at GAK (Guitar and Keyboard Centre). The vintage flea market was as cool as ever and I wished I could take some glassware back with me. Had it been a brighter day, we could have walked on the pebbly seashore, but instead we visited the LEGO store at the mall to escape the rain, and I could not pass up some Brighton Rock (candy sticks).
We spent the next two days in London. We’d planned to do a rock-themed walking tour, but it got rained out. However, we did walk past two rock music places of interest – the spot where the Ziggy Stardust album cover was photographed, and the 100 Club, where the Sex Pistols played their notorious early gigs. It is next door to an Ann Summers now, LOL! We got tickets to see the musical We Will Rock You in the evening, and spent the day shopping and lingering over two fantastic vegetarian meals.
First up was the veggie buffet at Tibits (Heddon Street off Regent). You load up a plate with whatever you like, and pay by the weight of your food! They had a fantastic selection of grain and veg salads, falafel, hummus, curries, pies, bruschetta, ratatouille and soups. Just about everything was vegan, except for some cream desserts. At £30 for two, it was a treat lunch, with an upscale ambiance. I couldn’t recommend it more highly!
For dinner we went to Mildred’s on Lexington near Carnaby Street. Another winner! Mildred’s doesn’t take reservations but we timed it just right for a pre-theatre meal. The small dining room is in a U shape with a bench seat along the wall and chairs within, so we were close to our neighbours. Rom had a mezze platter and I had a daily special, the apple and beet stew served with Israeli couscous and a raita. Yum and yum! I cannot believe we had two such wonderful meals in one day. Entrees were about £10 each and the restaurant had a “quality bistro” feel.
We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre was a laugh. It’s a long-running musical based on the songs of Queen. It definitely made me want to haul out my Queen albums! I liked one premise of the show, which was: in the future, when only corporate music still exists (wait a minute…), a band of underground rebels find out a little bit about what music was, and they try to live like “rockers,” but they get all the details wrong, with comical results. The plot was flimsy, the jokes were silly, and it was a thoroughly good time.
Back in London, we had a great morning at the Design Museum. I thought it was perfect. We were lucky enough to catch the 2013 Designs of the Year award show. We were able to see the whole museum in less than 2.5 hours, it was uncluttered, the displays drew your eye and told you just enough, and it left you wanting more. Unlike the V&A which was so jam-packed and un-curated that it almost made me feel ill! We walked back and forth across the Tower Bridge a couple of times because the weather was now cooperating. The bridge had an exhibit of the 1959 children’s book This Is London, and a feature on bridges of the world. We also went to see the old bridge-raising steam engines – of course! We didn’t go to the Tower of London as well because we were short on time and it deserved a trip of its own.
Once again we had two awesome meals, first at GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen) near the Tower of London, and later at Woodlands, an Indian vegetarian restaurant off Haymarket St. GBK had several veggie choices and side orders, and you could infinitely customize your burger. Woodlands was a fine dining spot with authentic and house-made everything. Our London trip was definitely foodie-friendly!
It was fun being in London that day because it was a bank holiday weekend, there was a Champions League football final at Wembley for 100,000 fans, and there were two big concerts on that night! Needless to say, the police presence was intense in the hopes of quelling any crowd disturbances.
In the quiet, far from London, Rom’s parents took us to the south coast where we had a home-style meal, walked the beach at Pevensey, and saw the spectacular castle ruins there. In good weather!
We went for morning and afternoon hikes on Ashdown Forest, where we saw bluebells under the forest canopy, the desert-like gorse lands, and apple trees in blossom. It was sunny!
On our last full day, we went shopping at Royal Tunbridge Wells. Rom even bought some up-to-date jeans – because he could get them at M & S, which is within his comfort zone 🙂 I stocked up on DVDs from HMV and books from Waterstones. In the evening, our last family meal was take-out from the local Indian restaurant, and it was the best Indian food we’d ever had (from Rajrani, if you’re ever in East Sussex).
Well, if there’s one conclusion about these week-long trips, they always leave me wanting more, and that’s a good thing! I can hardly wait for the next time I’m over. Yay UK!