Brighton Does Rock!

Brighton Rock candy (Photo: Google Earth Community Forums)

If you’ve never been to Brighton, UK, it’s a seaside resort town famous for its beach, pier, unique shopping lanes and gay culture. It’s only an hour by train from London and much closer by car from Rom’s family home. We’ve made a few day trips to Brighton, and this year, we stayed over for two nights.

We made reservations at My Brighton, a cute hotel with compact rooms, located within walking distance of everything. Have a look:

The hotel had a restaurant, bar and café, and beautiful aquariums in the lobby and bar. Plus, it was next door to the lovely modern public library! When we checked in, we were given free continental breakfasts and a mini-bar credit 🙂

The first time I saw Brighton Beach, I was shocked. There is no sand! It is all pebbles – properly known as a “shingle beach.” Yet visitors use it in the same way one would use a sand beach. Brighton Beach is technically within a bay, but it’s so broad, there is no protection from the wind.

The key attraction at the seaside is an amusement park on a pier, which dates from Victorian times and maintains its Victorian style. As you walk out on the pier, you pass by food vendors – all the UK “fun fair” foods – a huge indoor arcade, and then a large assortment of fairground rides. Which I did not ride. But I played the “2p push” arcade game (new to me) and brought some Flying Saucers to my workplace where they mystified the staff – no one knew what they were or even if they were a food – but that is debatable!

 

The newest attraction in Brighton is the British Airways i360 observation tower, now just one year old. The deck ascends the tower and comes back down (very slowly). We didn’t go – but I had a drink in the bar below! Brighton also has a major aquarium, the Sea Life Centre, which I am sure merits a future visit.

The Lanes are narrow, winding pedestrian shopping alleys, packed with cafes, restaurants, sweet shops, jewellery shops, stationers and all sorts of independent stores. It is hard to get photos to capture the feel, but I found this one:

The Lanes shopping district (photo: On the Market)

There is also the North Laine (lots of vintage clothing and record shops) and a good mall with a LEGO store!

The city is known for its Regency and Victorian architecture, including the stand-out Royal Pavilion from the time of George IV:

Brighton is fantastically vegetarian and vegan friendly. We had amazing meals both at independent places and chain restaurants:

Off the beaten track, we went to the historic toy and model museum. It was filled with toy train layouts, toy cars and trucks, Meccano, doll houses, stuffed animals and more. I am presenting these photos to inspire sheer terror (not for children, surely!)

Brighton has a more-than-lively bar scene and we have been to concerts there in the past (Bat for Lashes stands out). In June we re-watched the movie Quadrophenia, and during this stay, we stopped by a couple of movie location sites: the “Jimmy and Steph sex scene alley” and the morning breakfast café – both sites now have Quadrophenia-inspired Mod clothing and memorabilia shops!

If you are visiting London or southeast England, I can’t recommend Brighton-in-the summer more – it’s wonderful!

Have you vacationed or made day trips to seaside resorts or attractions (in any country)?

14 comments

  1. Love this account of your stay in Brighton, Dar. You’ve sold me. Next time I visit the UK, I will go to Brighton.

    I visited when I did my big backpacking trip way back in my 20s. I love the 2p pushing game. My best memory is the gold charms I bought in Brighton. Old, solid ones. I want more! I stopped buying when I came back to Australia. Mainly because I bought a house and had kids but also because the flimsy, modern ones available here looked so tacky and cheap in comparison.

    Did you like Pimms? I think it is overrated. Your food looks yummy and the hotel hip. What a nice break within your trip.

    • I did like the Pimm’s, but I stopped short of buying a bottle at the duty-free to take home. There are so many other refreshing summer drinks, like sangria and mojitos and cider! I really do think Brighton is worth the trek. There are so many vintage jewellery store in the Lanes. Good place for discovery.

  2. I haven’t been to Brighton since the 80’s but it has really come into its own identity now – glad you enjoyed it. My favourite is the 2p push – I always end our British seaside visits in the amusement arcade with the 2p push. Vegetarians / vegans are much better catered for down South – we still struggle to get more than one choice on a Northern menu – even in Italian restaurants.
    Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

    • Thanks, Viv. Yes, there is vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free food everywhere in the southeast, sometimes even multiple choices in the pubs. We are back now – I am catching up on posts!

  3. 1066jq

    Enjoyed all your photos, we’ve been by Brighton but never visited. Now you’ve got me curious.

  4. Sounds absolutely enticing: love the narrow alleys.

  5. Margie in Toronto

    I did do a day trip to Brighton many years ago – did go to see the pier but spent a lot of time at The Royal Pavilion – which was amazing – very over the top!

  6. Fiona

    They are such eclectic, quirky pics! Very atmospheric. It does inspire thoughts for visiting Brighton.

    I think my favourite pic though is that one of your cat bag!! 🙂

    • I thought the cat bag “made” the outfit, haha! I decided a while back to buy one tote bag in brown and another in black to use as shopping bags when I’m out and about. So the cat bag is my black one – it’s blank on the reverse side, but I like the cat 🙂

  7. Looks like fun! This is really making me want to visit England even more than I already do. Thanks for sharing!

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