Beaches! In February! I hear you exclaim. Well, yes. Yesterday I hopped a train and took a trip to Brighton! And what a good idea it was.
Whilst normally I would agree with you all that in England, the beach isn’t great at the best of times and the weather is often shoddy and unpredictable. This time I beg to differ and accept the icy ocean winds, the pale grey skies and the pebbley beach in equal trade for a joyful day at the seaside. For the seaside it still is, despite the lack of sand and sun.
We arrived rather late as we didnt want to spend a fortune on the tickets but headed down the Main Street and detoured down the back streets taking in some of the quaint and vintage stores that line the lanes. Always heading in the general direction of the seafront we passed around the Royal Dome, the back of the pavilion and finally the sea was dead ahead.
There is nothing like being at the seaside. That feeling of weightlessness, looking toward the horizon and it seems like it goes on forever… I love that feeling. That feeling was the reason for going. As we headed into the pier (I’ve never been and neither has my mum) a group of school kids gathered around us, they were on a geography trip and had a questionnaire on tourism to ask us. Bless. Although I wish I had been sent to the beach for school, we got sent to the middle of nowhere, a forest in Rickmansworth…
The pier is admittedly pretty cool. There are a few little stands selling jewellery, food and snacks and such. More frequent were the arcade games lining the sheltered areas and the arcade itself in the centre of the pier with the most 2p machines I’ve ever seen! We found a few coins in one of the slot bins so played a few rounds without wasting any money! It was packed with people avoiding the cold! At the end of the pier for those of you who have never been is a little fun fair, a few rollercoasters, a haunted house, soft play, a trampoline park and games like tin cans, bumper cars etc. It’s an old school fair ground, you win tickets and tokens and stuffed toys, it’s pure unadulterated fun.
We ate our lunch sitting on the pier gazing out to sea, watching the waves crash upon the shore. All whilst slowly losing sensation in our fingers and toes, truly, there was a bitterly cold wind. The sun tried very hard to break through as we walked back towards the Lanes. We popped into the Royal Albion Hotel on the seafront for a spot of tea before heading to the Royal Pavilion, a must-see on many many tourist lists of what to do in Brighton.
The Pavilion was spectacular, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It’s a grand illusion on a magnificent scale. I don’t want to give you a history lesson but it was built for King George IV as a pleasure palace. The King a big fan of illusions had many intricately built into the Pavilion for his own and his guests enjoyment. The most obvious and largest illusion is the building itself, on the outside it appears to be in the Indian theme with domed roofs, arched windows and intricate stonework patterns. Once you step inside you see that it is not India that has inspired the decor but China! Dragons deck the walls in great motifs, Jade is dominating the wall paper. In the banqueting hall it is resplendent with a great silver dragon over 30ft in size holding a huge chandelier with a mirrored star at the top beneath the beasts claws! It is a jaw-dropping room and together with the music room made the visit most worthwhile! It was interesting to learn the history of Brighton, something I’ve not known much about before.
When we were done we headed through the Lanes. Winding through the little alleys you never know what you are going to find around the next corner. We found DumDum Doughnuts but they had sold out, not that I could have eaten them anyway. We did go into ChoccyWoccyDooDah which had the ultimate Easter display! Very cool chocolate shop, people can have their hen party there or a tea party in the exclusive rooms upstairs, and there is a little cafe where you can order all things good and chocolaty. Unfortunately most of the shops were shut since we spent longer than anticipated at the Pavilion.
I think I’ve rambled on long enough now. All in all it was a brilliant day at the seaside and a fun day in Brighton! I’ll be back soon I’m sure.