Brighton is in East Sussex, a couple of hours south-west of London. Just about everyone I asked about it told me it was a fantastic place so by the time I got on the bus early Saturday morning I was ready to encounter the greatest seaside town ever.
First of all, it’s famous for its “beach” – with murky brown water and even browner pebbles, it made me feel pretty far away from our lovely sandy beaches that I have long taken for granted. And that’s not factoring in the fact that we could smell piss as we stood on the shore. (Hard to believe that people actually swim here in summer – ick!).
Secondly, it has the ‘Brighton Pier’ which is, as the name suggests, a pier…which has a tacky theme park of sorts with fun rides and a large amusement arcade with lots of those machines you stick coins in optimistically thinking that your coin will dislodge a hundred other ones. It’s also where you can buy treats like the famous Brighton Rock Candy, available in all the colours of the rainbow.
Thirdly, the biggest tourist attraction in Brighton is the Brighton Pavillion, an elaborate Indian-style palace that was built by a fanciful peer of the realm in the 1800s. Pretty impressive…at least from the outside as I didn’t see the interior. (The picture below is a side-on view – the actual palace is the one the right of the photo.)
And in actual fact, all of these things just add to the amazing fizz of the town…it’s a totally vibrant, exciting place that goes way beyond being a tacky seaside town and also the apparent gay capital of England (though I didn’t particularly notice that while there). We had a glorious day in Brighton, in no small part due to the warm and sunny weather and the fact that people were hanging out everywhere – outdoor cafes, market stalls, drinking on kerbs, lazing about in the park outside the Pavillion…which makes me want to say unequivocally that I LOVE THIS TOWN! Particularly the North Laines area which was a marvellous stretch with lots of delights and distractions.
Now I’m not a particularly big shopper – and even less so while I’ve been trying to save money to continue travelling – but Brighton is my idea of a shopping paradise with dozens of great shops. The only funny thing was all the cute boutiques – and there must have been a score – were a bit samey after a while, selling various combinations of the same kitschy stuff…so it’s a bit yuppie these days…but that doesn’t detract from the fact that I bought a great vintage dress for three pounds from a cool second-hand clothing shop. Bargain!