Despite it being one of the most popular seaside destinations in the UK, until 2 weeks ago I’d never hit the south coast town of Brighton. I’m not a big beach lover, despite the chilled out vibe of a seaside town, so I try to avoid them as much as possible. However, people rave about how much they love Brighton so I had to give it a shot, especially when I only paid £20 for a train!
Brighton is a bit of a trek from my hometown of Peterborough. On the high speed trains, I could theoretically get to Brighton in just over 2 hours. But I’m a cheapskate and like to spend a little extra time travelling to save a bit of money. For an extra £10 in my purse, I got the slow train to London followed by the slow train to Brighton, costing me around an extra 2 hours total travel through the day. Some people might value the time over the money but I had all day so I wasn’t losing out on too much.
Upon stepping out of the station, you can just about see the sea. It’s around a 10-15 minute walk down a street half lined with takeaways you wouldn’t step foot in even if drunk, half lined with shops I’m definitely not fit enough to buy anything from. Currently there’s some building work on so you may have to walk a little way to cross over to get to the pebbled beach like I did, but it’s super easy to get to!
I spent around 40 minutes sat on the beach, watching the waves crash, watching the people and watching the world go by. I hate sand, so the pebbles were perfect. I took a few snaps, but I mainly just breathed in the sea air and took some alone time. Whilst both trains down were fairly quiet, this felt like real alone time. I even got a couple of future posts for my blog thought up. It’s a truly lovely beach just to take some ‘you’ time.
After soaking up the rays (unfortunately in a jumper as the weather wasn’t forecast to be as nice as it turned out to be), I took a difficult walk across the beach to Brighton Palace Pier. Perhaps one of the most famous piers in the UK, the pier is nothing special. It was a little longer than those I’ve previously visited but had the same key features: an arcade, overpriced greasy food and a pretty good view of the beach you’ve left behind. I personally didn’t understand the fascination, but it made for a couple of pretty shots.
After a whistlestop tour of the pier, I headed the Brighton Pavillion. This is the one place my dad said that I had to visit because it’s so weird. Feeling like a part of India in the middle of Brighton, it’s a bizarre sight. I’m not very good when it comes to being around too many tourists so I moved on pretty swiftly, but it might be worth me going back for an explore in the future. I guess that makes me a bad travel blogger but let’s pretend I never said that I hate crowds.
The rest of my afternoon was spent window shopping. Everyone raves about The Lanes for the mass of independent shops but for me it was just too busy. I couldn’t navigate it amongst all the people taking up the one person wide street with hundreds of bags each (slight exaggeration). Personally I much preferred The North Laine. Just like The Lanes, independent shops are found here, but being brighter and better laid out I felt like I could actually enjoy a meander. Plus, it was much prettier there. Basically you’re all wrong about the best shopping area for a first-time Brighton-goer.
Could you spend longer in Brighton than just a few hours? Most definitely. I didn’t make it down to Hove, I didn’t properly explore around the Pavillion, nor did a wander around The Lanes that much. I didn’t see the beach huts or walk the full length of the beach, and I didn’t shop until I dropped. I also didn’t spot any Banksy originals. However, 4 hours was plenty for me. I’m not a seaside gal (despite dreaming of a trip to Croatia) and I’m never going to be someone who ups sticks from the big – okay small – city to a seaside town, no matter how quaint it may be. I’m not saying I’ll never go back, but sorry to all you Brighton lovers, I just didn’t fall in love with it the way I expected to.
Was this an informative post put together after spending hours and hours discovering Brighton? Nah. But I took some good pictures and even made it home in time to watch The X Factor that night – winner!