Dirty Weekend in Brighton

Brighton East Sussex England

Couldn’t resist the title I’m afraid and have to admit that it wasn’t exactly a weekend, more like a midweek break. So a little artistic licence. No comment on the dirty part, I’ll leave that to your questionable imagination.  It did rain though and our hotel didn’t have a washing machine so perhaps it’s true!

A Tale of Two Visits

Our trip to the south coast of England was the first time we’ve been to Brighton since we headed on down there as innocent 18 year olds nearly forty years ago. On that occasion we also took the train but had booked a little bed and breakfast rather than the Travelodge we checked into this time. We had only been dating for 6 months or so and it was our first time away together so you can imagine the excitement and slight trepidation as we made the huge step of going away together. I’m not sure if it was a sign of things to come but as we booked into the bnb we were registered as Joanna and Guest!

Incredibly Brighton really hasn’t changed a massive amount over those 40 years. Of course there are a few new buildings and many more bars and restaurants but the seafront and the lanes are the same and the character of the city has remained the same. We spent a lot of time reminiscing over our first visit and there were a hell of a lot ‘remember when‘ moments.

Brighton Pier

Brighton Seafront and the Pier

Our hotel was right on the front so it was easy to get onto the promenade and just stroll for miles taking in the sights and enjoy the fresh air. It was a bit fresh too as it was the end of January but it was dry and we just wrapped up. No problem with the cold. A few of the art galleries and crafty shops were locked up for the winter but a surprising amount remained open. How on earth do those guys earn a living when there are so few people around and I suspect hardly any looking to buy anything. No idea.

Brighton Seafront

Brighton Seafront

The focal point of the town appears to be the pier, the Palace Pier. It’s the place that everyone heads for and walks up and down enjoying views of the English Channel and back towards the beaches of Brighton and beyond. There are, or rather were, two piers in Brighton but the West Pier is just a shell of its formal glory now. It was closed in 1975 after over 100 years of use and gradually fell into disrepair until fires gutted it in the early 2000’s. It does actually look pretty cool now as it’s just the iron shell of the main pavilion along with several supports.

Brighton West Pier

The Palace Pier is fabulous though with everything you would expect on a typical traditional English seaside pier. I won’t say too much here as Jo is working on a post all about it to follow this. So be warned. What I do have to mention though is her decreasingly desperate gambling problem!


Walking through the amusement arcades of the palace Pier through the hundreds of crazy light-flashing, music-blaring computer-based games there was only one that drew the ‘Cincinatti Kid‘ in. Her eyes narrowed as she increased her step and aimed for the object of her addiction. She turned from mild-mannered traveller to steely-nerved gambler in a second as her well trained eyes sought out the most likely winning machine. 

She wasn’t interested in ‘Robocop‘ or the ‘Zombie Killers‘ shoot-em-ups. Nor the one armed bandits promising £500 jackpots. No, it was the high-rollers game of choice that drew her. The 2p Coin Pusher!

Armed with 20 pence worth of coins (Yes that’s a whole twenty pence, ten full two pence coins) she eyed up the various coin stacks working out the odds of coin-shoves and drops for what to me felt like hours before recklessly gambling away the entire fortune in a matter of minutes. I didn’t recognise the person she had become. Shocking.

I can’t begin to describe the scene as I forcibly dragged her from that den of iniquity before she had the chance to blow another twenty pence. I hope you never have to witness what it was like!


Brighton Seafront Travelodge

Now we often get a bit of stick for staying in Travelodges around the country but there are a couple of seriously important reasons that we do. Firstly the price. They are so cheap to book that you really can’t ever beat them. Secondly the beds. We’ve slept in close to 200 different beds since we started travelling and Travelodge beds are without doubt the most comfortable of the lot. Nice wide beds and really firm mattresses mean we get the best nights sleep ever. You know what you’re going to get with a Travelodge. They’re not luxurious or posh but they are clean with decent beds and showers. That’s all we really need.

Oh and they are often right in the middle of the town so easy to get to from the train station and everything is easy to walk to. The Brighton Seafront one is as it says right next to the seafront and a minutes walk from the promenade. Perfect.

Brighton Beach

Brighton

Shopping and Restaurants

We’re not your typical tourists or visitors in that we don’t really like shopping and we hardly ever go to restaurants. So not great reviewers of places to visit really are we? But we don’t mind a bit of wandering and shop-viewing. Not sure we window-shop really as we have no intention of buying anything and aren’t interested in any products but we do give them a bit of a glance. So maybe ‘shop-glancing‘ should describe it? What do you think?

The most famous shops in Brighton of course are in The Lanes. These are a network of twisty-turny, winding roads and alleyways filled with independent shops and cafes and are chock-a-bloc with character. Lots of ‘shop-glancing‘ went on as we wandered around them before a pitstop for lunch at the Mock Turtle coffee shop. Sausage sandwiches all round did the job.

Brighton lanes

The Brighton Royal Pavilion

One of the most famous sites for visitors to Brighton is the famous Royal Pavilion. It was built between 1787 and 1815 and is known for its Indian style architecture. We didn’t go inside but nearly half a million visitors a year do. The pavilion was built by the Prince of Wales primarily for discreet liaisons with his lady friend Maria Fitzherbert. It was extended and redeveloped when he became King George IV and also subsequently by William IV. However, Queen Victoria didn’t like Brighton at all and sold the pavilion back to the city council to fund her new house on the Isle of Wight.

Brighton Royal pavilion

British Airways i360

Back on the seafront we walked west to the old pier where the brand new British Airways i360 observation tower stands. This is a 162 metre high tower that has a circular glass deck ascending what is currently Britains tallest moving observation tower. With its sleek stainless steel finish and cool design it really stands out. Unfortunately it was closed for maintenance whilst we were there so we couldn’t try it out. Pretty impressive though especially against the clear blue skies.

Brightin i360 Tower

Brighton i360 Tower

The area around the i360 and the West Pier looks like it’s undergoing some serious renovation so by the summer it could be the go-to part of the seafront. Even though a few places were still shut Jo still managed to get into the Fishermans Museum for a quick nose about. I got distracted by something shiny on the beach so went off the other way!

Brighton Fishermans Museum

As we continued our lazy stroll along the seafront we kept passing whole families that looked a little out of place. With Dad in a suit and Mum in a smart frock following their son or daughter it got a bit surreal as we passed group after group dressed the same way. Only when one of the daughters skipped past in a mortar board and cape did we realise that it wasn’t Harry Potter auditions but the university graduation ‘do’ at the Brighton Dome. It took us back to when our eldest two sons graduated at Lincoln and Southampton respectively and we were the proudest parents alive. Great days.

Brighton West Pier

Fish’n Chips by the Seaside

Is there anything more English than Fish’n Chips at the seaside? Surely not. Some other countries claim that they do better Fish’n Chips than us but that is obviously completely ridiculous probably just a cheap marketing ploy. You can’t beat English Fish’n Chips. That’s it, nuff said!

Brighton Fish and Chips

Brighton Fish n Chips

Our Dirty Weekend in Brighton

So a few days of walking our socks off and reminiscing about our first teenage trip made it a wonderful visit to the English south coast. I’m sure it’s nicer in the summer and lovely to sit on the beach in the sunshine but we absolutely loved wrapping up warm and just enjoying each others company in the brisk January sunshine.

We will definitely be back although it could be in another 40 years I suppose. Not sure anywhere will accept a booking for January 2059 will they?

JWalking in Brighton

23/01 – 25/01/2019

38 comments

  1. OMG I spent about 2 years in the summer flying to England and laying over in Brighton (I was a flight attendant, we flew into Gatwick from Toronto and then bused to Brighton for the 48 hour layover, sometimes it was 3-5 days long). This was back in the 1990s…it was by far one of my favorite layovers! We stayed at the Metropole Hotel, no idea if they’re still around, and it was just so…”English” and quaint and cute and wonderful and…sigh.

    This was a wonderful post to read. Thank you for sharing, especially the pictures! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • You should definitely try and visit as it has everything you would expect from a typical English seaside town and a whole lot more. Great for a crazy night out too (I sound like I work for the tourist board dont I?)

      Like

  2. Loved this!! A trip down memory lane for me. I had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading it. It was interesting to read about the city from someone else’s perspective. To me it will always be home. All the stuff you mentioned I was lucky enough to grow up with. I use to live more or less opposite the pier and when my son was young, if I had trouble getting him to sleep, I use to push him in his pram up and down the pier till he went off. It must of been the soothing sound of the seagulls cries. Tell Jo, I use to have the same gambling problem only mine was with the old 5p machines. Those were the days!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a timeless sort of place isn’t it? So much history yet a lot of new development. Great place to live and enjoy a break to. I’m keeping her away from those 2p shove machines now, we’re on a budget!

      Like

  3. Nice write up, Jonno. It’s a good-looking town, isn’t it? 🙂 🙂 Lovely sunset pic of the pier ruins. No point in shopping if you’re transient, is there? You’ve got nowhere to put possessions. Those shops would go out of business if left to you two. I’m not much better!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We did a day trip from Portsmouth to Brighton for a look and went to the Pavilion and the pier. It was June, blowing a gale out at the end of the pier and absolutely freezing. But we enjoyed our day so much. I think we need to go back for a much longer visit one day. I agree with you, a really good bed is so important.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I must admit I quite agree with you on the Travelodge point. They are consistent if nothing else and I’ve never had a bad one yet. A good deal makes them so worth while especially if all you are doing is sleeping there and using it as a base to explore. Why spend double!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You two are very cute and how great is it that you’ve been together for so long and are still great friends. I love the way you fade the edges of your photos. How do you do that? If you are ever in Perth Western Australia please let me know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Alison, we are best friends still after all of this time. Surprised Jo hasn’t had enough of me but so far so good. I use Picmonkey to edit photos which has loads of filters like fading edges etc. We were in Perth a couple of years ago and loved it, would love to go back so will keep you posted.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Brighton’s not too bad but it’s no Southend! Jo would be beside herself on the Golden Mile with all the arcades and the opportunity to feed her insatiable addiction! Brighton is pretty cool but its a shame that the main beach is pebbles.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Brighton ‘s not bad for a clean or dirty weekend is it. We made the mistake a few years ago to stay at a B and B on a junction where eih5her side was a night club! Enough said. We enjoyed ambling the Lanes and the prom.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your title was definitely catchy! I don’t think we’ve ever spent too much time in Brighton but it sounds like a good spot to visit for a mid week getaway! On our trip last year we enjoyed the seaside at Cornwall and marvelled at how different it all is to our beach towns here in Aus. Lots more to do in case of bad weather! Great post and pinned it to my group board 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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