Ask anyone what they think of when you mention Brighton and they’ll probably reply back with the likes of “dirty weekends”, “fish and chips” or “the pier” but Brighton has changed and although you can still go there for a dirty weekend, fish and chips and a walk along the pier there’s also a whole lot more going on these days with some fancy new hotels, excellent restaurants and a little bit of culture.
As it’s only an hours train journey from London I arrived at Brighton station at just after 10 am, it’s a busy place but I knew where I wanted to go and so I set off to my first destination, the North Laines.
The North Laine is an area of Brighton that is quite often missed by people rushing off to the seafront, there are more than 400 independent shops, cafe’s and entertainment venues in the area making it a unique place to visit. Personally it’s just somewhere that I love wandering around, I always find something different every time I come here, something that I didn’t spot before. It’s also a great place to stop for a coffee or a bite to eat, you’re literally spoilt for choice!
Brighton’s most iconic building is the Royal Pavilion, it’s a stunning piece of Regency architecture created for the then king, George IV. Designed by John Nash its Indian inspired domes and minarets give the palace its unique oriental style look you see today.
I absolutely love this building and the story it tells of another more opulent era in our history. I have previously visited the inside of the Royal Pavilion and would highly recommend it as the interiors are even more extravagant than the exterior. It’s a fascinating place and on another visit I’ll definitely be taking another look inside.
Right next to the Royal Pavilion is where you’ll find the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. You can find out about local history here, find out about why Brighton is often called the gay capital of the UK and see some other fascinating displays as well as touring exhibitions.
The famous Brighton Lanes was to be where I ended up next, crammed with antique shops, jewellers, cafe’s, specialist shops and designer boutiques the Lanes is a fantastic maze of twisting alleyways, twittens and catcreeps. The Lanes is very popular and can be crowded at times so it’s best just to stroll around taking in the atmosphere and, if you fancy it do what I did and stop at one of the many bars and enjoy a drink while watching the world go by.
One of my favourite shops is down here in the Lanes, Choccywoccydoodah, they create the most amazing cakes and other chocolaty things. This place is like heaven for me!
Walking down from the Lanes I come to the seafront and face to face with another of Brighton’s best known attractions, the Brighton Pier. Bright, brash and loud the pier is a great place to go and really enjoy the seaside. With its arcades and fairground rides, fortune tellers and candy floss stalls it’s naff, yes, but it’s also really good fun. Buy a bag of fish and chips, find yourself a deck chair – they’re free – and just enjoy the British seaside at it’s best.
The seafront in Brighton is bustling with people and it’s lovely just to stroll along. The top promenade is filled with beautiful Regency buildings while on the lower promenades you’ll find a huge variety of restaurants, cafe’s, bars and shops and of course the beach.
The beach at Brighton is not your typical sandy type that you find elsewhere in the UK instead it’s made up of pebbles and shingle, a quirk of some parts of the south coast. Don’t let that put you off though as the beach here is extremely popular, I was very lucky with the weather on my visit and although a little breezy the beach was still well used.
If you’ve been to Brighton recently let me know what you think, I’m looking forward to my next visit when I can hopefully explore a bit more.