Ryan is the weather reporter in our household. In the morning he shares the weather report so we know how to dress and also how busy the museum will be. This week it’s going to be rain, lots of rain, until Thursday. (Which also means a busy museum)
But last week we had one glorious beautiful day. Ryan did the weather report Friday morning and said it was going to be 30°C/86°F on Saturday. He then suggested, “let’s go to Brighton.” Yesss. It rarely gets into the 30’s in London, let alone gets that warm on a day when neither of us has to work, we don’t have any plans, and we have the ability to just pick up and go somewhere. Also, we have been aching to go the beach all summer. It’s a staple of summer and it was imperative we get out feet into some water before autumn rolls around.
We left early Saturday morning and took the Thameslink from St. Pancras to Brighton. Our tickets combined were about £40 round trip and the ride is about an hour and a half each way. Easy peasy. Once we arrived we immediately hit the beach. We spread out our beach towel and soaked up the sun. The beach is a pebble beach which can sometimes make walking difficult/painful but laying down on it wasn’t uncomfortable at all. You can also rent deck chairs from £2 each and sun bather chairs from £4, so both affordable options.
My favorite thing about going to the beach might be the breeze from the sea. It’s cool freshness makes me feel alive, happy and rejuvenated. I think I am happiest by the water. It erases all the stress and frustration from city life. Being by the ocean reminds me of family vacations, birthday and bachelorette celebrations, and traveling. I was feeling happy in Brighton. Happy simply sitting there people watching and enjoying the perfect weather.
But of course, we had to go in the water at least a bit. Ryan and I hobbled our way to the waters edge to splash our feet in the cold water. Hobbled is the best way to describe our descent to the beach because the slope is fairly steep given that the ground is made of wet rocks of varying sizes, some of which want to stab you in the foot (in both painful and ticklish ways). The water was chilly, but the kind of chilly that you can quickly get used to.
After a bit of playing on the beach it was time for lunch. Everything I read about Brighton says you have to eat fish and chips while you’re there. There are like a thousand fish and chip shops there ranging from dingy shacks, hole in the wall locations, and proper sit down restaurants. We had been interested in going to the Regency, but it was packed full of cyclists in yellow racing suits so we kept walking and chose Bankers. We both had cod and chips and it was tasty! The portions were generous, the fish was fresh and hearty, and the breading was perfectly crispy.
Next, it was time for some shopping. Brighton is a really fun place to go shopping. I was really taken with Bert’s Homestore which had all the cutest necessary and not-really-necessary-but-I-would-use-it items for home and kitchen. There were things like beautiful cake boxes, flower printed straws, and at-home coffee grinders. Currently I’m interested in fox patterns (random I know) and so I fell in love with all the fox stuff they had. There was a fox cuddly toy, a fox pattern on a white mixing bowl, and a fox lunch box (also a lot of other really cute lunch boxes). I let my willpower restrain me and I left fox-free and kitchen gadget free.
We then moved on to more typical Brighton shopping areas: North Laine and the Lanes. North Laine was really cute, and I only have the photo above on the left to show for it. There are loads of cute cafes and lots of antique shops and flea markets. It has absolutely everything you could ever want and things you didn’t know you wanted. They had beautiful furniture, clothes, bicycles, and handbags. As to be expected, I wanted all kinds of antique kitchen things. If I had more space I would have gone for the heavy army-looking metal kettle or the tiny copper sauce pan or the tarnished but ornately engraved knife and fork sets. I even saw one girl buy an old hand-crank egg beater for £1. It was a shopper’s (and even window-shopper’s) paradise. The Lanes also has lots of lovely shops all around skinny winding streets. Go to Brighton willing to browse! There are such lovely things to see.
In between shopping, there was snacking. We went to Roly’s fudge and saw staff mixing fudge in giant copper pots. Ryan and I tried the vanilla clotted cream and the banoffee pie flavors. I really liked the vanilla flavor but thought the banoffee pie tasted too strongly of fake banana flavor. The texture is also drier and crumblier than most fudge I’m used to, so be prepared for that if you decide to partake. We also go ice cream from Jolly Scoops for amazing ice cream. I had lemon curd and ginger cookie and Ryan had summer fruit sorbet. Both were incredible with whole ingredients and big flavor. We sat on the curb in the shade and people watched. Finally on the food front we stopped by Choccywoccydoodah to look at their incredible sweets. The cake decorations are like sculptures! Inside they had some pretty cool chocolate creations include a popcorn and chocolate lolly pop that was as big as my head. Our sweet tooth had already been sated though so we didn’t buy anything.
After that we needed to walk off the calories. We went to see the Royal Pavilion (photos are well above this paragraph, next to the two images on the right of the North Laine picture). The building’s history if fairly old but it took on its current look in 1815 when Josh Nash was commissioned to turn a modest villa into the palace that it is today. Ryan and I sat in the pavilions’ park and watched the seagulls scavenger around people’s picnic. The day was hot and it was nice to rest a little bit more.
Our last sight seeing trek was over to Brighton Pier and the Brighton Wheel. The pier was teaming with people (and also birds flying overhead) so we stayed away and just admired from afar. It reminded us of going to the boardwalk in New Jersey, which both of us did when we were kids (and also like 3 years ago). We felt a little homesick for our traditional beach vacations so we went back to the beach to take in just a bit more ocean and sea air. It was a beautiful day and also a easy, relaxing day trip from London. I highly recommend it – although next summer I think Ryan and I are resolved to get back to the Jersey Shore so we can have even more beach time.