We arrived at Brighton station at about 1pm and walked 10 minutes or so down Queens Road, which then becomes West Street, to the main Brighton beach on the Esplanade. It was a cold, bleak and blustery day, one of those days where the wind goes right through you. The beach was quite a surprise to an Aussie girl, because it is covered with egg size, rounded gravel. It is still quite picturesque, even without soft sand, and is a very popular spot indeed. The sea was a dark green and did not look at all inviting. Indeed there were no swimmers, however we saw two jet skiers who had the wet and cold task of checking the buoys.
Brighton is instantly likeable. It is quaint, old fashioned, VERY English, and I think I found the true England, but sensed that it was set in the 1950s. I loved it.
We braced ourselves against the gale and walked up towards the famous Brighton Pier. Once on the Pier, we found families and couples of all ages enjoying the fun of a fair, with lots of side shows and rides. Lots of indoor pinball and games arcades which give pleasure despite any bad weather . The Pier also has quaint little souvenir shops , a couple of really nice bars and restaurants.
The Pier at Brighton was built in the late 1890s and attracts over 2 million visitors a year. The Pier is 525 metres (or 1,722 feet) long and has the reputation as being one of the finest piers of its type ever built.
Joy and I, seeking somewhere warm out of the chill wind, popped into one of the restaurants and ordered English fish and chips and a glass of wine. We felt that we simply had to have fish and chips on Brighton Pier. Very nice too. Then we wandered to the end where they had carnival rides, scary rides, lots of noise, lots of people. Lots of children and families enjoying a day out.
We walked back and wandered back again towards town which is riddled with “little laines” - sic -. That’s how they spell them and considering that most of the buildings I saw were built in the 1640s and that there are several streets with evidence of dating back to Roman times, I would say that ‘laines’ is an appropriate way to spell the maze of cobblestoned, shop-filled lanes. The little terrace cottages were painted in gay, bright colours, which gave the streets a jaunty, holiday sort of look. We passed lots of cafes, little pubs, designer clothing shops, nightclubs, souvenir shops. Joy and I had a really lovely meander through this maze and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
The Royal Palace has been an exotic landmark of Brighton for 200 years. It was built for King George IV, Prince of Wales, who was born in 1762, by John Nash and it’s plush interior and extraordinary exterior reflect the personality of George IV and Regency reign. The extravagant design suited George and became his pleasure palace.
So, Brighton was full of surprises. It really was. The egg-sized pebble beach was unique (in my experience anyway), and a lovely little place with lots of character, foibles, interesting things to see and do, and a wonderful way to see how the English people spend some of their leisure time.
Joy and I strode around the ‘Laines’ area for some time, stopped for coffee at one point, then caught the 6pm train back to London. It was a great way to spend a sort of sunny, sort of very grey Sunday.