For the past few months I have been on a really intense streak of juggling work, university and some sort of a social life (which usually involved Mr Arguably Honest, food and Netflix, but hey, whatever works, right?). Even though I really like both my job and degree, I was in dire need of some rest. So, as soon as I finished my exams, Mr Arguably Honest and I jumped on a train and left London behind in favour of insanely sunny Brighton.
Brighton was actually my first ever experience of the UK, when I arrived there, tired and confused, at the age of 15, to embark on a language course. It didn’t really teach me any English, but did teach me two invaluable things – independence and love for England. In a way, this 4-day post-exam holiday was a trip down memory lane, back to first kisses and getting lost in the middle of the city centre (don’t judge, I don’t think we even had GoogleMaps on mobile back in 2009). However, I had more fun in those 4 days than during the 3 week language course.
So, what can you do in Brighton? Our approach was, as always, that we’re there to enjoy ourselves and get some rest from the day-to-day rush, so replacing it with rushing from one sight to another wasn’t an option. The theme for the Brighton trip was therefore ‘chill’. There are, of course, loads of things to do and see in Brighton. This time round, we decided against going to the Royal Pavilion (which, as Mr Arguably Honest noted, looks like Taj Mahal), but if you have some time and feel like being inside, I definitely recommend you go. If it can impress a 15 year old, it can impress anyone. Right next door there is also the Brighton Museum, which we also somehow managed not to go to but which, if I remember correctly, is also definitely worth a visit.
Ok, enough about places we didn’t see, I’m not writing a guide to Brighton.
Our favourite thing to do, and one we actually did twice, was mini golf, played right by the Brighton beach. It was actually my first experience of mini golf and, sadly, I lost both times (but the second time by a small margin!), which hit my competitive nerve, but life happens. The student rate for one 18-hole course was £6 each, so it didn’t hit our student pockets too hard.
When you get tired of mini golf, you can seat on the beach. Keep in mind, Brighton has a pebble beach, so no playing in the sand, sadly, but it’s still a nice place to just sit, talk and enjoy the big water (a.k.a. the English Channel). I love big water.
Another great place to sit and enjoy the sun are the Royal Pavilion Gardens, right in the centre of Brighton. They’re very green, and surrounded by lovely buildings, with a cafe in the middle, so you could easily just spend the whole day there, if you have a good book on you.
If you don’t feel like walking to the city centre after your round of mini golf, you can take a cute mini train that runs along the beach between the Marina and the Palace Pier, with a halfway station right next to the golf course. Sweet!
I know, a mini train can seem a bit childish, but we found it quite exciting, especially as it goes by the seaside, so views are great.
If you find yourself in the aforementioned Royal Pavilion Gardens, you’re just a step away from the North Laines, with their abundance of cute little cafes, bookstores and antique shops. Mind you, though, a lot of the walk there is uphill (Brighton is rather hilly in general, with some really steep walks up, so beware), but definitely worth a visit. Even if just to have insanely delicious ice cream at Gelato Gusto. Great flavour selection, including vegan options (if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant), the gelato is creamy and definitely worth a try.
Since we got to the topic of food… Both Mr Arguably Honest and I enjoy a good meal, so deciding on our lunch and dinner was one of the biggest questions of the day and produced some surprisingly good results .
We started our trip with Thai, at Sabai Thai Gastrobar. The food was, admittedly, really, really good, with some great choices in their set menu, which we went for. They also boasted a lot of great reviews on TripAdvisor. However, the service can only be described in one word. And this word is appalling. I think we were genuinely lucky we were served, and getting even a glass of water was a challenge, as the staff seemed more interested in talking with each other/crushing some ridiculous amounts of ice/playing with their phones to look at the only occupied table in the whole place. So only go if you feel like some good Thai, but don’t mind being ignored.
Honourable mentions go to two other Asian places we tried. Pompoko, which is just a stone throw away from Gelato Gusto, offers really pleasant food at very affordable prices. Kokoro has two locations and is more of a Wasabi-style place to eat, but also nice and inexpensive. Both of them great for a filling, yummy lunch that won’t hurt your pocket. (Pictures from Pompoko)
However, you can’t be by the sea (ok, I know it’s a Channel, not technically open sea/ocean) and not have fish. Or, according to Mr Arguably Honest, you can, but you do have to visit a fish and chip place anyway. Our choice ended up being Harry Ramsdens, as it looked inviting and was conveniently located. Definitely a good choice, as my cod and chips were both really good. The mushy peas could use a bit more seasoning, but salt and pepper did the trick. But, most importantly, the cod batter was crispy. And that’s all I need from life. I know, easy to satisfy.
Our last meal in Brighton ended up being at an Italian restaurant called Al Duomo. Yet again, great food. Unfortunately, forgot to photograph my mozzarella, black olives, caramelised onion and raisin pizza, which was fantastically yummy, but I have proof of some really great prawns. Yet again, great and reasonably priced set menu.
Ok, it kinda seems like all we did in Brighton was eat… It’s not true, I promise! However, as Mr Arguably Honest pointed out when I told him what this blog post is looking like was that “food was a big part of it”. And I guess it’s fair enough. If you like food as much as we do, it’s going to be a big part of your holiday.
We also found time to visit the pier, though without playing the games/going on rides (except for putting 13p into those weird machines that sweep coins forward, where you can never actually win a penny until you thrown in like a tenner). It’s worth pointing out, though, that there are free deck chairs on the pier and the view on the sea is very nice and soothing. If you don’t mind the smell of donuts, shouting children and wheeze of all those crazy rides. We didn’t.
As I mentioned in my review a few days ago, we were unfortunately treated to a rainy morning one day, which we used to watch the Money Monster. Really enjoyable movie.
As for accommodation, we decided to use Airbnb this time. We didn’t really know what to expect, as we were both used to staying in hotels/hostels, but it turned out quite great, actually. We stayed with a charming retired teacher and her dog, a bit of a way out of the city centre (but that gave us the opportunity to have a walk by the seaside every morning), in a really comfortable room. We will definitely use Airbnb again. Thanks to a discount I got by registering through a referral link, it was also very affordable at £144 for both of us for 3 nights, and our host provided us with breakfast, too, as well as tips on what to do during the day. If you would like to receive a nice discount, you can use my signup link. It will give you £20 off your first stay, and I will get the same amount in return, so I can do a bit more travelling and return to you with some more lengthy travel posts ;).
Here’s the link: www.airbnb.co.uk/c/gabrielag505
So, if you’re somewhere in southern UK, or just want to find a place to visit this summer, Brighton definitely gets my stamp of approval as a great short holiday destination.