Photos: Louise Coughlan
Just an hour outside London, by train, is the picturesque seaside town of Brighton, popular for its amusement arcades, nightlife, restaurants, shopping, festivals and its wide shingle beach. In 1899 Brighton Pier opened and now boasts rides, arcades and food kiosks. In 2000, Hove and Brighton, two communities joined forces to form the unity of the City of Hove and Brighton, now known for its beautiful Asian architecture and has been home to a large gay community.
Once a sleepy village in the 1700’s, Brighton’s popularity grew rapidly when Dr. Richard Russell of Lewes recommended seawater for his patients. He suggested drinking and bathing in the water in 1750. He then constructed a house near the beach for himself and his patients. In the early 19th century, the Prince of Wales built the Royal Pavilion, designed by John Nash, an elaborate building with decorative interiors. Brighton started to boom with the developments of the railways around 1840.
Conveniently located to London, Brighton is popular with media and music types who don’t want to live in the capital, but instead prefer to commute, hence the name “London-by-the-Sea”.
When we arrived at Brighton station on a lovely sunny but windy day, I scanned the carriage and could see everyone relax, knowing they have left the hustle and bustle of city life behind. We weaved in and out through the crowds of passengers and made our way to the beach. I was looking forward to a dip in the sea and we had purchased sandwiches and drinks for our picnic at the seaside. However when we arrived at the beach, red flags warned us not to enter the water, much to my disappointment. The waves were too high and it was too dangerous to swim. Some people were at the shoreline throwing stones, but the beach patrol soon put a stop to that. It didn’t dampen our spirits, as we ate our lunch overlooking the sea, and bought coffees from a nearby deli, admiring the view.
After lunch we strolled along the seafront exploring the art and craft boutiques and made our way to Brighton Pier. Along the Pier there are plenty of kiosks and souvenir shops as well as many rides. The kids spent a happy hour in the arcade at the 2p slot machines, enjoying the return on their investment, which put a smile on their faces. There were other sporting activities such as hook a duck, miniature racing and football.
We dined that evening in a lovely Italian restaurant before catching the train back home. On the way to the station we stopped at the Royal Pavilion, to view and take photos of this iconic Regency building.
Brighton is not all about amusement arcades and quaint tourist shops; it has so much more, with many restaurants, nightclubs and festivals. Londoners go to Brighton for day trips to get out of the big city and enjoy a fun and relaxing day by the sea.
For more information log on to www.visitbrighton.com