A couple of weeks ago, I headed along to coast to the vibrant city of Brighton with my friend Krissy. We were celebrating her birthday, and planned to really make a day of it. Both of us have been to Brighton many times before and love it, hence deciding this was the perfect location to spend a sunny Spring Saturday.
Slightly annoyingly, our usual straightforward train journey from Rye to Brighton was interrupted, as we needed to board a rail replacement bus from Rye to Hastings, but this didn’t really add too much time onto our journey. In a way, I guess it made things a little more interesting as we got to see different sights for the first part of the trip.
Our first stop once we arrived was to Sea Life Brighton, an amazing aquarium that neither of us had been to before. We had both heard things about it from various friends, but we didn’t really know what to expect. Happily, we found it a really enjoyable experience. There were so many beautiful (and ugly) fish to observe, and there was even a chance to touch some sea creatures!
As well as fish, Sea Life Brighton boasts a collection of turtles, lizards and other reptiles – iguanas are always a favourite for me!
The highlight for me at Sea Life was the underwater tunnel which leads you into a magical world where sharks, rays, turtles and all kinds of fish swim around you and right over your head. It was really tricky getting decent shots in the tunnel as the lighting was low, and the swimmers were swimming so fast!
Once we were out of the tunnel, there were a few more fishy exhibits to see, then it was time to pick up our souvenirs.
What we hadn’t known before visiting Sea Life was that as soon as you enter the building, you get your picture taken! I’m not overly fond of having other people photograph me – I get all awkward and my face forgets how to be a face – but I managed to grin (literally) and bear it. All the way around the aquarium, I wondered how hideous the photo would be, but when we got to the souvenir desk, I was pleasantly surprised at how “alright” it actually was. I dug my purse out and purchased a magnet with our silly picture on, and this now lives proudly on my fridge.
After leaving Sea Life, we met up with our friend Katie and headed onto the Pier.
It was such a sunny day and the beach looked stunning as we headed out away from dry land.
Brighton Pier has an array of little shops, amusements, and places selling food. At the far end, there is a huge section dedicated to rides, including a ghost train, waltzers, and a rollercoaster! I’m not really into rides (because I am a giant wuss) so I didn’t go on any, but Krissy and Katie went on the ghost train – watch Krissy’s video here. I would have joined them on this ride, but you could only go in twos, and I didn’t fancy doing it by myself like a complete sad sack.
While I waited for Krissy and Katie, I took another quick stroll along the pier, snapping some more shots of the beautiful beach from a distance. The sea looked so blue and clear, I could have been fooled that I was in some tropical destination.
Before leaving the pier, we stopped and enjoyed some of the food on offer. I had some churros, Krissy had donuts, and Katie bought some chips, all prepared freshly on the pier itself. We then headed back into town, stopping to take photos of some of the colourful graffiti on the way.
We ended up passing through the gardens of the Royal Pavilion, a beautiful Indian inspired pleasure palace, built for King George IV around 200 years ago. I have previously been inside the Pavilion, and into the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery which is within the same grounds, but we didn’t go there this time.
Next, we entered Brighton’s famous Lanes, visiting several shops selling quirky items you just don’t find on a regular high street. There were buskers and bands playing in the streets, and so many stylish people wandering around in daring and unusual outfits I’d love to be confident enough to wear. The atmosphere was exciting, and I even forgot for a moment how much I hate busy, bustling places.
Every now and again while walking in the Lanes, we came across areas where all of the buildings were covered in street art. In one back alley, a wall was in the process of being decorated by some artists. I wish I’d had more time to find more street art to photograph, but by this point, I knew we’d need to head back to the train station to ensure we’d get home at a reasonable hour. With the rail replacement busses in operation, I wasn’t confident that we’d make it home if we waited around much longer.
Our trip to Brighton really was a lot of fun, and it made me think that perhaps, on previous visits, I hadn’t really explored it to the full extent that I could have. It’s one of those places that, because it is so easy to get to, I tend to miss parts of it, choosing instead to go shopping or just “mooch around”. Perhaps one day I’ll head down to Brighton for a couple of days so I can explore it some more.