I think I must have been slightly stir crazy this week - with being sick last week and not really getting out much on the weekend. Fortunately, Loz noticed the subtle signs, and suggested we head down to Brighton for the day. We hadn't gotten out of London for a while so it was certainly about time. This would also cross off another one from "Best Day Trips from London" - a wonderful gift from Lee (score so far: 8/25, come on team!)
We did manage to get out of the house before 9am by some miracle, but a minor stuff up at Victoria station (we're not admitting it was our fault, and blaming the rail network is easy) meant we didn't get down there until close to 11am. Still, plenty of time to enjoy the restorative powers of a seaside town.
The big attraction of Brighton is the Royal Pavilion, and it was our first stop of the day. Well, second after the really cool bike shop. They actually stocked Kona, and lots of it! Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, the Pavilion. It was quite spectacular, and as commented by a member of parliament back in the day, largely resembled a turnip. More precisely, one large turnip upside down on a box, with many smaller turnips, also upside down on boxes. It apparently started out as a modest farmhouse, but was renovated by George IV after he got himself out of debt. I don't know how a Regent/King gets into debt or out of it, but I suspect it has something to do with the ladies and gambling, and then doing favours for Parliament. Next to the Pavilion was the Dome, but we didn't go inside to check out the museum/art gallery.
Next we walked through the Brighton streets towards the sea shore, evaluating potential dinner venues, and appreciating some of the remarkable buildings. One very cool thing was that the public buses have names. We made it down to the impressive beach with the Brighton Pier. Do the pictures provoke the memory of feeling of sand between your toes? Or, for example, pebbles beneath your shoes?
Down from the current pier is the old pier. Much like the Royal Pavilion, it appears to have an iron structure. And much like the Royal Pavilion, it is rusted and decaying. Good thing they've been doing restoration work on the the Pavilion since a year or two after it was built (so only for a couple of hundred years now).
We went and wandered out along the pier where there are many sideshow-style attractions like shooting galleries, a dolphin race(!), a very unfortunate witch, and some carnival rides. Lauren was boring and not interested in riding them - she didn't want to go on G.Laxia, the Haunted House, Turbo Coaster, Crazy Mouse, Booster, Waltzer, Wild River, or Scream. She didn't even want to go on this one.
By the time we finished the circuit of the pier, the sun was on the way down, and it was getting dark. This brought out a huge number of birds - flocking about around and under the pier. The photos don't really capture it, but is was quite amazing. I was able to get a number of good photos - probably too many, but I still find the sun disappearing into the ocean to be quite fascinating. The whole area reminded me of Santa Monica - it's obvious where the Americans got their influence - but I think the colonists use of timber instead of iron/steel was a good idea.
Brighton pier at night was very pretty, as was the Royal Pavilion - in particular the big turnip, pity about the scaffolding though.
We finished off with dinner at English's of Brighton - awesome, definitely taking Dad there so we can get the seafood platter!
It was a great day out, easy to do from London, and we will be doing more of this sort of thing in future!
All of the photos can be seen here.