Sunday, 13 August 2017

Top 5: Things to do in Brighton



Yay, it's holiday time! I spent a wonderful break in Brighton during those few days of summer we had back in July. I have never been to Brighton and Hove, and it was only vaguely on my Places To See list. The visit was a birthday treat from Ian and, since he used to live there, he was my guide for my stay. I only know it as a cool place a number of my fave UK designers and makers live but I hadn't thought of it as a modern holiday destination. I was all set to be underwhelmed by the much-talked about hipster haven of a seaside town that is Brighton but, damn it, I was won over.



1.) Brighton Royal Pavilion
I thought I was going to skip this attraction when I was planning the trip. And by planning, I mean glancing at Tripadvisor and vaguely nodding at Ian's suggestions of places to go. He's not really a fan of it but I have to say I really fell for this building and the surrounding gardens. It was my fave and I went to see it twice. The pavilion was originally a royal seaside residence that was completely renovated in the 19th century in the style of Indian palaces. Maybe that's why I love it- the nostalgia of when I lived in India- but the symmetry and repetitive patterns, along with the theatrical flair of Indian design really speaks to me. I recommend it!


2.) The Lanes, North Laine and flea market
One of the major pulls to Brighton is the very studenty vibe, with lots of shabby-but-cool shopping areas. It's a bit confusing because there's the Lanes and then there's North Laine. North Laine is the side I was expecting to see. It has a market feel to it, with vendors of the weird and wonderful, like one shop that is almost exclusively fur throws alongside delicate lace underwear. There's a lot of festival wares. Snooper's Paradise is top of most people's lists; a huge indoor market of vintage bits and bric a brac. I was feeling a little tired when we went, so I recommend going when you have the energy to sift through all the piles of things.
The Lanes, on the other hand, is a quaint series of (you guessed it) tiny lanes that offer a more bespoke shopping experience. There are independent shops that I recognised, alongside a load of specialist shops for cookware, fancy jewellery and, of course, the now infamous Choccywoccydoodah.


3.) Eating and drinking
Let's be honest, this is what I go on holiday for. I could have more than filled my Top 5 with foodie places and coffee shops but I'll sneak them in here instead.
The Chilli Pickle is hands down my favourite Indian restaurant. They were amazing with my gluten issues and I am still dreaming about the masala dosa I ordered. I nearly cried that I couldn't order the sweets selection for dessert (because of wheat)- gulab jaman and ladoo are my favourites.
There are a lotta lotta coffee shops in Brighton with all the latest brews (and we sampled 2-3 in a day with Ian's coffee addiction) but Twin Pines Coffee was my fave. Moving away from the now-typical hipster industrial style, this coffee shop has an art deco vibe and the most beautiful loo.
Decent pubs were The Craft Beer Co. for beer, The Black Dove for cocktails and Brighton Beer Dispensary for a relaxed atmosphere (and board games!).
I also enjoyed really good pizza at Morelli Zorelli and ice cream at Boho Gelato.


4.) The Pier
Being big kids, the pier was an instant lure for us. A mini theme park at the end of the pier, it offers arcade games, coin machines and rides. It seems I'm pretty good at throwing basketballs, bopping lights and shooting dinosaurs. It was easy to lose an afternoon playing all the games for those precious prize tokens, with candy floss and slush puppies. After all that competition, we pooled together our tokens (I didn't have many at all) to pick a prize. I now own a 17% stake in a fidget spinner. Lucky me!



5.) Brighton beach
I couldn't go to Brighton and not mention the beach, especially after a July visit. It's a typical British beach, in that it is shingle rather than sand. Although the smooth pebbles not comfortable to sit on, it's actually quite nice not to come away with sand in all the wrong places. Ahem. As I mentioned, I grossly misunderstood how hot it was going to be, so I was just wearing my breton stripe outfit from this wee's outfit post, when really I could've done with a bikini. It felt very much like a holiday!

What a lovely staycation. (Is it still a staycation if it's not even in Scotland? The climate suggests otherwise). I'm already half-planning the things I'll do next time, so hit me up with your favourite hotspots to add to my list. Five is too few for this wonderful seaside resort!

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