Monday, 1 August 2011

England - The first stroll on Brighton Pier

July 11-13

Hello everyone!

Returning to the mainland, we had one more place to visit before driving up to the capital. Of all of our major destinations, this was the one place I had never been to before. We were heading from the Isle of Wight to the seaside city of Brighton. Brighton, infamously and historically known as the destination where King George IV apparently went with his mistress, and more commonly known now as the gay capital of the United Kingdom.

There is undoubtedly a gay scene and influence to Brighton, but it is not as extravagant or noticeable as one may expect. I'm sure my opinion would be different if I had rocked up here during the pride parade in August. Quirky advertising posters were prevalent in shops and cafes, and the occasionally flamboyant man would prance past, but Brighton is really just like any other city.

As with most seaside towns and cities in Britain, the main attraction of Brighton is its pier. The Palace Pier opened in 1899, and a place where one would expect to be within a hubbub of vibrant activity. Not in the evening, it seems. The end of the pier was empty and eerily quiet, reminiscent of a ghost town in the Wild Wild West. No rides running down here, though the indoor gambling area was an illuminated cacophony of jangling coins and special effects.

Even without gambling all of your money away - we spent a bit trying to win Smurfette to give Papa Smith some company - Brighton is a very expensive place, partly due to its proximity to the capital. Our budget was tight even before having to fork out £65 a night for a guesthouse with uneven floors. This meant that we decided against visiting the other big attraction, the Royal Pavilion. It is, however, a lovely city to walk around, and The Lanes in particular maintain an eccentric charm.

A little bit further down the coast are another natural wonder of the British coastline. The cliffs in this part of the country are composed primarily of soft, white chalk. The most famous collection are at Dover, but there is an equally impressive set a short drive east of Brighton known as the Seven Sisters. After fighting through a brisk wind as we walked along the unprotected Country Park we got our first glimpse of the cliffs.

They are known as the Seven Sisters due to the number of cliffs in close proximity to one another. Though the view is initially impressive, the more spectacular views are obtained from the tops of the cliffs themselves. It was with a slight degree of trepidation that we scaled the first of the steep slopes. The view is something to behold, though your breath is taken away in equal measure by the wind whipping up as you creep towards the edge.

From the bright, brash lights of the pier to the quiet charm of the lanes, Brighton has plenty of positives as a short holiday destination. It has a youthful, spiky edge, yet also maintains a traditional and vintage Victorian aura. We had a thoroughly enjoyable time in this most cosmopolitan of cities.

Love you all


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