When back in England visiting family I like to arrange something fun for the girls of the family to do together. So on this occasion as it fell between Christmas and New Year, I thought it would be fun to go to Brighton to wander the Lanes, have lunch, have some retail therapy and lastly visit the Royal Pavilion.
We arrived by train, which is on the mainline from London, so makes it easy to get to from the city if you wish for a daytrip. Brighton is quite a historical seaside town and dates back to Anglo Saxon times when in 477 AD it became part of the Kingdom of Sussex. We walked south down Queen’s Road as our plan was to wander through what are called the Lanes of Brighton, quaint old narrow shopping streets that thankfully haven’t been lost in the modernization of the seaside town of Brighton.
The Lanes are a little discombobulated, in that you walk a section, then maybe cross a modern street, and then join back into the Lanes, and they are mostly in the area between North Street and the coastline. There are some lovely little shops to explore and we couldn’t resist a browse in a specialty cake and chocolate shop called Choccywoccydoodah which had some amazing looking temptations!
We then headed down to the seafront of Brighton to take a look at the sea pounding along the Palace Pier and the pebble beach.
The Palace Pier has withstood many fierce storms since it was built in 1899 and cost a record £27,000 to build (over 2 million today).
It was originally one of 3 piers along the Brighton seafront, but now the only remaining one, and is a grade II listed building which is now used as an entertainment venue with restaurants and games arcades.
After enjoying some sea air and being blown around by the fairly strong wind we starting walking along the seafront where we passed the obligatory seaside shops selling everything from postcards to buckets and spades!
We headed up Black Lion Street to find our lunch stop, Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant, which we had booked a table for and were excited to try out.
We arrived right as they started serving lunch, so initially the restaurant was very quiet but picked up quickly. I loved the atmosphere inside, quirky and casual and our table even had a view into the kitchen. We tried a number of different things including Lasagna, pizza and I had the Cauliflower Cheese Gnocchi which was great!
The Gnocchi was pretty rich, so I am glad that I just ordered the half size and instead saved some room for pudding!
There was quite large choice of Gelato flavours to choose from on the menu, and I decided to go with one of my favourites, Salted Caramel, with chocolate curls and crumbled honeycomb as my 2 toppings – I was in heaven!
After filling ourselves we were ready for some more shopping, so we walked back up into town and headed for the shop Primark as we all knew we wanted to shop there. Primark is a great place for very affordable but still stylish clothing with great deals. Needless to say after spending some time in there we all came out with shopping bags!
We then walked along North Street to get to the Royal Pavilion for which we had pre-booked tickets to tour inside the historic building, built in the late 1700’s.
The Tour followed a route through the Royal Pavilion taking in quite a few different rooms, some really quite ornate.
There was even a large sleigh in the Music room where you could pose for festive photographs which was lovely as this is a room with lots of beautiful detail.
Towards the end of the tour we came across a café so decided to stop for a drink and a sit down, unfortunately because they were busy, this took longer than we had intended, but it was still good to relax for a bit. We then continued on and came across an Exhibit called “Jane Austen by the Sea” about her relationship to Brighton during the 1800’s. I’m quite an Austen fan, so this was interesting, but we didn’t linger too long as they day was getting long. However, we did have some fun in the dress up room trying on some Austen era clothing with my disapproving Niece looking on!
We then left the building and walked around to the front where we knew there was an ice skating rink which would be interesting to see especially with the Pavilion all lit up for the holidays.
We had hoped that we may be able to skate, but it turned out that we should have booked in advance if we didn’t want to wait for about 2 hours. So instead we watched the skaters for a bit, took some photographs and then started our walk back to the Station to catch our train home as were planning to have dinner once home with the men of the family.
On the way back to the Station we were able to enjoy some of the street Christmas lights, which were a little reminder that Brighton (if you didn’t happen to know) is now unofficially known as the Gay Capitol of the UK. If you come in the summer, they have the largest Pride festival in the UK.
Date of visit: December 2017.