Brighton Journals

Travels in Sussex and Kent

A February 2000 trip to Brighton by moatway

Leeds Castle Photo, Kent, England More Photos
Quote: Travels through Sussex, Kent, and London during an English winter from a base just north of Brighton.

Travels in Sussex and Kent

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Overview

Brighton Photo, Brighton, England
Quote:
The trip was with my 17- and 19-year-old children so it was important that the things done had variety. We were based at RCI's Brantridge Park at Balcombe, just up the A33 from Brighton. We included two day-trips into London and an excellent day at the Portsmouth Naval Dockyard. The largest town in our vicinity was Crawley . . . it provided the access we needed to the train. We were able to take in Tonbridge, Leeds Castle and Canterbury Cathedral in one day . . . a bit late getting back, but neither did we rush. We enjoyed Rye and the pub lunch, but I think the best times were meals in pubs.Quick Tips: We drove through Sussex and Kent, but to get into London it is far easier to take the train...Read More

Brantridge Park

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Hotel

Brantridge Park Photo, Brighton, England
Quote:
Best Things Nearby:Quick access to the train to London, Brighton.Best Things About the Resort:Atmosphere. Brantridge Park is set in rolling English countryside, a beautiful country estate that provides a comfortable stay.Resort Experience:It's wonderful. It may always be my favorite RCI resort. A long sweeping drive leads to an imposing countryhouse once owned by Princess Alice, Queen Victoria's grand-daughter. As a girl, Queen Elizabeth attended a wedding here. Our extremely spacious unit, two beds, two baths, dining, kitchen and living was on the second floor. The views from the windows were wonderful. Units in the former outbuildings, "The Mews" would l...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 8, 2003

Brantridge Park
The Old Sawmills Copyhold Lane
Brighton, England
01444 473700

Leeds Castle

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Attraction | "Leeds Castle (Maidstone)"

Leeds Castle Photo, Kent, England
Quote:
Lord Conway called it, "The most beautiful castle in the world". He may have been right. There was a Saxon manor here, but after the Norman invasion of 1066, a stone castle was built here to subjugate the Saxon population. When Edward I became king, the castle was conveyed to the crown and became a royal palace. For 300 years, it stayed in the royal families of England . . . a fortress built on two islands in a lake. The original purpose is most evident in the fortified mill and gatehouse, the arrow slits and murder holes. Inside the castle you find anything but. The furnishings are gentille and comfortable and harken back to the castle's saviour, the American heiress, Olive, Lady Baillie who purchas...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 9, 2003

Leeds Castle

Maidstone, Kent, England ME17 1PL
01622 765 400

Tonbridge Castle

Attraction

Tonbridge Castle Photo, Brighton, England
Quote:
According to the brochure, there is an audio tour in which one relives the "bad old days". Unfortunately, all that's left of Tonbridge is the gatehouse and a bit of wall. It was winter when we visited and the gatehouse was undergoing repair, so I reckon that those may be the reasons that the "life-size figures and interactive displays and the flicker of candlelight" were all missing. I will admit that the surrounding area is attractive but with so many things to see in the area, why bother? On the other hand, we were only there 10 minutes and it was easy to find. This is probably for locals on Sunday afternoons.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on August 9, 2003

Tonbridge Castle
Castle Street
Brighton, England

Quote:
A 12th-century Norman cathedral that is a polyglot of design . . . Romanesque, Norman, a perpendicular tower, early English. It has a fragment of a 2nd-century Roman mosaic, 16th-century paintings and a 20th-century pulpit. There is a window by Marc Chagall and 12th-century bays in the Lady Chapel. It is, for all that, a lovely building. The town outside its doors also has a nice feel to it and is a nice place to stop for a meal.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 9, 2003

Chichester Cathedral

Chichester, West Sussex, England PO19 1PX
(01243) 782595

Canterbury Cathedral

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Attraction

Quote:
Just a word about getting to the site. If you drive to Canterbury on a major route, you will see park and ride sites. Use them. The bus comes every 10 minutes or so, and once in Canterbury, you will appreciate the wisdom of your choice. It is a popular, busy destination. Canterbury Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishops of Canterbury who are the leaders of the Anglican (Episcopalian) Church. It has been thus since the time of Saint Augustine. This structure's construction started after the Norman invasion of 1066 but it was the murder of Saint Thomas a Becket in the west transept as he went to evening prayers in 1170 that led to the church's lure as one of the worlds most popular pilgri...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 10, 2003

Canterbury Cathedral
11 The Precincts
Canterbury, England CT1 2EH
01227 762 862

Canterbury Tales

Attraction | "The Canterbury Tales"

Quote:
Go back to the 14th century to meet characters out of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. You don't really have to know Chaucer's work to appreciate the sights, sounds, and yes, the smells of Chaucer's day. Tourist trap? Fun house? I don't know, but I did not feel the time was wasted or that I had been ripped off. In fact, I guess I was smiling when I left. I know my kids, who were 16 and 19 at the time, both enjoyed it and it gave me further opportunity to enlarge on why Canterbury was important to so many and how it must have been for the original pilgrims.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 10, 2003

Canterbury Tales
City center - St. Margaret's Street
Brighton, England

Beachy Head

Attraction

Beachy Head Photo, Brighton, England
Quote:
The area around Birley Gap features cliffs . . . tall white cliffs looming over the beach and the English Channel. There are a number of pull-offs for motorists here and one can walk a paved path along the top of the cliffs. Sitting far below and out in the water is the Beachy Head lighthouse. It's all quite a sight if you don't mind heights, and even if that is a problem, as it is with me, it is still well-worth the visit. At Birley Gap, it is possible to descend to the beach . . . do it. From the vantage point near the water, one can appreciate the "Seven Sisters". These cliffs are the white chalk that one would expect further east at legendary Dover. As such, they are beautiful . . . it was ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 9, 2003

Beachy Head

Near Eastbourne, England
+44 1323 728060

Flagship Portsmouth

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Attraction

Flagship Portsmouth Photo, Brighton, England
Quote:
Allow half a day for this attraction. Your ticket (12.50 pounds) allows you entrance to the Mary Rose exhibit, the Victory, the Warrior and the Royal Naval Museum. Your visit will center around your visit to H.M.S. Victory, Nelson's flagship, which is a guided tour at a designated time. The tour of the Victory alone, which is fascinating and informative will take upwards of an hour. It will leave a lasting impression. From the spot where Nelson fell to the orlop deck where he died, there is an appreciation of the Nelson mystique that borders on religiousity. Nelson occupies a special place in English hearts, and the Victory, more than his statue in Trafalgar Square, is his monument. In the meantim...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 9, 2003

Flagship Portsmouth
Queen Street
Brighton, England

Bodiam Castle

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Attraction

Bodiam Castle Photo, Brighton, England
Quote:
There are many kinds of castles . . . the fairy tale, the late faux-castle and castles that really meant business. Bodiam is the latter. Built in the 14th century to block French raids up the river, it retains its crenellated walls and towers and its wide moat. The castle is essentially a shell: its keep disappeared long ago, its kitchens and great hall are in ruins, but it is beautiful. We visited on one of those English days when the light kept changing and my pictures show a fortress that ranges from ominous to magical. The approach from the ticket office is down a path, across a long wooden bridge and then through an impressive gatehouse. The drum towers at the corners of the castle are clim...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 9, 2003

Bodiam Castle
13 miles from Rye on A268
Brighton, England

Preston Manor

Attraction | "Preston Manor (Brighton)"

Preston Manor Photo, Brighton, England
Quote:
In a town that has the Royal Pavilion, it might be easy, and unfortunate, to overlook Preston Manor. On a day in March when we had to compete with bus tours for a sight of the Pavilion, we had Preston Manor all to ourselves. Entrance can be purchased singly or on a joint, money-saving ticket with the Pavilion. Built on the site of a much earlier building in 1738, it was added to substantially in 1905. As a visitor, you are allowed complete access to more than twenty rooms in the house, requiring a guide only for the basement...and that is what this house is all about. There are the main rooms, the comfortable Edwardian life "upstairs", and the life of servitude "downstairs". The visitor...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 9, 2003

Preston Manor
Preston Drove
Brighton, England BN1 6SD
+44 1273 290900

The Lanes

Attraction | "The Lanes (Brighton)"

The Lanes Photo, Brighton, England
Quote:
The Lanes are the narrow pedestrian streets of Brighton's shopping area. They are filled with specialty shops offering everything from militaria to food to lady's hats. Italian, Mexican, traditional English restaurants are all here.

These are the original streets of the city which were originally called Brighthelmstone. When George IV took up residence at the Pavilion, the name of the city became Brighton and as it grew, the Lanes fell into disrepair. Fortunately, they were rejuvenated. Fortunately, the local traders' association offers a map as it does get confusing in there. A charming shopping area.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 9, 2003

The Lanes
East Street
Brighton, England

Royal Pavilion and Museums

Attraction | "The Royal Pavilion (Brighton)"

Royal Pavilion and Museums Photo, Brighton, England
Quote:
What is THAT doing here? Called the most extraordinary palace in Europe, it is an oriental confection. Built for King George IV when he was the Prince of Wales and expanded through the period of the Regency and into his monarchy, the house evolved into its present shape by 1824. It is a palace dedicated to the excesses of the Regency age. Its style is East Indian . . . its interiors are extraordinarily lavish reaching their epitome in the Music Room. It is hard to believe today, that the room was attacked by an arsonist in 1975 causing extensive damage and closing the site for 11 years. This is a self-guiding tour that covers approximately half of the rooms on each of the two floors open to the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 9, 2003

Royal Pavilion and Museums
Pavilion Gardens
Brighton, England BN1 1EE
+44 (1273) 290900