Yesterday, my boyfriend, his father, my daughter and I decided to visit Brighton. From Eastbourne this was only a short 30 minute drive, there are also bus services regularly from Eastbourne town centre that we have used before, which cost £5.50 return for an adult .
Now, it was raining when we went yesterday, so perhaps we didn't do so many of the traditional touristy things - however, I have been before in better weather and enjoyed all the traditional stuff - fish and chips on the beach etc , so I will try and include these in my review.
The reason most tourist probably visit Brighton is likely to be either the beach, or Brightons incredibly colourful diversity of people . One of the biggest Gay Pride festivals in the UK is the one in Brighton, and even whilst shopping, you'll see the rainbow flag flying everywhere - hotel windows, bar windows, and on a large number of car bumper stickers. We came across other less obvious signs too - a bin with two holes in the top labelled cum and butts - clearly designed of course for chewing gum, and cigarette butts . There was also a rather nice mosaic of a naked man set into the pavement.
Brighton is certainly a colourful place - just take a look at the shops in the 'Lanes' area - each shop is painted a different colour, with some buildings decorated with amazingly intricate and detailed graffiti . This is not the work of some pikey vandal - this is full scale artwork, planned and designed and possibly requiring scaffolding . Some of this was serious political graffiti, some of this was simple statements such as 'Unconditional Love' and some of this was brilliant cartoons.
We visited a fair few shops yesterday. Lets start with the Brighton Sausage Company - the faintly suggestive sign and bright blue shop front leading us into a shop rich with the smell of cooking meat . It has all the shelves full of pasta and olives, and an array of various cheeses that any traditional deli would have - but it specialises in sausages in a wide variety of flavours - Pork and Stilton, Smoked Pork and Mixed Peppers, Venison and Red Wine . The sausage rolls here are amazing - Costing £1.30 each, they had a traditional version, and a beef and horseradish version - we had some of the beef and horseradish versions and they were amazing . They were served warm, at just the right temperature to eat, and the pastry was golden, buttery, and perfectly flaky . The meat was rich and moistly flavoursome, with a scattering of mustard seeds and spices, some small pieces of onion and a definite horseradish kick .
Another shop we visited was Cyberdog - this shop was brilliant, full of flashing strobe lighting, and UV corners that made the clothing glow in the dark . This is amazing club wear for those with a desire to stand out, although the clothing was a little pricey.
Then, we found Cybercandy (www.cybercandy.co.uk) . Cybercandy has long been one of my favourite websites - I love American candy, and like to order some every so often . But frequent browsing of the website did not prepare me for the wonders in store - energy drinks based on popular cartoons and films for example, such as Slurm, Booty Sweat, Resident Evil Virus Antidote . They also sell a wide range of sweets from around the world - Japan, Australia, America - it's all here. I ended up buying a variety of things - Bacon flavour Mints, Booty Sweat, Mexican Spiced Mealworms . This is a great shop to go to to get novelty gift candy for stocking fillers, and I certainly hope to pay a visit again .
We then came across the China Arts shop - and so far, this is my favourite shop in Brighton - filled with all kinds of Oriental items - parasols, jade carvings of animals, Netsuke, Buddha, Guan Yin statues - everything Chinese . I'm part Chinese myself, and my mum and I both collect Chinese ornaments, and I adored this store - with something for every price range and taste , and run by the friendliest Chinese lady I've ever met . I spent a good 15 minutes just chatting away with her about the various items, and about the relevance of certain colours and numbers .
Of course, Brighton has all your standard shops too - New Look, Evens, Burtons - blah blah . I didn't bother going into any of these as they vary so little from town to town .
The beach in Brighton is shingle, and does hurt your feet a little if you attempt to paddle. However, it is very clean, and very very long, so there is plenty of space for you to sit and relax . The pier has the traditional amusement arcade full of machines, including my favourite coin pushers, as well as various rides . They also have a decent fish and chip stall, and you can get a huge fish and chip meal for just £6.
If you don't fancy fish and chips, there are a whole host of places to eat in Brighton, including many well known chain restaurants, such as Yo Sushi, Bella Italia , and Strada . However, why go all that way just to eat in the same restaurant you have in your own town - there are a large number of pubs serving real good quality food, some smaller independent cafe's, and some really good restaurants - one you may have heard of is Momma Cherri's, which featured on Ramseys Kitchen Nightmares a few years back, and was the only restaurant where I saw him praise the flavours of the food .
The Pavilion must be seen - you don;t have to go inside, but just take a stroll around the outside, and marvel at the minarets and towers of this Indian inspired palace . It's amazing to think that this building was commissioned by King George IV (before he was crowned) who had never travelled anywhere more exotic than Germany. It took 30 years and some £500,000 at the time, for it to be completed to his satisfaction, and it really is an amazing building. There are many amazing buildings in Brighton though - take a look at Roedean School , on the outskirts, or the wonderful houses on Royal Parade.
I have not fully explored Brighton yet - I feel like I've only gotten a small taste of the town, and that there is so much more still to see . I'm aiming to get down there for a night out some time, and will update the review when that happens.
So far though, I haven't found anything to dislike - 4 stars!