Who wants to go to the seaside? A day in Brighton

Living in London is a rite of passage for many kiwis and for most it is a pretty amazing experience, but the one thing that every kiwi I know moans about is the lack of a beach. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of nice beaches in the UK but living in London the closest you can get is a scummy man made beach on the Thames or having a swim in the ponds at Hampstead Heath with the ducks. Well I now have a solution for the beach bums in London that are craving a trip to the seaside but don’t want to spend hours or a fortune getting there.

 
 

So what is this wonderful solution to your beach withdrawals? Brighton!

You can get the train from London bridge and its only a tenner for a return ticket on the weekend. I will be the first to admit Brighton beach is not stunning; its pebbly and not the warmest or cleanest water you have ever seen but equally it is a beach and on a sunny day it is great fun to hang out and perhaps even go for swim. Here’s the run down on how to make the most of your trip to the sea side.

First, once you arrive come out the station and head down into the lanes, there are a few streets full of boutique shops and cafes and bars. It’s great if you need something you wouldn’t normally find on the high street and there are some awesome pubs and cafes for food. The White Rabbit is a good pub at the end of one of the lanes. There is probably the most amazing second hand shop in the world full of anything and everything, and I guarantee you will get lost and spend at least an hour looking around. There are also independent T-shirt shops, comic book shops, tattoo parlors, Musical instruments, and sex shops so all of your needs are covered.

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After you have finished up in the lanes, you can check out the Taj Mahal inspired Brighton Dome which is actually pretty stunning to look at. I have never bothered going inside, as its costs, but I’m sure if you are a history buff it would be worthwhile.

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After getting your history on, head down to the seafront to check out the pier. No trip to the seaside in England is complete without a trip to the pier and a ride on a dodgy, rickety old roller coaster or a bash at some video games. You could also treat yourself to a hot doughnut or some cockles in a cup.

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Brighton pier also has a karaoke bar, and a pretty scary ride right at the end that I would highly recommend, despite having nearly fallen out of it once. Just make sure the people operating it aren’t drunk…

Once you have had your fill of video games and karaoke, it’s time to hit the beach. Again, it is pebbly, but still it’s a beach right? Grab a few beers and lay down a towel and start tanning. If you are brave enough I would go for a swim; I have and, although it is cold, plenty of other people seem to do it without catching any diseases. You may also spot a few surfers right by the pier as well –which may give you a few pangs of homesickness, so you could always rent a board and give that a burn as well.

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In the evening, Brighton is well known as a party town with hundreds of bars and pubs to drink heavily in. It’s also quite an established stag and hen destination, so be prepared for that. You can steer clear of them by avoiding the chain bars. Meat Liquor Brighton has recently opened up, so for any fans of Meat Liquor in London it’s definitely worth checking out; they have more of a seafood theme with fish burgers, gunpowder shrimp and other fishy goodness (along with the old ML favorites).

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Brighton also has a great music scene, so often you will find a decent band to watch as well. Concorde 2 is for smaller gigs and up and coming acts, and there is also the Brighton centre for massive gigs. Plus plenty of the bars have live bands playing, so you won’t be short of  musical entertainment.

Getting home is also super easy, as the trains run until midnight or so. You can jump on the last train back and, if so inclined, carry on the party once you get back to London.

 
 

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About the author

Try as they might, the UK government cannot rid themselves of this kiwi with a British passport. Alex Ward has been lurking in London for the last seven years, spending his time hunting out the best spots for eating, drinking, watching bands and partaking in any of the numerous activities that only London can offer. Feel free to check out his travel blog or find his musings on Twitter

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