By: Dacia Popescu
Seaside Retro is the description that comes to mind when I think of Brighton, now Brighton and Hove; a coastal town in southern England, and only about 1 hour by train from London. Its close proximity to the city makes Brighton an enjoyable option for day-trippers. Direct trains depart as often as every 10 minutes from 3 main stations in London: Victoria station, London Bridge Station or London St Pancras station, making this journey a breeze!
I took the train to Brighton from London’s Victoria station. The train ride is short and sweet as well as being a very pleasant, relaxing and scenic experience. While sitting back in the comfortable seats, you can look out the panoramic windows to take in the English countryside abundant with fields, meadows and animals grazing. Time seems to fly by on the train and as you get to a new level of comfortable, you’ve reached your destination. The smooth and rocking train ride leaves you with a calm and fitting mindset with which to arrive in Brighton!
Brighton woke up from being a sleepy fishing town during the 1840’s, with the expansion of the railways. Before that, it was a wellness resort as well as becoming a place of retreat for the rich, royal and famous with the building of garish seafront hotels and the Royal Pavilion. Since then, the growth of tourism and cultural diversity within Brighton developed to become the eclectic seaside treasure that it is today.
Brighton & Hove is host to many musical, artistic and social events as well as annual festivals. Among them include:
– Sussex Beer Festival (Held in March)
– Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival ‘Spring Harvest’
(Local food producers, restos & bars showcase their goods-Held in April)
– The Great Escape (One of the best New Music festivals in Europe-held May)
– Brighton Fringe Festival (England’s largest art festival-held in early summer)
– Brighton Pride Festival (The most renowned LGTB pride festival in the UK-held in the first week of August)
You can also see shows and performances of any kind throughout the city. For more current popular music, go to the Brighton Centre or Theatre Royal; for jazz, world, classical and dance go to the Brighton Dome.
Brighton Beach and Promenade is a wonderfully quaint area with its nostalgic salt-weathered architecture, newspaper fish ‘n chips, breezy terraces and beach, with a view of the Victorian carnival-like Brighton Pier and Ferris Wheel. In the day, you can sunbathe on the pebbles, take a swim to cool off or enjoy some of the many water sports and activities including sailing, kayaking, snorkeling and diving. You can even go surfing and there are spots for every level of experience (West Pier for beginners and Brighton Marina for the more experienced surfer; keeping in mind this is not Hawaii but apparently still worth the surf in a wet-suit).
As for the shop crop, window-shoppers and fashion fiends alike can have their fill while drying out the waves. For starters, Brighton has a mall called Churchill Square Shopping Centre, full of your run-of-the-mill conveniences and department stores. For the more adventurous and curious shoppers, there are the areas called The Laine and North Laine to discover. These districts are a network of inter-winding streets and lanes teaming with independent jewelry and clothing designers, artisanal and vintage shops, as well as local produce/food markets. While walking through this feast of the senses, one can hear a record blaring its tunes at a corner thrift shop, acting as a soundtrack to your steps. Another way to take it all in is to simply grab a seat at an eclectic café or resto and hear some live music. I love North Laine for the bohemian allure, retro essence and mix of artisanal local shops and vintage stores frequented by interesting people you can share a good pint and conversation with.
BRIGHTON IS ONLY A BREEZE AWAY…