On a warm, sunny day, swarms of Londoners descend upon Brighton, and I’m no exception. However, there’s more to Brighton than fish and chips on the beach, or a spin on the pier’s rides (though they are a pretty good reason to visit too). Here are my favourite picks.
First stop: the kissing coppers. Banksy’s famous artwork, now valued at £345k and sitting behind perspex (like many of his other pieces), is stumbling distance from Brighton Station, yet is often overlooked by the masses rushing to get to the beach. A small detour along Frederick Place will get you to the side of The Prince Albert pub, where Banksy’s piece, surrounded by a lot of other great street art, resides.
My next stop is usually lunch. At this point I must make a confession: I’ve never actually had fish and chips in Brighton. It’s not through lack of trying – on my first visit I traipsed along the beach in search of battered goodness, but everywhere was heaving with either humans or pigeons, so I gave up. Luckily I have since discovered Foodilic. It’s a far cry from Brighton’s famous fish and chips, serving up delicious salads and healthy meat and fish dishes at excellent value. Think Ottolenghi, but about a quarter of the price.
A stroll down to the pier is enough time to digest lunch, which is perfectly timed for the pier’s greatest attraction: the rides. The rides aren’t particularly scary – the scariest thing about them is the probability that they’ll buckle at any moment – but they are really great fun. After a go on the dodgems and the rollercoaster we felt like children on a sugar high.
To bring us back to adulthood, a visit to the Royal Pavilion does the trick. The building is beautiful, but most importantly, looks completely out of place in the middle of Brighton. The Lanes nearby offer the perfect place to get a little bit lost in the tangle of alleyways.
May is a great time to visit, not only because it seems to be the only month of summer that we experience in Britain, but also because Brighton hosts its annual Fringe Festival (this year from 7th to 29th May). It’s nothing compared to the almighty Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but it’s a perfect summary of Brighton: fun, unpretentious and a little bit different.
Date factor: great 100th dates, day dates, mate dates, cheap dates
Price: anywhere from £20-40 for the day depending what you do
Getting there: 1-hour train from Victoria or London Bridge stations
More info: http://tourism.brighton.co.uk/attractions/