Post cards from Brighton Beach.

Brighton Travel Blog

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"Oh I do love to be beside the seaside, I doooo love to be besides the seeeeea..."

I love Brighton.  I often refer to it as my 'soul city' when waxing lyrical, and while my connection with the place is strong I know I have not made the most of living near such a cosmopolitan, vibrant place during my time on the south coast of England.  I have been land-locked in Birmingham now for exactly a decade, but always, always return to Brighton's pebbled shores whenever possible.
"Yey!" Deckchairs!
  The majority of my close family live on the south coast, and it is a small village called Angmering about 25 mins drive west of Brighton where I grew up from the age of 4 onwards.

Especially since living in Birimgham right in the geographical heart of England, Brighton has come more and more to be a necessary emotional, psychological point of return for me.  If, as I have, you grew up only a few minutes drive from the sea-front I truly feel you carry the need to be, every now and then, by the sea whenever possible throughout your life.  The sound of the lapping water.  Chucking pebbles back into the waters in an indolent way.  The world has many beautiful things to offer, and to see wherever you find yourself topographically speaking, but I have a physical need every now and then just to sit on a beach - any I guess, it don't have to be Brighton - and to just stare out at the horizon line as the wavelets brush back and forth onto the sand or shingle.
West Pier's skeletal remains sit at stark odds to their serene surroundings.
  Just sat.  Staring.  Staring at a peaceful infitinty.  The blue-green of the sea stretches out as far as the eye can see, eventually meeting the sky, and with nothing in the peripheral vision that's just it.  Simple, beauty & perfection.  Your eyes, blue water and skies and nothing inbetween to interupt.  The land has ended. The waters carry on... maybe forever?  I know, I know that France is over there.  Somewhere.  But right now?  Sat here, it's not.  Whatever I want, or can imagine is Over There.  Maybe beyond the blue.  Calm infinity.  A view that genuinely can be used just to both simultaneously relax, and exercise the muscles of one's imagination.  All the lights, the tarmac, the cars, the Other People, the advertising hordings, the magazine stands, the cheap food, retail meccas, the tumultuous, swelling invisiable cloud of human relations and emotions, pollution, noise and all that stuff; that's all behind me right now.
It's just me, the sea, a soporophic imagination, blue and infinity...

...oh, and pebbles to throw too!

From the earliest possible age my parents would permit I would take the 30-40 mins train journey along the trainline to Brighton and walk the little winding streets (The North & South Laines) where all the coolest shops were to be found for clothes, records etc... things that made a young teenager's eyes bug out compared to what was available closer to home.  Brighton is responsible for my only confessed act of bunking off school; I dashed off there to buy a rare record I felt I couldn't be without rather than attend my nightmarishly intense french A-level class once.  Naughty, naughty. Sorry Mr Lury.  No hard feelings I hope!  Brighton is also where after A-Levels I studied Foundation Arts for a year before going to University and Birmingham, spent many a sweaty night moshing along to bands at gigs throughout the mid-late nineties during the 'Britpop' musical boom and where my sister now lives and runs a groovy, designer toyshop in the North Laines.
  The lucky thing! Check it if you're ever there ;D

Brighton Town (upgraded to city-status about 8 years ago) has lots to offer for everyone, and of course as  with all seaside spots is always at its best in the summer sunshine.  There are many, many bars (some with live music) strung along the seafront.  It has two piers (sort of), plenty to cater for the clubbers and food lovers, and one of the largest most spacious beach promenade areas I have come across to date making a long, serene sunset walk along the beach a must if you ever get the opportunity.  It occasionally struggles as a 'city' to offer loads of activities outside of the eating-shopping-beaching-clubbing considerations as outside of a couple of theatres, the usual cineplexes and small museums it's not a stand out cultural hotbed on the surface.
The Royal Pavilion, originally the (over the years expanding and re-designed) residence of The Prince Regent, later King George IV. Last host to royalty when Queen Victoria checked out in 1845.
.. but beneath the mainstream Brighton continues to nurture thriving little 'scenes' and 'happenings' such as loacal art movements, street performers, funky leftfield or unique shops, artists galleries and just the sheer liberal, ecclectic mix of peoples living and working there.  The main points of interest (culturally or in terms of retail therapy options) are all off the main streets that run along compass points (Queen's Street/ West Street heading from Brighton Station to the seafront and Western Road/ North Street running parallel to the seafront) in what are known as the North and South Laines.  These are smaller, more winding, narrow and meandering pathways/ streets that have a lot to offer.  The North Laines shops in particular.

There are a couple of obvious tourist draws such as the Brighton Royal Pavillion and Brighton Pier (formerly named Palace Pier) and a very vibrant and long-established gay community focused in the Kemptown district to the east.
  Brighton remains a favourite weekend gettaway location for all comers, and will only really disappoint if you get a rainy grey, 'British Summer' day.  Fortunately for me on my recent visit this was not the case.  Things have not been spoilt too much (yet!) in the shopping and residential districts of the city by a large incursion of monied people moving down from London using Brighton as a scenic point to live by the sea and commute up the line to London for their jobs.  This has already though made Brighton a VERY expensive place to live!

Anyway, less waffle more images I say! So I'll leave you to gaze, and shall return with more comments another day :)
keeweeset says:
I miss Brighton! I was one of the many language student that invade Brighton during the summer months. I had such a great time there =)
To me the bast doughnuts are still from the Palace Pier (I refuse to call it Brighton Pier..haha..)
Posted on: Sep 04, 2008
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Yey! Deckchairs!
"Yey!" Deckchairs!
West Piers skeletal remains sit a…
West Pier's skeletal remains sit …
The Royal Pavilion, originally the…
The Royal Pavilion, originally th…
The old Western Bandstand, current…
The old Western Bandstand, curren…
A public paddling pool for the kid…
A public paddling pool for the ki…
The Ballroom at the heart of what …
The Ballroom at the heart of what…
An onlooker to the ruin of West Pi…
An onlooker to the ruin of West P…
West Pier from the beach with its…
West Pier from the beach with it'…
A piece of public art on Brighton …
A piece of public art on Brighton…
The WHOLE front of Brighton from e…
The WHOLE front of Brighton from …
All alone at sea!
All alone at sea!
Brighton to some extent is an arti…
Brighton to some extent is an art…
Brighton, a bit of a rarity in Bri…
Brighton, a bit of a rarity in Br…
A monument to wartime nurses durin…
A monument to wartime nurses duri…
Cocklesn mussles, whelks & jelli…
Cockles'n' mussles, whelks & jell…
The ubiquitous British seafront be…
The ubiquitous British seafront b…
My sis trying to be artistic with …
My sis trying to be artistic with…
The Komedia theatre for drama, mus…
The Komedia theatre for drama, mu…
The Churchill Shopping Centre...Um…
The Churchill Shopping Centre...U…
A (in)famous piece of public stree…
A (in)famous piece of public stre…
My sister, busy at work in her sho…
My sister, busy at work in her sh…
Toylife shop window... drop in and…
Toylife shop window... drop in an…
Clocktower at the crossroads betwe…
Clocktower at the crossroads betw…
The Royal Pavilion.
The Royal Pavilion.
The British Museum and Art Gallery…
The British Museum and Art Galler…
Rag Freak, bedecking loners, goths…
Rag Freak, bedecking loners, goth…
Getting a tattoo in Brighton stree…
Getting a tattoo in Brighton stre…
The gangway of what remains of Wes…
The gangway of what remains of We…
My sis and her hug-monster toy.
My sis and her hug-monster toy.
Brighton
photo by: petit_gooroo