Ever since I was quite young, I have been fascinated by the description of English seaside resorts which I have gleaned from books. I imagined that Brighton would encapsulate this fantasy and yesterday I had the opportunity to test my theory.
The day promised to be sunny but quite cool. In fact, it was cold yesterday morning – minus 1C at 7.30am as we walked to the station to catch the train to Brighton. The overnight minimum had been minus 3C a few hours earlier and this was evident as we left the glass and concrete of central London. At 9am the frost on some of the railway embankments and low-lying fields was still so heavy that it looked like a dusting of snow.
Once we arrived at Brighton, it was about 15 minutes walk to the beach. This was the stunning view from the promenade. I certainly was not disappointed. It was a glorious day and the gravelly beach and the pier were exactly as I had expected.
We walked along the pier and although there were not too many people I could imagine the throngs of day-trippers enjoying the warmth of a summer’s day.
Just a couple of the many fairground attractions.
Not the White Cliffs of Dover but similar geography – looking east from the end of Brighton Pier.
Holiday accommodation on the foreshore.
Some of the architectural detail on the pier. This is part of a central dividing ‘wall’ which extends along the majority of the length of the pier. There are various open sections where you can cross over from one side to the other. We discovered that it is functional as well as decorative because although there was virtually no wind the protected eastern side was significantly more pleasant than the western side.
These hardy people didn’t seem to need any protection. We caught sight of them just as they were entering the water. By this stage it was just after 11am and the temperature had soared to a balmy 6C.
However, there is much more to Brighton than the beach. We headed for the area known as ‘The Lanes’ – some of the oldest area of Brighton. It is a couple of blocks back from the beach and consists of numerous lanes and alleyways. Some are barely wide enough for 2 people to pass comfortably. By this time the crowds had increased considerably as more people took advantage of the clear and sunny Saturday to get out and about.
Here are a couple of photos I managed to capture before we retreated to a Spanish restaurant in one of the lanes.
After lunch we made our way back towards the station. It is an uphill walk but thankfully, not too steep.
Our final stop was at the Brighton Toy and Model Museum which is located in the arches under the station. The ‘0’ gauge trains are run on limited days each year due to the number of volunteers required as well as consideration being given to the actual trains. We were delighted that our visit happened to coincide with one of these days.
While we enjoyed all of the displays, it was the trains actually running that captured our imagination.
It was not all about the trains. There were amazing collections of toys dating back about 100 years. Soft toys, Meccano, model cars, puppets, doll houses and more are lovingly displayed.
We certainly did not see everything that Brighton has to offer but it was an enjoyable and fun day.