Every year, my family gathers around the television and we sit down to watch “The Snowman“. It’s a wordless animated film about a little boy who builds a snowman on Christmas Eve. The snowman comes to life and flies with the little boy over the English countryside (and the Brighton pier) to visit Santa Claus. It’s an adorable film with a song that breaks my heart every time I hear it.
So I am bringing up a Christmas tradition in June for a reason: I finally went to Brighton.
Thanks to Pinterest and the interwebs, I preplanned my day. Going alone, I was a bit worried that I would get bored or “waste my day”. I was also worried about weather: British clouds have been keeping me from soaking up the sun.
I got so lucky.
The weather was gorgeous, there was no line at the Royal Pavilion when I arrived in the morning, and by the time I was growing tired people were out and about to entertain me for hours.
I had pre-bought tickets to the Royal Pavilion, which was a worthwhile two-hour wander while I waited for the sun to come out. I only got overrun by a school trip of middle schoolers twice. (I’d recommend either getting the audio tour or listening to music as the sound of everyone else’s audio guide is annoying.) You can’t take pictures inside, but good golly I wanted to. The wallpapers, the ridiculous chandeliers, and the tiny details!
I ate a nice slice of chocolate cake and had a soda in their café, before making my way down to the waterfront.
Brighton is known for its beachfront: a pebble beach, lined with cafés and shops and bars and a nice paved path. I ended up walking the beach twice, sitting down on the beach or on a bench for a while and soaking up the sun. The beach filled throughout the day, but as it’s still early in the season, it wasn’t too horrible. Plus, everyone brought out their pups!
After getting pooped on by a seagull, I stopped at the Bandstand Cafe for lunch. A nice burger and a beer filled me while I watched folks wander by and listened to the sound of the ocean. (Later as I walked by, someone got married on the bandstand, so that’s exciting!)
My walk along the water tended to stop once I had hit the Hove beach huts, a series of little colorful sheds all lined up in a row facing the water. The bright colors brought out the sun and some colorful characters.
From the huts to the Brighton Pier was about a 45-minute meander along the boardwalk. You can walk on the Pier without paying and wander through the attractions and stalls. Families were out in masses with sticky children and drunk adults. I am fairly certain that every hen party in the U.K. was in Brighton this weekend (same as when every hen party in Scotland was in Edinburgh when I visited two years ago).
I also took a wander through the shops to find ChoccyWoccyDooDah, the most absurd chocolate shop on the planet. After grabbing a chocolate milkshake and a water, I wandered the boardwalk from Pier to huts once more, settling in for a bit, here and there, to burn in the sun.
My initial plan was to stay until sunset, but my exhaustion kept me from sticking it out. (The sun doesn’t set until 9 p.m. now; it’s officially summer!) I made my way back up the hill to the train station and set off for London, only snoozing on the train once on my two-ish hour journey!