You may have seen me nip off to Brighton at the end of the Easter holidays so I thought I’d let you know what we got up to. Or, if you’d prefer, you can watch the video I made HERE.
Brighton is one of my happy places. It’s where I chose to go on the anniversary of Mums’ death ten years ago, and then for the next two anniversaries. That sounds dreadfully morbid, but it’s not. Brighton just became synonymous with me getting away from it all … being able to fully relax. It’s just a special place for me.
Plus, you know, doughtnuts.
I went with my best friend Jo, her son and Dexter, and I decided to drive down there. Although, if I’m honest, even though we haven’t spoken about it, Jo knows I’m a terrible passenger and I would always rather drive so it wasn’t really up for discussion. Not that I’m a control freak 🙂 So I picked them up late morning on a Thursday and we had a lovely run down to Brighton from Kent, which probably took about 90 minutes door to door.
I’d tasked Jo with booking accommodation, as I’d no doubt gone into full mother mode by then, and she came up with a B&B called New Cosmopolitan for £40 a night each – both twin rooms. It’s off season so it’s a pretty good deal and to be honest, neither of us were particularly fussy about where we were staying, as long as it was clean.
As we looked around for a nearby car park, we found one that was literally a two minute walk from the B&B. Except … it was underneath a tall block of flats that looked particularly dodgy. We umm’ed and aah’ed about whether to risk it and decided that as Blue Lightning (my car) was only worth £75 we should go for it. It was £17.50 for 24 hours, which made us wince a bit, but as we’d got such a good deal on accommodation we’d go for it. (As it was, the car was absolutely fine.)
Brighton off-season is very different to Brighton peak-season. The only people around are tourists, all the local kids were at school and there was a very mellow feeling about the town. No hen or stag parties, no families cluttering up the pier (haha, I sound so grumpy but I just don’t really like crowds) and everywhere was just lovely and quiet.
The plan was … not to really have a plan, but we knew that the boys would love to go on the rides at the end of the pier and if they’re occupied it would leave Jo and I to chill – our only requirement for travelling. We made a rookie error and bought the boys 10 tokens for the rides, at a cost of £10, without really thinking it through. They used them within 15 minutes! We went back and forked out another £20 each for a wristband so they could go on all the rides all day and it was money well spent.
The rides are particularly geared towards older children, as opposed to smaller children, and even though you don’t imagine there would be enough rides to occupy the kids for hours, there really were. They particularly liked the bumper cars, the log flume and the waltzer. I chose not to go on any #bahhumbug because I’m not really a fan of rides and no doubt I’d be the one to come away with an injury. As it was, Dexter hurt his head on the bumper cars and I was the one filling in the accident form! Fair play to the staff for handling the situation swiftly and professionally though … although it was kinda their fault in the first place.
Anyway, we stopped for lunch on the pier and ate the obligatory fish and chips at the Pavillion, and as delicious as it was, at £9.95 for a medium portion I had to bite my tongue before I did my usual old lady “HOW MUCH?!” It was really tasty though and the accompanying pint of beer went down REAL GOOD.
At one point I had to dash back to the hotel as I was on call for work for an hour and when the work ran over, I found myself sat on the pier with the others frantically scheduling Facebook posts for my client. Sure was a great view though!
What was the New Cosmopolitan B&B like? Well, for £40, I expected worse. We both had fantastic views of the pier and the Brighton big wheel, even though the window frames in my room had paint splodged all over them. Suffice to say, the rooms were a little tired, with a mis-matching bathroom suite and a shower only producing ice cold or nuclear warm water, resulting in the quickest shower I think I’ve ever had. But it was clean and as much as I hate sleeping in a single bed, we had walked a lot during the day and the sea air knocked us both out – although not before we had a hotel picnic of crisps and Crème Eggs and worked through to midnight. Talk about dedication to the job.
Breakfast was better than I had anticipated, and was included in the price. Dexter and I both went for a full English (one of everything), with 30,000 slices of cold toast to go with it. Coffee was average at best, but there was lots of orange juice available, although one woman complained that there were only pint glasses on offer – but surely that’s a good thing?!
We went back to the pier so the boys could have another wristband to ride until 2pm, which was when our car park ticket was due to run out. We ate delicious doughnuts (twice), and Dexter was nearly mugged by a seagull for one of his. I kid you not, the seagulls in Brighton are the size of cars. Cheeky as hell too.
We didn’t manage to find time to go on the big wheel, but maybe we’ll do that next time, nor did we go on the beach – I’m more of a white sands in Mauritius kinda gal, but we really did have a wonderful time.
We found our way out of Brighton fairly easily, no thanks to SatNav, and were twenty minutes from home when disaster struck! Blue Lightning broke down! Not only did it break down, but it chose to do so on a major four-lane roundabout at the traffic lights! I couldn’t believe it.
Whilst we waited on the grass verge for my Dad, trying to avoid dying at the hands of moronic drivers who didn’t seem to care that my car was flashing its hazard lights at them, we had two sets of police officers try to help – the second lot towing us to a safer place to wait. Dad arrived with his neighbour, who took Jo and the boys home, and Dad and I waited for the tow truck.
RIP Blue Lightning.
An eventful ending to what was a very chilled out mini-break in off-season Brighton.