It is a truth universally acknowledged that traffic on a bank holiday weekend is going to be a nightmare especially when said weekend is the glorious length of four days like the Easter long weekend.
This is partly why we started our journey the day before the long weekend. As we were sitting in what was one of the longest and most frustrating traffic jams I’ve ever experienced we were listening to the announcer on the radio warning people that the traffic would begin that evening (some 6 hours into the future) and the next morning. He obviously wasn’t listening to the traffic reports.
C and I have been talking about going to Brighton for the best part of 4 years. Ever since we first met C had suggested we make a trip down there seeing as it’s so close (roughly a 1.5hr journey on a normal day), cheap to travel to and because I often need my hit of ocean – either seeing it, breathing the salty air or swimming.
When we finally arrived in Brighton 4.5hours (four years) later we were flustered, tired, hungry and hanging for a drink. What a great start to the holiday! The plan had been to go on a walk along the beach but the weather was vile so after checking in we did a short touristy walk to see a few of the lovely buildings around Brighton and then settled into our pub crawl.
Before dinner we caught out with our friend Maurizio who has recently moved down to Brighton and we were amazed to discover that what you get for your money such a short distance from London is shockingly more than what you would in London. We weren’t surprised of course, but the comparison was a little mind-blowing. Maurizio has a gorgeous new apartment with ocean views and just so, so much space. I was seriously considering moving there.
I’ve been to Brighton before so wasn’t that keen on the touristy stuff and C used to live there so was showing me some of his old haunts. One new thing I did discover is that this part of the world is actually Brighton and Hove, which came about after the two towns joined (a bit like Buda and Pest, but without the lovely ring to, and simplicity of, the name Budapest) and that if you are from the Hove side of town you are known to be from ‘Hove, Actually’. You see, status and social class, as I am sure I’ve documented before, is still pretty apparent in the UK and it’s imperative people know you are from ‘the right side of the tracks’ so to speak. Taking a look around Hove, we could see the marked difference in apparent wealth from the size and style of the buildings, the width of the roads, the types of cars on the street and the way people were dressed.
We had the privilege of a free room at The Grand Hotel right on the seafront, which came about due to C’s connections from his pub. It was a lovely, luxurious thing to do before setting off on what was set to be one of the coldest camping trips ever and quite possibly one of the worst ideas in history. A shame not to have arrived earlier in the day as planned and missing out on doing more, but waking up and getting to eat breakfast looking out of floor to ceiling windows was a definite highlight for me and it was so nice to have a treat like that while we are so drastically on a budget.
If you’re based in London and have a weekend free I recommend going to Brighton for a good look around – there are some great pubs (and a good night life), some lovely restaurants, the beach (although not ideal for swimming), the pier, some excellent shopping strips and some quaint and lovely coffee shops around, especially in The Lanes. In summer you often get live music in the streets and it’s a pretty lively, happy place to be and a nice escape from London.