Monday, 31 December 2007

Happy New Year from Brighton

Well, having watched that rather clever chap Ricky Gervais in Extras last night, I'm so uber horrified by anything even faintly fame related that it's thrown my whole New Year's Eve out the window. (If you didn't see Christmas Extras it was a scathing attack on fame and the lengths (or depths) we'll go to get it in whatever form.)

I'm a right old bah humbug at New Year and usually take pride at sitting in with a glass of vino and the telly rather than shelling out on the cost of a small country to get inside a sweaty club that usually costs £2.50 on any other day of the year. But now I can't watch telly because it will be full of famous people wishing each other a self congratulatory happy new year and Ricky Gervais might pop up and shout 'you avving a laugh'. And is it me or does Jools Holland do something weird whereby he's on EVERY channel at once? Or maybe all my channels are tuned to BBC 2 and I never usually notice? I don't generally watch telly. Anyway, that means I'm going to have to go out. Oh dear, I feel nervous already...

So, living in Brighton as I do, what's going on then? Oh come on, you knew I'd get it back to Brighton eventually - tis what this blog is all about after all...

So, if like me, you want to go and shake your booty (or in my case probably a stick at the first person who pours beer on me) and have left it all to the last minute, we've got a few little Brighton New Year ideas for you. Being Brighton and all, there's lots going on, so why not do something different - howabout some live comedy at the Komedia or cheeky cabaret at Brighton's Joogleberry Playhouse?

Whatever you get up to, hope you all have a great New Year.

See you in 2008...


Saturday, 29 December 2007

Swish Waves......

.......swish....wish....wash.....splash!! Well when I told Richard on our shift at the Visitor Information that I was going out for a bit of Vitamin D and a breath of fresh air, I hardly expected to be as refreshed as I am now! Just goes to show you never know what may happen to you just round the corner in Brighton!
I had 20 minutes so instead of getting caught up with the tempting sales I dashed down the seafront to admire our fabulous seaside with the sun shining ever so brightly over the tumbling, energising waves, quietly chuckling away to myself, watching people getting a gentle spraying whilst teasing the waves on the stone jetty, you know the one with my two favourite seafront sculptures, the Kiss and Hamish Black's 'Float'..... (you see am getting sidetracked already!) ..... and swish .... wash .... splash!! .... there I stood soaked in lovely salty water!! I couldn't quite believe it so I stood in shock with my mouth wide open until I realised it was filling with salty wash....mmmm nice!! Anyway so before I knew it my time was up and I made my way back to the inviting warm office to dry off!! Needless to say everyone had a good chuckle at me as I dripped in....:-0)

Moral of the story is ..... you never know what is going to liven up your day in sunny Brighton!!

Yours a bit drier now and a Happy 2008 from us at the Visitor Information Centre, come in and see us when you are next here!!


Stars of St Petersburg Ballet

Working at the Visitor Information Centre in Brighton is never dull. You get to hear about all the interesting events and happenings in the City. The St Petersburg Ballet Theatre are performing at the Dome over Christmas and when the details flashed up on our all singing all dancing Theatre Ticket Booking System (which goes under the name of ENTA) I quickly booked myself two tickets for a Gala evening of Ballet. The Dome Theatre (in case you have never visited) is an impressive concert hall, once the Royal Stables of King George IV, and recently refurbished to modern standards. Equally impressive was the performance of the St Petersburg Stars who seemed at times to defy gravity as they danced round the stage. My companion enjoyed the excellent bar facilities and a perfect evening was rounded off by the cancellation of our late train home. C'est la vie! The Dome hosts a wide range of musical events so it's worth keeping an eye on the VisitBrighton website or calling in at the Visitor Information Centre (next to the Royal Pavilion Shop) for the latest hot information from ENTA.


Friday, 21 December 2007

10 Things that make Brighton Christmassy

I know it’s a bit late but there’s still 4 days to go! Can you do better?

1. Brighton Pier.

2. Resident Nick Berry. Didn’t he have a big Christmas number one with Every Loser Wins?

3. Unique shops. Making sure you can get Grandad something very very special.

4. Donatello’s giant polar bear. Its massive!

5. Brighton Square’s Christmas lights.

6. The Royal Pavilion.

7. Theatre Royal’s panto. This year they’ve lit the whole building pink

8. Julia Finch at VisitBrighton – only known to us I know, but she deserves a mention because she’s been celebrating since November!

9. Burning the clocks.

10. Ballet at Brighton Dome.

For more on all the above see


Thursday, 20 December 2007

Recycling in Brighton

As it's the festive season and all that, if you're thinking of buying, or have already bought, technology type gadgets, such as a new mobile phone or computer, remember to spare a thought about what you, or those you're giving to, might do with the old stuff. Have you thought about recycling it?

If you do, you'll be doing the planet a big favour, as a lot of electronic equipment contains rather yucky toxic chemicals, which can pose health and environmental risks, particularly in landfills where toxins can leak into the soil and ground water. So next time you go to throw that old mobile phone in the dutstbin, try and remember to think again. And if you think I'm writing this from atop a huge glowing halo - I'm really not. I recently dismantled an old hoover and tried to disguise it in the communal bin in various bin bags. It didn't work, of course. So, next time, I shall be more responsible, feel far less guilty and the dustmen will dislike me less...

Here are a few links that might help:

Find out more about electronic waste
Guide to mobile phone recycling in Brighton
Recycle your mobile phone with Oxfam
UK computer recyclers

And if you're looking for some local Brighton based recycling outlets, we've got some in the Recycling section of our VisitBrighton Green pages.

Happy recycling!


Brighton bus and train combined tickets

Well, I seem to be on festive fire today and have been told to wind down like everyone else, but I think I've had too many of Finchy's brownies and am on a mad sugar surge of productivity.

So imagine my excitment when we received a very good question indeed from one of our regular VisitBrighton blog readers... The rather lovely Mrs Barrow from Hove wanted to know whether there is a combined bus and train ticket for Brighton. Well, guess what there is! It's one of those things people just don't seem to really know about and its really great value...

Its called the PLUSBUS ticket and is available to visitors who wish to combine train and bus travel. Simply ask for a PLUSBUS ticket for Brighton when buying your train ticket and you can make as many journeys as you like on all local Brighton buses on the day your ticket is valid. And with Brighton offering a rather fab award winning bus service, the PLUSBUS ticket offers a great way to get around town, as well as save money.

Find out more about it on the 'By Train' section of our Travelling to Brighton page.

So, thanks to Mrs Barrow for asking the question. She's ever so helpful - she's always giving us feedback and advice on all manner of things...!


Sign up to VisitBrighton RSS News Feeds

As the Pointer Sisters once said 'I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it...'
However, whilst I'm hopefully not about to lose control, I must say I do like it!

Like what, you ask!

Well, whilst the rest of you are winding down and getting windy from too many mince pies, we've been getting busy with RSS feeds. Not a repetitive strain condition, I might add! No, rather, a lovely little 'simple syndication service', so visitors to can sign up to receive notification of all spanking new VisitBrighton news stories in their news readers.

If at this point, you're as confused as everyone outside of the marketing team seems to be here, you can find out all about RSS on our RSS new feed Help page. Then simply pop to the VisitBrighton homepage and click on the little orangy button and Bobs your uncle and Fanny's your aunt! Well, you'll have an RSS feed link anyway. And you'll also have your fingers right on the pulse of what's going on in Brighton in the New Year...

And if one more person dare asks me if you're supposed to get lots of code when you click on the orange button I shall personally ban Christmas....bah humbug!

And on that note, Merry Christmas everyone!!!


Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Brighton on film

As fans of our blog will know we had a film competition recently and asked people to send in a one minute promotional video of Brighton, and the winners have now been chosen

However we also have our own two minute promotional film of Brighton to give visitors a quick snapshot of what they can see once they arrive in our city:

Monday, 17 December 2007

Quirky Festive Facts

What does a cat on Brighton beach have in common with Christmas?
Sandy Claws!!

Boom, boom.

Well, now that I’ve got that off my chest, here are some quirky facts about the festive season:

  • Apparently, if you received all of the gifts in the song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, you would receive 364 presents – almost one for each day of the year!

  • 'It's a Wonderful Life’ appears on TV more often than any other holiday movie

  • More than 3,000 metric tonnes of Robertson's mincemeat is sold in the run-up to the 25th

  • 10 million turkeys are sold each year – that’s a lot of turkey curry!

  • Al Martino - Here In My Heart, was the 1st Christmas number 1 in 1952

  • Father Christmas was apparently born in Turkey in the fourth century, but no-one is quite sure when he moved to the North Pole!

  • British people started putting trees in their houses when Queen Victoria's husband Albert brought the idea over from Germany in 1841

  • Anyone caught having fun at Christmas between 1647 and 1660 was in trouble, since celebrating the holiday had been banned by the rather strict Puritans who were in power at the time!

  • Mr Blobby was the Christmas number 1 in 1993

  • The definition of a white Christmas in England is when one snowflake falls on the roof of the London Weather Centre – so by that reckoning there have only been 2 white Christmases - 1938 and 1976.

And if all those quirky facts aren't enough to get you going, check out some of the quirky things you can do in Brighton this Christmas:

Burning of the Clocks

Christmas Day Dip

Or simply just have a search through our Brighton What's On section.

And whilst I’m a roll, let’s have one more festive joke for the road…

Why does Santa have 3 gardens?
So he can Hoe, Hoe, Hoe!

It’s ok, I’m going now…


Sunday, 16 December 2007

Hitches & Troupes

Yesterday it was the phone and today it is the council U-drive. Oh, don’t those technical hitches send you into the arms of the internet (because there is very little else we are able to do).

I must apologise to our beloved visitor information centre customers. For some period yesterday they could not communicate with us by phone, today they can perfectly but we cannot do much about processing their enquiry without that blessed U-drive. I also had to swiftly remember how do fill in a manual National Express ticket earlier but there is now a very lucky young lady on her way back home. Alas, the servers our VisitBrighton website sits on are made of heavier stuff…and very grateful we are too!

But we are not fainthearted, us visitor information centre lot. I am keeping my troupes (that is myself and Richard today) and our beloved visitors informed and supplied regardless. Richard is reading through my manual National Express tickets instructions as I write this. Incidentally our beloved visitors can make their lives so much more hustle free by using some of our VisitBrighton online purchasing facilities:
Since I mention this twice already I shall start off with National Express closely followed by some train offers, car hire and even Eurostar and ferries. Then there is our One Stop Shop for books and maps of Brighton and not forgetting our exclusive Winter Breaks offers.

Of course I could never blame our beloved visitors if they cannot tear themselves away from our award winning and glamorously fitted visitor information centre, next door to the Royal Pavilion, for the personal touch. My troupes and I would be very delighted to welcome everybody by offering them a hustle free experience, whether you want a boutique hotel room for tonight, a Saver ticket to Seven Sisters, to catch a flight from Heathrow/Gatwick/Luton or a Eurostar from St Pancras, partake in a bit of the St Petersburg Ballet at the Dome, gain admission to the Royal Pavilion or Sea Life Centre or just to get informed on what there is to see and do in Brighton. Whilst leaving our glamorous premises you enter the equally classy Royal Pavilion Shop, which is currently stocked with the most gorgeous Christmas gift items.

Obviously the main reason anybody would enter our visitor information centre is to see us. I shall run through our lot for you so as to assist in the spotting process:
Richard is now eating his sandwich and apart from being very good a devouring my instructions is also a very organised adviser not just about Brighton (oh no) but about financial products as well. He travels in to us all the way from Burgess Hill and has been in this visitor information business for quite a while.
My fellow troupes master is Darren. He is shacked up in Hove (he won’t mind me saying this). You may have spotted him as one of the faces in the latest EnjoyEngland campaign or on his many trips abroad. He speaks perfect French, having lived in Paris and having left his heart and good sense there.
Our Karen is our Spanish lass, being born and dragged up in Madrid (we have forgiven her now). She has lovely red hair and the vocal volume to go with it – which comes in handy when she is on phone duties.
Laura now has two little kiddies in tow but in her misspent youth she did a spell in Avignon … and as a photographer’s assistant (but those were two separate spells). Originally from Devon, she keeps all our information sheets fit for our beloved visitors (not sure the two are related).
If you detect a beautiful Irish lilt you will be speaking to Mary. She tells me she is going to a Christmas ball and that she has been practicing ballroom dancing with her partner all year. This is probably why she has gone to see her mother in Dublin now.
Be careful with Pippa, she is a trained acupuncturist. Otherwise she is eminently sensible and helps me out whenever I have staffing crisis – ie every second day or so.
We also held on to Pat. She was one of our summer seasonal staff but I keep finding her the odd day here and there. She is calm personified and ever so into everything.
You may glimpse Katie but more likely you will speak to her, which is a shame as she is the youngest (and pettiest) of us lot. Being the youngest she also has the job of keeping our plasma screen updated (using power point, I think – that shows you how old I am).
My name is Luzia and I hail from the Swiss mountains (Appenzell Ausserrhoden to be precise) but you have to ask my troupes about more interesting gossip about me. I can often be found in the Hanover area of the city when I am not organising troupes.

Well, you will be pleased to know that we are now booking National Tickets electronically again.

Luzia xx

Friday, 14 December 2007

Is Sue still wearing her Christmas cracker hat...?

It is quite quiet in our office today as last night was our Christmas night out, thankfully we all do flexi time here so some didn't make it in at all today, others of us came in just for the afternoon once we were over the worst part of the hangover and miraculously some people have managed to do a full working day!

Before I say anything else I have to say congratulations to Sue who kept her party hat on all evening and I suspect she may even still be wearing it, so well done Sue! I was less successful as mine fell off during the meal and Linda turned it into a lovely flower, which she attached to a hair clip but for some reason that wouldn't stay in my hair either and unfortunately I lost it, sorry Linda.

Anyway we started the evening with drinks after work and then went to the House restaurant for dinner (and some more wine of course!). It's an ideal place to go for groups as they have a series of dining rooms so you get a room to yourself. Apart from celebrating the festive season we were also saying goodbye and good luck to Julia who is now on maternity leave and we also got to meet Liz who will be covering for Julia whiles she's away.

Some of the sensible ones left after the meal but a few of us decided we needed some more wine and so went over to Ha Ha's. While we were sat down we were all being terribly witty conversationalists, however when we got up to leave we were all a bit wobbly on our feet especially Sarah who ended up in the bushes, in true comedy fashion complete with flailing arms, oh and thank you to the chap who helped her back onto her feet again!

However we did not take this as a sign that it was time to go home, on the contrary it was actually time to go to Legends, that was if I could remember where it was! We didn't make it in to Legends in the end, well Sarah got in to their revolving door but no further, so after some giggling and chatting we eventually stumbled into taxis and headed home. Although my memory of the latter part of the evening is a little hazy but perhaps if my colleagues would like to add to this post then between us we can fill in all the gaps!


Thursday, 13 December 2007

Dali melted his clocks, but we burn ours!

The build up to Christmas can be quite a stressful time. I certainly feel like I have been into every shop in Brighton & Hove as I tried to decide what to buy for my Auntie Babs and my pet gecko Esmerelda (maybe I should ask fellow blogger Sarah for some tips on presents for one's furry or scaley friends).

Well, I am pleased to announce my Christmas shopping is now done and dusted, so all I need to do now is sit back and relax, open a box of chocolates and wait for the Queen's speech and a new pair of socks from Auntie Babs to slip through my letter box! But wait a minute.... How could I forget one of my favourite events of the festive season?! (No! I know what you are thinking, it's not spending 20 minutes sat on Santa's knees in his cosy little grotto in Churchill Square Shopping Centre! and pleading with him as I suck my dummy that I really, really do deserve a Learjet this year!) No, the event that gives me the most pleasure at this time of year is our very own Burning The Clocks!

Part Guy Fawkes Night, part Alice In Wonderland, this event truly is a wonderful antidote to the perils of seasonal shopping sprees and dodgy Christmas parties (where last year I ended up dancing semi naked to Slade's 'So Here it is Merry Christmas' and then spent an hour talking to my boss's clematis thinking that it was 'Janet from accounts' with a green wig on!).

Burning of the Clocks is in celebration of the Winter Solstice and the onset of longer hours of daylight again and comprises of a wonderful lantern parade through The Lanes area of central Brighton. Most of the lantern bearers are children who have put the lanterns together themselves. It really is magical, seeing all the beaming faces of the children as they go on their luminous adventure, collectively meandering their way through the town centre like a giant glow worm. This year's events takes place on Friday 21st December, with the procession making its way along North Street at about 6:30pm, before heading into Ship Street, Bartholomews, East Street and then left along the seafront onto Madeira Drive.

The event culminates in the lanterns being burnt on a huge bonfire which is then followed by a wonderful fireworks display and the gentle murmer of the 'Ooohs' and 'Aaahhhs' as the crowd enjoy the pyrotechnic show in the sky!

The event does attract big crowds so for the best views, stand on Marine Parade from where you will get a great view of the procession's arrival and of the fireworks display.

So if you fancy clearing your head of Christmas jingles, TV advertising, stressful shops, then head down to the Burning of the Clocks event and fill your head with wonderful memories of this fantastic event! Then why not head to one of Brighton's 400 restaurants for a lovely dinner - some of them might even have some festive special offers!

Well I will sign off here, so it just leaves me to say I hope that you all have a great Christmas and a fabulous New Year! Just don't over do it on the sprouts! ;o)


Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Brighton top for Christmas shopping

Did you know around 7 out of 10 British dogs get Christmas gifts from their doting owners? We're all a bit bonkers really aren't we? Saying that, my cat Tallulah went on feline strike last year when I failed to buy her usual cat stocking - she didn't purr for a week and depending on where I was in a room she would re-position herself so her slightly raised bottom was firmly directed at me.
So this year I shall be buying her an extra specially LARGE cat stocking with lots of cat nip in to bribe her with. Partly because I quite like a bit of cat nip myself - a quick whiff and I'm flying around all over the shop. Its the perfect excuse for knocking the Christmas Tree over...

Anyway, if like me you're a bit of a sucker for pet's pressies, there's a marvellous pet shop in Brighton called Pamper Me Pet, which caters for all us mad folk who like to buy our beloved pets a gift. My best friend, who earns far more money than is frankly healthy, could probably have re-raised the Titantic for what she shed out on her new kittens. But then she did call one of them Penrose Tennyson after an old film star, so is clearly a miaow short of a kitten anyway.

Pamper Me Pet has everything from jewelled collars, leather collars, casual collars, leads, harnesses, beds, bowls, booties, perfumes, nail polish, bows, treats and toys...phew. And they even do a grooming service.

So, if you want to get festive with your felines this year, check them out. And if you don't have pets or are just a bit more sensible than me, Brighton has just been voted one of the top 5 cities for Christmas shopping so you should come and have a bit of a shop anyway...

Right, well I'm off to get Tallulah a diamond encusted cerise pink jewelled collar this lunchtime. Ooo, she's gonna love me. Happy shopping!


Tuesday, 11 December 2007

A Day in the Life

When we first started this blog one of the ideas we had was that we should all take it in turns to write a day in the life style piece so that people can find out what we actually do, so here goes – A day in the life of a Marketing Officer….

So far this morning I have been checking my e-mails and having a quick look at the local news in case there is anything we need to be aware of, for example if a restaurant has closed down or if there is a new development in the pipeline. My next job will be to make up three press packs as we have some journalists coming to stay in Brighton tonight. They are from three large daily Chinese newspapers and they will be writing about funky hotels, shops and restaurants in the city. So later this morning I will walk up to the Alvia hotel to drop off the packs and to have a look at a couple of the rooms as it is one of the few hotels I have not seen yet but I trust my colleagues who say that it is a lovely place to stay. I won’t actually be meeting up with the journalists this time as they do not have much time here, however usually I would join them at some point be it for coffee, a meal or to take them round a few places. This will probably be the last journalist we have coming to stay this year, although we might just squeeze one more in to write about Burning the Clocks next week.

I am typically in and out of the office either visiting new partners or meeting journalists. However this week I will be in the office most of the time which gives me a chance to catch up on some admin work. This will include writing up reports on our monthly e-mail newsletters (which you can all sign up for from the homepage!) and reviewing our pay per click activity (sponsored links on Google etc). However the main thing I need to do this week is a report reviewing our online activity and what we should do in the future including pay per click, affiliate marketing and social media – by the way if any of you are on Facebook or MySpace please add VisitBrighton as a friend, thanks :) I also have a couple of interesting projects I'm working on including our next podcast due out in January and I can exclusively reveal to you that it will be all about a Romantic break in the city. I'm also working on making a CD-Rom with information about Brighton including fact sheets, logos and a video which will go out to journalists instead of the paper packs we give out at the moment.

Ok so clearly I won’t be doing all that today, however I wanted to give you a bit of a flavour of what I'll be doing this week. Feel free to ask me any questions about what I'm doing and I'll maybe do this again in the New Year when I'll be out and about more with journalists again as that might be more exciting! Oh but before I go I might as well make you envious and let you know what I'm doing this evening. As it is the Christmas season we have two drinks events to go to tonight. First up will be champagne and nibbles at English's followed by a cocktail night at the new Jury's Inn, so I'm sure one of us will be back tomorrow to tell you all about it, although it probably won't be until the afternoon….


Monday, 10 December 2007

Beachy Head

No wittering from me today cause I'm busier than a busy bee at a busy bee's business convention (sorry to person I nicked that from!) . Just a photo of Beachy Head, cause its lovely and you should go!

Its part of the Seven Sisters Country Park and you can find out more here...


Thursday, 6 December 2007

Let it rain...

Oh for goodness sake, stop raining!

I was becoming a wee bit irritated about the bloomin persistent drizzle at lunchtime and for some bizarre reason did a Google search on the word 'rain'. Please don't ask why. I don't know why! And guess what? According to the Free Dictionary 'rain' means to:

  • 'give abundantly' - as in 'to rain gifts upon'
  • 'a heavy or abundant fall' - as in ' a rain of fluffy cottonwood seeds'
  • 'to mizzle or drizzle' - as in 'when it mizzles in Summer, hiking can be pleasant'

There was even an ad for a kagool that promised to make me 'Look gorgous' in all its rain related gloriousness.' It was guaranteed so it must be true and anyway, i'm a sucker for ads that promise to make me look GORGEOUS!

So, now I quite like the rain - cause it makes me think of fluffy cottonwood seeds and looking gorgeous. Or maybe its just because I live in Brighton and people just refuse to be put off by a bit of mizzle...we're so fab as a city we apparently buck the trends and maintain our appeal through rain and shine...

So I suggest you embrace the mizzle, visualise some 'fluffy cottonwood seeds raining down', get yourself a Kagool that makes you look gorgeous and come and to Brighton. By which time it will probably have stopped raining …


Monday, 3 December 2007

Mika at the Brighton Centre

On Friday night I was at the Brighton Centre to see Mika, who was clearly very excited about playing to a bigger crowd as he kept telling us this was much better then the Concorde 2 where he played last time he was in Brighton. Before I go back to talking about Mika I have to quickly defend the Concorde 2 as one of my favourite gigs was going there to see The Bravery, and I think it's a good size as it's big enough to get a good crowd of people jumping around but still initimate enough to soak up the atmosphere.

That said Mika does really need a bigger venue not that he is better than The Bravery but becasue of the style of performance, as Mika's show included a lot of theatrical elements. Fans of his will know that Mika and his sister do all the artwork on the album and this was reflected in the stage design as the backdrop was a large tree with some fairy tale characters sitting in it, and during one of the introductions a giant skeleton puppet in a dress come out to say hello. Highlights included a fantastic cover version of the Eurythmics Missonary Man where Mika was joined by a voluptious diva with a powerful set of lungs. Grace Kelly and Love Today were also very popular, however the most memorable part of the show was the encore as there was a mini-play involving the Teddy's Bear picnic and a violent rabbit before Mika dressed as a crocodile returned to the stage for Lollipop and giant balloons descended on to the crowd - ok it sounds a bit odd now mainly becasue it was but somehow it worked!

Well I'll be back at the Brighton Centre on Wednesday to see Maroon 5 but what about you guys? Did you see Mika? Are you going to any gigs soon, how do you think concerts at the Brighton Centre compare with the Concorde 2?