Friday, 31 October 2008

Local businesses win prestigious awards

Well before I go off to see the new James Bond film at the lovely Duke of York's cinema, with a glass of wine of course, I just had to say congratulations to SailNetUK who won in two categories of the Tourism ExSEllence Awards - Best Tourism Experience and Sports Tourism. So well done guys, and in case you were wondering Sailnet offer exciting sailing activities but don't worry if you've never sailed before as they also cater for complete novices.

Another local business which was highly commended was M's Cycle Hire, who unsurprisingly hire out bicycles! They very helpfully bring the bicycles direct to your door, or hotel if you are a visitor and given that this is a compact city, it's the ideal way to get around!

So well done to both businesses, why not try them out this weekend?


Tuesday, 28 October 2008

‘The day the music died…’ or did it?

Well, I truly don’t believe it did. Judging by the volume of audiences at the concerts I’ve recently attended, I’d say music is very much alive. I think Don McLean got it wrong when he sang ‘American Pie’. I think he was ill informed.

Let’s take my visit to Glyndebourne in August, for instance. As part of my Silver Wedding Anniversary celebrations we booked to see ‘Love and other Demons’ a new opera adapted from the Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella. Very dark, very deep, very mind provoking and very packed out. Ok, it was a new opera, ok, it was conducted by Vladimir Jurowski (acquaintances are beginning to think I’m a groupie – I think they may be right, but don’t tell my husband). However, it did have a rather ‘arty’ feel to it and such operas are not everybody’s cup tea and yet Glyndebourne was full to capacity.

Then there was the last night of Brighton’s World Sacred Music Festival last Sunday night. Mor Kabasi – WOW! No wonder there were ‘SOLD OUT’ signs all over the windows of the Sallis Benney theatre on Sunday night. She was a knock-out. Israeli born of Moroccan and Persian parentage, singing in Ladino – a language made up of Old Spanish, Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Turkish and Greek and spoken by the Jews of Spain, Portugal and North Africa. Her voice was so beautiful, her musicians world class and her music full of Spanish, Arabic and rock influences with strong flamenco rhythms. At one point she and her band left the stage to set up at audience level with Mor Kabasi singing as she walked up the centre aisle. The audience were spell bound. The theatre was full.

And that brings me to last Wednesday night. A piano recital at Brighton College. A mix of Bach and Shostokovich as well as a selection from Gershwin. And you guessed it - almost full to capacity – and in the middle of the week too.

So, what can I say? The music certainly hasn’t died. In fact, it’s very much alive in Brighton during the winter as well as the summer. Anyone that says we’re just a summer city has got it totally wrong. As the brochure says ‘Our city isn’t just for the summer’. There’s just so much to do here and people do it!


Friday, 24 October 2008

What's on in Brighton

Well hooray it's Friday, so I thought I'd be helpful and give you a few ideas of things to do this weekend.
So let's start with tonight:

So hopefully that has given everyone something to look forward :)


Tuesday, 21 October 2008

London to Brighton train ride

Just a quick one today, but as I was perusing the BBC iPlayer I came across this short film which shows two train journeys from London to Brighton, one from 1953 and one from 1983, side by side.

Well that's it, told you it was a quick one! 



Monday, 20 October 2008

Brighton & Hove is the country's most continental city

Another day and another accolade for Brighton & Hove! Yes it's true this time we have been named the most continental city in Britain beating Liverpool, Belfast, Edinburgh and poor old London had to make do with being eighth in the list.

Overall the study (commissioned by Heineken) found that Britons were embracing continental attitudes be it a kiss hello or having a siesta during the day in order to stay out later, presumably another factor is using words such as siesta instead of nap!

Back to Brighton though, people do often comment on the fact that there is a European feel to the city particularly when it comes to food and drink as there is such a mixture of styles on offer, I like the fact that more restaurants are moving away from the traditional three large courses to having a few smaller dishes so you can pick and choose more things to try without getting bloated, examples in Brighton & Hove include Pintxo People and Graze.

Another factor has to be the people, the traditional image of English people being stand-offish and having a stiff upper lip just doesn't apply here as everyone is friendly and also more laid back, visitors often comment on the fact that the city centre is quiet first thing in the morning, it doesn't really start to get going until 10 or 11. That's not to say that no one works a normal 9-5 shift but the independent shops of the North Laine don't tend to open up until late morning and then you start to see more people about. Part of the reason for this continental approach of starting and finishing later is that we have always had a lot of students here thanks to the two universities and the large number of English Language schools.

But don't just take my word for it, come and visit Brighton & Hove and then you can see for yourself why we have been named the most continental city. As ever if you think I have missed something out then please let me know


Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Brighton nightlife with a twist

Brighton & Hove is well known for having great nightlife, whether it's club nights, live music or comedy we've got it covered. However this month you can do something a little bit different once the sun goes down.

On the 25th October the city will host White Night where a variety of venues and attractions will stay open right through the night and best of all most of them will have free entry. The event is already very popular in Europe particularly in Paris and Berlin, but this will be the first time it's been tried in the UK. The reason for choosing that date is because it is the Autumn Equinox and it is the night the clocks go back, and to mark this there will be a 'Duet for the Small Hours' with three live and highly charged physical duets which will begin and end at 2am.

It's also good timing from my point of view as I am going to see Roy 'Catchphrase' Walker that evening at the Corn Exchange, so I'll be able to enjoy the festivities afterwards. Highlights include the Royal Pavilion staying open til midnight with a concert being performed by the Brighton Philharmonic orchestra in the Music Room. Herbie Flowers will be performing in the Dome Foyer bar, the Prince Regent swimming pool will be open until 2am with underwater speakers, the library staff will have to resist the urge to shush people as they will have local bands playing and screening films as well. If that wasn't enough there will also be special trails throughout the night all with a romantic theme there's a Love Hunt, Lit Lit Trail and a romance walk, although if you prefer to peddle there is a special treasure hunt for cyclists as well!

So for a night out in Brighton with a difference make sure you come down for White Night and if I've completely confused you with all the different events happening, then don't worry as the Visitor Information Centre will be open that night and you may be lucky enough to spot our Marketing Manager John wandering around thrusting our Winter Guide in people's faces :)

Friday, 10 October 2008

More awards for Brighton!

Obviously as I work for VisitBrighton I am always on the look out for news stories about the city, but as I've been here a while it seems I have managed to brainwash my family and friends, as my mum very sweetly alerted me to a news story that I had somehow overlooked, so thanks Mum!

The Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital has been named Britain's best Public Building, beating the other 20 building's on the shortlist to win the Prime Minister's Better Public Buliding award. The building was built in the shape of an ark and has bright bands of colour, well rather than trying to describe it why don't I just add a picture for you:

Back in 2005 the same award was won by Brighton's Jubilee Library, which was chosen becasue of the fact that it is environmentally friendly as it features low energy consumption, low embodied energy and recycled rainwater. Although personally I like it becasue as the glass fronted exterior looks stunning, especially at night:

There you are then, yet antoher reason to visit Brighton, as apart from the well known architectural delights of the Royal Pavilion and the Regency squares there are all sorts of less well known ones as well. So please fell free to let us know which are your favourite buildings in Brighton & Hove