Monday, 1 August 2011

Siobhan Says... The First 24 Hours

We couldn’t find a Simon, so I guess I’ll have to do. Here's my guide to the best 48 hours you will ever spend in the wonderful city-by-the-sea of Brighton & Hove; I hope it fits the bill!

Right, here goes… First thing’s first: everyone knows the reason why people come to Brighton is the beach. With over 648 billion pebbles, sandcastles are a no-no, but the beach is surprisingly comfortable, as evidenced by the 8 million tourists who lie on it each year. And I will admit to falling asleep, bonfires, barbeques and walking along it in storms. Spend as long as you like on the beach – all 48 hours if you feel like it – but definitely take a stroll on the pier.

The Brighton Pier is one of the beauties of Victorian engineering, with elegant ironwork all along the railings and benches. I’d definitely recommend changing a few quid and losing 2p after 2p in the penny arcades. There is a fun-fair at the end of the pier with dodgems, rollercoasters and haunted houses. For kids I’d go on the iconic helter skelter and for the more adventurous, perhaps the Turbo Coaster which leaves you dangling upside-down over the sea. Oh, and get a stick of Rock to take home!

After your pier escapades, fish and chips are a must, giving the true flavour of the seaside with lashings of salt and vinegar. Try the seafront with the Regency Restaurant or take a trip to the Lanes, through the narrow winding alleys full of jewellery shops (and great pubs) to find the Riddle & Finns. Easily my favourite restaurant in the whole of Brighton, this upmarket establishment will definitely satisfy the fishy taste buds.

A bit of bargain-hunting comes next with a trip to the North Laine and the many bohemian, antique and quirky clothing shops on offer to enjoy the constant cries of ‘I had one of those!’ Take time to really wind your way around these ladder of streets full of unique businesses. I think it might be time for a coffee and a cake at one of the numerous cafes, perhaps try Temptation, which really is tempting, or the FARM Market, where there is a quaint and cosy courtyard.

Still bursting with energy (of course you are!) you’ll then head off to Kemptown, ogling the Royal Pavilion as you go (don’t worry we’ll get there tomorrow), and take a walk up the flamboyant and bohemian high street that is St James’ Street, lined with small and independent businesses. Kemptown is Brighton’s gay quarter, and has great night-life with lively bars and great restaurants, and is where we’ll have our dinner at the Sawadee Thai restaurant. Yum.

Afterward let’s go for a boogie, if you’re not too knackered, along the seafront to Lola Lo, a lively night club offering great cocktails and sing-along club classics. If you feel like really singing along, a trip to karaoke haven Lucky Voice is in order, with private booths and waitress service, just make sure you’re ready for the cultural tour tomorrow!

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