Who said England was always dark and gloomy?

After a week spent in London city it was time for me to explore somewhere a little different. A quick train and bus ride found me in the town of Brighton, known to most for its artistic and creative vibe.

In a prime location on the southern coast of England, it combines everything that is magical about the seaside: fish and chips and pastel sunsets, while still being in close proximity to London. I’d long associated Brighton with the name “London-by-Sea,” so-called by pleasure seekers and city folk seeking a weekend break from the London hustle, and now it was time for me to experience it for myself.

With warm and inviting weather following us, my partner and I settled into our accommodation and decided to take an evening stroll along the beachfront promenade. Flanked by bars and dominated by its 115-year-old brightly lit pier, which has a small theme park on the end, its one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations. Arriving at the waterfront was an all-round sensory experience; the smell of the ocean wafted over us as we heard music being played from nearby bars. Meanwhile artists were sketching portraits for eagerly waiting tourists and chalk artwork on the sidewalk in was a small display of Brighton’s liberal and inclusive community. 

As we made our way down to the long stretch of pebbled beach, the sky was beginning to swirl into a blend of pinks and purples, colours we were lucky enough to see every night on our getaway. Hearing the waves crash and seagulls cry as we relaxed and observed groups of friends picnicking and enjoying evening drinks on the beach was certainly a great way to cap the night.

The second and third days were for exploring. Winding away from the Royal Pavilion, a building designed to imitate great Indian architecture, are a cluster of tightly winding alleys known as The Lanes. North Laine is the definition of “bohemian,” with vegan cafes on every corner and locals clad in custom vintage wear. As with most hip neighbourhoods, there is an abundance of street art, most of which we found along Trafalgar Street. We happened upon the area on a Saturday morning and found the upper streets lined with market stalls of vintage clothing, bric-a-brac, leather goods and fortune tellers. Falling into the masses of keen bargain hunters was exciting yet hectic, so we made our way down to the daily open-air market, where we had a delicious Turkish meal and picked up a snack from one of the abundant fruit stands.

With another evening spent on the beachfront enjoying the bars and ambiance, we spent some time reliving our youth in the theme park, browsing through the many classic games on offer and hearing people screaming from the top of the Booster.

Our final day closed with a bang – the brilliant white cliffs of the Seven Sisters weave their way along the west coast and provided a day trip for us to explore nature from a different perspective. A hot bus trip took us through blink-and-you’d-miss-them towns amongst the hills and valleys of the coastline, until we got to our next stop for a bus transfer. We waited but found that although our phones were telling us when the next coach would arrive, it didn’t marry up on the day.

Not letting this get in the way of our adventure, we trekked in our Kathmandu gear for the last six or so kilometres through the beautiful British countryside and found ourselves at Beachy Head, the highest cliff in England, punctuated by a red and white striped lighthouse. We were in awe of the beautiful landscape. From here we slowly enjoyed the views and walked our way towards Birling Gap, a stunning natural cove between the cliffs.

So whether you’re looking for some R&R at the seaside, wanting to party the night away at a beach club, or are an outdoors enthusiast looking for the next adventure, Brighton has it all and more for you at its doorstep. For me it’s back to the big smoke of London before heading off to create more travel adventures.

Ben Mikha