When you live in a city as big as London, it’s easy to forget that there are other places to venture out to within a short distance. One of my favourite spots to visit is Brighton Beach. Brighton is easily accessible by train, which is part of the reason why it is the perfect day trip from London. Direct trains go from London Victoria, London St. Pancras, and London Bridge frequently – plus from multiple local train stations, such as Clapham Junction. As we don't live far from the latter, we decided to take the train there instead of driving. I am glad we did, because it is hard to find parking in Brighton and it’s expensive. The cheapest I could find was £4/hour. We took the fast train that cost £49.20 for all three of us, and the journey was only 50 minutes. Ok, the train fares may be a little bit steep but this is what you pay for when you book tickets on the day (hmm… and maybe because it was also August Bank Holiday Sunday). However, when tickets are booked 12 weeks in advance, tickets are as low as £5 each way.
When we got there around 11:45 a.m., we followed the masses from the train station, as we knew people were on their way to the beach. At this point, Liam was already getting grouchy. This was expected because we had been sitting on the train for a while and it was nearing his lunchtime. It was also around 23 degrees Celsius and it was getting too hot for him.
We found this lovely restaurant called Taste on the King’s Road, which is just along the harbour. Their lunch menu was affordable, starting off with just £3.95 for the kid’s set meal. They had colouring materials for Liam, which he enjoyed. It was just relaxing to have a meal with a nice view of the sea.
After lunch, we were on a hunt for a cash machine because most of the ones by the pier charged between £1.50-£1.95 per withdrawal! We ended up walking by The Lanes, which has a variety of shops, pubs and restaurant. At the end of East Street, is where we found the magnificent Royal Pavilion. The Eastern influence is not something you see very often in the UK, so it’s a pleasant surprise to turn a corner and see the palace. We didn’t go in as there were charging a small fee, but to walk around the Pavilion Gardens was already a treat. It was perfect timing, as Liam needed a break from sitting down too long. So we let him run around until it was time to go to the Pier.
The pier has changed a lot from the last time I have been there. I swear it gets bigger every time. Even if you’re not interested in the amusements, the pier is still worth visiting. It has rides, arcades, food stalls, candy shops selling homemade fudge, and souvenir shops. There are also lounge chairs, which are free to use on the pier, so you can sit down and soak up the sun. Liam was getting excited when he saw all the rides. They had stand-alone ones that charged £1 a go.
Further down the pier, they had more rides for toddlers of Liam’s height (under .9 meters). There were 3 rides and it only cost £5 to ride all of them. My husband assigned me as Liam’s ‘Ride Chaperone’. The first one we got on was the Dragon Fly and we both enjoyed it.
The next one was the traditional spinning Teacup ride, which made me very dizzy but surprisingly Liam really loved it.
And lastly, we hopped on the Carrousel. Because Liam didn't meet the height requirement, he was not allowed to ride on the wooden horses so we got on the carriage-like seat. He was so sweet as he held my hand throughout the ride and kept saying “Mama” (and other gibberish words I couldn’t decipher. LOL) I think that proves he enjoyed this ride too.
We went around the pier a little bit longer. We bought ourselves some 99er Ice Creams (£2.50) and had a go at some of the arcade machines (£5). Liam particularly liked those 2 pence coin machines where you drop the coin in the machine slot, in the attempt of pushing some of the other coins back out of it. There is also a massive soft play area for kids, but Liam was (again) too little to go in.
We ventured into the beach and looked around the shops. Liam particularly enjoyed the pebbly beach. Because the seawater is notorious for being cold, we didn't even attempt to go near it. I don't think Liam was bothered; he was more interested in the different pebble sizes and colours.
Next thing you know, it was time for us to head back to London. We got on the train early, as we knew it was going to get packed and we had to find space for the buggy.
Overall, it was a great day out. We were blessed with nice weather and we didn't spend so much. All that matters is that Liam enjoyed himself as much as we did. If we had more time, we would have gone further down the beach, as we were told that there is a big toddler playground and water fountain near the British Airways i360. Oh well, I guess that’s our excuse to go back. 🙂
What’s your favourite family thing to do in Brighton?