Brighton is one of those cities where the pulse thrums with music, the taste of fun is in the air and streets are filled with more than a glimmer of mischief. We’ve visited a few times – firstly as a brand new visitor to England, later for hijinks with friends and often as a seaside day trip from London – but haven’t revisited for years.
The culture is a little offbeat, the locals are friendly and the coffee is AMAZING. Neighbouring Hove is a little more reticent and refined, but Brighton is where the fun starts – and when the train companies behave it’s only an hour or so away from London.
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Ibis Brighton but all of my very, very many thoughts
are only ever my own…
So when a tribe of bloggers along with our plus ones (the lovely Leigh, Lisa, Leanne and I were invited and corralled by my pink-haired beauty Erica) were invited to a night of open air cinema and to snooze a Friday evening away, how could we resist another taste of the city?
My only complaint is that each time we visit and I actually remember to have a charged camera with me, the blue skies disappear exactly when I make my way to the Royal Pavilion. Locals walk their dogs, sketch the turrets and smell the roses but tourists like myself sneak through the foxgloves and point lenses towards the architectural curio residing in the English county of East Sussex.
The Royal Pavilion was built as a seaside residence George,
Prince of Wales, who became the Prince Regent in 1811, the court
physicians thought the fresh seawater could help his crippling gout (it
was also a convenient retreat for his long-time companion and eventual
wife, Maria Fitzherbert.) The current facade was designed by John Nash,
who adored the exoticism of Indo-Islamic architecture.
Blissfully snuggling in the VIP section of the Brighton Big Screen, we watched the sunset before settling back as the opening credits of Pulp Fiction rolled out. This year was the inaugural trialing of using comfy SweetBeds (looked after by the Ibis Hotel crew) and it has spoilt us for life.
Shoes kicked off, chandeliers admired and springs tested, we were treated to freshly tucked in, warm covers pulled up to our chins, as much popcorn as Mr
Kiwi could hilariously knock over, a few drinks here and there, hotdogs delivered to our laps and a touch of cult film.
How comfy are the beds? Well, someone fell asleep mid-movie (I won’t name names, what goes on blog tour, stays on blog tour
Lisa) and someone else began to drift off (Mr Kiwi) if that’s any idea, and when the credits sadly began we may have asked if we could sleep overnight on the beach, only half jokingly.
The Retro cafe we stumbled upon was our favourite find of the whole trip – we followed our noses away from the crowds along pastel coloured apartments and stumbled on a shrine to American rock n roll and an ajoining record shop with an entire drawer devoted to 70s rockstars.
Ibis hosted us in their newly zuzhed up branch, surprisingly only a minute’s stroll from the Brighton train station. We enjoyed the perfectly proportioned room with everything needed for a short city break. We left our bags after our cracking breakfast (and a hotel tour with the new Ibis manager – all of the rooms are of a very similar high standard) and set off to explore. Job done, I dropped Mr Kiwi to husband creche (an enormous guitar store) as I took off on a blogger mission.
Glorious choir music seeped from slightly ajar windows of the Brighton Dome as I tiptoed into their cafe to soak up half an hour of swooping scales, beautiful harmonies and a couple of cheekily modern arias.
Humour is found on every corner. From the busking piano player dressed as Sesame Streets Ralph, to the brilliant Big Screen Fire Exit along the beach… I’ve never wanted to badly to flick an alarm switch causing everyone to #getinthesea
Lunch was a ridiculously delicious Tiramisu and pizza combo, recommended to us by a friend in Wales. Donatello’s is a typified Italtion trattoria, dripping with hanging baskets, bustling with friendly waiters and generous servings of Etruscan hospitality.
The Ocean – the soft sound of water washing over the pebbled beach, the cry of seagulls swooping (and occasionally dive-bombing unwary visitors) drew us back time and time again, (all roads in the city seem to lead wonderfully to the pebbled beach) but this time we didn’t make the mistake of riding rollercoasters on full stomachs.
We made our way back through the North Laine, a Brighton institution with a wistful look behind us and a glance to train timetables, before collecting our bags from the smiling staff on our way home.
Why do I always forget how close you really are?