19th April 2018
With its unique mixture of coast and countryside, culture and creativity, Brighton has always been a favourite with us for year-round weekend getaways.
In the past, we have jumped on the train for a romantic minibreak or nipped down the M23 for a lively shopping/eating/dancing weekend of fun.
But this was to be our first visit to the Regency resort in our Bailey Autograph 79-4 motorhome… and this time we also had our teenager in tow.
Our base for 4 nights was the Brighton Caravan and Motorhome Club site, just 2 miles east of the city centre. Nestled within the South Downs, the site is the perfect base to explore the city, both on foot or via the regular bus service outside the campsite. It is only a 20-minute walk down to the new Marina with its variety of shops and restaurants overlooking the Channel.
Brighton is a colourful and cosmopolitan city by the sea. Our teenager was most impressed by the huge variety of shops and restaurants and my tired feet felt like we visited every single one.
The North Laine area is a treasure trove for vintage lovers and antique hunting abounds in Kemptown. For well-known brands head to Churchill Square or visit the Lanes for an eclectic mix of independent stores. The teenager was in her element. This is not what she usually gets to do on a motor-homing holiday.
The list of Brighton’s must-see attractions is endless and certainly impossible to tick off during a long weekend. Our favourites include a tour round the signature “Taj Mahal”, King George IV’s Royal Pavilion, followed by an afternoon playing in the arcades on the Victorian Pier.
By now, you will have earnt the right for al fresco fish and chips. (NB beware of the seagulls – they really will pinch your entire meal).
For dizzying views along the coast, the i360, the world’s first vertical cable car, rises 162 metres above the sadly derelict West Pier below. But if you prefer your views a little nearer the ground, the Volks Railway is the world’s oldest operating electric railway, which sedately rumbles between the Marina and the Palace Pier.
Brighton is a small and walkable city, backed by undulating hills that ripple from the South Downs. But when we did take the van into town we were able park on the seafront and driving around town was relatively stress free.
After 3 days of shopping, eating and culture, I was in desperate need of some peace and countryside. The stunning village of East Dean is less than an hour away, and the Tiger Inn pub provides free parking (and a delicious lunch) before heading off for a 6-mile return walk to Beachy Head.
The incredible sea views were enhanced by the spring sunshine and I was in my element. The teenager wanted to get back to the shops.
Brighton really does have something for everyone. Being able to base ourselves at a spotless and secure site gave us the freedom to explore this fantastic city and the countryside beyond.
But most importantly, the teenager was happy.