Sometimes, when the London lifestyle gets a little too hectic, the best thing to do is to head for the coast. Jump in the car… hop on a train… just find a way as the classic British seaside break has a lot going for it….
It’s true that there are some funny old associations with British beaches and their culture. There’s a peculiarly naff quality connected to attractions such as bingo halls, dubious roller-coasters and those classic saucy postcards; but whilst a sense of all that still remains today, it’s unobtrusive enough to enjoy as a quaint novelty, or to forget about entirely if you’d rather.
There’s a great choice of resorts, many of the best being in good old Essex. You’ve got favourites such as Clacton on Sea, which offers a lovely sandy beach along with the expected Victorian pier, or Southend on Sea, which can admittedly get slightly raucous.
Perhaps the best offering is Brighton. This might sound an odd favourite as the beach isn’t sandy so sandcastles will never be on the cards, but a bit of pebble-skimming is always an option. What makes Brighton so attractive though is the completeness of the town itself: it’s somewhere that would still be great without the beach, whereas a lot of these resorts have little to offer but the sea.
For instance, alongside the classic arcade with all its shoot-‘em-up games and slot machines, there’s a proper casino for when the sun goes down and you want to hit the tables. It might be an idea to get your eye in with some online games on the train on the way down as these Brighton folk can be crafty customers! There are great clubs here too and the nightlife really benefits from the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Brighton. Being so close to London, and with its university, there’s a lot of young blood to keep things fresh and just plain cool.
Also of course there’s plenty of culture here, so although you’re out of London you won’t have to experience any withdrawal symptoms! There are lots of little galleries dotted around the place as well as Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. In addition to its fine art collection there’s always a thought-provoking exhibition here to get some ideas flowing. This museum-cum-gallery is located right next to the famous Brighton Pavilion, which is itself a work of art from Brighton’s Regency days.
If you’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt, then after your splash in the sea you might like to consider popping over to Lewes, a lovely little spot just up the road from Brighton. Lewes castle will give you a nice blast from the past (…built in 1069!) and if you’re peckish you could always pop into Bill’s. This is the original café that lead to the chain that everyone is now so familiar with up and down the country. It all started as a greengrocer’s and it’s quite nice to see where it all began, and to say that you’ve been to the original site.