Wednesday, 9 November 2011

What We Love Wednesday!! We like to be beside the sea!

When you last left us, we were in Lewes with our friend Wally for Bonfire Night. He lives in Brighton, and we stayed at his that night. The next day, we got to spend a lovely day out with him in this seaside alternative mecca, and loved it so much, we decided to do a WWLW on it! 
Brighton is an easy 1.5 hour drive (without traffic) from Fulham (or 50 minute train ride from London), so it's a place we've frequented over the last few years. It's a very 'cool' place to be, very alternative, with a thriving arts community, who've painted murals all over the city - Brighton is a very colourful place to be. It's also been dubbed one of the hotspots in the UK to see bands or go clubbing. 
In a small area by the seafront they have crammed in A LOT! You have the heritage of the Royal Pavilion the seaside fun of Brighton Pier and the Sea Life centre. Brighton has a unique mix of heritage, culture and cosmopolitan fun, it's as exciting as London, but with a more laid-back feel to it. You happen upon fantastic things without meaning to whatever time of year you go. 

This last weekend, we went for a walk along the beach, and found The London to Brighton Veteran Car Rally! It consisted of 500 or so vintage cars, really vintage like 1900, driving from London to Brighton. Some of the old models were so funny, one had two forward facing seats and two backwards, and in the middle was a lever to steer - it reminded us of the teacup ride at Disneyland, and we couldn't believe they let them on the motorway!! Laura had 'such fun' mimicking the super posh accents of the drivers as they came in and were interviewed on the loudspeaker - after all, you have to have SO much money to have a hobby like restoring cars that old! Needless to say, on our drive back to London, we passed lots of old cars on the side of the road, who never made it to Brighton (apparently about 120 didn't!). 

A highlight of Brighton are the 'Lanes' in the historic quarter, they form an intricate maze of twisting alleyways, offering an extraordinary mix of history and heritage lingering amidst the antique, jewellery, boutique fashion and design shops. Four hundred year-old fishermen's cottages sit alongside cosy pubs and if you wander through Black Lion Lane, you'll find yourself in 'allegedly' the escape route of Charles II, or meander into Quadrophenia Alley - a nod to the Mods and Rockers of the 60s. We love wandering around people watching- the outfits are some what interesting!
Brighton has been dubbed the 'gay capital of Britain' and has a massive LGBT community. Supposingly 1 in 3 Brighton residents is LGBT. Those are great odds! As a result, they have one of the best Pride celebrations we have ever been to every August. We attended in our rainbow gear this year, and witnessed an AMAZING parade, and all the bars etc. were all rainbowed up, the whole place takes part. Wally even got hit on by a guy in the 'Bear Club', much to his girlfriend's amusement! What we love most about the massive gay community in Brighton is that everyone is really open and accepting. Nobody bats an eyelid when we hold hands, etc, because it's very common! We are lucky enough not to have had many bad experiences with homophobia, but we feel more like one of the majority in gay ole' Brighton. 

Cute doggy coat!!
One of the other amazing things about the city is that everywhere you turn are new, odd little places to eat and drink - everywhere seems like a work of art. Including a wonderful little tea and cake shop downtown called the Mock Turtle. They brew their own tea there, and do what seem like hundreds of varieties of cakes, scones, pies, meringues, YUM!! The walls are decorated ceiling to floor with fine china, and none of the chairs match. It's wonderful! Definitely go there. We had breakfast their on Sunday(I always assumed Welsh rarebit was rabbit or something odd like that, turns out its basically cheese on toast! Awesome!) and finished with scone and jam for me (we don't get them in the USA, so I take every opportunity), meringue with creme for the lovely Sarah, and double chocolate fudge cake for Wally! 
Loving the Mock Turtle!

And a Brighton blog wouldn't be complete without referencing the traditional seaside fare of 'fish and chips'- they are always fresh and always worth buying! If you head to pier and turn right you will find our favourite take away place under the promenade, we would advise walking and eating as it gives the seagulls less chance to spot also means you can have a look at all the arty shops in the Artists' Corner.

The only downside we have found to Brighton is that it is hilly. When Laura was younger and used to come to Brighton with her family on trips to the UK, she used to say she'd like to retire in Brighton. Now she says she'll only do it with a motorised scooter or a segway or something! Mobile difficulties aside, it's a great place to be and we bet an awesome place to live. 


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