Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Yorkshire to Brighton via Eastbourne

Having had an expensive school holiday break to Center Parcs earlier in the year (just realised I forgot to blog about that - belated post coming up) we couldn't afford a summer holiday.  There were other reasons too such as A level and GCSE results amongst other things.  The husband told me instead to think of somewhere we hadn't been before and we could book an overnight stop and make a couple of days of it.

The one place I have always, since forever, wanted to go is Brighton.  I don't know why but I've always had a crazy desire to go there.  We have been to tons of places over the years on most English coastlines but the stretch between Dover and Portsmouth has always evaded us.  Maybe the length of the journey or maybe because years ago we always used to do those holidays where you collect tokens from the sun newspaper and they were mostly Haven sites or British Holidays before they were bought out by Haven (that is going back a lot of years) and they didn't seem to have sites in that little part of the country.  Anyway for whatever reason we never went.

The husband looked at Premier Inn hotels near Brighton and one of the suggestions it came up with was Polegate near Eastbourne.  As that is another place we have never been he booked it.  I wish I'd have taken the time to look on  a map before he booked it as it was right next to a McDonalds and a 24 hour petrol station.  Quite literally 24 hour noise.  No fun when it is hot, sticky, humid and you can't sleep and all you can hear is lorries pulling up at 4am for diesel with their music blaring out.  Anyhow lesson learnt and if there is a next time I would check where he is booking first. It was only £39 for the night though.

The view from the window.
After arriving we headed off to check out Eastbourne.  I had been warned by my dad that it is dominated by the blue rinse brigade.  Just my type of place if I'm honest.  I would much rather that than noisy arcades everywhere. 

Very nice and old fashioned type of seaside resort.  I can see myself coming here again.  Chips on the pier, a walk on the front and soaking in the atmosphere.  Told you I'm an old fart.
What did surprise me though was the lack of blue rinses around.  There were some but the majority of the tourists were foreign.  Lots of Dutch vehicles parked along the promenade and German coaches so it must have lots of appeal.  We also stumbled upon a hippie sort of market/craft fair/singsong thing along the front.  There were some very erm interesting folks around.  I'll leave it at that I think.
Back to the hotel and a nice meal at the pub next door then bed and as already mentioned not much sleep.
Next morning what I had assumed was McDonalds having deliveries was actually thunder and some pretty powerful rain.  No coat, just a brolly which was in the car haha. No good in there. Breakfast in the pub.  I like Premier Inn breakfasts - all you can eat and kids eat free. 
There wasn't a let up in the weather so we decided to just get in the car and set off to Brighton since that was why we had come.  That was a scary journey.  Little did we know what had hit that area earlier.  It was only after seeing the swilling out of some shops in Brighton and then seeing the news when we got home just how bad the rain and hail had been.
It had stopped by the time we drove into Brighton thank goodness. 
£10 for 4 hours parking!!!! Be warned if you are thinking of going there and parking on the front.  I didn't dare get more than that.
Finally the sight I had been waiting for so long - Brighton Pier
When the hell my little man got so tall I really don't know.

We walked to the end of the pier and by the time we got back to the start it was raining again.  Brolly to the rescue.

Rain doesn't bother me too much but I hadn't thought out my footwear at all even when I saw showers on the forecast before setting off from home.  Very soggy feet to say the least haha and the only thing I paddled in the whole time we were there was the pavement.  I'm annoyed with myself to say the least about that..

We walked along the front and saw the unfortunate flash flooding which must have been devastating for the business affected.  There is a lot of work going on which in time looks as if it will make a run down seafront rejuvenated.  We saw an awful lot of homeless people sleeping under arches on the promenade.  I'm guessing by the number we also saw in shop doorways too that there is a big homeless population here.

One thing that was nice to see was the sheer number of rainbow flags outside pubs.  I don't know if they are always there or whether it is because it is LGBT pride this coming weekend but either way it is nice to see acceptance.

Limited time and the rain meant we didn't get a huge amount of time to look around the shops.  There were shops I've never seen in person before like The White Company and Tiger and SpaceNK.  So many others as well and lots and lots of independents which are always nice to look around.  A dripping brolly in a boutique full of lovely things isn't a good combination though so we set off back to the front and got an ice cream, walked back towards the pier, bought some rock and found a chip shop that wasn't the earth just for chips. £4.95 for a box of chips on the pier, £2.20 from Harry Ramsdens over the road.  Then time was up.  The husband left us eating our chips so he could set up his sat nav.  Quite literally to the minute we got back to the car and the little one who is now tall and the husband decided he needed a paddle. I was left to babysit the sat nav and make sure no traffic warden was lurking to pounce while he took him down to the sea.  That's the point I realised I had come all this way and not even touched the sea.  I wasn't a happy bunny with myself although I'm guessing by this picture that it was quite cold. 

So there we have it time to go home to Yorkshire just as the sun came out to play.  Would I go again? Probably.  I think I had built up this fairytale like seaside place in my head that would be perfect in every way.  The reality was that it wasn't very different to many other places we have been to. The beach part I'd say is a cross between Weston Super Mare and Clacton On Sea with a pebble beach thrown in and less arcades.  It certainly isn't anything special in my opinion and I actually preferred Eastbourne but hey ho you can't win them all.  I'd love to come back and have a proper look around the shops though.

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