We were up early once again so that we could make the most of our day, and arrived into Brighton shortly after 9.00 a.m. As we’d only had a coffee in the hotel room we looked for somewhere suitable for breakfast and soon found the ideal place amongst the labyrinth of narrow lanes in the historic quarter. We hadn’t actually got lost, but had found an attractive cafe called Lost in the Lanes serving an interesting all day breakfast/ brunch menu.
The contemporary cafe featured an open kitchen, stylish furnishings and friendly staff. It was a chilly April morning so we warmed up with mugs of frothy cappuccino whilst our food was being prepared. Our coffees were served in mugs without handles which were just perfect for wrapping our hands around, making me think of buying some when I’m back home.
We’d both ordered a cooked breakfast, one traditional and the other vegetarian. Having seen the words ‘smashed avocado’ on the menu my eyes lit up and I knew instantly that was the breakfast for me. Our delicious breakfasts were beautifully presented on sourdough bread with soft poached eggs and the generous portions set us up nicely for the day. This small independent cafe serves cooked food throughout the day and I’d definitely return again next time I’m visiting Brighton.
Ready to start exploring, we enjoyed a gentle stroll through The Lanes with their varied collection of interesting small shops and boutiques. Our morning walk continued onto Marine Parade, the road running along the seafront so that we could visit the world’s oldest aquarium which has been operating since 1872. The Brighton SeaLife faces the Palace Pier with standard adult admission at the door £19 but 40% cheaper at £10.50 if bought on-line before visiting.
What I liked best about this aquarium was its original Victorian architecture but the displays felt somewhat dated and old fashioned. As the building is so old I suppose there’s little scope to transform it into somewhere like The Deep in Hull which is so impressive with its giant sized tanks and huge glass walls.
Brighton SeaLife has many small tanks containing around 3,500 creatures so there is still plenty to see. My favourites here were not the big fish but rather the delicate seahorses and the jellyfish with their bell shaped bodies and long tentacles.
No visit to the seaside can be complete without a walk on the pier so we crossed the promenade for a stroll along Brighton Palace Pier which we were pleased to find is free to enter. The pier opened in 1899 replacing the original one that had been destroyed by a severe storm. It’s a long but fun filled walk to the end of this grand pier which extends 1722 ft (525 metres) and contains a vast array of classic seaside entertainment.
It was good to note that the deckchairs were free but it was a bit too chilly for sunbathing. There’s a large indoor amusement arcade with slot machines and other coin operated games and at the sea end a funfair was in full swing with rides for all ages. The heady aroma of fish and chips mixed with the sickly sweet smell of candy floss filled the air and sales of rock, another seaside favourite were proving popular. In case you’ve not come across rock, it’s a hard peppermint flavoured cylindrical shaped stick found mostly at the seaside and usually with the lettering of the resort printed along its length.
We returned to the promenade along the western side of the pier from where we had good views of the British Airways i360 observation tower that we’d enjoyed a ride on the previous day.
Our stroll continued in an easterly direction along the lower promenade towards the marina which was a pleasant 45 minute walk sheltered from the wind beneath the cliffs. A classic car event was taking place with hundreds of enthusiasts inspecting vehicles so we paused to look at a few of them ourselves before reaching the marina.
Brighton marina is approximately two miles from the city centre and although we enjoy a brisk walk we were slightly disappointed to have arrived just a few days too early to take a ride on the Volk’s Electric Railway. This narrow gauge heritage railway is the oldest operating electric railway in the world and runs along the seafront from the aquarium to its terminus close to the marina since 1883.
The large marina looked picturesque with numerous boats moored in the harbour surrounded by cafes, bars and casual dining restaurants with outdoor seating making the most of the lovely views.
After a refreshing pot of tea we made our way back into the city centre and boarded a Coastliner 700 bus back towards Worthing. Day tickets allow unlimited travel so we stopped off in the small coastal town of Shoreham-by-Sea as it looked so pretty passing through earlier on the bus.
Old cottages and modern apartments mingle happily along the riverside and harbour and a gleaming glass and steel bridge built six years ago offered us some fine views up and down stream.
Just across the road from there is the charming town centre with a pedestrianised high street where we found a good selection of small shops, cafes and at one end the Norman church of St. Mary de Hawa. Buses run at 10 minute intervals so we only had to wait a few minutes to return to Worthing and with a bus stop almost outside the hotel door it was very convenient.
After a little rest, we wandered along to the centre of town for fish and chips which always seem to taste better at the seaside and then it was on to the Connaught Theatre to see the comedy play Caroline’s Kitchen which was on a regional tour following a successful London run.
The art-deco Connaught theatre started life as a cinema in 1914 and was extended in 1935 to become a theatre. It’s usually the other way round with theatres becoming cinemas which I think is quite sad.
The play itself was fast paced and funny and we were so engrossed in the story-line that its two hours seemed to pass in the blink of an eye and it was the perfect way to end our day!
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