Brighton is a beautiful seaside town on the south coast of England. It has become famous over the years for its Brighton Pier (the equivalent of a boardwalk of sorts) and for the gorgeous color of its ocean. Brighton is almost like the San Francisco of England with its eclectic population and the eccentricities of the people who live there. Since it is only about an hour train from London to Brighton, I decided to make a day trip of it and travel solo.
I woke up early in the morning to catch a train from London’s Victoria Station to Brighton. The train chugged along through beautiful countryside with rolling hills and peaceful meadows. The train ride itself was so gorgeous that I would have been content with the day if the only thing I had done was ride the train back and forth. Once I arrived in Brighton and talked to the local tourist center, I realized that the city itself is very walkable. Therefore, I decided to forgo public transportation for the day and walk the city myself. Setting off down the road, it took me just ten minutes to reach the city center.
I was now face to face with the Royal Pavilion. It is a former royal residence and built in an Indo-Saracenic style. Altogether making it look unlike any other building that I had seen in England. It looked like it was straight out of The Alchemist. I wandered around the exterior of the building, taking in the dazzling architecture and the beautiful gardens that surrounded it.
Next I was off the Brighton Lanes. These are pedestrian-friendly, narrow lanes with cobblestones where local shopkeepers sell handmade jewelry, household items, and knick knacks. It was cute and adorable and almost felt like I was walking through Diagon Alley in Harry Potter if Harry Potter took place in a seaside town.
I had a nice lunch in the Lanes and then headed off to the main attraction: the beach. The waves were crashing onto the shore with ferocity as a storm was coming in on the horizon. The skies were grey and overcast but it simply illuminated the gorgeous turquoise color of the water. The beach is filled with little pebbles as opposed to sand, making it less of a hassle to walk.
I walked along the beach until I came to the pier. The pier has been rebuilt in recent decades after being destroyed by inclement weather. My grandfather (a retired airline pilot) used to fly into London and voyage down to Brighton for his weekend breaks because he loved it so much. I gave him a call as I looked at the boardwalk and I let him walk me through what it used to look like, while I walked him through what it looked like today. It was a magical moment as the past blended seamlessly with the future, and even though we were thousands of miles apart, I had never felt closer to my grandfather than I did in that moment.
Hanging up, I went to the pier to enjoy the end of the day and watched as young children excitedly played games in the arcade. I got myself an ice cream and people-watched on the pier for a while before it was time for me to catch my train back to London.
All in all, I learned that doing things by yourself can be a lot of fun in a foreign country. I saw incredible sights, and bonded with my family on a deeper level.
It was a great day trip! I hope one day I can come back and spend even more time in the quaint seaside town of Brighton.