Last week myself and Jordan stayed in Worthing where my dad lives, a small seaside town just down the coast from Brighton, UK for 4 days. I first visited Brighton 3 years ago and immediately fell in love with it. As a northerner, I very often find myself not feeling comfortable down south, believe it or not, even though England is tiny the culture differences from the North to the South is very obvious…seriously ask anyone. Brighton however, seems to be in its own little culture microclimate. I instantly felt more comfortable there than I ever felt in London or Oxford, so I was pretty excited to go back!
After stopping over in London for the day on Wednesday we headed down to Worthing from Victoria station.
Wednesday evening was pretty chill and myself, Jordan and my Dad opted for fish and chips on the sea front for dinner. Thanks to my dad knowing the area, we had some great fish and some good chips.
Thursday was our first proper day by the sea so we headed out to Brighton fairly early, on the hunt for breakfast. We decided to get off in Hove and walk the 15 mins into Brighton along the seafront so we could spot the old burnt out Pier and to give Jordan a few photo ops.
After FAR too long without breakfast, and two unsuccessful tries at 2 cafes – one that included the place being closed for filming with Catherine bloody Tate – we finally found a cool bar, Crowns, that served breakfast all day (that’s the shit), it played classic rock, didn’t actually make the breakfast themselves but got it from a cafe over the way, a perfect example of Bighton’s slightly left field way of doing things.
Feeling suitably stuffed after 2 full English breakfasts, we headed to the beach for a bit of fresh air and a smoke (possibly contradictory?).
After taking in the sea and admiring how well behaved the seagulls were in comparison to up North, we made our way back up into the city centre to meet my good friend, Annie (and previous work colleague) and her boyfriend, George…don’t judge but we have hung out as couples quite a few times, including a Glass Animals gig; we’re still cool though, promise. We met them by Brighton Pavilion and sat down behind it, appreciated the architecture and caught up.
From the Pavilion we made our way up to North Laine and the surrounding bustling streets.
We rummaged in some vintage shops, the boys got some fudge, I got tempted by the jewellery stalls on Kensington Gardens. Before we knew it, it was late afternoon and definitely the time for a coffee. The area surrounding North Laine is crammed with eateries, cafes, coffee shops, bars and restaurants, luckily now that Annie and George live there, they had a cool place in mind for some coffee and something sweet.
We we ended up stopping at Presuming Ed, a brilliant mix between a ruin pub-esque bar and a coffee shop. The coffee was SO GOOD, and after a slightly odd run in with two (probably very intoxicated) people who were fighting over a stolen bag, with such vigour that Jordan ended up stepping in, Jordan even bought us a bag of ground coffee to have have at home
Revived and caffeinated we decided to pay Brighton’s famous pier a visit. It was late afternoon so the sky was beautiful, low sun lighting up the painted white wood of the pier, making the stalls and amusements glitter. We bagged ourselves plenty of cheesey standard tourist photos, laughed at the crowds of people heading to the very old rides, drunk and smiling.
We could have stayed longer but we had pizza and a few alcoholic drinks on our minds…
The first stop on our way back to Annie and George’s place was The Hope and Ruin. It’s in the name, yes apparently England do have ruin pubs or maybe just the one? Really, if the only one was in Brighton, that wouldn’t surprise me. The place was super cool and really did remind me of the ruins pubs Jordan and me spent some of our evenings in when we were in Budapest. We stayed for just the one drink and marched off to our second and last stop of the night, as requested, a place with a beer garden: Hobgoblins. And boy, did it have a beer garden. It was HUGE and each table or booth had it’s own heater and wooden cover over it. This is one place I would definitely recommend for getting cheap drinks if you’re looking for a cheaper night in Brighton, especially if you’re lucky enough to have a student ID. Annie got mine and her drinks and with a student ID it only cost just shy of £3 for both drinks (a spirit and a mixer), so we obviously had 2. After chatting for a good hour over our drinks in the Hobgoblin’s beer garden we stopped of at Aldi, laughed at the clear rip off branding and finally settled at Annie and George’s for…a long time (I don’t know how long), eat pizza, drank lots, sat in their garden and talked about music by candle light. It was SUCH a wonderful night and we didn’t actually end up getting back til around 3 after the bus journey back to Worthing.
Due to a rather late night on Thursday, Friday ended up being a bit of a nothing day in Worthing, but that was totally fine with me because it meant we got to spend some time with my Dad. We wandered along the beach, walked down Worthing’s pier, went into town to get some more fish and chips, drank A LOT of fluids (oh dear), tracked down an adaptor for Jordan’s camera charger and had a nice mosey through Worthing’s surprisingly large town centre before heading back.
For dinner we decided on an independent pizza place called…Pizza Face, yes. The pizza’s were so so good. Apparently there are 2/3 of these restaurants in and around Brighton, like a mini chain. This is a very common occurrence in Brighton, Hove and Worthing. Independents really do flourish there, thanks to the cliental not just opting for big, known chains like Costa, Pizza Express, Starbucks or Pret a Manger. Not that these chains aren’t there, they are, but people are happy to try something new and different in Brighton, it’s kind of all part of the charm.
On Saturday, we were going to try and get up super early, do Chichester in the morning and then head into Brighton from there for the afternoon, but lets just say, we needed to catch up on sleep. We eat breakfast with my dad at home to save some money and eventually arrived in Brighton after some hellish traffic, at just the right time for lunch. I had been dreaming of falafel since leaving 3 years ago so that’s what I was making a beeline for. Without a doubt the best falafel in Brighton is from ‘We Love Falafel’ but the love is with a love heart (aw). They do meze boxes, wraps and my favourite, the melt wrap… The sweet potato falafel is my personal fave. So we headed to their cafe/take away spot near North Laine, queued for about 3 mins (as always), eagerly waited outside for my name to be called then headed back to the seafront keeping our eyes peeled for some Jordan suitable food. He ended up getting a burger meal deal, gourmet burger, fries and drink for £6.50…pretty good huh? It was a beautiful afternoon so we chilled on the beach for quite a while. Taking in some sun, throwing pebbles, having a smoke and enjoying each other’s company.
We spent the rest of the day taking the city in, snapping some cool graffiti, revisiting the Pavilion in better light, looking in shops and reluctantly getting ready to say our goodbye’s…
…Not before seeing Annie again though! She met us in Dirty Harry’s Vintage, the best vintage shop in Brighton in my opinion. We fawned over some amazing dress prints, wishing we had more money. Then, Annie showed us the way to the nearest Small Batch Coffee shop. Another of these only in and around Brighton chains, Small Batch Coffee is famous for it’s coffee. I went for a cortado, something I’m trying out to slowly ease myself into stronger coffee. But, I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to milk yet. At small batch, we made plans, serious plans, discussing, debating…over what we wanted for dinner. We flitted from Mexican, to Caribbean, but ended up landing on Japanese, E-Kagen.
E-Kagen is one of those little gems you want to find when you visit somewhere, but you don’t actually expect to. Sitting above a Chinese and Asian supermarket, E-Kagen is a no fuss Japanese restaurant with open plan seating, a visible and open kitchen, just behind a long bar. It feels like the kind of place that would be a cool young dudes local in Brooklyn. The low ceiling and red lighting gives it that really specific feeling of ease and comfortability that only a place that is a little rough and ready can give. The food was incredible, the portions huge, very reasonably priced and we all left feeling pretty chuffed at our find.
Saturday night, after food and travelling back from Brighton, we spent chatting with my Dad and just chilling out. On Sunday morning we got up early, so we didn’t have to rush, had some toast, and lazed about. I was really sad at the train station. Not only were we saying goodbye to Annie, a brilliant place and a city I would LOVE to live in one day, I was saying goodbye to my Dad. We both got a little emotional but he scooted off before it could show. I cried a bit, Jordan cheered me up and we got ready to be back up north.
It was a fantastic few days, a break we both needed and after visiting for the second time I am even more certain and decided in my opinion that Brighton is a fantastic city.