The first day trip that I took out of London was to Brighton, and was an international trip organized by Brunel. Brighton is famous with the Lonely Planet crowd as the nearest beach-y liberal-y town to London, equipped with an arcade-packed pier and a bumping night life (though we didn’t stick around long enough to enjoy the latter.)
The great thing about taking trips organized by your university is you’ve already got something in common with the trip-goers around you. If you’re an extrovert like me and like to socialize more than the average Jo, it’s a good environment for doing so while reducing the number of suspicious looks you get in response. By the end of the 2-hour bus ride from Brunel’s campus to Brighton, a few of us had established quite the entertaining international clique.
We started the day exploring the flashy pier of Brighton:
..which took us all of 45 minutes. In my opinion, the best things that Brighton has to offer are its festivals (we were there for their Japanese Festival) and the Royal Pavilion, which we toured next.
The Royal Pavilion was King George IV’s extravagant bachelor pad, in which he wasted away Brighton’s economy on flashy, culturally appropriated “oriental” interior decorations (as the tour guides called them called them.) Adorned with walls lined in gold, the dining hall itself had a 12-foot dragon protruding out of a palm leaf centerpiece from which the ridiculously pristine crystal chandelier (almost as massive as the dragon) dangled. The tour through his palace was magnificent and full of history, all the way up to his death bed (fully intact) which was equipped with levers to bring the bed up and down so his servants could roll King George IV out of bed- whose frame was at that point (much like his bed) built for comfort and not for speed.
After touring the playboy mansion of the 1783, we spent about an hour deciding where to sit and eat fish n’ chips for lunch since the rest of Brighton seemed to have to same idea and locations in mind. After grabbing a bite we went to the Japanese Festival, where we gawked at the incredibly detailed costumes around us and cut in front of crying children to get our faces painted:
Okay, I may have embellished the cutting-in-front-of-kids part a tad, but we did inspire a few wavering ones with our awesome cherry blossoms to paint theirs too! When we were finished walking about the 10 or 15 tents of the festival and listening to some rather interesting karaoke competitions, we took off to walk about the town and see what Brighton was really about.
All in all, it was a trip most definitely worth taking. As much as the town has to offer in terms of it’s historical landmarks and entertainment, it must be said that the day was definitely made by the company I kept. I’m not exaggerating when I say my cheek muscles were sore next day from all the smiling. Ah, the perks of being a traveling (however broke) grad student in the UK!
There’s been a lot of talk about heading back with an overnight bag and a hostel reservation to dip into the night-life, so there may be more Brighton blogs to come. Thanks for reading y’all!