Brighton and Beachy Dreams on a Hot Day

We’re currently experiencing a bit of a heat wave in the UK. London temps will reach up to 35 degrees tomorrow (95F). So it seemed like an appropriate time to share some pictures of the beach…even if we were there almost 3 months ago. (For those of you who know how much traveling I’ve been doing lately, it probably comes to no surprise that these posts are slightly belated.) Even so, we had a beautiful April weekend, exploring Brighton and Beachy Head with some of our favorite far-away people.

Brighton beach consists of pebbles, which doesn’t make for the best sun bathing, but children love it, as they are perfect for throwing into the sea. Our kids spent an unwarranted amount of time collecting the prettiest rocks and shells they could find even though we told them it would be impossible to take them all home. However, I think we still managed a bucket-full of stinky sea remnants in the back of the car.

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Brighton is a little over an hour south from us and is accessible by train, making it a popular day-trip from London. Brighton pier – which is full of amusement park rides, fish and chips and ice-cream stalls – can be jam-packed with holiday-goers in the summer. So, a relatively sunny spring day is a perfect time to visit. We decided to drive there and stay one night, so that we could explore Beachy Head the following day. It would be difficult to do both in one day or without a car, but not impossible.

Besides the beach and pier, a visit to Brighton would not be complete without an stroll down The Lanes  – a collection of narrow alleyways and small shops which date back to the late 1700s. If you like antique shops, this is your haven!

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The Brighton Pavilion (below) is such an out-of-place-looking building in this seaside town. In the late 17th century, it was a royal residence – a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales. However, Queen Victoria disliked Brighton, so during her reign, the building was no longer used for this purpose and was bought by the city of Brighton. Today, it is merely a tourism attraction.

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The cousin ratio was strong that day. Not only were the girls’ cousins with us, but my cousin and his son, joined us for the afternoon too. We had second cousins and cousins of cousins…oh, and Darth Vader…and it doesn’t get much better than that.

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Not to be confused with the White Cliffs of Dover, Beachy Head is another headland of chalk cliffs, located east of Brighton, near the town of Eastbourne. The location has been used in various movies, including Harry Potter and James Bond. In fact, this spot is sometimes photographed to represent the more famous Cliffs of Dover, which are apparently not as white as they used to be.

Sadly, this spot is also famous for a high number of suicides – approximately 20 per year. For this reason, the area is patrolled day and night for potential jumpers and various telephones, with an emergency help hotline number, can be found around the area.

The cliffs provide a beautiful backdrop for an afternoon on another pebble beach. A National Trust cafe sits atop the steep rock face, which means there is no shortage of cream tea nearby. There are so many beautiful walks in this area that we are hoping for another chance to visit the South Downs soon.

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