Back in April of this year we spent a couple nights in a place called Brighton, England. Brighton sits on the southeast coast of England, about an hour train ride straight south from a very famous place called London.
As is typical nowadays, I didn’t do too much research before heading to Brighton. So, besides knowing where it physically rested on the isle of Britain, the only things I really knew about Brighton prior to arriving were the facts that Google had bestowed upon me in a quite impressive 0.58 seconds. Brighton was “bohemian”,”green”, “free-spirited”, and loudly and proudly the “gayest city in England” my web search and subsequent website skimming told me.
And you know what, I like those traits in my cities, so I was pretty stoked to get there (sorry for using stoked).
Before arriving, I wondered if this freewheeling personality was perhaps the result of its location on the far end of the British coast, at the end of the proverbial ye olde road? Sort of like how the southernmost city in America, Key West, seems to be a magnet for those who want to beat their own drummer?
Hmm, maybe the phrase I’m looking for is “march to the beat of their own drum”?
Either way, we pulled in late in the afternoon under a shining sun, which always makes for a fantastic first impression.
We decided to wander around Brighton to get oriented, which is another way of saying we wanted something free to do and that would take up some time before dinner. And so we tackled the cover images from the Brighton travel brochure right off the bat. The famous pier which stretches out into the sea and is home to a funhouse of games and carnival rides? Saw it. The obligatory big ‘ol Ferris wheel? Snapped a photo. Brighton Pavilion, the fanciful Indian-inspired royal residence in white? We cut through its garden.
Our wanderings took us to an area called North Laine, which is right next to and kind of like the an area called The Lanes, but definitely not the same. Hey, don’t ask me, I only go to these places and then blog about them.
Brighton’s much ballyhooed bohemian vibe showed up in spades as we settled in for a cozy pub dinner at the Prince George in North Laine, a bar that only serves vegetarian food. The falafel burger was crunchy and hot on the outside and pillowy soft and so full of seasoned flavor on the inside it left me wondering why they ever invented meat in the first place.
During our second day in Brighton, we explored more of the town on foot, which is code for we walked by places, pointed at things in the windows, said stuff like “oh, that’s cute” but never entertained for a a millisecond so much as a half-thought of walking in and buying said cute things. We finished the day with a scenic stroll along the seaside, just in time to spot local students enjoying the day’s catch of wine and cider on the beach.
The neighborhood of Kemp Town and its rows of terraced homes and streets sloping toward the sea were definitely the highlight of Brighton for me. Picnickers lounging on their private neighborhood greenspaces created an atmosphere overflowing with the seaside good life.
So what’s Brighton like? Well, it’s a seaside town with a unique vibe from the rest of Britain which is worth a couple days of your time for sure. In the end, Brighton reminded me of San Francisco meets Auckland meets, I don’t know, maybe England.
This post originally appeared on Travel Pulse