What Brighton experience site would be complete without a visit to the famous Brighton Pier?
Piers in Brighton have had their ups and downs. One pier remains derelict after a number of arson incidents with chunks of brown iron still plummeting into the sea below. The other is a hot spot for theme park junkies, candy floss lovers and arcade fanatics (there is also four different types of fired noodles, sold next to each other, for reasons completely unknown).
I adore the pier, it has a rich mix of tourists and locals that flock there come rain or shine and an air of seedy, British sea-side town about it.
Kiosks cater for all. It’s no fine dining but it’s hot, filling and generally inexpensive. You can stroll the promenade one day with a box of greasy noodles and a bag of biltong the next. You have your traditional sweet treats of course – freshly made mini donuts, hot dogs, Mr Whippy, Belgian waffles etc. You can also get some pretty good chilled seafood, shelled and potted with a chip fork. However, the shining glory of the pier has to the Palm Court Restaurant. They serve enormous portions of delicious fish and chips, including plaice, cod, haddock, and some rather tasty fishcakes. You can sit down or have it to go. A certain Mr Blumenthal called it the “spiritual home” of fish and chips!
The Seaside Celebration, 12oz battered cod, chips and mushy peas served with tartare sauce and a glass of something sparkly- £15.95
Admittedly not for the faint hearted and you may experience a sense of dread whilst spinning 30+ft in the air with only a roll cage for safety. That said, they are bloody great rides and, from what I’ve heard, there have been no safety issues or injuries to the public since 2004.
They have the classic dodgems, waltzer, carousel and a spectacularly fun helter skelter that I can just about cram myself in to. These are perfect for the family but the thrill rides are what it’s all about. They have seven stomach churners at your disposal. From a water roller coaster to a space themed techno fest that jolts you up and down like a mad man. You do have to buy tokens and then exchange these for a ride, which can be costly if you were to have a go on them all – choose wisely, thrift seekers.
I recommend Galaxia, Turbo and The Booster.
The Booster, an insane experience that locks you into a cage at the end of a 40ft long metal arm and spins. I also think you get the best views in the city from up there. Costs £5 in tokens.
The Dome, almost as dystopian as it sounds, is a wonder filled with the gun-toters, car riders and gamblers. Probably not the best way to introduce it but at least it’s honest. You can win tickets on some games that test your spatial awareness and aiming skills. Then exchange the little paper doo-dads for shifty gifts, but it’s extremely good fun. You can send zombies back to the grave or destroy some wanton cartel in a shoot ‘em up or race like a bloody lunatic on a surprisingly realistic car or motorbike game. There are various fruity machines that bleed you dry but have shockingly good pay outs or you could just play it safe and have fun with the 2p penny pusher.
Best arcade game
Oddly the claw or the magnetic grabber. Now normally these are a dangerous waste of money but I happened to watch a particularly useful TV show that explains how they work and why they randomly drop you a Hello Kitty doll or iphone! Please contact me on Twitter or Facebook and I’ll explain it for you (p.s. I’m not a saddo, I just don’t like being swindled).
Basically the Pier is what people think of when we mention our fair city and rightly so. It’s fun, lively and there’s a lot to do.
Images by Brighton Pier