Brighton newcomer and trainee journalist, Lucy Maddox looks at our city through fresh eyes…
Being somewhat of a newbie to Brighton, having only moved here in September, I did not feel fully confident at playing host to some guests at the weekend.
However, from what I know of this city so far, I should have realised that Brighton would do all the hard work for me, all my guests and I needed to do was show up.
Let’s get cultural…
I have seen the ornate and impressive pavilion from the outside many times since moving here and I thought it was about time to have a look inside.
My first thought (as a poor student) was ‘I bet it costs a lot to get in’, but actually we managed to get reasonable prices.
Both my guests qualified for a concession, so got in for £10.50 instead of £12.30, and lucky little me, as a B&H resident I got in for the bargain price of £6.15! (If you are a resident, make sure you have some proof of this).
The experience was a little surreal, and pretty chilly (I think they need to turn the heating on) but interesting nonetheless.
The pavilion was built for King George IV who was fascinated by the orient (despite the fact he had never been). It was designed to look like India from the outside and China on the inside, which seems a little out of place by the English seaside, but hey, it’s quirky and the building has become an icon of the city.
The interior seemed very over-the-top in its opulence and certainly not to my taste, but like any historic building it is interesting to glimpse into the homes and party pads of the rich and famous and get a sense of how they lived.
Definitely worth a visit.
Time now for a spot of lunch.
I had been keen for a long time to check out Foodilic, both because I had walked past several times and been tempted by the scrummy looking salads in the window, and I had heard rave reviews about this place.
We ambled up North Street from the pavilion and arrived at our destination.
Satisfied with the signage outside that informed us we could enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet for £6.95, we headed in.
Guided to a table tucked away in a cosy corner up in the roof, we were given a drinks menu filled with a great selection of smoothies, juices and hot beverages and told we could help ourselves to as much food as we wanted downstairs – ideal.
Having ordered our drinks (I opted for a carrot & orange juice – yummy and good for you, a no brainer) we could then head down and pile our plates high with a selection of beef stew, chicken wings, mashed potato, sauteed potatoes, sweet potatoes and an array of ‘super food’ salads- what a dream – on a cold wintery day, this is just what the doctor ordered.
Let’s browse the Lanes…
After this leisurely (and extremely filling) lunch, we were ready to head out and check out some of Brighton’s quirky shopping centre.
The Lanes may be narrow and crowded but there is always a nice buzz and a vast selection of shops to browse from the sublime (jewellers upon jewellers) to the ridiculous (a doggy dressing up shop).
There is a little something for everyone — a chocolate lovers dream to stumble upon Choccywoccydoodah and a bakers heaven to come across Angel Food Bakery…but that’s just me, in case you couldn’t tell I love food!
Let’s get sophisticated…
As we emerged from the crowds into the open space of Brighton Place we were drawn into Artique Galleries as it appeared to be a hive of activity.
As it turned out, there was a special exhibition of work by Sherree Valentine, with Ms Valentine herself in attendance.
We were greeted with sparkling wine and encouraged to stay and enjoy the art.
So we did.
It was very much my cup of tea, gorgeous oil paintings full of texture – not unlike Jack Vettriano in style, but softer and more feminine.
We were told that the gallery had been waiting for this exhibition for a couple of years now, with Sherree Valentine being an up and coming impressionistic artist, and the pieces were selling fast.
I gave myself a pat on the back, imagining that I had set up this event especially for my guests.
In reality Brighton had pulled it out of the bag for me and given us this extra special treat for our day out, but no-one needs to know that, right?
We have to check out the Pier…
Always good for a spot of sea air, we headed to Brighton’s famous pier.
As we walked along – stopping off for an obligatory photo where you stick you face in the hole so it looks like you are a fat lady in a bikini – we were serenaded by the Happy Birthday song blasting out of the speakers for about 10 minutes (I am assuming someone was having a birthday party in the arcade!!?) before being given yet more free entertainment when we saw a small murmuration of starlings.
My guests happen to be bird lovers, so once again I passed this off as a special treat just for them – cheers, Brighton.
Shot of tea anyone?
The day was drawing to a close now, getting dark as it does at about 4.30pm, so we headed back into town to grab a shot of tea.
I love Whittards because I love tea and I love hot chocolate.
Every time you visit this fine establishment they are offering samples of different flavoured teas and I always enjoy trying them all.
Plus they also have samples of their utterly delectable Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate! If you have not done so already, get down there and try some.
And now goodbye…
…it was time for my guests to head home after a thrifty day full of unconventional ways of wining and dining.
A good time was had by all.
Brighton, I thank you!