Guest Blog Post | Autumnal Brighton Trip

Brighton and that part of the south of England is not an area I am familiar with and so, some months ago, we decided that I would make another trip south and spend some time in the area getting to know the different places round and about. We settled on the start of half term break and thereby enabling Richard to play tour guide; something he carried off with much aplomb!

The first few days were very much about me resting and relaxing after a very wet journey down. We enjoyed some quality time, chatting, eating very nice food and watching several Pink Panther movies which resulted in us both having the stitch from laughing so much!

One of our first visits was to Wakehurst Manor, Gardens and the Millennium Seed Bank. It is part of Kew Gardens in London. The seed bank was set up to commemorate the Millennium and its focus is on collecting seeds from all around the world which are under threat of disappearing and extinction. They remove the seeds to the seed bank vault where they are kept in controlled conditions until they may be needed. As it is Autumn, the leaves on the trees and bushes were starting to turn and you could only start to imagine what they would look like in a week or two’s time. The weather since I arrived had been wet to say the least but we were very fortunate in that it stayed dry for us to have a good walk round, take photos and then a quick look at the manor house, which I found a little disappointing, felt they could have made much more of it than they have. Richard was then very brave or indulging, perhaps both as I had a look round the gift shop!

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We then returned via Ditchling Beacon; an area on which Richard had done a photo blog on a lovely clear day back in January. Clear it most definitely was not this time with driving rain and wind. The clouds did clear momentarily for a good view, from the dry safety of the car!

Sunday lunch was taken at a very olde world pub called the Juggs near Lewes.  Pleasantly busy but not too much, apart from when we decided to move table. Waiting staff were hyper vigilant as my drink disappeared in the few seconds of us moving our stuff from one table to the other! A lovely roast Chicken Sunday lunch was consumed, and they did replace my drink free of charge.

Monday and Richard's last full day at work saw me down at the Marina for a walk around. Even though it is not high season now, I was surprised to see how many of the shops were closed since I had last been there a year ago, a sign of the times, I fear.

Tuesday morning saw us going to pick Patsy up to bring her onto site. Hitching up was achieved relatively quickly, dodging downpours as we went. Wellies might have been helpful due to a massive puddle right in front of the van. That evening, to mark the start of Richard’s holiday proper, we were able to go to a favourite Indian restaurant called Maloncho in nearby Peacehaven. I was pleased we could do this as I cannot eat spicy food, but they did have an English meal offering of chicken and chips which suited me just fine.

Wednesday saw the arrival of Alison for a few days, it was good to be able to meet up again. Over the next few days, we continued to tour round Richard’s adopted home county, enjoying good conversation and food.

A must-see part of the trip was a visit to the Laines shopping area of Brighton, the Pavilion and the Main Pier. Lots of independent shops, many selling jewellery and although you would imagine this has always been the case, it is actually relatively new in that they moved into the Laines in the early 1960’s. There were some lovely clothing shops which sold a huge variety of fashions. Alison was glad to find a material shop and buy some fabric to add to her collection! We then made our way to the Pier, dodging yet more showers. It was quite busy and very blustery, but we managed to get to the end before retiring for restorative drinks in the cafĂ© on the pier. We walked along the front towards the Marina looking at the redevelopment which is going on and yet to be done. Unfortunately, we were out of luck with the Volks Railway as it was a weekday, so a taxi saw us back to the site in some warmth. 20191018_133832

The following day, we travelled eastwards via Seaford, Newhaven and onto Pevensey and a very enjoyable cream tea at the Priory Court Hotel.  The weather was still cold and damp so the visit to the Castle at Pevensey was foregone for another time. We did, however, manage a short walk along the stony shoreline by Pevensey – it is very clear to see how vulnerable the whole coastline towards Hastings is to being flooded.

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We then moved on to Battle – its Abbey and quaint main street shops. It is quite noticeable how many independent shops are still in operation, compared to my home area. We had a look at the Abbey, however, yet another downpour put paid to further exploration.


On the final day we visited the National Trust gardens at Sheffield Park. It was a Saturday and the weather had turned favourable, as a result, the place was very busy indeed. In a week the trees had turned even darker shades of reds, yellows and browns and they were perfect for photography.

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Following this we made a short drive to the famous Bluebell Heritage Railway, between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead where it meets up with the National Rail network. It was a lovely afternoon still and plenty of photo opportunities too. I was able to tick off another heritage railway of which I am very fond.

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We then made our way back towards Newhaven as we had a real treat in store that evening, not that we quite realised just how much it would be at that point. We ate a very pleasant early evening meal in Newhaven, overlooking the harbour at The Hope Inn.

Our ultimate destination was Seaford to see their Bonfire Society parade to be held that evening. We had driven past the site of the bonfire the previous day to find out a bit about what was going to be happening and the all-important parking. The Society is a very historical one and you can read much more about the background at the website. We all learnt that there is a very big tradition around Sussex of having these parades culminating in a bonfire and firework display. Groups from villages and towns all around the area came and joined in the parade and it was an evening of great music, great costumes and marching drum bands of very high quality. After we watched the parade pass, we made our way down to the central park area where the bonfire and fireworks display were to be held. It was quite some time before the parade arrived and another time, we would retire to a local pub for a drink to await the parade’s arrival, you would certainly hear them before you saw them. The firework display was in two parts, separated by the ceremonial lighting of the bonfire. The display was both exciting and exhilarating to see, much more than you would ever possibly achieve at home. After a thoroughly enjoyable time we slowly made our way back to the car and back to the site.

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Sunday morning saw both Alison and I departing and yes it rained again! Another very enjoyable, fun trip, thanks in no small part to Richard and his tour guide skills.

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