You could rock up in Brighton and head straight for one of the seafront hotels - certainly there are no shortage of them standing to attention along the famous front, writes Sammy Jones.
But while that allows the eye to soak in a view of the beach, you are also privy to the associated noise that a seafront hotel lives with. Instead, we opted to stay in a comfy environment where the staff were helpful, the breakfast was fit for a king (and plentiful enough to feed his army), and where a little more than five minutes after leaving the station you can be in your hotel room.
That’s a big plus, especially when departing (no need to traipse around with luggage trailing behind). Whoever signed off the deal to build this Jurys Inn smack by the station is a clever clogs – the three star hotel with five star service is located in the heart of town, and yet far enough from the madding crowd.
We dropped by our fresh, airy room before wandering the short distance to Brighton’s famous North Laines, a stretch of shops and windy streets with an assorted array of ‘must buy’ items - stop at one of the many eateries and treat your taste-buds (as veggies, Iydea is a terrific choice for a guilt free, tasty snack or full meal), give in to the aroma at the fudge shop with its sugary delights, or pop into Snoopers Paradise, a glorious mess of retro and antique goods. Except that, in truth, you don’t merely ‘pop in’ to Snoopers Paradise, you are suckered from the minute your feet touch down in-store - but it is a wonderful way to while away an hour or two, and reminisce among its higgledy-piggledy array of yesteryear products.
Victorian dresses, antique stuffed animals, picture postcards from ye old days, oodles of Beatles memorabilia…you name it, this place has it.
For a gallery of pictures see here.
Buying seaside gifts for those at home is a no-brainer with a multitude of stores vying for your custom. But what to buy your canine pal is more taxing - with so many gorgeous pooch outfits contained in the glamorous dog boutique, Bloomingtails in north square. You would be barking not to pay a visit, and besides, ‘in house’ doggy Yoda is the best model for miles! Come rain or shine, Brighton is fine, and it doesn’t have to be hard work on the finances - people watching is easy in the colourful city, and a trip to the beach is a fine way to kick back and relax. On a sunny afternoon, bathe in the rays in the Pavilion gardens, and for just over ten pounds, you can take a tour behind the façade, in the Pavilion’s sumptuous, splendid rooms. King George IV loved Brighton and his home by the sea, and its inspired innards go a long way to explaining the man and his personality. Komedia cinema Dukes offers ridiculously comfortable seats, a bar and snack area and a range of engaging, off-mainstream delights. We settled back for late night showing Beware of Mr Baker, which showed the Cream music legend in his many colours. Always bright, it was often acidic and totally essential. Still not shopped out? A visit to Brighton shopping quarter Kemptown, or a short bus ride to Hove has lots more possibilities. Handing over two English pounds in return for twenty old English pennies might sound like a bum deal, but trust us - the Mechanical Memories Museum Old Time Penny Arcade is a whole load of fun. Pop in a coin and watch the jazz band burst into life behind their protective glass, or insert a penny and see if you can get the ball bearing in a winning hole. This working museum which has been beach side for 20 years, is a treat for old and young.
Some of the machines date back to the1920s and you can imagine the excited chattering of innocent youngsters of the era being handed a coin, the key to innocent fun…
Of course, this arcade is quite possibly the only place where you can spend a penny, and have a good time in the process!
If a day spent savouring the sights and delights has worked up an appetite, Brighton certainly knows how to feed you swell afterward, and there is plenty to suit all budgets.
As vegetarians, a ricotta pastry or pasta and tomato sauce is often the disappointing, sole option on a restaurant menu.
Not so here. If you want a more refined wine and dine experience, vegetarian restaurant Food for Friends is a great date.
But if you want to eat out with maximum choice and a limited spend, veggie Indian Bombay Aloo will let you fill your plate again and again and still gives you a few pence back from a fiver.
When you are weary and in need of a rest, Jurys Inn will give you a warm welcome ‘home’.
Shut the door on the city, and retire to plumped pillows and the snuggly calm of the contemporary hotel. You’ll sleep well (this insomniac even got eight hours one night – unheard of!) and rise ready to take on the sunny city all over again…
Rooms at the Jurys Inn, Brighton start at £66 this summer.
Jurys Inn,101 Stroudley Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 4DJ
Contact: 01273 862121