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13 Things to do on Brighton sea front

As one of the closest beach resorts to London and with so much to see and do in Brighton, it is no surprise that it is such a popular hot spot for visitors, particularly on a nice summers day!

After my recent visit to attend a family wedding I thought I would put together a list of things to do should you be planning a visit in the future.

Relax and take in the views

I love a bit of people watching or just the serenity of watching the sea gently rumbling to the shore so it is perfect to just pull up a deckchair and enjoy the surroundings. Deckchairs are available for a rental charge on the beach but are free to sit on halfway down the pier. You can also enjoy the view in close up by using one of the telescopes on the pier.

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Visit the attractions

The Sealife centre is right opposite the pier and the newer British airways i360 is a replacement to the wheel that used to be pride and place on the beach. The i360 is further down the beach towards Hove and is the worlds tallest moving observation tower at 450ft high. There are also many museums dotted around with the Fishing museum actually along the seafront.

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Sunbathe on the beach

Brighton is not really known for it’s sandy beach as it is actually a very stony beach but this doesn’t stop people laying out their towels and having a sunbathe. if you are brave enough you can even take your shoes off and walk down to have a paddle and if you are lucky you will find some sand. Although I did find sand on the first day I visited, it seemed to have disappeared when I returned to dip my toes in!

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Take a selfie

Do you need an excuse to take a selfie? I personally don’t take many selfies but I certainly caught lots of others doing it and who can blame them with such a lovely backdrop. There are also lots of comical seaside face cut out boards that you can use as a prop for your holiday pics as well.

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Eat

There are plenty of places to eat but fish and chips seem to be a firm favourite and there are no shortage of shops to pick up this seaside must have. There are also lots of hot dog, donuts and crepe pop ups and we personally like the Chinese hut at the end of the pier to get noodles and fried rice followed by an ice cream on the beach.

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Fairground rides

The fair is situated right at the end of the pier and you purchase a wrist band in order to go on all the rides, there is a nice selection for all ages and it is a great way to keep youngsters entertained.

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Soft play

You may not want to spend a day trip having to watch your kids in soft play but it is an alternative to the fairground, probably easier if you have little ones. It is also at the end of the pier but is inside the arcade and surrounds the restaurant seating area so you could give yourself a well earned rest while the kids wear themselves out.

Arcades

You cannot visit a seaside resort without a little trip to the arcades! My personal favourites are the 2p machines (one day I’ll be rich enough to move to the 10p machines) and I have amassed quite a collection of tat that I have won on them. I like to put them on my book shelf as they are all quite cute and remind me of family day trips whenever I see them on there.

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Get sporty

Whether you are a keen kayaker or prefer to just watch sport on the TV you can do either in Brighton. The water had a few surfers and jet skiers and there were some fisherman down by the water but on the pier one of the bars have set up a large screen to watch the tennis which is slightly less strenuous and you can enjoy a drink or two while there.

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Get married

Brighton may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a beach side wedding but the bandstand is the perfect intimate setting to get hitched and that is exactly what my aunt chose to do. I thought it would be far from private as it is out in the open and there are people walking past but actually as it is further down the seafront towards Hove it is less busy and passers by didn’t seem to bat an eyelid.

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Cool the kids off

If you are reluctant to let the kids get in the sea in Brighton they can still cool off in the outdoor pool a short walk from the bandstand. There is also a playground next to it so plenty to keep them entertained.

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Instagram the huts

I have been to Brighton on many occasions and had never seen the beach huts before but on this visit our hotel was further down the beach at Hove and the huts were right opposite. From the back they are all one colour but the owners are allowed to paint the doors any colour they like and they look really pretty so I couldn’t resist an Instagram pic. They are also available to rent if you want to use one on your visit.

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Pick up some souvenirs

Have you even been to the seaside if you haven’t come home with a bag full of magnets, keyrings or sweet treats? We personally love a selection of sticks of rock so I always bring them back for the kids.

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I definitely made the most of my trip to Brighton, have you ever visited? What would you add to the list?

 

 

 

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Hilton Garden Inn Hotel – Manchester

The Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Manchester is part of the Emirates Cricket stadium in Old Trafford and overlooks the grounds. I am not a cricket fan at all and in fact I have been a Manchester United football fan for most of my life but when looking for a hotel to stay at on our recent trip to Manchester I felt quite drawn to the Hilton Garden Inn.

The hotel has 150 modern rooms and many overlook the cricket ground so you can watch the game from the comfort of your own private balcony. We didn’t book a pitch side room as seeing the cricket wasn’t really a priority but we were given complimentary tickets so that we could go into the stadium and watch the cricket at any time during our stay which I thought was a nice touch.

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The hotel reception is quite small but has this lovely seating area. We were checked in quickly and took the lift up to our room. I was pretty sure I booked a double room and not a twin so was surprised to see two beds when I entered the room, we did call down to reception to see if we could change but unfortunately they were fully booked up.

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The room was neutrally decorated with Manchester landmark prints adorning the walls. It was clean and comfortable but a bit of a tight squeeze, much as what you would expect from a Hotel chain. The bedside table had a little alarm clock which I thought was a handy addition if you need to get up at a certain time but I woke up in the middle of the night and was nearly blinded by how bright the clock face was. The bathroom was decorated in large grey tiles and looked very swanky, it didn’t have a bath but a rather large walk in shower.

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As we had the complimentary tickets we thought we would check out the grounds and see if a match was on before we left. It was a really hot day and although there was a match playing, they were in the middle of a break so we just did some people watching while sitting in the sun before retreating to the bar to cool off.

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The restaurant/lounge area is next to the reception and offer breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as just a relaxing area next to the bar for drinks. We didn’t use the restaurant as we already had plans to eat out in the city centre at The Hard Rock café and at the Kashmir 1887, which is a lovely Indian restaurant local to the hotel.

The hotel is a great location for getting around Manchester as it is right next to the Old Trafford tram stop. It is a short walk to the football ground and about a twenty minute walk to Salford Quays which is home to a lovely waterfront and many other attractions. including the Imperial War Museum North and Media city.

We had a very pleasant stay at The Hilton Garden inn and would love to try out their other branches, maybe Singapore, Dubai or Hawaii next time?!

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Crowne Plaza Hotel – Amsterdam

During our recent trip to Amsterdam, we chose to stay in the Crowne Plaza hotel which is situated quite close to Schiphol airport. We took advantage of the free shuttle bus service to the hotel rather than try to walk as the roads were really busy.

On arrival we had a bit of a wait in the lobby as there were a few people in front of us and although we had already paid before arrival we were asked to pay a city tax charge which came to around €8.00.

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The hotel room had the usual layout of a bedroom and bathroom, neutral décor in a brown and red colour palette and all the amenities we needed, including a comfy chair complete with some tourist magazines and a foot rest and a desk which I had no intention of sitting at. Although there were big windows, there wasn’t much of a view. We overlooked the car park and were mostly surrounded by roads but being five floors up it was probably better than some.

I do like when they leave something a little personal and on top of the huge bed (which we were most impressed with) was a little bottle of lavender sleep spray. There was also a huge dressing gown, but only one which was weird as there was two of us booked in the room!

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The TV showed all the channels so we didn’t miss any of the soaps when we got back after a day of exploring, and tea, coffee and hot chocolate was available, although I’m not really a fan of those tiny milk pots and tend to use them all in one cup.

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The bathroom was pretty basic with a bath rather than a walk in shower but had everything we needed and was clean and fresh.

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There was a restaurant situated just off the lobby and room service available 24 hours but we found it to be quite expensive. On the first night after a busy day visiting Keukenhof gardens we were too tired to go out looking for food so chose to order a takeaway, which the hotel didn’t seem to have a problem with.

The following morning we went to the Royalflora auction in Aalsmeer and the staff were really helpful in giving us directions, although during our stay there were some bus strikes going on so we chose to book an Uber so we didn’t end up stranded in an unfamiliar city.

We didn’t actually spend much time in the hotel but there is a fitness and wellness centre and a shop to pick up all those souvenirs you forgot on your travels.

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It was a comfortable stay, nothing quirky or particularly special but all that we would expect from a large hotel group.

 

 

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A weekend in Tenerife

On my return from Greece in the summer I wasn’t quite ready to give up the idea of spending my days at the beach and sitting by the pool sipping cocktails so when my friends suggested a winter weekend getaway to sunnier climes I jumped at the chance.

To be honest, the idea of just having a weekend away wasn’t too appealing but because of work commitments it was our only option and I was surprised at just how much we could fit in those two short days… although I may have sacrificed a bit of sleep in the process!

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Tenerife is the largest of the canary islands and is situated close to Morocco. We visited the Playa de las Americas which is a purpose built holiday resort. In one way this is great because it is full of everything you need on a package holiday with bars, clubs, restaurants and attractions all within a stones throw away but it was quite disappointing for the photographer within me that loves to find historical buildings and local culture of which there is none, at least not where I was staying. One thing that struck me about Tenerife was just how clean it was, the floors were mostly spotless and they obviously take pride in the area which is probably one of the factors of why it is so popular.

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We stayed at the palm beach hotel which had everything we needed although the Wifi was a bit dodgy and kept disappearing and the third bed was a pull out sofa which you don’t really want to deal with if you roll in drunk from the many bars along the strip at 4am (not that I did that of course)

Considering we visited in November the whole area was quite busy and I’m not sure I would like to visit during peak season because I’m sure it will be packed and I much prefer having the opportunity to chill out in the Jacuzzi without a queue of people waiting to use it.

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The beach was really nice and considerably empty which I think is because although it was 24 degrees it was really windy, particularly along the sea front. The weather was perfect if you have your surf board with you but a bit messy if you are covered in sun cream and the sand blows all over you making you look like you haven’t shaved in a couple of years.

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One thing you will not struggle to find in Tenerife is places to shop or places to eat because they are never ending! We ate at quite a few places which I will blog about separately (watch this space) including a steak house inside the Safari shopping mall. Prices were really reasonable with one restaurant we visited offering a 3 course meal for 7.50 euros. If you like a tipple it is also worth buying alcohol in the shops before venturing out as we found beer for 49 cents and bottles of wine for 1.10 euros.

It was really lovely spending some quality time with my friends who I don’t get to see very often and we are already planning our next trip away. The canary islands have been on my list of places to visit for a long time and I am glad I went to Tenerife, I would love to see what is on offer on the other islands in the future!

Have you ever been to any of the canary islands?

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