Wednesday was cloudy when we got up but we were planning to go to Brighton for an overnight stay and the weather was supposed to be better down south. I had become quite frustrated the day previously in trying, and failing, to find available accommodation in Brighton. I didn't think that Brighton was so popular that every bed would be taken. When I'd got to the point of giving up I thought to call the Tourist Information Office to see if they could do any better and they were able to offer me a choice of two! They also explained that Brighton University was having graduation days so the place was stuffed with students' relatives. That explained it.

We set off from home on the 5 mile drive to our local railway station confident of getting there in plenty of time to buy tickets before the train came in. We reached the edge of the village, wherin lies the station, and joined a long traffic queue. Bummer!

We occasionally get a traffic queue at this junction which we traverse very quickly but it was never this long. We decide that we aren't going to get to the station in time which means we aren't going to arrive in Brighton until 1 o'clock, an hour later than we expected. Double bummer!

We eventually arrive at our car parking place and start our walk across the fields to the station. We weren't in a hurry because we knew that there was no chance of catching our planned train and we were going to have to wait a half-hour for the next train. As we sauntered towards the station we saw a diesel hauled goods train go through the station towards London.

'Hang on', I said to Amanda, 'our train uses that line so it must be at least a few minutes behind that goods train'. So we increased our speed and got to the ticket office with no train in sight yet. Tickets in hand we went on to the platform to see a train approaching in the distance. It turned out to be yet another goods train. Then an announcement tells us that our train is running 8 minutes late. So that was a bit of luck otherwise we would definitely have missed it. We both breathe a sigh of relief.

On the way to Liverpool Street Station we realise that we are going to have no more than 20 minutes to get from Liverpool Street Station to Farringdon Station, using the Underground, instead of the more comfortable 30 minutes it should have been.

We had to wait only 3 minutes for an Underground train and had only 2 stops before Farringdon so we arrived with plenty of time. As we hadn't been to Farringdon Station before we weren't sure how far we'd have to walk to get from the Underground platforms to the platform for the 'normal' train. It turned out to be about 5 seconds. All we had to do was to walk across the platform to the other side.

However the indicator board tells us that the next train to Brighton is due in now – 15 minutes earlier than we expected. It duly arrives but is only 4 coaches long and consequently sails past us to the far end of the platform. We leg it to the train and do manage to get seats even though it is fairly crowded.

One of the stops in London was Blackfriars where the station is built on a bridge across the Thames so that one gets a good view east along the river when the train is in the platford. We could also see St. Paul's Cathedral off to one side and later we went very close to Southwark Cathedral.

The train turns out to be one of the older type trains which don't have air conditioning but do have windows that have openings at the top. The electric motors and driving gear also make a lot of noise – a sort of combined grinding and whining so we had a hot stuffy noisy jouney for an hour.

We were glad to get out at Brighton and were travelling light, as it was only a one night stay, so we walked to our Bed & Breakfast which took us about twenty minutes. It was hot but at least it was a clear blue sky. On that walk we formed an initial impression of Brighton that it was noisy (lots of traffic), scruffy and uncared for – not a good start. Did we have the same impression when we left? I'll tell you when we leave.

The people who were running the B&B were very pleasant and showed us to our room. It was the last room in the place, on the third floor, and was very small but it also had a small price tag – 67.50 GBP for the night including breakfast. We left our luggage in our room and walked the short distance down the road to Marine Parade on the seafront. This is my very first photograph of the trip showing Madeira Drive down below, Brighton  Pier and the Brighton Wheel.

As we started to walk along towards the pier we saw a train coming along on the Volks Electric Railway which is the oldest electric railway in the world having been operating since 1883.

Going down from the upper level to sea level and walking a little further brought us to the little terminus station on the railway.

Shortly after we arrived at Brighton Pier and headed seaward. After a short while we stopped and looked back towards the shore.

You probably couldn't tell from this distance but the beach is comprised of pebbles – no sand. Doesn't seem to deter people from sitting all over it does it?

We very soon found a stall selling fried rice and noodles and it was lunchtime so we thought we'd sample some fried rice. It incorporated prawns and pieces of chicken in no small number. We found a parked flatbed trolley to sit on and eat our food which turned out to be very tasty and there was plenty of it. Neither of us can remember what the stall was called and I don't remember seeing anything else similar but we can recommend it.

Walking further along the pier it widens considerably.

We could see (and hear) that we were getting near an amusemnt park type area and, in places, it was very noisy with piped music often being excessively loud. Amanda spotted this Galloper (Roundabout) which tend to be favourites of hers.

We were now about as far seaward as it is possible to get so we turned back towards the shore. Looking back we could see some of the 'rides' including the Helter Skelter and the Galloper just to its left. I can also remember walking past a Ghost Train.

We were pleased to see that the deckchairs were free to use and there were plenty of people using them.

We left the pier and headed into the centre of the town where we soon found the Royal Pavillion. Well you couldn't really miss it could you?


How about this forest of spires?

Built for the Prince Regent, later King George IV, between 1787 and 1823, it has, as you will probably notice, an exotic oriental appearance.

Entrance to the grounds is free but you have to pay to go inside and let me warn you that photography inside is prohibited. You may have realised by now that that really annoys me and, probably, a lot of other visitors too. I certainly wouldn't pay the entrance fee under those circumstances but we were able to go in because we each had a free three month Art Pass which expires at the end of July.

We entered the grounds through the entrance which is furthest from the main entrance to the house but we left from the other entrance going past the Brighton Visitor Information Centre and across to East Street where we turned right and were then in The Lanes.

The Lanes is a small area in Brighton which is a maze of small streets and alleys with many small shops of all sorts and used to be the fishing town of Brighthelmstone dating from the late 18th century.

It is, in our view, probably the most attractive area of Brighton and certainly didn't look scruffy in the slightest. We saw an amazing variety of shops from expensive jewellers to cake shops.


We were both beginning to tire by this time so decided to call it a day and headed back to our B&B via Steine Gardens and the Victoria Fountain.

More tomorrow.