To Brighton and Beyond
We began our exploration of this area of England, known as West Sussex, in Worthing. We chose to rent a car for this section of our trip. You can absolutely travel the area by train or bus. There is a great bus line called the Coastliner 700 that runs through the beach towns between Brighton and Swansea. We however thought we were too relaxed, and should shake it up by driving on the wrong, sorry I mean left, side of the road.
Google Map of the West Sussex Seaside
It took both of us watching the road, a GPS and a bit of luck to get where we wanted to go without having an accident. Our first mistake was setting the GPS to shortest distance instead of shortest time. The result was a 40 minute hair raising drive that took us on back lanes, barely wide enough for our car, with other cars hurtling directly towards us. My hands turned white from hanging on for dear life and I honestly think I was having heart palpitations…and I wasn’t even the one driving! I can now understand why eating, drinking and texting while driving is not allowed.
Worthing is a large seaside town sporting a pier and a paved boardwalk promenade that runs for miles. We sprung for a beachside hotel corner room with sea view. We shouldn’t have bothered because we spent the majority of our time outside anyways. We walked about 6 miles on the Seafront Walk which is the paved promenade that takes you past the pier, cute beach huts, and ends with the Sea Lane cafe.
Finding Beachy Head was the unexpected gem of our visit. The young clerk at the car rental agency suggested it as a stop for us if we had time. As is often the case, this unplanned stop was our highlight.
Beachy head is the UK’s highest chalk cliffs, allowing you to gaze down at the water over 500 feet below you.
There is a path along the clifftops that gives you amazing views. Not only that, you can watch daredevils paragliding. I honestly don’t know how people can trust their life to a bit of nylon and some wind, but it was captivating to watch.
Here’s a little bit of trivia for you film buffs. Beachy head was the sight of the Quidditch World Cup in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was also where Chitty Chitty Bang Bang first began to fly and where James Bond parachuted out of his Land Rover in The Living Daylights.
Chichester is another walled city in England that dates to Roman Times. The walls are not as long or as complete as those found in York, but still make for a nice walk. The city gates were removed at the end of the 18th century in the name of progress. At the time removing the gates seemed a sensible solution to ease traffic congestion and allow better access to the city.
Chichester boasts a 900 year old cathedral within the city wall and beautiful garden near the wall called Bishop’s Palace Garden. I visited on yet another rainy spring day and there wasn’t anything in bloom yet. Instead of underwhelming you with another rainy day picture I am sharing some pictures taken by another photographer on a more cheerful summer day.
Our last stop was Brighton, famous for its pier. There is evidence of human settlement in Brighton going back to the Bronze Age. In more modern times it was hailed as a health resort and a fashionable seaside resort for London day-trippers. The pier boasts restaurants, carnival games and rides and free chairs to sit in and enjoy the view.
A newer addition to the Brighton skyline is the Brighton wheel. It was installed in 2011 and gives you a great panoramic view. But… your time to enjoy it is short. The wheel is being sold and is set to be dismantled this May.
Next stop: Iceland!
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