My ABC Weekend: Adventures in Brighton and Canterbury

My ABC Weekend: Adventures in Brighton and Canterbury

Hello, hello, hello again my amazing readers! I know I'm overdue on a post and it might seem like I'm slacking -- but I'm not! This week marks three more weeks I have left here in the U.K. until I fly back to the U.S., and while I can't wait to get my butt on that plane, I feel like I still have so much I want to do while I'm here!

This past weekend, I took two day trips outside of London, which are so much fun. Since England is pretty small (about the size of Oregon), it is really easy to hop on a train, ride it for an hour, and end up someplace completely different. London is a great city, but it is... a huge city. Like I've said before, sometimes I feel like I'm in a NYC on the other side of the Atlantic. When I'm craving real British-ness, I head out for a mini-trip to another place to get my fill. This weekend, I went to historic Canterbury and quirky Brighton.

 

Brighton

In Brighton, a small beach town south of London, we weren't able to go in the water at all because the waves were so rough, but we had a great time walking around the small town and enjoying the sea air and sunshine. Once we got off the train at about 11:30, we stopped at a small beach cafe right on the pier for lunch, and then walked down and explored some of the really small stores that were underneath the pier. There were art galleries, bead shops, beach boutiques, print shops, and other unusual places of business.

After banging around in those for a while, we walked down the actual pier that Brighton is so famous for. It is now like any beach-town pier, with junky rides, cotton candy and souvenir shops, but at one time it was highly popular and unusual. Wealthy Londoners would take weekend trips to Brighton for a "dirty weekend," which meant one filled with drinks, gambling, and prostitutes. Brighton is still proud of its heritage, and along with their bizarre pride in being the place to go for a less-than-upstanding weekend, it is also home to a large gay and lesbian community.

After we had our fill of the pier, we stumbled upon the Royal Pavilion that is also located in Brighton. The palace is a royal residence, so in the event that Her Majesty feels like a beach weekend, she has a place to stay. The palace looks like it was taken right out of India and placed in the small town of Brighton, and because it is so drastically different than anything around it, it is quite striking. The area around the grounds are beautifully manicured and filled with breathtaking English gardens. Today, there was a big band outside playing music for all the people napping and having picnics on the grass. It was so beautiful that we laid down for a while and soaked up some sun. We accidentally took a brief nap, and it certainly isn't everyday that you can say you wake up in the backyard of a palace! After grabbing a quick dinner, we headed back to London. It was the perfect Sunday by the sea!

 

Canterbury

Saturday, we were able to take another really great day trip to Canterbury. The town is most notably featured in Chaucer's Canterbury tales as the place where a group of pilgrims are traveling to see the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. It took about an hour and forty minutes to arrive there via train, and it was another great day to travel out into the English countryside. We weren't able to get into the Cathedral, unfortunately, because they were closing it early. We had a really great day, regardless, and explored the university located in Canterbury, and enjoyed going in and out of the small, owner run shops and striking up conversations with locals. We were able to eat dinner al fresco at an italian restaurant in the main square, and listen to a group of young English boys play their guitars for gathering crowds.

That was the last weekend that I will be in England, as next weekend I will be visiting Scotland, and the week after that I will be in the south of France. It was a really great last weekend to have in England, but I am looking forward to experiencing other parts of the United Kingdom and Europe! Until the next post (which I promise won't take so long to publish!) -- cheers!

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