Moving to a brand-new country for university can be daunting. This is why, as important as it is to make new friends and settle into your new London life; it’s equally important to take breaks and get away from it all now and then. When we say go on a getaway, we mean getaway – take a day trip somewhere and explore and relax away from your responsibilities. Days out in Brighton are popular for London students, as it’s just 1 hour away on the train. It’s perfect for those looking to swap London’s hustle for a calmer seaside town, but still has plenty to do that makes it an ideal getaway.
How to Get There?
Firstly though, you need to get there. The best way is likely on the train, which means that you have 2 options: London Victoria or London Blackfriars train stations. Fortunately, both stations are on well-connected London Underground tube lines – Victoria is a stop for the District and Circle lines and the Victoria line, while Blackfriars is on the District and Circle lines. As a result of these tube links, both stations, and therefore Brighton, are easy to get to from pretty much anywhere in London.
If you’re getting there from the UWS London campus, take the DLR from East India station to Bank station. From Bank, you can then get the District or Circle line to either Blackfriars or Victoria. As Brighton is a popular destination for Londoners, there are trains that leave several times an hour.
Once you arrive at Brighton station, it’s only an 11-minute walk to the seafront and town centre. Therefore, it’s is a super easy trip to do!
The seafront and the beach are the big draws for many people who decide to take a day trip to Brighton, especially in the summer.
While not always as warm and sunny as coastal towns you might find in other countries, the 13km (4 miles) stretch of pebbly beach is still worth a visit. You might be less encouraged by the idea of a pebble beach rather than a sandy one, but you can still relax, sunbathe, or read a book as you might elsewhere and paddle in the sea. For those who want a more active beach visit, there are swim safe areas on the beach, cable wakeboarding lessons, and board rentals available.
A great way to make friends is by playing beach sports at Yellowave, which offers beach volleyball, beach football (soccer), beach rugby, foot volleyball and climbing for a range of abilities, alongside its popular beach bar and clubhouse.
Whether you decide to play sports or chill out, beautiful views of the coastline, the chance to paddle in the sea, and the bustling row of shops and cafes along the seafront are worth a visit! Not to mention the iconic Brighton pier, a long 19th-century era platform that rises out from by the seafront shops and stretches out 525m (or 1225 ft) into the water. The pier is an attraction on its own, as it is filled with fairground rides, arcade stands, stalls, and snack booths, and is a fun way to while away a few hours and relax, having a go on traditional Edwardian-themed rides and eating candyfloss by the stick.
If you find even the best of the fairground pier rides don’t give you quite the adrenaline rush that you were hoping for, then don’t worry – the Brighton zip wire is the perfect place to burn off some of your nervous energy. At 32m tall and with a wire that stretches for 300m, this thrilling, zip wire experience will give you a bird’s eye view of the sea, the beach, and at least a little of the city beyond. Although the wire doesn’t operate in windy or extreme weather, any tickets you purchase can be used for up to a year, so even if you get too scared at the last moment you can always try again on another day trip to Brighton. Either way, it’s worth a go if you’re interested in finding a slightly more unusual way of seeing the sights of Brighton or doing something touristy that’s a bit more unexpected.
Food and Shopping
However, if anything remotely beach-related just isn’t your thing, then you can wander into town and enjoy a meal at one of Brighton’s many amazing cafes and restaurants. Brighton is home to a variety of cuisines and has many cafes that cater to or specialise in vegan and vegetarian food, as well as accommodating lots of other types of dietary requirements. Brighton’s main shopping district is The Lanes, which, like the name suggests, is a series of interconnected narrow streets full of independent shops, and which open out onto bigger streets that contain all the high street chain brands you can find in almost any town, such as H&M, Zara and Primark. Brighton is known for the treasures that can be hidden in the independent shops in The Lanes, from quirky knick-knacks to vintage gems. There’s something for everything hidden away there, to suit every taste and style.
If you prefer culture, the Brighton Royal Pavilion and Museum are just around the corner from The Lanes, as is the Theatre Royal Brighton. The museum is filled with history about the town, while the Pavilion, which was built in the 18th century for George IV to use as a summer home before he became king. The museum itself has fine art, textiles, natural history, and film & media galleries, as well as an exhibit on local history and archaeology. If you enjoy a good museum tour, their elaborate displays are worth a visit, beyond just a means of sheltering from the Great British weather for an hour or two while it’s raining.
Brighton encapsulates the traditional British seaside experience – a day trip to Brighton from the big cities is a tradition that dates back over 100 years, and a visit puts the best display of traditional British culture on display – from pebbly beaches to fish and chips, ice cream cones to suddenly having to find indoor activities because your day of plans didn’t factor in the rain that wasn’t in the weather forecast.
Equally, neighbouring Theatre Royal Brighton has a great mix of theatre – from dance to drama, musicals to comedy and everything in between, if you decide to spend an afternoon at a show, we’re sure you will find something to enjoy regardless of the time of year you visit. If you take a trip in late May or early June, you may also be lucky enough to catch a show at the Brighton Fringe Festival, where new work, especially from lesser-known writers and production companies, is trialled out to audiences for the first time, alongside small productions of well-known works. It’s one of the largest fringe theatre festivals in the country, so is a great visit if theatre or comedy are things that interest you.
So there you have it!
Brighton really is the kind of city where you can find something for everyone – beaches, shopping, culture, and carnivals, for those longing to escape from the pressures of uni life in a new country for a day or two. While homesickness can be a difficult issue for many, especially when your home is several countries away, sometimes an escape and a complete change of pace that a day out in Brighton offers are exactly what you need to distract yourself, relax and reset. Whatever you choose to do when you visit, remember that the day trip itself, and stepping away from the stress of everyday life is the most important part of a visit as well as seeing more of your new country, to allow you to go back to university rested and set up for success.