Britain 2011 - Day 27


Now for the south coast - Dover to Brighton. Our first stop was the headland and cliffs above the port of Dover. Here we could look down on the busy port. We then drove along the south coast to Eastbourne, and up the steep hill behind this seaside town to Beachy Head. Here you get a panoramic view of the south coast - unless it is blowing a tremendous gale. Then we continued on to Birling Gap which takes you down to the beach and a closeup view of the chalk cliffs. From here it was a short hop along the coast to Brighton. Despite the common perception that Brighton epitomises the worst of the British seaside experience, it still retains a class above the other seaside towns we have passed through (Blackpool comes to mind.....). The attraction at Brighton was the Royal Pavillion and we spent a facscinating couple of hours wandering through this folly to the English royal excesses. We had booked into a small but classy hotel on the seafront close to the Brighton Pier. Our (hired) Alfa Romeo did not look out of place parked beside the Audi and the Mercedes. We had a delightful room, small but perfectly formed, complete with bath in the bedroom and a view over the pier. So after watching the sun go down behind the giant ferris wheel we settled into the basement dining room for a great meal. It was, after all, our last night in Britain.

Dover to Beachy Head

Dover is the best known part of the south-east coast of England - both the port and the chalk cliffs. We climbed up to the Langdon Cliffs above the port and watched the huge ferries come and go from France and other parts of Europe. Long lines of lorries crept off the trucks, around the loading ramps and then off to terrorise the poor British motorist on themotorway. The trucks looked like a line of ants from this perspective. Then we moved on to Eastbourne and other seaside towns, looking a bit downtrodden and in need of some new identity and a huge injection of tourist cash (which is highly unlikely). Above Eastbourne is Beachy Head, which was being swept by gale-force winds when we drove past.

Langdon Cliffs above Dover
Dover Castle in the distance
And looking the other way along the Cliffs of Dover.
The port and the ferries.
Trucks crawling off the ferries like lines of ants..
Another ferry off to France.
And sailing into the sunrise..
Then it was along to Eastbourne.
passing all the seaside accommodation......
of various forms.
What!!?? A train on the road. Another British seaside monstrosity.
They look like New Zealand Cabbage trees to me!
Then it was up the hill, behind the seaside bus.
left at the sign...
And there was the view of Eastbourne...
But the trees tell the real story - it was almost impossible to stand up.
So I photographed the sign rather than the rest of the view..

Birling Gap

Birling Gap is one of the few places where you can reach the coast along the cliffs. There are other places you can walk to, and these would have been a good option on a fine day, but the wind continued to sweep the coast. So we settled for soup for lunch here instead.

Back down at seavlevel is Birling Gap. "Mind the Gap" comes to mind with all the warnings.
The cliffs are soft white chalk and the beach is hard black flint...
Looking along the beach towards the Seven Sisters.
There is a small amount of chalk on the beach.
This is where the flint comes from.
Lines of nodules in the chalk..
The beach platform tells the story of how the cliffs are slowly eroding back.
Maybe on the next visit the cliffs will have claimed the tearooms.
and maybe even the stairs.


Brighton was our last stop of the trip so we decided to book into a small luxury hotel - Drakes Hotel. It was part of an Art Deco building on the seafront close to Brighton Pier. It had good reviews for the accommodation and for the restaurant. It lived up to the reviews and the restaurant was excellent. Our rented Alfa Romeo did not look out of place parked in the front.

Drakes Hotel is the right half of the building.
Our Alfa in the front park.....
next to the Audi.
Our room had the small balcony and was the left and central windows.
This building design was not unique in Brighton......
But I think the inside was, with the bath in the main room. Yes you could see out the window while sitting in the bath, we tried it....
The bed with en-suite beyond.
The headboard and lights were interesting too.

The Royal Pavilion

The Royal Pavilion sets Brighton apart from all other seaside towns. It was an expensive folly and diversion created by George IV, and later mostly sold off by Queen Victoria. But in more recent time the Pavilion has been restored, and a lot of the furniture, or good reproductions have been returned.

The squirrels always get our attention.
Running and seeking food..
The Pavilion with its spires.
Part of the main building
The entrance..
Complete with Town Crier..
The design is very strange
and unique.

Brighton Pier

The best known part of Brighton is the Pier. A lot of seaside towns have piers, but the two at Brighton were some of the earliest and one of them has the first examples of amusements such as the Helter-Skelter.

Brighton Pier and the Ferris Wheel from our hotel room.
Looking along the seaside.
There is a lot of wrought iron and other design.
The beach is coarse pebbles and very broad,
with a steep face into the sea.
The Ferris Wheel, modelled on the London Eye dominates the beach.
This would be Brighton Pier.
The sign tells me.
But wait, there are dangers afoot, on the beach......
And on the pier. No dogs, bicycles and no smoking...
But no warning about the money traps.
They are everywhere.
Ivor Tarot Reading, as seen on BBC1.
The Horror Hotel.
The merry go round,
Horatio's Bar (closed for renovations),
Just married.
and the original Helter Skelter.
More of Brighton.
And the West Pier, destroyed by a high sea..
Seawall protection for the remaining pier.
Not surprising given the heavy sea rolling in....
And the ubiquitous shellfish at the seaside..
Cockles, mussels, whelks,....
crab, fresh or dressed (to cover up its old age perhaps??).
And of course jellied eels!
Panorama of the whole beach.
Then back to the hotel room for the sunset behind the wheel.
I was hoping to see the sun drop into the sea,.
but there were clouds on the horizon.
Never mind, the pier came alive.
with the "illuminations"..
And the moon.

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Last updated: 19/06/2017