12 Hours in Brighton… With Thameslink Trains.
I reckon if I could magically transport all my family to anywhere else in the UK to live, I would choose Brighton. There is something about the city that I just love. It is so full of colour, it’s vibrant, it’s cultured, and it is by the sea. What more is there to love? Sadly we won’t be upping sticks and moving soon, but we do love going there to visit. However we normally go for at least a couple of days as it often feels quite far from us by car.
A while ago Thameslink Trains got in touch with me to see if we would like to go somewhere by train for the day. Being that it was the summer holidays and I was looking for fun things to do to entertain the little people, I jumped at the chance. It was then I realised that we could get the train from Bedford (about twenty minutes from where we live) to Brighton in just under 2.5 hours. The girls and I went to Brighton with my sister a couple of years ago and Mads still talks about it, so that was it, our mini adventure was decided and we counted down the days until we were going.
We decided to get up really early so we would be in Brighton by breakfast. Although the half past five alarm going off was a bit of a shock to the system when I had already been up half the night with our baby boy, we soon were on the train drinking orange juice and looking out the window as we passed through all the different stations. We couldn’t believe how easy the train was and it passed really quickly. This summer we have realised that we definitely want to do more travel by train, if you book in advance especially you can get some really great deals.
True to our word, by 9am we were sat in The Breakfast Club, me eating Huevos Rancheros, Jon eating salmon and eggs, and the girls eating pancakes with maple syrup.
Before it was time to head down to the beach. We spent ages down there, going on the carousel (a compulsory activity when you are a tourist in Brighton!), taking photos of the iconic deckchairs, and throwing stones in the water. The girls were also obsessed with trying to win those big stuffed minion toys on one of the little fairground stalls. The only problem was it was SO windy so unfortunately I really struggled to take photos.
I took this photo with my phone but I absolutely love it! Sometimes the phone ones are the best.
Windy beach photo fail!
It was then time for us to walk along the pier, which again is a Brighton must see. It is cheesy and quintessentially English seaside, but so much fun. The girls loved stopping to look at the sea, which because it was so windy was making the biggest waves we have ever seen, and also stopping to make very dubious seagull impressions that entertained a few passers by. But the main attraction for them was definitely the arcade, I think both of them would spend all day on the 2p machines if they could. To be fair you can’t go to the seaside without having a go.
Love this photo of myself and my little girly. She is clutching that lolly with such pride as she won it in the 2p machines. We must have put in at least £4 for her and Mads to win two sweets each that would have cost about 20p. But that is the whole fun of it I guess!
We then decided to walk back into the city centre (it’s not far only a few minute walk!) to go and get some lunch. We settled on NuPosto, which just happened to be near the beach. It did delicious pizza and pasta with a really reasonable kids menu and great service. I love it when you find a random good find! On the way we passed good old Darth Vadar, and Mads and LL were so excited as Mads especially is Star Wars crazy at the moment. So of course we had to stop and do the typical tourist thing and take a photo with him.
After lunch we wandered around the iconic Lanes area, a beautiful area of narrow cobbled streets and alleyways covered in bunting, made famous for their jewellery and antique shops, but that were also filled with other gorgeous independent shops and cafes.
She will insist on taking her favourite Baa Baa out with her and it gives me massive panics at least a few times each day because I think we have lost it- it honestly is like having a fourth child out and about with us. Still I do love these photos of her cuddling him.
After some serious window shopping we headed to Boho Gelato for an ice cream. And what a delicious ice cream it was. Well known for their wacky and quite frankly strange flavours that they change and mix up on a regular basis, such as Carrot Cake, Tequilla and Lime or Marmalade on Toast, we were excited to try something different. But in the end I was far too tempted by the Sea Salt Caramel which was utterly delicious.
We then decided to head back down to the beach to run off the copious amounts of food we had eaten. It was still ridiculously windy down there so as such we look a little windswept in these photos. But what’s a day to the seaside if you don’t look like a little crazy haired afterwards?!
This photo of the old burnt down West Pier is slightly weird looking, I think we over exposed the camera settings but I kind of like it as the waves crashing, and the bird and the slightly purple water make it look a little magical.
Finally we had one last walk around, stopping to marvel at the new British Airways i360, the new 162 metre observation deck which only opened at the start of August. We then headed back to the Lanes, stopping off at the Cloud 9 bakery for take out cupcakes to eat on the way home. I have mentioned Cloud 9 in this post from when we went to Brighton before, but they really do the yummiest cakes.
We finally got our Thameslink train home at around 8pm, tired, full and happy after a really lovely family day out together. It was so much fun and we will definitely be getting the train there again, it was just so easy and really didn’t feel that far away at all. We’ve had some such amazing adventures this summer and as I type this we have a week left until Mads goes back to school. I am so sad that she is going back. While it hasn’t always been easy and there is a small part of me that is ready to get back to the routine and structure that school brings, we really have made so many memories this summer and the thought of leaving it all behind makes tears spring to my eyes.
There really is nothing better than spending days with the people you love most.
NB: We are working with Thameslink on this post. All thoughts, photos and opinions are entirely my own. Please check my work with us page to see how we work with brands.