On a whim three friends and I purchased bargain National Express bus tickets to Brighton, where we ended up camping for 3 nights. We were really lucky with the weather, which was sunny although at time a bit windy, but the sun really made the South Downs of East Sussex look lovely. I had been to Brighton before when I was sixteen on one of the fun bus ‘return for a pound’ tickets, and spent a good 24hrs exploring the place, but this time we were able to go further out and explore the South Downs Way.
Our campsite was just out of Brighton City centre, in a place call Pyecome. It was quite isolated but the campsite owners came and picked us up for a very reasonable price, so that was handy. The campsite itself turned out to be a small plot of land on the back of their garden and the house was actually a small B&B. It was on a hugely steep slope that was significantly overgrown with grass and weed, causing much apprehension, but after pitching our tents on a cleared area adjacent to an abandoned, but quite homely caravan, our moods improved. The caravan was out toilet/kitchen/”chill out area” and proved very handy in the chilly evenings for drinking and card games, so in retrospect it was a very good find. It was cheap too, at approximately £6 a night (see “biddy1’s place” on www.campinmygarden.com). The owners were very friendly and offered themselves as a cheap taxi service to the nearest bus stop into central Brighton.
We explored the lanes, relaxed on the beach and went on the rides on the Pier, as well as visiting the Fishing Museum and the Royal Pavillion. There is so much to do and see in Brighton and having recently elected a member of the Green Party as the MP to represent the city in parliament, it really is a clean and pretty city to visit. We went to a cute little tapas place for dinner, which was fantastic and enjoyed some home made cocktails too. The other nights we cooked for ourselves and consequently spoiled ourselves rotten with food you never buy yourself when at home; that is the way when on holiday.
One day of the trip we decided to walk across the South Downs Way using my friend’s vintage OS map of the area, and luckily picked the sunniest and warmest day to do it. Several hours of walking and an excellent packed lunch, took us across grassy hills full of sheep and cows, through dark and mysterious woodlands and even to the summit of peaks with excellent panoramic views of Sussex. From here we could see the snazzy new football stadium built near the University and decided to head towards there for civilisation. A couple of hours later we entered suburbia and the university area and decided to hop on the bus to the nearby historical town of Lewes. We arrived at just the right time to see the castle– just before closing – and got in for half price, result! It was a small castle but with towers that went quite far up giving 360o views of the area and white cliffs in the distance. It was a lovely little town, but with evening approaching speedily and the fear of few busses running back to the campsite we soon headed home.
Overall it was a really fun trip with good friends and I genuinely felt like I did and saw all of Brighton’s best bits. I recommend the campsite to anyone looking for a short trip to the area, but definitely bring ear plugs and an eye mask to compensate for the dual-carriageway at the bottom of the campsite which was very bright and noisy!