12th Jan 2013 12:21pm | By Ruth Roxanne Board
A playground of funfair rides, hairy bikers and nudie ladies, Brighton is full of seaside hijinks
Noisy hen parties wearing pink cowboy hats, out-of-towners shivering on a chilly beach, teenagers swigging bottles of cider on the pier – all part of your average Brighton break? Apparently not anymore.
These days the city is bursting with as much contemporary culture as good old-fashioned seaside fun, so I’m here for the weekend to pack in as much as I can of both.
Of course, the first stop on any coastal jaunt is to head straight to the seaside.
I’m spoilt for choice, torn between exploring the pier’s funfair, the Sea Life Centre and the newly installed Brighton Wheel.
I venture on to the pier first, to take some snapshots of the pretty Victorian architecture set against the more garish, modern seaside attractions of slot machines and funfair rides.
Not feeling the need to scare myself witless on the ghost train or rollercoaster, I head back to shore and get straight on the Brighton Wheel instead.
This opened about a year ago and sweeps riders 50m above sea level, affording views across Brighton and Hove and out to sea.
As I gaze out the window, a recording starts and I find myself listening to those distinctive nasal tones of local celeb Steve Coogan, who tells the history of the wheel itself which started life at the 2010 South Africa World Cup before being brought to Brighton.
As soon as I climb off the wheel, the rain starts – a regular occurrence here, summer or winter – so I dash into the safety of the newly refurbished Sea Life Centre, where I’m greeted by some scary-looking spider crabs and slippery moray eels.
The gloom of the moody lighting makes me feel as though I’m in the depths of the sea. Most beautiful of all is the underwater tunnel from where I watch the turtles and sharks circle overhead.
It’s only a few minutes’ walk from here to the iconic Royal Pavilion.
The India-inspired architecture of the former royal palace looks like the set from Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom, but inside the decor is lavishly Oriental, the pièce de résistance a huge dragon-shaped chandelier descending from the ceiling in the cavernous dining room.
I wish my London flat looked this sumptuously gorgeous.After all the excitement of the seafront, I check into the retro boutique B&B Snooze.
I’ve booked my stay in the boudoir suite, which comes complete with luxe red curtains and vintage photographs of nudie ladies on the wall, a brilliantly saucy, tongue-in-cheek take on the traditional seaside style I’ve been soaking up all day.