London/Brighton in August

Jan 30th, 2003, 10:01 AM
  #1  
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London/Brighton in August

Starting to plan a trip to London and possibly Brighton the first week of August. I've been to London once a few years ago and did most of the touristy things. My companion hasn't, so I'll end up doing them all again!

I haven't researched all of the UK info on fodors.com yet (it's extensive!) but I already have a few questions:

do Fodorites think Brighton is worth 2 nights after 6 nights in London? If Brighton isn't the first choice, I'd love to hear suggestions for another 2 night diversion! (We have an 11am flight out of Gatwick on our last day so I'd like it to be in relatively easy transit distance of the airport).

have reservations at the Rembrandt. Gets good reviews from what I can find and the price (GBP129 for an executive double, VAT/breakfast included) is good for the location. Any comments?

I assume it's still too far out to buy theatre tix but maybe I'm wrong. If I should buy now, what shows are currently popular in London?

Thanks!
JohnNewOrleans is offline  
Jan 30th, 2003, 10:16 AM
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Brighton always gets a bad rap from everyone it seems. But we made a return visit there this summer (just for the day). We were glad to see the many restoration improvement made to the Pavillion after all these years -- still a fascinating "palace". Even the rather faded and tacky Victorian seafront looked considerably spruced up since our last visit.

Although I've never spent a night in Brighton, it does have good restaurants and a lively night scene, straight and gay. And is easy access to Gatwick in the morning as you mention.
Patrick is offline  
Jan 30th, 2003, 10:34 AM
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Brighton Pavillion is very interesting - but Brighton itself in probably not worth an overnight on such a short trip. Parts of the town have become a real dump. Plus part of the old pleasure pier suffered a serious fire a few weeks ago.

I am not one of the Brighton bashers (tho' I guess it does sound that way), but there are a hundres other places that would probably be better for a 2 day visit convenient to London -- Bath, Oxford, Cambridge, the Cotswolds, York, Norfolk, anywhere in Kent, Dorset, Exeter/Devon, parts of Wales - all are easily reached from London and offer more than Brighton.
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Jan 30th, 2003, 10:54 AM
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I'm no great fan of Brighton for more than a day tip to see the sea and buy some rock, but to be fair, as I understand it the Palace Pier is still flourishing, it's the old abandoned West Pier that started collapsing, but the restoration trust thinks that's saved them of the initial cost of dismantling for the restoration. But that's their story.
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Jan 30th, 2003, 10:57 AM
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I would definitely recommend 2 nights in Brighton - it has changed a lot in the last few years and is one of the liveliest places in the south; plenty of decent pubs, bars, clubs and some excellent restaurants.
The old pier didnt suffer a fire; yes part of it did collapse into the sea but this was due to severe winter storms and there are plans to restore it. I go there every summer for a few days and feel that it would be a shame to miss the opportunity to visit a great city which will make a nice contrast to the hussle of London.
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Jan 30th, 2003, 11:07 AM
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I love spending time in Brighton - it's much more chilled out than London, although it's harder to find places to eat. You've got the sea, and it's a beautiful twinkly sea, and a lovely pebbly beach - I'm not a fan of sandy beaches in England, let's not pretend we're a warm country. Also, the fortune tellers along the beach are super-fun (particularly Professor Mirza), the fish and chips are acceptable and there are some cool modern pubs.
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Jan 30th, 2003, 11:36 AM
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MHS
 
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Any recommendations for those pubs & fish and chip places? We plan on going down for a day in May -- DH wants to see the Palace & the British shore. We enjoyed 1/2 day at the Belgium counterpart several years ago.
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Jan 30th, 2003, 11:44 AM
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Oh, sorry to be so useless, but I've always just wandered into places. That's such a pitiful reply that I can only apologise and back away from the thread in shame. But before I go, I've heard good things about this hotel

http://www.hotelnineteen.co.uk/index_nf.htm

now here I go, in shame.
MacNeil is offline  
Jan 30th, 2003, 11:50 AM
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Thanks for the great comments thus far! I appreciate them. We're from New Orleans so a couple of nights in pubs won't be far from the norm for us! I just thought it would be fun to see an English seaside town for a short visit and the proximity to Gatwick is certainly appealing. Any hotel recs for Brighton?
JohnNewOrleans is offline  
Jan 30th, 2003, 11:55 AM
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Thanks MacNeil for the Hotel 19 suggestion. The website does look great! I've e-mailed them for information.

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Jan 31st, 2003, 03:59 AM
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Just found a special rate at the Radisson SAS Portman for the same price as the Rembrandt. Any thoughts on the two? I know they are located in different neighborhoods but both in central London.
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Jan 31st, 2003, 09:33 AM
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Being a Londoner, I'm afraid I don't know anything about London hotels, except for the boutiquey ones which are written about when they're fashionable.

This morning I went out for coffee and found and article about places to eat and drink in Brighton in a really fancy magazine. I jotted them down:

Eating out:

Blanch House
Seven Dials Restaurant
Terre a Terre (vegetarian)
The George (lovely gastro-pub, cheaper than the other suggestions)
The Gingerman

Bars, etc

Brighton Rock Beach House
Blanch House, again
Koba - a 70s feel, like a trendy mate's living room
The Fringe Bar - great cocktails and beer, relaxed atmosphere.
MacNeil is offline  
Jan 31st, 2003, 09:53 AM
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One more thing - re London hotels. If you can bear to leave it to the last minute, I've found this site to have INCREDIBLE bargains for hotels. Perhaps not the most charming looking hotels, but 4* and 5*, so one would think comfy, anyway.

http://londontown.com/

Click on the bit where it says, 'London hotels'
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Jan 31st, 2003, 10:58 AM
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vcl
 
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Years ago we stayed in the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton, Wonderful historic building, been a hotel since before the Restoration.

Don't know how it is now, but in 1984 it was quite a trip.
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Feb 2nd, 2003, 10:56 AM
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Trip planning update: forgot I had Marriott points!! Combined with transferring a few thousand Diners Club points and (voila!) we have enough for five nights at the Marriott Park Lane, Marriott County Hall or Marriott Grosvenor Square. Any thoughts on which? I've read all of the reviews thus far on these hotels and each has its fans.

Also, booked Hotel Nineteen in Brighton (thanks MacNeil!). It looks lovely and think we'll enjoy it.
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Feb 6th, 2003, 11:57 PM
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I had a day in Brighton in october with a friend and thought it had 'gone off' in a big way, last time I was there was in '95. I also understand it has a major drug problem and is pretty dicey at night. Also it was grubby and the fish and chips we had were ghastly, why can't the poms make decent bread, thin white tasteless rubbish that you can hardly swallow. They haven't got a clue, come to New Zealand for the best food in the world. Will not be going again, I prefer other towns along the coast like Hastings.
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Feb 7th, 2003, 06:11 AM
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Not to be overly defensive and I have no reason to be of Brighton, but Kathy how many fish and chips places did you try? Unless you hit at least a couple dozen it seems unfair to judge all the food based on your experience. I've been to New Zealand and had some great food, but I also hit a couple places that were worse than bad. It would have been wrong of me to base my total opinion of New Zealand cooking on those couple of bad experiences.
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Feb 7th, 2003, 06:53 AM
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John, Did you see the article in the New York papers about the fire in Brighton the other day? I don't have the article, alas.
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Feb 7th, 2003, 01:11 PM
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Dan
 
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Was it a serious fire? What burned?
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Feb 7th, 2003, 02:31 PM
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The Palace Pier, the one that has been the main entertainment pier for decades, while the more upmarket West Pier rusted away (and collapsed in the storms a few weeks ago). Not clear how bad the damage is. But as people say, to lose both piers in quick succession...well, we can all make up the stories.
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