Rye or Brighton

Old Jul 16th, 2004, 11:21 PM
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lyb
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Rye or Brighton

I'm going to London for the first time in a month and a half. I'm planning to do one day trip. I've narrowed it down to Rye or Brighton. I've read a lot about both towns, but can't quite decide which one might be more fun to visit. Ideally I'd like to go to both, but I won't have the time on this trip.

Anyone who's been to both or either, what are your opinions about each place?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jul 16th, 2004, 11:45 PM
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I have been to both. Interesting choices - not the typical first-timer ones. If I may ask, what is it about these 2 places that appeals to you?

What are your interests?
Brighton is bigger and more bustling. There is lots of touristy stuff to see, but I didn't find it tacky in the vein of Blackpool-type tacky. I like Brighton. I had avoided the Royal Pavillion on my first 2 visits, finally went on the third, and enjoyed it very much.
We spent a really nice night in Rye a few years ago, arriving after dark, and we couldn't believe we were driving on such narrow cobbled streets - my husband thought he'd mistaken the sidewalk for the road. Rye is pretty quiet, quite fascinating and of course you can look in all the ceramics workshops/outlets. Great place to get tiles for souvenirs.

The two places are very different from one another. If I knew more about what it is you're interested in seeing, I might be able to recommend one over the other.
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Old Jul 17th, 2004, 12:09 AM
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Taggie,

I did consider the Cotswolds, Oxford, Blenheim Palace, etc...but when I love being on the coast and for years that area of England has interested me. A friend who has been to England several times may be joining me and she has never been to that part of the country, when I mentioned this to her she was excited, though she would be more than happy to go to the other areas if I wanted to go. I started reading about Rye and Brighton and there's something about them that interested me.

The Royal Palace in Brighton does seem interesting, and I have heard about Brighton for many years. Also, I confess to watch BBC America and seeing a couple of episodes of Changing Rooms taking place in Brighton and it looked interesting. The quaint streets of Rye are also appealing and it's still on the coast, or near it, if I'm correct. The quaintness (is that a word?) appealed to me. And that you've mentioned tiles, that's another good thing.

I love to walk around new cities and find its little hidden spots, see the historical places, and soak in the atmosphere. I'm an avid photographer and love to take unusual shots, such as extreme close-ups of places, making an almost abstract pictures. Of course, I also take the usual scenic shots.

I think that in addition to the all of the above, in a way, the fact that these two places are different from the typical places that the first time visitors go to is somewhat appealing.

Thank you for the info, and for any other info you might add.
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Old Jul 17th, 2004, 12:38 AM
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There's no question which is the more fun.

Brighton is a real city. As well as the usual concentration of financial-services back offices that provide much of its employment, its nearly but not quite seedy seaside resort facilities, and the universities whose students throng its bars, it has a thriving, complicated, unprecious, artistic community, swathes of Georgian terraces in different (somtimes indifferent) states of repair, immense estates of deprivation and substance abuse, a good range of pubs and restaurants, tons of quirky shops (mostly aimed at the oddly dressed youth who take the town over at weekends) and virtually everything else that makes city living worthwhile. It probably concentrates more real-city experiences into less space than anywhere else around. But do beware. The city has many beautiful buildings, but "charm" isn't a word you'd readily associate with it. This is not a place they film Miss Marple episodes in.

Being a location for Miss Marple is pretty much Rye's main industry (though the local conservation committee has probably banned the use of offensive terms like 'industry') . May well be an idyllic place to live, and photogenic in a way that the English Tourist Board must adore. But in its centuries of history, 'fun' is not a word that's ever been used in the same sentence as 'Rye'. And it's very unlikely there's a photograph of the place someone hasn't taken already.

Rye will confirm Masterpiece Theatre cliches of England. Brighton will show you what nonsense they are.
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Old Jul 17th, 2004, 12:54 AM
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I visited both 22 years ago,and my vote is for Rye. It was very charming.
My uncle had a flat in Brighton, and we visited him there. I was only 19, so consider that. I remember that I didn't like the shallow rocky beaches in Brighton.
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Old Jul 17th, 2004, 01:17 AM
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I've been to both towns, and enjoyed them both. Pick Rye if you want something off the beaten track. It took me nearly two hours to get there. On the other hand, it's an hour by train to Brighton. Love the ocean! I just got a kick out of being at a British seaside resort. Silly fun, but very British.
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Old Jul 17th, 2004, 10:26 AM
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lyb if you want ocean then go to Brighton. Rye isn't on the ocean - that's something that's interesting about it. It used to be a seaport but the sea has receded there so it's no longer on the coast. You can see the ocean off in the distance, about 2 miles I think. It's not like Brighton where you can stroll the beach. Brighton would give you the combination of a small, vibrant city with restaurants (it gets busy during lunch hour with office workers), pubs, shops, plus a couple of tourist attractions, and the ocean. Flanneruk has given a v. good summation of what the two have to offer, although I'm not quite so cynical about his analysis of Rye. It IS charming - nothing wrong with that!

I think it's just great that you've chosen a day trip that's unique for a typical first time visitor. You'll love the experience!
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Old Jul 17th, 2004, 11:07 AM
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I don't know Rye, but I would definitely choose the Brighton/Hove area for a day visit. I used to spend a lot of time in this area in the late 80's, as I had very dear friends that lived in East Sussex-it's a wonderful place to walk along the beaches at sunset (assuming it isn't raining, of course) and also to go and take walks in the Downs (the lovely rolling chalk hills surrounding Brighton). I once attended a very politically incorrect fox hunt up on the Downs! It's also nice to go walking through the seafront neighborhoods around the Royal Pavilion-and of course the Pavilion sights itself-Queen Victoria's bedroom, and other parts of the Pavilion open to the public. Then you can walk along the Pier to take in the amusement arcade, to see how they are in the U.K., as opposed to the boardwalk areas of shorefront towns in the U.S. It would make for a most enjoyable day, I should think.
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Old Jul 17th, 2004, 11:40 AM
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either place would be a decent day trip (neither would be my first choice 'tho). But do take spygirl's descriptions w/ a grain of salt. The Brighton of 15 or 20 years ago is VERY different from what you would find today. flanneruk's decriptions are much more what you would see now.

brighton is a busy, crowded, interesting, seedy (in places), city with some interesting old bldgs -- mainly the Pavilion, and a lot of youthful, modern atmosphere.

For sightseeing - but no seaside - choose Rye. For a flawed but interesting city choose Brighton.
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Old Jul 17th, 2004, 11:45 AM
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Both are very interesting. I love the Royal Pavilion, probably the result of having read 18th-century novels with Brighton as a setting. OTOH, if you've read the "Lucia" novels, you will know that Rye was the model for Tilling--and a very quaint village it is. The two are not far from each other; perhaps you could visit both.
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Old Jul 17th, 2004, 11:51 AM
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Uh, Janis-hate awfully to disagree with you, but the other posters and I have described Brighton sights in a similar fashion-and if you've not been up on the Downs, then it would be YOU who doesn't know the area very well, no? And if my post implied that I have not been there in 15-20 years, then that would be incorrect. Like I said, I used to spend a lot of time there in the late 80's but less so afterwards-and it is still exactly as I have described it.
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Old Jul 17th, 2004, 04:02 PM
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Lyb there is a brief mention of Brighton and Rye in this thread:
http://www.fodors.com/forums_reg/threadselect.jsp?fid=2

Seems the poster found Rye a bit of a disappointment.
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Old Jul 17th, 2004, 04:49 PM
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You can have a very full and fun day on a visit to Brighton. In addition to the Royal Pavilion already mentioned, there is the adjacent and free Brighton Museum with an excellent 20th Art & Design Gallery (emphasis on design) which is very strong on Art Deco. You can also ride the electric railway along the sea front if you get a little foot weary.

It's an easy walk downhill from the station but you might consider a taxi back.

The website which follows will give you lots more.

http://www.brighton.co.uk/
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Old Jul 17th, 2004, 10:25 PM
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Thank you everyone for all the input. After reading everyone's comment, ne minute, I'm sure I want to go to Brighton, the next Rye. Though, I really like cities and the energy they provide (I love San Francisco as an example) I think that after spending most of my time in London, Rye might be a nice contrast, not as busy and a bit more relaxing. What do you all think?

Darn, if only I had won the California lotto tonight, that wouldn't be such a problem... I wouldn't have to be bothered by that little pesky thing called, available vacation days.
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 12:32 AM
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PS: Do NOT describe Brighton as being on the "ocean". The ocean is about 300 miles away.

Brighton is on the sea. I realise many of you don't appreciate the difference, but it's a real one in British. Ask at Brighton railway station where the ocean is and you really will attract some strange looks.

It's one of the rare occasions when an Americanism sounds very, very funny. Even at the tip of Cornwall, the west coast of Scotland and the Irish west coast, we usually refer to 'the sea', rather than 'the ocean'. But 'ocean' used for the Channel, the North Sea or the Irish Sea strikes us as plain ridiculous.

OTOH, calling some meandering 6 inch wide, 1 inch deep, stream a river is just fine.
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 10:14 AM
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I visited both two weeks ago and, as noted elsewhere, found the Pavilion interesting and Rye somewhat underwhelming - though I doubt that many would agree with me about Rye. If you have not beem to Canterbury, I'd encourage you to reconsider your options.
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