Published: 00:19, 03 September 2018
Whether you want to mingle with uber-trendy hipsters, have a drink in a traditional English pub, immerse yourself in culture, or just enjoy a day at the beach, Brighton's the place for you.
For many of us, the seaside city is the place where you'd imagine that you'll need atleast seven piercings and several tattoos to fit in - and my mere one tattoo and two piercings fall far short of that.
I'd not visited for many years but in two days I discovered the great thing about Brighton is that it really caters for all. In an area that was walking distance of the very traditional and highly welcoming pub, the Market Inn - complete with bunting outside - where we stayed, it really was possible to experience the trendy, the traditional, the historical and the luxurious in less than 48 hours.
Our first stop after a slap-up breakfast brought to our room at the Market Inn, had to be the Brighton Pavilion. Once home to the city's original party prince, Prince Regent (George IV), it was transformed by John Nash between 1815 and 1822 into one of the most dazzling and exotic buildings in the country.
Its splendour is still apparent today, and as you go round with your audio guide, or reading the signs, you'll learn a lot about his lavish lifestyle and the sad side effects which ailed him later in life.
Once you've topped up on your culture, try a walking tour of the city to learn more and head to the seafront to immerse yourself in all walks of life, from families chilling on the shingle beach, to volleyballers and cyclists, boutiques and beachside bars. Now's also your chance to pick up your three pieces of rubbish at the beach and do your bit for the environment.
Hidden in a small row of traders that are tucked almost under the road (you'll need to go down some steps and onto the beachfront to find them) you'll find The Arches and Murmur, an all day dining restaurant by the Great British Menu 2017 winner Michael Bremner.
The menu is pretty much to die for, whether you're eating a la carte or the kids menu, and I may quite possibly have eaten my favourite dish ever there, off the specials menu, a mushroom ravioli with truffle - pure bliss - accompanied by Les Boules Blanc white wine. The staff at Murmur - we were served by Danielle Fico, with Jamie Saunders as front of house that day - were the perfect mix of attentive without being in-your-face.
The highlight - emphasis on high - of our trip was the British Airways i360. The "flight" which gives you a 360 degree view of Brighton came in for criticism when passengers got stuck for lengthy waits, and I wouldn't say I would have tried it of my own accord. But don't knock it 'til you try it. The trip felt like the height of decadence, as we looked down on the city and its coastline, while all around people chinked glasses and took sky-high selfies. It was almost disappointing when we came back down to earth.
Our final stop of the weekend was dinner at the New Club overlooking the seafront, and if we'd avoided meeting any hipsters, now was our moment to mingle.
Relax, fill up on some succulent burgers, and enjoy the trendy surroundings while looking out at the sea, and make sure the citrusy Brighton Fizz cocktail is on your evening to-do list.
Brighton - I'll be back.
TRY IT FOR YOURSELF
The Market Inn, 1 Market Street, BN1 1HH. Call 01273 329483 or visit reallondonpubs.com/the-market-inn
Murmur on Brighton seafront, The Arches, BN1 2FN. Telephone 01273 911900 or visit murmur-restaurant.co.uk
British Airways i360, Lower Kings Road, BN1 2LN. Call 03337 720360 or visit britishairwaysi360.com
The New Club on Brighton Seafront, 133-134 Kings Road, BN1 2HH. Call 01273 730320 or go to thenewclubbrighton.com
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Whichever weekend break you're looking for Brighton can cater for it.
If wellness and fitness are your thing, you can explore the South Downs National Park with a picturesque walk then make your way back to The Grand or Brighton Harbour Hotel & Spa; have a night of comedy at Komedia's Krater Comedy Club and try a laughter yoga session or a traditional yoga or Pilates workshop at the Natural Health Centre. You could have a go at Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) yoga at Lagoon Watersports where the board becomes your yoga mat, take a visit to Yellowave Beach Sports Venue for some beach volleyball and bike riding or picnic in the countryside – The Flour Pot is a good starting point.
If you're a culture vulture, watch live theatre at Hove’s independent theatre venue The Old Market or sit in the sunshine at Brighton Open Air Theatre. Besides the pavilion, there's the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, while for sports fans, there's the Albion Museum and the Sussex Cricket Museum.
For all things Brighton, you can find out more at visitbrighton.com