The city I grew up in is the furthest possible point away from any coastline in the UK. When I was 10 they shipped in huge bags of sand and created a fake beach in the city centre, because they had done a survey and 72% of children had never been to the seaside. For this reason the seaside has a totally enchanting, magical, amazing quality to it and I still get a swarm of butterflies the second I spot the ocean on the horizon as I travel towards it.
My friends Ali & Craig (aka 3 is the magic number) and I made a decision that we would go to one coastal resort per month this summer; to get out of grizzly London and explore and get sand in our sandwiches and salty air in our lungs. The first location we selected was …….. Eastbourne! 1. Because it was only £13 a ticket and 2. Because my dad was born/bred there and I was eager to explore his hometown. The train from London goes from Charing Cross and takes about 2 hours, with one change in a little resort called St Leonards Warrior Square which didn’t make the best impression since in the 20 minutes we spent on the tiny platform we witnessed a taped off police-crime-scene being guarded by armed officers, a scowling pregnant child and a man with a raging pitbull shouting at another man across the train tracks. The journey goes quickly enough though it you have a nice array of train snacks, good conversation and hang-man to fall back on.
As a result of a complete fluke, instead of the April showers and grey drizzle we’d expected when we booked in February, it was the hottest day of the year so far. Cardigans and coats were shed, sunglasses were out and we all came home with noticabley pink faces (oh so British!) I’ve bolded the other seaside cliches in the following post just to show how we ticked just about every box! Upon arrival we walked through Eastbourne town centre and picked up some rock at the Truley Scrumptious Olde Fashioned Sweet Shop and then jumped aboard an open top bus up to Beachy Head. It is a place of such breath-taking beauty but obviously there is the more sinister side which is unavoidable to ignore when you see the beautiful cliffs scattered with wooden crosses and fresh flowers. There is such a bittersweetness to how incredible the chalk cliffs and views are against the heart breaking sadness of the lives lost there. Luckily we saw no lone walkers or potential jumpers (just one crazy dad tourist getting a bit of a fright when he stepped out a bit too far) and I would recommend anyone to go here if they haven’t. It must be one of the most perfect areas of the UK. It was peaceful and serene and unusual and the haunting noise of the lighthouse carries through the air giving it a really dramatic ambiance. Photographs do not do it justice!
Back in Eastbourne we picked up Fish and Chips from Qualisea. You might know know how very seriously I take the business of f&c munching and these did not let me down! Fresh flakey haddock, crispy batter and the fact we could eat them on the pebbles, in tee shirts, with circling mutant seagulls (rather than huddling inside somewhere for warmth) made them all the more tasty. Then we played on the (rather sad old) pier, took touristy photographs in deck chairs wandered along the beach, got sand (and chalk) in our shoes, explored the band stand, then went for high tea in The Grand Hotel and slightly napped in the big comfy chairs.
We came home happy and burnt and full of sea air and happy thoughts.
Any recommendations for our next seaside jaunt are very welcome, as we are stuck and need to get booking…