Using London as your base you can day trip to almost everything that is quintessentially English, from the seaside at Brighton, to Shakespeare’s Stratford-on-Thames, to punting on the Cam. The keys to a good day tripping holiday? Book your hotel close to the train station that you will use most frequently, take advantage of online fare reductions and Britrail passes and book in advance specials.
Need a day at the seashore?
Then head to Brighton, a pebble strewn beach with all the ice cream and carousels you could desire. A mere 50 miles from London, Brighton is easily reached by either train, from either London Victoria or London Bridge stations and will cost about 20 to 25 pounds roundtrip. You can also go by bus; a regular service departs Victoria station, and is slightly less expensive at around 13 pounds round trip. It will, however take twice as long as the train. Two hours compared to a quick zip along the rails at 1 hour.
Brighton is a fairly compact city, so walking is an excellent way to discover the delights of this seaside town. Brighton is also the site of one of the largest arts festivals in all of Europe. The festival embraces all the arts from music to the written and spoken word. In the course of just a few days I took in a symphony concert, explored a neighborhood of artists conducting “open houses” displaying their wares and studios, and attended a debate between George Orwell’s biographer and a critic of his work.
The festival is scheduled in 2013 for May 4-26and tickets for various performances went on sale, on line on March 9. The festival operates an easily navigated website. They do add a fee of 1.75 pounds to each ticket booked online; however, the additional cost will defray any disappointment of not being able to attend an event you really want to experience. The festival offers a 10 pound standby ticket, avaible for many events, one hour prior to the start and open to those under the age of 26 or over 60.
Some of the performers and artists scheduled for this year include: author, Tracy Chevalier who penned, “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” and seminars on “What makes a book publishable.” The classical music offerings range from the BBC orchestra to the Elias String Quartet.
A day at the seashore is a wonderful way to explore the best of England’s active art life with a trip to Brighton for the festival.
If you can’t make the Festival this year, there is always next year, the Festival has been running for a good many years and future plans are already afoot.
Even without the festival Brighton is a hive of delights from the Royal Pavilion, a fantasy straight out of 1001 Arabian Nights, the Brighton Pier, a favorite family destination and the quirky town itself filled with cat creeps and twittens. A twitten? The space between a hedgerow. And, of course, lots and lots of shopping. All within a day’s journey from London.