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Brighton V Blackpool

seasideI do love a typical English seaside resort.  The sticks of rock, 2p slot machines (I never risk the 10p version!), fish and chips, rude cartoon postcards, and the pink bodies crowded on the beach on those rare scorching days.  It may be a surprise to holiday makers from abroad how much we love our beach towns, but these treasured spots definately have their very own, slightly naff, charm.

Two of the most popular, one North and one South, are Blackpool and Brighton.  I visited both this summer. 

In fact Blackpool (I apologise now) has an unfair disadvantage in the comparison from the start.  For one because I have always adored the hip, yet unaffected, scene that is bubbling beneath Brighton.  And secondly because I have a jumble of happy memories that include Brighton, as I started life not far from here.  At 19, a friend and I worked in a local's pub one summer. We felt embraced by the quirky mixture of regulars who tried to facilitate us staying on by organising us a home furnished with a collection of their possessions. If I were to live in the UK now, it would have to be here!

A favourite building of mine is the Royal Pavilion, seemingly dropped in from a part of India.  A popular healthy eatery, Bob's, is a must! If you wish for less sophisticated shopping than The Lanes, the North Laine is a bohemian heaven.  

I found Brighton as engaging as ever this year.  We stayed at Hotel Pelirocco which was inventively decorated with cheeky art, a multitude of extreme wallpapers and themed rooms.  The karaoke room was a fun extra as well as the shocking pink leather seating in the bar, which doubles as a music-filled breakfast area in the morning.   This townhouse hotel is location in an elegant square, looking out to the peppled beach and sea, is a short stroll from all that Brighton has to offer.  This place has friendly and helpful staff, and is charismatic in its relaxed and funky style.  click here for full details on Quirky Accom. 

dollywould                    wallart              

livelyloo

Another snazzily decorated option with a vintage touch is the 6 room/2 suite Snooze Guest House in Kemptown.

Out of the many events Brighton has to offer, 2 that are not to be missed are the Brighton Festival (showcasing world-class art and entertainment) each May, and Pride Festival and Parade running 6-14th August.

Blackpool, known for its Illuminations (note, only on in the Autumn), its shows (not on on a Monday), the Blackpool Tower (currently under reconstruction) and Pleasure Beach theme park, is the hub of the North.  I've always wanted to visit and experience the hype, but we were unfortunate in only having the chance to go on a damp Monday evening this July.  Blackpool appeared to be having a day off.   But plans for improvement were visible all around. 

We ate our fish and chips, played the games machines on the pier, got friendly attention from promenaders as our kids policed the area in newly bought outfits, and took in the views over the wide sandy beach from the Big Wheel, its only riders.  Still a successful night, if you like that sort of thing (which we do!).

For unusual accommodation go to the Beatles themed Strawberry Fields Hotel, with a tribute bar.   Or stay in a Camping Pod (a rounded wooden hut) at Knepps Farm Holiday Park, just 7 miles away near Thornton Cleveleys.

The famous Illuminations of Blackpool will be switched on the 2nd Sept until 6th November 2011.  And Showzam! a circus inspired festival will be held 10-19 February next year! 

coralisland                      police