Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A grand day out

By tradition, a sunny Bank Holiday Monday more or less requires Londoners to go to the seaside - and the closest to hand is Brighton.

You can go for the over-the-top orientalist splendour of the Pavilion, or check out the antiques, arty and alternative shops and cafés in the Lanes, the Regency re-construction of the original fishing village

But for most people, Brighton is for fresh air and fun, preferably as vulgar, saucy and sometimes downright raucous as possible

If it' s still a bit early and breezy for the beach to be getting crowded,

and if strenuous exercise isn't your thing,

then the pier always offers something.

From the simple pleasure of getting yourself photographed in a comical pose or topical situation

you can stroll along the pier, taking in the views and peering between the decking, which is carefully spaced to let you experience the thrill of seeing the sea beneath your feet without any of the inconveniences of being on a boat.

And, of course, among the opportunities to relieve yourself of your money, there are food stalls and a fortune-teller (if you believe the signboard, even the biggest financial firms in London consult the tarot reader, which may explain a lot).

You can't come to the seaside without visiting the rock shop.

Your tooth-threatening souvenirs are available in all shapes and sizes, not just the familiar stick with name of the resort lettered all through, but also versions for your football team or for the recipient:

Amaze your loved ones with a novelty meal:

or amuse your more disreputable friends with something saucier:

With treats and souvenirs bought, there's still the amusement arcade and its "penny falls" machines, cranes that never pick up the cuddly toy, and shoot 'em up video games:

and right at the end of the pier, the funfair offers all the waltzers, dodgems, coconut shies, racing games, horror shows and thrill rides you could want:

But don't just take my word for it. Here's another view of a day out in Brighton:

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