I love day trips. I always have and probably always will. When I get a chance to make it an actual day trip – meaning 24 hours long – I try to make that happen every time. Unfortunately, that’s not always how things work out, as finding a hotel room at the last minute is not as easy as it sounds. I recently stumbled upon an opportunity to spend 24 hours in Brighton, England, and I was all for it except for the fact that, once again, I faced the same difficult challenge: I had to find a Brighton hotel room. I wondered about pulling out my laptop and searching for something that way, but decided to just run through the app world first to see what I could find there. I wasn’t all that confident, as I usually needed some sort of lead time before booking a room.
I grabbed my phone and searched for last-minute hotel room apps. I found one called HotelTonight, which I hadn’t used before. I liked the way it looked and it seemed quite simple. I searched for Brighton hotels and found several choices present. That reassured me that I’d most likely at least be able to find something, but I still steeled myself for the booking process, as that had been a huge hassle with other interfaces in the past. With HotelTonight, I had my Brighton hotel room booked and confirmed within a handful of clicks. I was amazed, and I was also thrilled that I was actually going to make this happen. I was going to be one of the 6.5 million people who visit Brighton for one day or less every year.
The full name of Brighton is actually Brighton and Hove, which formed as one entity in 1997. It was granted city status by the Queen of England in 2001. However, many locals still consider these to be two separate communities. Regardless, the downtown area is one that combines the classic British look with that of a seaside town. It’s quite unique and beautiful. As you walk around, you can see a lot of history and the influence of the current culture, and you immediately sense and experience the friendliness of the British people. I made small talk with quite a few folks and enjoyed myself immensely.
The Lanes was originally the center of a fishing village known as Brighthelmstone. These days, it’s a collection of narrow roads and alleys and it’s home to countless stores and other retail outlets. I walked around a bit and window-shopped, reminding myself that I would need to purchase some gifts at some point that day. At that moment, though, I needed some coffee. Fortunately, there were quite a few little cafes in the area as well, so I found one that looked inviting and enjoyed some delicious British coffee. It was a nice place to sit and people-watch while I took in the whole scene.
If you could paint a picture of the quintessential British seaside village, it would be Woodingdean. This is a place with about 12,000 inhabitants, but it’s also a place where everyone seems to be willing to take a moment or two every day to look out onto the sea and enjoy the beauty of where they live. It’s also a place with a pub or two, which was nice to see because I was starving and really in need of some lunch. I asked some people about where to go, and I got nothing but helpful answers. I picked a place and had some of the most delicious fish and chips I had ever tasted. It was quite a nice portion of the day.
I remembered that I had said to myself earlier that I needed to pick up some gifts for the important people in my life. Kemptown is another little community in Brighton that is known for its shopping, so I was in the right place to be sure. I found several little shops and boutiques that were locally owned and that offered things that were not anywhere near your typical cheap touristy stuff that would soon either be collecting dust in a closet somewhere or taking up space in a landfill. I loaded up a few bags of things for people and decided to call it a day.
I headed back into the middle of town for dinner. I wanted another traditional British meal, so I found another small place right in the center of town that served a meat pie that I could not even process it was so good. I also made great conversation with people who were at nearby tables, finding out that Brighton is a seaside destination for nearly all of Britain. It was fun hearing things from their local perspective.
As I made my way back to my hotel, I felt grateful for the opportunity to see this wonderful place. I was also grateful for finding HotelTonight, as without this powerful app I may not have found a hotel room in Brighton. I was ready for a nice, deep sleep and I was already excited about the next trip I would take. I would take that trip with the help of HotelTonight.