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  • Gemma Fottles

A domestic holiday for the broke student: 5 reasons to go to Brighton

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

This academic year is one of the most expensive of my life… gift wise. Stepping into my third year of university, the vast majority of my friendship group turns 21 within a few short months of each other. And due to a severe lack of alcohol-fuelled fun in our lives due to a gruelling final year of uni (yes, even for a literature student)... Well. Let's just say we're all excited to go and celebrate in style at every necessary opportunity.

Enter: problem. The neverending doom of the student bank account

When people excitedly suggest we should getaway to celebrate the milestone of fully entering the world of adult life, I panic. I'm a student! With a very shitty job in a hospitality agency! AND TWO DISSERTATIONS TO WRITE!? Flights, hotels and copious amounts of alcohol = an expense my student bank account shudders at the thought of.

A holiday at home

But celebratory weekends away do not always have to be expensive. Alas - getting away doesn't necessarily even mean leaving the country. It seems obvious, but living in the UK - like anywhere - it's easy to forget that there are a thousand beautiful places on our doorstep... or at least a train journey away. So, with another 21st celebration on the horizon, this time, we decided to head to Brighton, 170-miles South from our Uni-bubble in Birmingham.

I’ve never been to Brighton before last weekend just because it’s pretty far south of me. But I absolutely fell in love with it this weekend, and here’s a few reasons why…

1) The Pier

The pier is full of slightly (slash, very) tacky, nostalgic things to do. Such as play on the 2 penny arcades, or the claw machines in which it is almost definitely a dead certain that no matter how many 50p coins you put in that slot, that giant stuffed animal is just going to slip right through that damn claws ”grip”. There’s also the fair! Complete with a shaky looking rollercoaster and old school Ferris wheel contraption.

2) Icecream + cafes + sweet, sweet treats

Brighton is a hipster paradise. The result of all that hipster-dom? An excellent selection of cute cafes with amazing coffee and cakes and English treats and, of course, plenty of opportunities for delicious English ice cream. I ate mine at 10 am, sitting on the cold pebbles and nursing a hangover. Icecream is acceptable at any time of the day in Brighton and I didn't regret it for a second.

3) The nightlife

There's a reason we chose Brighton as our city of choice for 21st celebrations: Brighton nightlife is awesome. From sitting out in the beer gardens to dancing the night away in some of the best clubs in the UK, Brighton has got something for everyone.

4) Fish and chips (!!!!)

Fish and chips sat on a lovely pebbly beach with the sun shining, and the near-Arctic temperature wind whipping around you is something that just cannot be missed. And the floods of decidedly savage-looking seagulls always ready to pounce on your food just adds to the fun of it all.

5) It’s the best of the British seaside.

Basically, all of the above. And it’s not just any seaside, it’s the British seaside. This means that instead of white sand, it’s pebbles… instead of lovely, bath water temperature crystal blue waters, it’s kind of blue, and very icy. Instead of locals walking around selling some sort of delicious tropical fruit, dressed in little to nothing, you're more likely to be sold some greasy fish and chips by a slightly dodgy looking man in an even dodgier looking clothes. This may sound a bit of a step-down, but it needs to be EMBRACED. There’s no other seaside like the British seaside… and whether you think this is good or bad, it deserves to be thoroughly enjoyed.


In true student-style, we went for the cheapest option available to us. This was an 18-bed dorm room... and you know what? It was as terrible as you can expect of an 18-bed dorm in Brighton. We stayed at the - at least very centrally located - Smart SeaView Brighton Hostel, 18 Bed Dorm, for a grand total of £12 each. We got on the train straight from Birmingham to London, then connected in the capital for our next train to Brights. It all worked out at about £15 return Birmingham – Brighton. Lovely - a 21st trip away for less than 50 quid.

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