Whenever I need to switch off I take a holiday somewhere far away from home. I tend to look for a place where I can discover something new or do something different from my day-to-day life. And more often than not I look for a destination far from home. Until now. I have recently been on a day trip to Brighton, where I discovered the concept of ‘microgapping’, and it’s a game changer.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a microgap?
- 2 Day trip to Brighton – My first microgap
- 3 Where I ate in Brighton
- 4 How to get to Brighton from London
- 5 Planning your day trip to Brighton
- 6 Other England destinations for a Microgap
- 7 Like this post? Pin and save for later
What is a microgap?
Sometimes I wish I could take a long break like a gap year to recharge batteries, reset and start afresh – and I’m sure a lot of you feel the same. But the demands of daily life like work, having to pay the bills, etc don’t make this realistic. But how about taking a microgap?
A microgap is the idea of packing the best bits of a gap year in just a few days without having to travel too far. Whether you are the adventurous type, want to do something positive by volunteering, or just have a relaxing break, taking a microgap is the way to go!
Day trip to Brighton – My first microgap
After a lot of travelling for work during the summer and into the autumn, I was in desperate need of a break where I could just switch off and reset myself before getting back on this relentless ride we call life. So when I was invited to go on a day trip to Brighton by Visit England to literally switch off, I jumped at the opportunity.
Being so close to London, I’d been to Brighton before but not for many years, so I was really keen to see what this beautiful seaside city could offer to help me press the pause button and unwind.
I took a walking tour of Brighton
As I mentioned, it had been a while since I’d been to Brighton, so taking a tour of the city with Brighton City Walks was the perfect way to re-acquaintance myself with the city and to learn about its royal past, its quirky streets and its links to British music and cinema.
The first stop was Brighton’s number one visitor attraction, the famous Royal Pavilion. Built in the late 1700s for the Prince Regent George IV as a seaside pleasure palace, it has an Indian inspired exterior and a Chinese inspired interior. The Prince Regent was famous for being a bit of a party animal, so the palace was built to impress and entertain.
If you have the time to go inside, the interiors are truly spectacular. To avoid queues, especially at weekends, you can book your tickets in advance here.
Built as part of the Royal Pavilion complex, and located next door, you will find the Brighton Dome. It’s hard to believe that it was originally built as a stable block when you look at how grand it is. It is now an arts venue and a concert hall, and it was here that ABBA won the Eurovision song contest with their song Waterloo. It is also the first venue where Pink Floyd played their iconic Dark Side of the Moon album.
The next stop on the tour was the second most visited attraction in Brighton – the famous Lanes. The Lanes is not only a shopper’s paradise but it’s a great place to get lost in the maze-like narrow streets. The beautiful old-fashioned shop fronts hide all sorts of independent shops, from patisseries to antique dealers and even a shop that only sells rubber ducks!
It was a little bit sad to see that cake shop Choccywoccydoodah, famous for its chocolate cakes and formerly located in the heart of The Lanes, has closed down.
Another quirky street, or rather a twitten (the Brightonian word for alleyway), for music and cinema buffs to discover is Quadrophenia Alley. Right next to the Mod-inspired clothes shop Bone Clothing, this narrow alley was the filming location of one of the major scenes of the cult British film Quadrophenia. It has now become a shrine to Mods and is a must visit for any The Who fans.
One stop I must not forget to mention is of course the seaside promenade and the famous Brighton Piers. From the beach you will see that there is the skeleton of another pier in the distance. Brighton West Pier opened in 1866 but it suffered structural damage in the Great Storm of 1987 and it sadly burnt down in 2003 to what we see today.
Brighton Palace Pier, however, was opened in 1899 and can still be enjoyed today. With its famous amusement park, it’s a great spot for kids – both big and small not matter the age.
I detoxed with a sauna session by the beach
Perhaps my favourite thing I did on my day trip to Brighton was to treat myself to a sauna session with a difference. Beach Box is a wood-fired public beach sauna located on Brighton Beach. You can choose between having a sauna in a converted horse trailer or in a more spacious sauna made with recycled packing crates.
I was with five other people, so we went in the wooden sauna. We started with a session that followed the German Aufguss ritual, where essential oils mixed with water are used to create steam. The sauna master then waves a towel around to spread the steam and the essential oils across the sauna.
After a short break to cool down, we moved on to the Lithuanian Pirtis ritual, where the sauna master whisks your body with birch branches to stimulate blood circulation and to get the skin to open up. It was very relaxing and it felt like I put my body through a car wash!
After the sauna sessions, it was time for a cold shower, or for those brave enough, a dip in the sea. I don’t particularly enjoy cold water dips, so I opted for the shower. Despite this, after the freezing cold water, I felt completely rejuvenated and ready to take on the world!
Address: Beach Box Sauna Spa, 299 Madeira Drive, Brighton BN2 1EN
I unwound with a yoga class
After feeling reenergised, there was no better way for me to end my microgap in Brighton than a relaxing yoga class by the beach.
Right next door to Beach Box Sauna, is Yellowave Beach Sports, the UK’s first permanent beach sports venue. Here we met Bridgett from Yoga in the Lanes who talked us through what we were going to do and to help us set our frame of mind for the class.
Again, there were six of us, with some of us not having practiced yoga before, and myself not having practiced for years. Bridgett was great at talking us through the 26 poses of Bikram yoga and helping us achieve the right body posture taking into account our own experience and limitations.
The 26 poses of Bikram yoga are a sequence of poses that help stretch and strengthen your body and it’s normally practiced in a ‘hot room’. However, we did it in a relatively warm room, which was perfectly comfortable for everyone.
At the end of the session I felt super relaxed and invigorated at the same time. It really made me realise me how much I enjoy yoga and how much I miss practicing it. It was a great reminder that I need to reincorporate it into my weekly routine.
Address: Yellowave Beach Sports Venue, 299 Madeira Drive, Brighton BN2 1EN
Other ideas of things to do in Brighton
Brighton is the perfect microgap destination as a day trip, but if you have more than just one day, here are few more things to you can do to switch off everyday life and recharge your batteries.
- British Airways i360
- Hop on Hop off Bus Tour
- Grand Brighton Bike Tour
- Seven Sisters and South Downs Tour
And for those feeling really adventurous…
If you happen to be in Brighton in spring, find some time to go for a day trip to see the spectacular blooming of the bluebells in Nymans Woods in Handcross.
Where I ate in Brighton
At some point on your day trip to Brighton you will need to take some time to refuel so you can keep exploring. I highly recommend trying Terre à Terre, a vegetarian restaurant that will change the way you think about vegetarian food if you are a meat-eater like me.
Located in the historic East Street, Terre à Terre has been running for 26 years and it has now become a bit of an iconic foodie destination in Brighton.
We were a big group so we had their Terre à Tapas to share, which included some delicious bites. My favourites were the potato vada stuffed with ginger, turmeric, curry leaf and cumin served with dark dahl (scrumptious!), the ‘better batter and lemon Yemeni relish’ (beautiful soft buttermilk soaked halloumi in chip shop batter), and my favourite, Korean fried cauliflower – who would have thought I would be saying that about cauliflower!
Address: Terre à Terre, 71 East Street, Brighton BN1 1HQ
How to get to Brighton from London
The best way to get to Brighton from London is by train. Thameslink runs direct trains regularly from St Pancras International, Blackfriars and London Bridge.
In just over one hour you can be enjoying your microgap and taking a break from your day to day life. You can compare train fares here.
Planning your day trip to Brighton
Do you have any questions about things to do on a day trip to Brighton?
Let me know in the comments!
Other England destinations for a Microgap
- Why NewcastleGateshead Should Be Your Next UK Destination this Spring
- How to Make the Most of a Weekend in York, England
- 6 Of The Best Day Trips From York, England
- Exploring Bath Through its Independent Shops and Restaurants
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Disclosure: This post has been created as a partnership with Visit England, who hosted me on this trip. As always, all views are my own.
Teresa is an award-winning travel blogger based in London. She’s on a mission to explore the world through responsible cultural and adventure travel, and through deeper, more meaningful local experiences. She’s a lover of adventure, the outdoors and everything food related, and she’s always looking for ways to make a positive impact through sustainable travel.