Animal attacks and a beachside getaway from London

If you visit Brighton, beware of seagulls.

We traveled to this beach town, with its turquoise waves and rocky, skipping-stone shore, for an overnight getaway from London earlier this week.

View from the Brighton Pier.

View from the Brighton Pier.

As we strolled down Brighton Pier — think Galveston’s Pleasure Pier for comparison — we purchased Mr. Whippy ice creams, the creamy soft serve you find everywhere here. It’s best and most frequently enjoyed with a piece of Cadbury Flake chocolate.

“This is the perfect moment,” I thought as I dipped the Flake into the cool ice cream and took a bite, pop tunes blaring on the boardwalk and the sun setting into the water below. Then a seagull attacked my face.

Like flew into me, stole the mouthwatering Flake (the best part!) from my lips, paused to dip it into my ice cream and then flew away, leaving only a puff of shattered cone crumbs in its wake. It was like I had stumbled into some bad, Cadbury-sponsored Alfred Hitchcock short.

Everyone on the pier who witnessed the flailing (and expletives) was naturally concerned, expressing it by doubling over with laughter, tears running down their cheeks. Until they realized I was bleeding. That damn seagull cut my lip.

Seeing that I was distraught, a sweet couple pushing a stroller offered me a wet wipe. And that’s when I decided I had to move on with my life. After all, could you really fault that seagull for its love of the Flake? They are delicious.

Brighton, which is located about an hour from London on the train, was the perfect place for a two-day break. We spent most of our time along the beach, searching for shells as locals grilled seafood purchased from nearby markets.

Buy fresh seafood, then grill it on the beach.

Buy fresh seafood, then grill it on the beach.

The scene along the shore was vibrant yet mellow; we saw everything from pick-up basketball games to a singer belting out “Move On Up” to couples sharing carafes of cocktails at picnic tables.

Skateboarders enjoy ice cream along the beach in Brighton.

Skateboarders enjoy ice cream along the beach in Brighton.

In addition to the beach and the pier, which has a nice variety of arcade and carnival games, Brighton has several attractions worth visiting. The Royal Pavilion, for example, served as the seaside palace of the Prince Regent. After a transformation in the early 1820s, it became considered one of the most exotic buildings in the British Isles.

There is also some excellent shopping in Brighton. We loved Waterstones, a local chain bookstore with floor upon floor of great offerings. When I purchased the book of the month, an interesting read with a “Sliding Doors”-style premise, it came with a free espresso drink.

We also enjoyed the art sprinkled throughout town, including a giant doughnut-shaped beachside sculpture called “Afloat.”

This beachside sculpture is called "Afloat."

This beachside sculpture is called “Afloat.”

We had points with Hilton, so we used those to book a night at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, which was perfectly situated across from the beach and within easy walking distance from the train. For a quick and easy escape from London, I highly recommend Brighton. Just watch out for seagulls.


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