Open-top touring in Brighton

I can get a bit stressed at using public transport for getting where you need to go, but as a recreational activity planes, trains and automobiles can be a lot of fun. I decided a while back that although my Alphabet Adventure is taking me to a lot of new places, I’m not always seeing what a city or town is really like, concentrating solely on where I have to go for that specific letter. To address this, I thought it would be fun to add a new Life List item, and visit as many open-bus sightseeing tours as possible.

My recent trip to Brighton provided the perfect opportunity for my first one. I can’t believe that this is my first ever open-top bus experience, but having said that, neither I nor my parents (who accompanied me on the tour) can remember a time where I have done it before. Regardless, this is the first documented one – pics or it didn’t happen, you know.

It was a pretty windy day in Brighton, not ideal for open-top bussing, but we were determined to do it, so headed up top. We could have had a bit of protection at the front of the bus, where the mini windscreen is, but decided there would be better photo opportunities at the back. It really was windy though, I took this video earlier in the day, which demonstrates a) the waves created by the huge winds and b) the crazy people trying to surf.

The audio guide was a recording, which was okay to start with but gradually got out of sync in places. I assume the bus driver has the opportunity to pause it in places, as there were a couple of times where we could hear him grappling to find the right section. It was quite a good tour though, lots of information, particularly on the sea front with the old pier remains and the rebuilt Grand Hotel. We also got a sneak peek at the sandcastle competition, which costs £6 to get in to on the ground.

The route started at a central point along the seafront, then took us along the front, round into town and through the busy shopping sections, past the railway station, then back down to the front by the new Marina area. The return to the starting point from there was the worst bit – straight into the wind, so that my hair was whipping about my face painfully, and we were really just hunkered in waiting for it to end.

Up until that point, though, I’d been really enjoying myself. Looking at all the stuff, learning all about the area, seeing bits I wouldn’t normally have seen, and taking some pictures along the way. I wasn’t sure about the open-top bus tour when I added it to my Life List, but now it’s something I definitely want to do again!

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