Holiday in Brighton this year
A budget cabin getaway could be your best trip yet!
A collection of new glamping pods on the UK's south coast strike a happy balance between cheap and cheerful. Less than an hour by train from London, Brighton is one of the most convenient staycation destinations for work-weary urbanites in need of a recharge. Visitors get to indulge in a quintessentially British seaside experience with great nightlife, while the quiet beauty of the South Downs is suitable for those wanting a more peaceful escape.
Staggered along the top of a grassy verge to ensure privacy, the new glamping pods from Experience Freedom, part of the Caravan and Motorhome Club, have everything a traveller could need for a mini-break, without breaking the bank. Nestled into a hillside overlooking the sea, each of the ten wood-panelled pods is secluded enough to give you the feeling of being at one with nature, with Brighton just a hop skip and a jump away. Each pod is named after a bird, a delightful touch that shows just how much thought has gone into making them blend as seamlessly as possible into the landscape.
Outside, a decking area complete with table, parasol and barbecue means you are perfectly poised to soak up the sun, should the good weather hit. And if the skies stay typically British and grey, the pods are perfect for cosying up inside, cranking on the heating and listening as rain pitter-patters on the roof.
The interior is simple and uncluttered, making good use of space. A pull-out double bed appears from the wall above a sofa, ready made up and surprisingly comfortable for something that just materialised out of a cupboard. But it's the tiny touches that make this more than just a place to bed down in.
Thoughtfully placed bedside lights will ensure no eye strain if you want to tuck in with a good book, while ample storage means there's little mess and there are no awkwardly-placed plug points. Biscuits and muffins are waiting in a mini hamper; ice cool water bottles are already in the fridge; Bluetooth speakers are ready for your various devices, and there is even a good old-fashioned pack of playing cards if you fancy a bit of a digital detox.
Plus, with a spacious private bathroom - including walk-in rainforest-style shower - there will be none of the queuing in flip-flops for your turn at the communal shower blocks. And eating in won't feel like a chore with a kitchen well-stocked with utensils. If you do decide to venture outside, a decent selection of restaurants and bars is just a 15-minute gentle downhill amble to the marina. Alternatively, a 10-minute taxi ride will take you into the heart of the town.
And if you do manage to tear yourself away from your new home from home, here are five suggestions for an amazing Brighton experience.
1. Eat breakfast at the Laughing Dog
The 15-minute stroll from the campsite is worth it for a plate of rosemary cheese on toast at this cool cafe. Think communal tables, long wooden benches and a sofa for lounging. Bandit, the owner's dog, will amble up and give you a gentle welcome. The open-plan dining area extends into a gift shop, for any last minute souvenirs.
2. Zip along the promenade
Ride the Volk's Electric Railway west along the seafront, taking time to admire the promenade's historic green arches (volkselectricrailway.co.uk). Then, get kitted up and race your companion along a 300-metre zip wire with Brighton Zip (brightonzip.com). There's also a free-fall experience called the Drop Zone, but beware: this 24-metre plunge is not for the faint-hearted.
3. Lunch at the Brighton Beach Club
This relaxed seafront eatery offers a good selection of seafood and some extremely tempting pizzas. Decorations follow a nautical theme and water is served from ceramic fish-shaped jugs. There's also a colouring table set aside for children to get creative. Natural light pours through floor-to-ceiling windows which invite amazing sea views. Visit brightonbeachclub.com.
4. Strike out high with BA i360
Let your lunch go down as you go up. This 360-degree aerial viewing platform slowly rises up to 450ft. Gaze out seawards toward wind farms on the horizon, or look over the city and pick out street art on its roofs. An 'on board' bar lets you properly toast the panorama. Visit britishairwaysi360.com.
5. Stroll the lanes
A lazy amble through Brighton's labyrinthine lanes is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Browse an eclectic mix of shops, with offerings including vegan shoes, Native American jewellery and fudge. Don't miss a rummage through the attic of vintage store Snoopers Paradise.