With so many castles and palaces within day-trip distance from London, I had a hard time deciding so I ended up did a slide show of each place to show to my travel group and asked them to vote LOL. Day 3 in London, we did a day trip to Brighton to see the Royal Pavilion. My brother voted for Royal Pavilion because it looked very different than other European castles and palaces – it looked more like an Indian palace! First, we took the tube to King’s Cross Station to check out platform 9 3/4, for those of you who are Harry Potter fans, you know what I am talking about 🙂
King’s Cross Station:
Platform 9 3/4 is not a real platform but it is located in between 9 and 10 so follow the sign to get there:
Here it is Platform 9 3/4 where Harry Potter fans lined up for photos. There was even a photographer there to pose you….probably trying to get you to buy the photos haha!
And an assistant there to throw the scarf up for the “flying” effect LOL!
Platform 9 3/4!
We lined up as well and it did took a while for our turns. My husband was standing on the side and got the camera ready for our turn. They even had three choices of color scarves: red, blue, and green. First, I thought the scarves were very dirty since thousands of people had worn it but oh well for Harry Potter!!!
Next we walked out of the station and there it is St Pancras International station, another site where Harry Potter was filmed!
‘Across the street this colorful artistic buiilding:
Back to St Pancras International:
If I never look it up online or no one had told me, I would never guess this is a train station! It’s just too beautiful!
We took the train back to Victoria station where I lined up to purchase our group tickets to Brighton.
Since we are a group of 5, I can’t purchase the discounted tickets via the automatic ticket machine so I had to go to the counter:
I purchased the £88.75 for five same day return ticket to Brighton. Also I purchased the ticket for tomorrow’s day trip: Oxford at £81.75 for 5. We took the next train to Brighton, it was quite frequent and in less than 1 hour, we arrived at Brighton:
As soon as we walked out of the street, it somehow reminded me of San Francisco where beautiful houses perfectly lined up going up the hill:
We got a map from the train station and followed it to the Pavilion. The Queens Road is one of the major streets with shops on both sides!
We passed by an open air market as well….
The names of the shops that we passed by as well as their buildings are very cute!
We stopped at Pompoko Japanese Restaurant for a quick and cheap lunch! Each rice or noodle bowl is less than £5!
We each ordered a different rice bowl and some tasted good and some tasted just alright!
We continued our walk to the palace, it was blue sky then….
The Brighton Dome, another India/Hindo architectural building.
We arrived at the Royal Pavilion or Brighton Pavilion! The architectural style is very different and beautiful and what I like the most is the lily pond for its reflections.
Unfortunately when we were there, they were making repairs so the front main section was covered with scaffold 🙁
The lily pond:
See what I mean..the main section too grrrr!
All we could do was turn at other side section for photos! And it got cloudy very quickly, no more blue sky!
It would be very beautiful if blue sky and the complete reflection of the whole palace….next time!
Closer details of the architecture:
Since no photos allowed inside and our group not museum/art people, we moved on to Brighton Pier. It’s a great place for families as it’s a carnival on the pier!
The view from the pier was impeccable with the ferries wheel! The stormy sky loves to follow me, you see how it’s blue sky on the other side?
But the stormy clouds created a very different mood!
The pier is a lot bigger and longer than I expected with many shops and food stands!
Guess what is this wagon for?
It’s actually a tarot cards reading shop LOL!
Even though it was quick cold and cloudy, it didn’t stop people from enjoying the beach!
We walked back toward the famous shopping – the North Laine. On the way, we stopped by a square with many colorful flowers – I had to stop for photos!
Continued walking and this sign….definitely not “well done”!
The other side where the main entree to the Pavilion:
A kid’s barber shop, how cool is that chair!
The shops in the North Laine:
We did shop a bit 🙂
Then I saw rows of very faint pastel colored “block” houses (they are called terraced houses, thanks to Dave)!
They are so cute!
And a huge painting on the wall……hun!!!!
More beautiful shops/buildings:
We went back to London Victoria and this is what I mean by the color coded guiding lines on the floor of the station:
Instead of taking the tube, we took the double decker bus back to Piccadilly, a mini bus tour of the city 🙂
Once we got out at Piccadilly, we walked to whole food to get those:
Fifty Fifty crab meat….they are so good! I love the taste of crab meat but too lazy to pick them out of the crab, it’s just too much work for little meat but this is PERFECT! A whole spoonful of delicious crab meat on each scoop without much effort, what a dream! It was inexpensive too (for crab meat), the small box was less than £5 and the big one was less than £7, totally worth it, a must try in UK!
We took a rest before heading out for dinner at Bai Wei. We picked this restaurant because of its spicy Sichuan cuisine..note cash only! We got this small corner table and when I took a picture of its menu, the waitress came and said no photo of the menu urg!!!
The dish on the left was beef stew with bean curd knots, the sauce was flavorful. The right dish was another meat dish that I forgot because it tasted so dry and not too great!
The fish fillet on a spicy broth…it looked oily but it’s not. The fish fillet was tender and cooked just right.
A spicy seafood soup pot, it tasted okay, not as spicy as I would think.
Finally, our favorite Sichuan dish – “water boil” beef but they only offer this dish with pork! I asked the waitress can they substitute with beef? She said no! Why they offer in pork only and not beef? She said so it’s different than other places. URG!!! It tasted good but could be better if with beef! They tried to be unique but the dishes flavor weren’t that memorable! I was not impressed!
The dinner was £75 for five of us included tips.
After dinner, we ventured out for night photos of the famous Tower Bridge (often mistakenly called London Bridge)! Green telephone booths instead of red!
We were on London Bridge for the view of the Tower Bridge! I like how it’s light up with blue purplish color – very royalty feel haha!
We walked along the river bank to get to the Tower Bridge and the short walk we stopped at every 5 feet or so for different angles and distance of the bridge!
Each picture perfect corners were covered by horde of tourists but we were always the first one to occupy a corner and others followed haha! The bridge opened up for passing ship!
We finally reached the bridge itself after an hour or so!
A double decker bus passed by perfect for the light trail effect!
On the top level of the bridge is actually an exhibition that you pay to enter. I checked that it’s covered with glass windows so not ideal for photos up there with light reflections.
The other end of the bridge:
On the other end of the bridge is the Tower of London, we walked pass there to get to the Tower Hill tube station.
We got back to our apartment at like 11 pm!!! Time to sleep and prepare for our next day trip to Oxford tomorrow!
London is such a great city for night photographers, there are countless number of landmarks great for night photography! It was quite chilly at night so if you are going out, remember to wear layers! For the latest post on our trip, subscribe to my blog 🙂