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Top 10 tips for the London to Brighton bike ride

It’s less than two weeks away, so if you haven’t cycled it before, here’s ten tips to help you on the London to Brighton bike ride, and a great vid from the organisers (tip 11 – book a Brighton Bed and Breakfast for Sunday night, you might just need it!)

1.  Prepare: bit late if you are just getting started! Ideally you’ll be putting in a mixture of rides: longer weekend sessions to get you used to spending time on the bike, regular commutes to keep the legs ticking over, and hopefully some hill training to get your fitness up.

2.  Check the map: Yes, the crowds will help you on your way, however you’ll be far better off if you have an idea of the scale of the challenge ahead.

3.  Check the hills: There are four lung busters on the road to Brighton. Note when they start and you’ll be prepared mentally for the harder sections – and remember: there may be four big ‘uns but there are many other smaller uphill sections waiting for you.

4.  Trial your clothing: Whatever you do, don’t wear a new pair of shorts, or an outfit you’ve never cycled in before – beware the dreaded chafe!

5.  Prepare your bike: the absolute least you should do is make sure your tyres have enough air (A), your brakes work (B), and your chain is oiled (C). And make sure your gears are working – you are going to need them!

6.  Prepare some food: Big breaky of oats or similar would be a great start, although you should plan to be munching along the way. Look for snacks with lots of carbohydrates but avoid the sticky bars – chocolate is lovely but it’s not the best energy source.

7.  Get fluids ready: So important to keep hydrated, even if it’s overcast. Make sure you start with plenty and keep topping up along the way. After an hour of exercising, the body needs to replace lost salts and minerals. An easy way to do this is to add a little salt to your water and perhaps some natural sugars from a splash of apple juice.

8.  Sort your team tactics: It’s not the Tour de France, but you should sort out what to do if you separate, and how you plan to ride he hills – together or meet at the top – it’s guaranteed to be busy.

9.  Get ready for the Green Monster: Ditchling Beacon is the last hill before you head into Brighton, and it’s tough. Coming to Brighton for the weekend, you probably won’t have seen have seen it before. As you leave Ditchling Village get some water on, shove in the emergency sweeties or choccy (it’s instant energy and useful psychological support) and don’t stop at the bottom to prepare; if you’ve any chance of making it to the top, do it with warm legs.

10.  Love every minute! It’s a fantastic ride, and for anyone new to cycling a really memorable challenge. On Sunday night every bed and breakfast in Brighton will be packed with tired cyclists, off to their slumbers after a couple of well deserved pints.

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Artists Open Houses: Our pick of the bunch

Fantasy house moves over and it’s the work that soon teases your attention, in our pick of the open houses. With some skill, photographer Ted Davis and his partner have transformed their living room into an exhibition space worthy of a contemporary gallery.

Pride of place in the typically expansive bay window is a sculpture by Steve Yeates, made from ’socially intrinsic recycled materials’ – see ‘broken glass’.

Image: Ted Davis

Image: Ted Davis

Ted’s detailed images of floral organics (flowers) are boldly set, and show his dedication to this theme is returning some stunning images.

By pooling the talents of six other artists: Richard P.Cook, oil and water colours; Liz Hancock, silver and gold jewellery based on organic forms; Annie Mendelow, oil and pastel paintings: Tim Dolby, richly textured mixed media; and Catherine Beckett, silver and gold jewellery, they’ve brought something unique to the room.

And it’s something Ted hopes to continue, with more regular events and collective exhibitions planned.

The only disappointment in all this were the cakes: there wasn’t any – but who’d eat cakes in a gallery!

Fantastic flat, warmly hosted and highly recommended!

More information on Ted Davis and this open house

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Visiting Brighton Citroen shows its C-side

Fringe sponsors

Fringe sponsors

Zipping through the seafront traffic past the Brighton bed & breakfasts and not a sound. That’s because, thanks to Citroen, we had a whole hour in one of the company’s new electric cars. And we can tell you: it was impressive. Visiting Brighton you’d think there would be more of these on the roads, but these were the first we’d seen and they looked great.

As sponsors of the Brighton Festival Fringe Citroen has taken a back seat, letting the acts, not the company PR, do the talking – smart move, as we’re hardly a crowd that likes overpowering corporate sponsorship of our much-prized arts events.
But getting out its two funky new Citroen C-Zero electric cars for the public was a wise move: A town with a green council, thousands of cyclists and streets busy with holiday-makers leaving hotels in Brighton, it’s the perfect place to show off the newest green motor.

Citroen checks out the arches

Citroen checks out the arches

Parked up and charged up outside Brighton town hall, it wasn’t long before these two bumble bee-yellow bubble cars racked up the miles.

We took ours out along the coast to see if it had the horses to keep up with traffic, and it did. Then it was into the marina to see how it fared in small spaces – its turning circle proved as tight as the Sunday market traders.

Not cheap mind (32k) – there’s a government grant to bring costs down – although for now, Citroen is really still showing what can be done in a practical city car. With a decent range (90+ miles), useable top speed (80mph) and room for four and a couple of bags of shopping, it could tempt if you’ve the money, or maybe make a council car –  perhaps we’ll see the Mayor / Caroline Lucas behind the wheel?

Most cyclists I know would like a car, it just needs to be a green car – even if it is bright yellow. And Brighton’s the perfect place to see what it’s really like to live with an electric car. No emmissions, no road tax, no petrol and you can charge them from 8 points around the city – perfect even for people just visiting Brighton: C’mon Citroen, roll it out!

If you think Citroen should let our blogger test the C-Zero for a month, so we can see really how good it is, vote on the hotel’s Facebook page

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Music festival season has begun: The Great Escape

Hotels in Brighton have been packed out every weekend with families enjoying weekends in Brighton and the hours of summer sun. Well, now it’s the turn of the partygoers as music festival season has begun!

As summer festivals go, it still seems a little early for a full-blown music festival – not that the weather conditions or the time of year ever mattered in Brighton, which has been enjoying a pre-summer, summer.

And to kick things off, we’ve ‘The Great Escape’ this weekend (12-14 May). Billed as Europe’s leading festival for new music it promises a wild collection of tunesters (300+) playing at 30 venues across the city.

And it’s more than just a music festival; it’s a conference during which you can get to hear the thoughts and views of the leading movers and shakers from within the industry.

Names we spotted performing are Beardyman, DJ Shadow and John Cooper Clarke – look at the Great Escape gigs list for more details. And speaking at the conference, you’ll hear Wired Magazine’s Duncan Geere talking about the future of digital music and DJ Shadow reviewing his success in the biz.

So, from Thurs to Sunday expect to see plenty of music industry types sauntering in and out of hotels in Brighton. ‘Then after the show it’s the after party and after the party it’s the hotel lobby’ – sorry, could help it.

It’s going to be another weekend to remember, but remember to pack your sun cream and maybe even your swim shorts because if current form is anything to go by, the music festival and the regular beachfront party will merge into one. Bring it on!

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What’s on in Brighton this weekend?

Its never an easy question to answer: “What’s on in Brighton this weekend”, especially when you see what’s on this weekend – it’s rammed!

There’s so much happening. If you didn’t already know, there’s the double cultural fest of Brighton Festival and Brighton Festival Fringe. One puts on the top names at the best venues, while the other shows of the eclectic and multiarious talents that are emerging locally and nationally – expect some oddities and eye-openers.

Brighton - the place to be

Brighton - the place to be

Strangley , it’s all kicked off with a children’s parade. Starting at 10:30 floats from schools all over the city will be taking over the streets bringing a real Rio feel to the place. Expect the town centre to be rammed with buggies and bunting-draped floats.

Even more fun for kids is the Comedy Club 4 kids at the town’s most famous comedy club Komedia.

For more info about activities for families in Brighton, check out ChildfriendlyBrighton’s pages, here

And for art lovers everywhere there’s the Artists Open Houses – some of the town’s most celbrated artists and complete unknowns open their doors to all.  Not to be missed, especially if you are looking for something unique to take home as a souvenir of your stay in Brighton.

And if that’s not enough, well  I can tell you what’s on in Brighton: the summer is on in Brighton! We’ve had stunning weather for nearly a month so expect the beach to be rammed too!

Have a great stay and make sure to check out our Brighton local events pages for more details

We’ve great Brighton accommodation offers, so if you’re looking at coming back, just give us a call.

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Festival Fringe and its most popular show

There’s no way of telling before the Festival Fringe which show or exhibit will be the most popular. But we’ve got our money on The Great Wall of Vagina.

Jamie and his work

Jamie and his work

Now, if you are new to this town or just know Brighton at the weekend, this might surprise you a little – it may even shock a few people. But for us, it’s just what we expect from the Brighton Festival Fringe (ok, actually even we had to look twice when we heard about it!)

Briefly, its a nine-metre long sculpture of plaster casts of vaginas, taken from women of all ages by artist Jamie McCartney over five years and arranged into ten panels.

Liberating for many, offensive to some. Remember this is the Brighton Festival Fringe: it will challenge and surprise you!

The best way to get an idea of what the work is really about is to see it for yourself. Visiting Brighton in the next few weeks just pop in to his studios at 7 Ship Street.

Jamie’s sculpture opens on the 6th May, is a world premiere and you’ll learn much more about it watching the vid he’s shared with us.

Like this post , then share it on Facebook, or find out more, here

Visiting Brighton for the Fringe? Check our Brighton accommodation offers

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National Student Pride has arrived!

Happening this weekend!

Happening this weekend!

Student Pride is clearly a celebration, but what else has it got going on?
“Thanks to our growing fan base and generous coverage from the majority of the UK lgbt media, it’s a great opportunity to mobilise thousands of people from all over the UK, launching campaigns such as  ’Love without borders’. And as an event, it’s always fantastic to meet and get to know people from all over the UK and celebrate your sexuality.”

In which Brighton clubs and locations will we find you?


“Our pre-party on Friday evening is at R-Bar and Revenge from 8pm. On Saturday, our main daytime festivities are at Oceana, 1pm-5.30pm, the scene tour is 7.30pm-10.45pm, and the fantastic club night is at Coalition, 10.45pm till bedtime. There will be an after party at Revenge for those who’s partying spirits remain unquenched!”

How has Student Pride evolved over the last six years?


“After the Oxford Brookes Christian Union’s talk on ‘Homosexuality and the Bible’ in 2005 the Brookes LGBT society felt obliged to put the other side of the argument across but needed a larger audience to attract well known speakers. This coupled with Oxford moving their pride to July, resulted in National Student Pride!

Following two successful events in Oxford National Student Pride joined with the NUS LGBT campaign in 2007. 2009 saw the move to Brighton and 2010 was by far the biggest and best yet, supported by The Prime Minister, Cameron and Clegg and hosted in Brighton. With a new patron: Dan Gillespie Sells, Lead singer of The Feeling and whole pile of new features it was one to remember! Sponsored by Bacardi there was a women’s room programmed by brighton pride women’s tent and a massive club night with live bands and a surprise appearance from Ronan Keating!
2011 is set  to surpass the 2010 event. We are proudly sponsored by Ernst and Young, and with our first X-Factor winner Joe McElderry headlining (with support from Morrissey’s favourite band Doll & the Kicks), we’re in for a real treat!”

"the most LGBT friendly town in the UK"

"the most LGBT friendly town in the UK"

Great idea to make the day event free, what’s happening?

“We have a celeb discussion panel hosted by Attitude Magazine editor Matthew Todd, featuring Dr Christian Jessen (C4, Embarassing bodies), Aled Haydn Jones (BBC radio 1), John Amaechi (out gay NBA basketball player),  and Aaron Porter (NUS president). The Only Way is Essex stars Harry and Sam will also be joining us during the day.

There will be a screening of the awarding winning documentary ‘Beyond Gay- the politics of pride’ which follows the Vancouver Pride organisers as they travel to places where Pride is still steeped in protest to personally experience the rampant homophobia that still exists.

We’re very lucky to have a live music room hosted by the Women’s Room stage from Brighton pride, featuring some great talents: Lianne Hall, Danni Nicholls, Heads Hearts, Mel Sanson and Al Start. Make sure to stop by the market stalls too!”

Staying the weekend in Brighton, why is the town so special for the UK LGBT community?
Brighton holds the torch for being the most LGBT friendly city in the UK, thanks to many of the LGBT owned cafés, shops, restaurants, and hotels (like the Ambassador!). It’s also been host to one of the few free pride festivals, giving much of the wider Brighton community the chance to feel involved in celebrating LGBT diversity. Brighton pride will no longer be a free event, but hopefully the spirit of community inclusion will continue.

Staying the weekend in Brighton, why is the town so special for the UK LGBT community?

“Brighton holds the torch for being the most LGBT friendly city in the UK, thanks to many of the LGBT owned cafés, shops, restaurants, and hotels (like the Ambassador!). It’s also been host to one of the few free pride festivals, giving much of the wider Brighton community the chance to feel involved in celebrating LGBT diversity. Brighton pride will no longer be a free event, but hopefully the spirit of community inclusion will continue.”

You can catch up with the organisers and keep up to date this weekend by following @studentpride and @ambassadorbtn or on Facebook

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5 best things about Bank Holiday in Brighton

Hey ,somebody just gave us two bank holidays in a row so we’ve put up the 5 best things about Bank Holidays in Brighton. Frankly, we don’t care if it was a politician, a statistician or someone wanting more time fishin – we are all headed to Brighton beach!

April showers? We don't think so!

April showers? We don't think so!

Now as we live here, we are at an advantage to people who book up the last minute hotel rooms in Brighton and pile down for the weekend, so here’s our pearls of wisdom and the 5 best things about bank holiday in Brighton.

The beach

Just check out the weather. We are running summer temperatures down here, and it’s set to continue. The beach still has its ‘Blue Flag’ rating meaning it is safe to swim, and if you’ve been down here recently you’d have seen that there are people already taking a dip. The beach is huge, family friendly and we love it.

The shopping

Shop till you drop, or flop back on the beach. Shopping in Brighton is a delight: everything is within walking distance, and there’s something for everyone. If you are shopping in Brighton and want to keep it all under one roof, try Churchill Square, and if you fancy a rummage or something a little more bespoke, then there’s always the South Lanes and the North Laine area.

It’s Family Friendly

As well as being a party zone, Brighton is really geared up for kids. There’s great public playparks either end of the beach, and lots to keep the young uns entertained. If you are looking at booking a hotel room in Brighton and bringing your family, check with Childfriendly Brighton for an extensive list of what’s happening this bank holiday in Brighton.

It’s always entertaining

Taking it easy

Taking it easy

Major venues include the Dome, the Brighton Centre, the Pavillion, the Theatre Royal, and this really is just the start: for independent cinema try  the Duke of York’s and for just about everything else, open your eyes!  This is a town of entertainers, so expect something on every corner.

It’s Hove, actually

As much as we don’t want to  say it: we love Hove! No bank holiday in Brighton is complete without a wander along Western Rd into Hove. And make sure you drop onto the lawns for your walk back – you’ll see families with BBQ’s, kids flying kites, people playing football; it’s a lovely place – but we never said that!

Here’s a link to our offers on hotel rooms in Brighton - take a look, there’s always deals on.

And if you don’t believe just how good it is here, look at the pictures: London it aint!

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5 stereotypes of Brighton – that are true!

Its a wonderful place, it’s unique  and every weekend people grab hotel offers looking to arrive at the last minute and take a chance.

The straightest man in the village...

The straightest man in the village...

But if any city has a bit of a reputation, it’s Brighton. We’ve all been there: in a conversation with someone from another town, once you’ve said you are from Brighton pretty soon some half-arsed comment gets sent back in your direction. “Oh, it’s full of gay people, isn’t it? that kind of thing.

Well, we love living here. And we know that everyone who visits leaves with a good impression – and sometimes they never leave at all…

There’s plenty of sterotypes about Brighton, and we are glad to say that many of them are true!

Here’s 5 unlikely things said about Brighton which are actually true.

People skateboard to work

Oh yes they do!  There was even a crazy roller-blading guy on Lewes Rd. Whoever he was , he’d be seen roller-blading his way into town in just a pair of shorts, even in winter.

It’s full of gay people

Oh yes, of course its full of gay people: it’s Brighton! But don’t think its Mardi Gras everyday, in fact the best thing you can do is not think. This is the gay capital of the country – it sets the standard – and frankly on most days you’d be pushed to even notice,  so get over it.

It’s a party town, just for party people

No, it’s a party  town for everyone! Our hotel offers attract every type of visitor, from young couples to pensioners to students: the town isn’t some naff fairground and club zone. But oh yes, we party!

Pier and Beach

Got to love it

It’s a freakshow

Damn right it is! Be all you can be, be everything you can be – in this town everything goes. So the people who would stand out in other places, fit right in. And we love to celebrate it so watch out for parades, street parties, punks and pimps.

It’s the end of ambition

I couldn’t believe it when a friend of mine told me this. His new colleague in London said, “Brighton: it’s the end of ambition, isn’t it?” F**k off! this city is buzzing for business, and is set to recover faster than any other in the country because of its progressive attitudes.

We love it because it’s great for families, too – not just digital media coolios and dykes on bikes – take a look at our Brighton local events and what’s happening on half term in Brighton and you’ll get the idea.

Come and stay with our hotel offers and find out for yourselves.

And if you like where we are coming from, share this around!

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Live music on bank holiday in Brighton

There’s always live music on bank holiday in Brighton. So when you’ve got two bank holidays, you just know the town is ready for some serious gigging!

On top of this we’ve a royal wedding- incase you hadn’t noticed. Well, in celebration of all this time off, Brighton has lined up one of the best sessions of live music, ever.

Brighton Live!

Brighton Live!

Starting with the big venues, there’s former Jam member Bruce Foxton, The British Pink Floyd Show, N Dubz and Beady Eye all playing the Brighton centre between the 22nd April and the 27th.

The Buena Vista Social Club are on at the Brighton Dome  on the 17 April, there’s body percussion sessions and African drumming skills on the Monday and Tuesday that follow.

We all know that live music on bank holiday in Brighton is not just about the big venues: Concord 2 is packing in the acts towards the end of the month: DJ Yoda, Christian metal band Underoath, and US legends of ska and rock fusion, Fishbone are all lined up.

With all this time off handed to us, it’s about time we got out there and back into the scene – this is the best town in the UK for live music, so lets make the most of it!

You could be preparing bunting for a street party… or you could be jumping on the train to check out the live music on bank holiday in Brighton, and every other weekend this month.

For more information about which bands are on, and all the other events on our bounus bank holidays , check out our listings, below:

Brighton Centre

Brighton Dome

Concord 2

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