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Trip to Brighton Beach

We're planning to visit London in June 2019 and would like to take a trip to Brighton and maybe also Cliff of Dover. I found a good tour from Brighton to Dover; but I'm been having problems getting a train ticket from London to Brighton. I see prices from 5 to 30 dollars and from one hour to two and a half. What's the best, cheapest price I can get. Also, they mention that I could get aboard a train near the Tower of London. Is there a train station close by? Thanks for your help. Jay

Posted by
1853 posts

No point in buying train tickets for at least another 4 or 5 months.

The traditional station for trains to Brighton is London Victoria. But you can also catch a Thameslink train from London Bridge station if you want to depart closer to the Tower of London.

National rail shows current prices, though they will rise in the new year.

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

Posted by
8889 posts

train ticket from London to Brighton. I see prices from 5 to 30 dollars and from one hour to two and a half.

Alvar, if you are getting prices in '$', you are on the wrong site, they don't use '$' in the UK.
London to Brighton is a main route, with 7 trains per hour (sometimes more) from either Victoria station or St Pancras and Blackfriars.
The trains take between 55 minutes and 1h25, depending on whether they are "fast" or "slow" (makes more stops).

To get train times, and look up prices, go to the National Rail site: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/
Note this is way too early to be buying tickets. Train times are currently only listed up to February 2019. For planning just pick a date with the same day of the week, times and prices next June will be very similar. I picked a random date in December and saw prices from £18.20 return.

Posted by
4758 posts

It’s as easy to cover Dover by train from London rather than the slow cross country route from Brighton.

Rail tickets are best bought 11 weeks out from your travel date. You are looking too early. There are two options, one departing from St Pancras and another from Victoria. Intermediate stations include Blackfriars and London Bridge. The Tower of London isn’t that well placed for mainline trains - Blackfriars is closest, about a mile and a half away.

Travel after 9.30 generally for the cheapest tickets. Use nationalrail.co.uk not the Trainline website.

Posted by
18913 posts

I don't think the UK folks on this forum usually recommend Dover. The usual comment is that the view of the cliffs is best from the sea. There are lots of other side-trip options from London.

Posted by
2792 posts

Obviously, the UK folks know more than me, but Dover Castle is one of my favorite castles. You really get a feel for the defensive purpose of a castle.

Posted by
18913 posts

Fair point. I wasn't thinking about the castle. (I am not a castle person.)

Posted by
57 posts

Thanks for all your recommendations. I know it is way too early to buy rail tickets. As a matter of fact I have two trips to different parts of the world before June 2018; but I like to make plans ahead of time. Some points: My computer doesn't have a "pound" key; that's why I type the dollar key, after applying the conversion. Another observation: My main point of interest is Brighton. It's just that I saw a minibus tour from there to Dover and I think that should be an interesting view, even if it's not from the ocean. This forum has helped me a lot on my trips and I really appreciate your advise. Jay

Posted by
25771 posts

If you are unable to type £ you can just abbreviate UKP and everybody will understand (at least most of us).

Posted by
4758 posts

You get a better view of the chalk cliffs from the coastline just east of Brighton, around Beachy Head and the Cuckmere Haven than you do from Dover. Although Dover Castle is interesting, the town itself will be a disappointment and it’s a slow journey from Brighton. Bodiam Castle or Arundel or Leeds or Hever are nearer to Brighton if you want castles. Lewes is also worth a visit.

Posted by
4368 posts

For future reference if you want to type the € symbol hold down the 'Alt' key and press 0128. For the £ sign it's 'Alt' 0163.

Posted by
1838 posts

You really don't get a good view of the white cliffs at Dover because you are standing on top of them. You do get a good view of white cliffs from just west of Cuckmere Haven. The nearest railway station is Seaford. See map on link. (Zoom out to figure out where it is).https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.7623165,0.1465548,5914m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e1

Southern Railway have an off-peak day ticket:>https://www.southernrailway.com/tickets/ticket-types-explained/daysave

Here is their route map:>https://www.southernrailway.com/destinations-and-offers/where-we-travel-to/our-routes

Posted by
1044 posts

just abbreviate UKP

No - GBP is a better choice. Then all of us will understand :-)

Sorry Nigel, but it is better to keep to the official code.

Posted by
8889 posts

Yes people, please only use $ for currencies for which it is the correct symbol. I have seen things like "$ 123 Euro" in some posts, totally confusing, is that dollars or Euros? And if you do use $, say which $ (Canadian, Australian, Hong Kong, . . .)

Each currency has an official 3-letter symbol comprised of the two-letter UN abbreviation for the country, plus (usually) the initial letter of the currency. This is what banks, airlines and others use. Most are fairly obvious:
GBP, CHF, DKK, NOK, PLN, EUR, USD, CAD etc.

Posted by
18913 posts

I wouldn't exactly call "CHF" obvious for Swiss francs. Are they named for you, Chris?

Posted by
8889 posts

acraven, as you probably know, the official name of the country is:
Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German)
Confédération suisse (French)
Confederazione Svizzera (Italian)
Confederaziun svizra (Romansh)
Confoederatio Helvetica (Latin)
All 4 languages are on the banknotes, but on coins and stamps there is only room for one, so they use Latin as it is neutral, hence the abbreviation "CH".
See photo here: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8a/F%C3%BCnffranken.jpg

I expected somebody would pull me up on "Euro should be EUE", or "EU is not a country", as EUR is the obvious abbreviation that is the exception to the rule.
And, if anybody asks, PLN = Polish new złoty

Posted by
4368 posts

If you are unable to type £ you can just abbreviate UKP and everybody will understand (at least most of us).

With my poor eyesight I read that as UKIP and that then really confuses me.

Posted by
18913 posts

Thanks, Chris. I had not figured out that it was from the Latin, and the "N" in "PLN" was indeed puzzling me.

Posted by
25771 posts

well there's no sense in having GB in the name because there is certainly no G in B at the moment - and saying it is a U-K is not true either, there is manifestly zero United (except Man United, of course).

Posted by
57 posts

I have used Steves forum many times and it has always been very helpful and I thank the people that took the time to advise me. This time I started with a simple question about rail service from London to Brighton. I used the sign "$" because I don't have the one for Euro. It started a never-ending dispute about the right way to express the English currency. Which I don't really care. Meanwhile, my question was forgotten by people that looks like have nothing else to do but to argue. Thanks, anyway.

Posted by
18913 posts

Your questions have not been forgotten. They seem to me to have been answered.

Posted by
3173 posts

I always think of Brighton Beach as a Brooklyn neighborhood (loved Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs on stage) and Brighton as an English resort made popular during the Regency of King George IV.

Posted by
18913 posts

Yes, from the title I was expecting a question about NYC.

Posted by
25771 posts

Thanks, Emma, yup - don't go to Brighton expecting sand. Pebbles / gravel / shingle is what you will find. And a long pier.

Posted by
57 posts

Thanks Emma, Nigel and all of you nice people that have taken the time to advise me. Let me clarify a few things: I know what kind of "sand" is there. I collect sands from all the beaches that I have visited. So far, I have more than 150. I'm more interested now in different beach sands, and the one in Brighton looks different. I have black pebbles from Santorini and huge white pebbles from Dubrovnik. The whitest, finest sand that I have is from Dustin, Florida. And, of course, I have black sand from Hawaii. I invite you to visit me and see my collection. Is there anybody else that likes to collect sand?
In another forum discussion a couple of months ago, I asked for advise on a small picturesque beach town close to London so I could visit it. I received dozens of names and I checked them in google. The one that attracted my attention, for the amenities in town and the different "sand" was Brighton. I also wanted to visit Dover, so I can see these two picturesque towns in a couple of days.
As I mentioned before, my computer in USA doesn't have the symbol for Pound, so I converted the price I had in an ad to dollars and typed the dollar symbol. I'm sorry that some of you got offended and started to give me a lecture about the right way to use the British symbol for your currency.
Thanks for your help. Jay

Posted by
1838 posts

Although Dover has a big castle, the town is not picturesque - and neither is Brighton, in my opinion. Here is a Streetview of Dover:> https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.1264905,1.3167062,3a,75y,166.87h,91.15t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sTMnOfbmDc3pXFu1h8bt26g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e1

If you want a picturesque place in the south-east, try Canterbury - which can be easily reached by High Speed Train from London (St.Pancras). Here is a street view:>https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.2794113,1.0793609,2a,75y,133.44h,93.06t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sGs7smSTDgutReAzhZfOPig!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e1

Posted by
4368 posts

Jay: just to keep expectations in check, I recall Brighton as being a real city, not a town.

Brighton is a town. City status can only be granted by the monarch of the UK. Traditionally a city could only be one with a cathedral but this is no longer the case but yes, Brighton does feel more like a city than a town.

Posted by
25771 posts

Brighton & Hove is a city. Brighton isn't one without its little friend.

Posted by
4368 posts

Brighton & Hove is a city. Brighton isn't one without its little friend.

I stand corrected.

Brighton & Hove were/was awarded city status by the Queen in 2001, so relatively recently.

For baffled Americans, these things are important to us Brits. Only very specific places can be called a city.

For the Original Poster, to get back to your subject, Brighton is neither small nor particularly picturesque except in parts. It has some good Regency architecture and lanes full of slightly hipster shops. It’s a big noisy boisterous place, a popular with day-trippers, stag & hen parties etc and very much a gay mecca as it’s a famously liberal place. It’s a lot of fun, but not the quaint place you seem to have in mind.

For quaint small seaside town within easy reach of London, look at Broadstairs in Kent.

Oh, and Dover is really not attractive or picturesque at all, nor a beach town. But the castle is amazing.

Not buying that there’s any royal input into the definition of city.
If it’s larger than about 50,000, it’s a city.

Nope, not in the UK. It’s only a city if it has city status.

Posted by
25771 posts

If it’s larger than about 50,000, it’s a city.

Nope.

St David's had a population of 1,841 in 2011. The City of London only had 7,375 in 2011 (note that there are two cities in London, the City of London and the City of Westminster (219, 396 in 2011) - all the rest of London is London Boroughs, not city).

Of the 69 cities in the UK, 14 have a population well under 50,000.

Words mean things here in the UK. A city is different to a town which is different to a village which is different to a hamlet.

Apparently there are parts of the world where these distinctions are not recognised.

Posted by
57 posts

OK folks, let's start all over again. I want you to know that I really appreciate all your comments. Therefore, I'm going to discard the trip to Brighton and Dover. A special thanks to Jane who recommended Broadstairs, Kent. It is really a picturesque little town...and it has sand on the beach! It also has some white cliffs, so it's no need to go to Dover. An added advantage is that you have to go thru Canterbury, which is a really beautiful city. (I'm not sure if using the terms town and city are appropriate, but please don't start an argument on this issue. It makes no difference to me.) So now comes the question, should I go by train or bus (there is a big difference in price and time). My hotel in London is next to the Tower Bridge. This is going to be in June of next year and I can use a couple of days.
And please don't tell that I won't be able to swim there because the water is very cold. I live next to a beautiful beach in Texas, USA.
Thanks again, Jay

I AM EDITING THIS POST to avoid anyone else criticising this post. The OP says in the post above that they are now thinking about BROADSTAIRS, not Brighton. This information relates to Broadstairs.

Train is usually quicker than bus. If you leave after 10am, it looks as if you’ll be able to get a super off-peak ticket for about £27 return (round trip). Trains leave from St Pancras station in London. The fastest take 1 hr 20 minutes and do go through Canterbury.

Anyway, check ticket prices at www.nationalrail.co.uk. Beware that the cheapest tickets are called Advance tickets (with a capital A) but these must be used on the exact train specified and would not allow you to break your journey at Canterbury.

Posted by
8889 posts

Two points in Jane's post are misleading

  • There are two train routes from central London to Brighton, one from St Pancras and Blackfriars stations (trains call at both), the other from Victoria. The fastest trains are from Victoria. The two routes combine in south London. Pick whichever starting point is more convenient.
  • You cannot break your journey at Canterbury, because Canterbury is in a different direction, on the route to Dover.

Enjoy collecting pebbles from the beach ☺

Posted by
25771 posts

Normal service to resume shortly.

All please tune to Broadstairs.

If you want to watch the other side switch over to Canterbury.

Brighton is off the air temporarily.

Posted by
57 posts

Thanks Jane and the rest of you. This is my plan: Bus or train from London to Broadstairs; in the afternoon go to Canterbury (I have to go thru Margate because there is no service from Broadstairs, no problem). Sleep in Canterbury and spend some time next day and then return to London in the afternoon. Sounds feasible?
I think I won't need any advise on this plan, but if you feel that I'm doing something wrong, please let me know.

Posted by
120 posts

There are trains from Broadstairs to Canterbury via Ramsgate yo do not need to go via Margate. In fact if you do you are going in the wrong direction. The route is simple Broadstairs, Ramsgate, then depending on the train you catch, possibly Minster, Sturry then Canterbury West. The fastest journey is about 25 minutes the longest about 45 ,minutes. you will need to check the timetables nearer the the time.

Posted by
1838 posts

Nigel has mentioned St.David’s as being the smallest ‘city’ in Britain. (It really is a large village but has city status because it has a cathedral). Click this link and you can see just how small it is - oh, and you will need to zoom back to figure out where it is:>
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/St+Davids,+Haverfordwest/@51.8803292,-5.280918,6288m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x48691e47fb20bc7b:0xec586386ceb84399!8m2!3d51.881227!4d-5.265995!5m1!1e1

No wonder the Americans are confused as to what the Brit’s call cities, towns and villages!

Posted by
57 posts

Please let me know where to buy the cheapest train ticket from London to Broadstairs. I won't buy it until a couple of weeks before my trip anyway. Jane informed me of a round trip for about 27 Euros. The cheapest that I could find was for 39.60 one way. Please advise. Thanks, Jay

Posted by
57 posts

Thanks for the info. Forgive my ignorance; I thought that the curvy L was the symbol for euro and didn't know the symbol for pound. I was wandering why all the prices in England were using that symbol and I was making the wrong conversion. Live to learn. Jay

Posted by
8889 posts

Jay, the symbol for the British pound is £
The symbol for the Euro is
Using the wrong symbol is not a matter of annoying people, its is a matter of confusing people. No currency in Europe uses the symbol $, so we assume you mean some type of dollar (which type?).

If you can't do the symbol, just write the name out in full, or use the banker's abbreviations: EUR, GBP, USD, CAD.

Posted by
25771 posts

There are two distinctly different types of train serving Kent - the conventional normal train and the high speed ones.

The high speed ones are called Javelin, they are operated by Southeastern railway and they originate in St Pancras International station in London. They go at up to 225 kph which is 140 mph. They come with a fare premium, but there is no First Class.

The conventional trains predominantly originate in London at Victoria station and at Charing Cross station, and are also operated by a different division of Southeastern trains. They lump along at up to 100 mph but are often much slower. They take longer but cost a bit less. Some only have Standard Class, some also have First.

Posted by
57 posts

Since this forum is showing signs of perishing, let me inject a new topic. This trip that I'm taking presents too many options. I wish there were just one and I should take it or leave it. One very confusing decision is the card. Should I buy the Oyster Card or the Travelcard. I plan to stay just 4 or 5 days in London in June of next year with my wife. The oyster card gives discounts in dozens of attractions, but I won't have time to visit more that 6 or 8, if I rush. I know that one advantage is that you don't have to make a line. On the other hand...well, on the other hand I have five fingers. (Sorry, a little joke). What do you nice experts suggest? Thanks again, Jay

The oyster card gives discounts in dozens of attractions, but I won't
have time to visit more that 6 or 8, if I rush. I know that one
advantage is that you don't have to make a line.

I think you have got the Oyster confused with something else here - possibly the London Pass?

The Oyster gives no discounts. It’s simply a plastic card on which you load money. You then use it to tap in and out of tube stations, and tap in (but not out) on buses. It automatically works out the cheapest price per day.

It is the card Londoners tend to use (although increasingly they use contactless bank cards for the same purpose) and offers no discounts or “jump the line.”

Where your confusion may have arisen is that the expensive London Pass - which includes admission to a number of attractions - can be bought to include an Oyster card ready loaded.

So you can get an Oyster card once in London at any underground station and put some cash on it.

OR you could go to a National Rail station armed with passport-sized photos of you both, and buy a seven-day paper travelcard for London Underground zones 1 & 2. This will cover the cost of all your transport within London for a whole week AND give you 2-for-1 discounts at a number of attractions.

Bear in mind neither of these will be valid on train journeys out of London. Also - many of the top museums in London are free to enter anyway.