BRIGHTON.

I know every single Londoner at some point does a day trip to the seaside which is usually Brighton. Believe it or not, I’ve never done one so naturally when I was deciding all the places to add to my BBB Travel list Brighton was at the top. With our 4×4 (bugaboo cameleon 2nd gen) Sanaa and I were ready for our next destination.

It was a small family trip this time, my mums birthday was the day after I had planned to go to Brighton and she had already said she wanted to come. I went over the day prior to book train tickets and be that extra bit organised. This isn’t necessary though you can easily turn up and buy a ticket at the station.
On Thursday morning, we met at Brixton station which has street to platform step free access and caught the tube to London Bridge which also has step free access platform to street. London Bridge station is currently undergoing a huge renovation so there’s a tunnel which is also about a 5 minute walk linking the National Rail platforms to the tube. The train we were catching was direct but you can also get direct trains from East Croydon and London Victoria, from anywhere in this amazing city it shouldn’t take more than 1hr 30 mins. Southern trains do have multipurpose space for pushchairs wheelchairs and bicycles but they’re a lot narrower and there’s only space for 1 in each carriage.

When we got into Brighton I was pleasantly surprised to see that the platform was level to the street and there was no need to call a taxi as the rank was outside. The best bit is that they had EVERY size car from saloon to minivans with ramps and all the accessibility bells and whistles, so I didn’t even need to break down the 4×4.
Our first stop was the Royal Pavilion (20-30 mins walk or 8 minute ride from the station). I bought the tickets and also cream tea online but they can be bought at the reception desk. Hand on heart I can say I’ve never seen such an aesthetically beautiful building from the 19th century, set out across 2 floors. The Pavilion was amazing well preserved you’d be shocked at how small the beds were and how big the kitchens were too. I would recommend the audio tour which isn’t usually something I would go for but I will say it did enhance the tour of the property especially as there aren’t guides for individual groups. Most artefacts were originals and of course all the decorations were grandiose and super colourful, there was a strong eastern influence (oriental interior/Indian exterior) consistent throughout. My description by no means does it justice and no pictures are allowed to be taken anywhere inside, they’re pretty strict about it too. Good news is that the restaurant where we had cream tea (scrumptious) has a terrace which overlooks the entrance and grounds where you can sit out but also take pictures, hooray!

As many good features as the Pavilion had, here’s a few bits and bobs I could have done without. Firstly, there is only one baby changing facility in the entire building, in addition to this in terms of accessibility and pushchairs it’s pretty pants there are no lift or escalators. There is a good reason though the building is grade 1 listed so no changes are permitted internally or externally unless they’re absolutely necessary. The Royal Pavilion does have a buggy park and a heap of really helpful staff who are always nearby. Overall, I would visit again when Sanaa is older, I think it’s a fantastic place for a toddler or older child to learn from and explore.

After we left the Pavilion we walked down to the beach which took around 10 minutes but we were strolling. It was such a nice sunny day and slightly busy too, compared to London I’d say nothing is ever too busy though. Right off the road was the famous Brighton Pier who knew it was so massive ; which has every single arcade game you could ever think of. It gives you a great sense of nostalgia and hours alone could be spent there. At the very end, there are some rides and rollercoasters overlooking the sea depending on how adventurous you are. We had fish and chips for lunch at the beach from a place called Seasiders it was way more food than I could eat, reasonably priced and tasty and fresh. Meanwhile, after much tugging and pushing (no not my labour) with the 4×4 Sanaa sat in her bassinet and had a whiff of the sea air then fell asleep while her gran and I had lunch. After a fun day out it was back home to London.

NEXT STOP: Cambridge

BBB Travels are independent reviews by booksbabyandback.com

COBHAM.

This is my first of many day trips from London with Sanaa and our trusty pushchair a 2nd Gen Bugaboo Cameleon A.K.A The 4X4 and Sanaa is still in her bassinet.

Scrolling through Instagram as you do I saw an event in Surrey  for the day after and decided on a whim to go.

Just past Kingston there’s a quaint little village called Cobham. I’d heard of it on the train into uni many times but never actually been. I knew the risk of things going wrong such as getting lost or forgetting crucial baby gear (which by the way is worse), so as preparation I did a google search about it and where it was. Its best known for being the home of the Chelsea FC training ground and having lots of walking trails river side and woodland alike.

From Brixton to the Medicine Garden (in Cobham) I would need to take the tube a train and a taxi. Brixton and Vauxhall both have step free access platform to street. The trains were South West at both ends and the middle carriage of the train have a multipurpose space for pushchairs , wheelchairs and bicycles, there’s two in each in case you’re going with someone else.

 From Vauxhall I took a direct train to Guilford, 10.50 and 34 minutes later I got off at the tiny Cobham and Stoke d’Abernon station.

Here’s where it gets slightly tricky, in order to leave the station I needed to go up and down two flights of stairs as well as across a foot bridge, back to London the platform is next to the street and all flat. For around 2 minutes I thought about trying to lug the 4×4 up the stairs by myself then I saw a caretaker and I shamelessly asked him to help me. Bless him he just did it for me. Never underestimate the generosity of strangers and remember to smile.

Outside of the station is a local taxi firm I had already called them to make sure there was a car available that was also big enough but you can also turn up. The catch is I wasn’t in London and they didn’t card so much for averting the risks. After a bit of to and fro a guy in the taxi  office let me know there was a cashpoint nearby so off I went and by the time I got back the car was waiting. The drivers. were so lovely and helpful overall.

When I arrived at The Medicine Garden I immediately noticed how serene it felt and looked, it’s a walled garden and creative space. Boasting free entry they sell crafts, have an open air cinema, do fitness classes and have spa treatments. There’s something for everyone, the venue is so perfect for the summertime especially with two on site cafes you needn’t leave (I didn’t try anything but will next time). There are baby changing facilities in the loos. The event I went to was actually for mums its called Mothers Meeting and thank god they had blankets because I honestly didn’t even think of bringing one, even if there wasn’t a reason I’d visit these gardens again for sure.

pictures courtesy of The Medicine Garden

Sanaa and I went for lunch on the high street (I like saying that it makes me sound less of a loner haha) after we left it had all the usual shops and restaurants so we ended up in Pizza Express. Which was very quiet there were 3 tables including us, when does that happen at lunchtime in London ?!? The staff were professional, friendly and didn’t mind Sanaa’s enactment of a roaring lion.

The journey home we were both a bit knackered from our mini adventure. It’s safe to say I’ll be back Cobham for this city girl it was a great slice of suburban life.

NEXT STOP: Brighton

BBB Travels are independent reviews by booksbabyandback.com