Not being able to take annual leave for every school holiday leaves many families trying to get a good balance of childcare help so they can continue working, taking a bit of annual leave to get away if possible and an odd day trip here and there.
We are lucky enough to live near so many fantastic attractions for family days out which means we can often wait to see how the weather is looking and make a decision where to go with relatively little planning.
Brighton Palace Pier is definitely one of those attractions where you don’t have to book ahead if you don’t want to. So, on a day off with my two children last week, the sun was shining and I decided it would be a good day to head to the pier.
Our visit happened to be during the week of the free Kidzfest events and so before we stepped onto the pier itself, we got to meet the Bag Lady who entertained us with her quirky miming act, laughing and crying at the unusual objects she carries around in her trolley.
Once on the pier, it was straight towards the funfair rides at the end for us. Wristbands on and we were ready for some fun.
My daughter Ruby is a bit of a thrill-seeker and had she been tall enough, she would have gone on every ride – although I’m afraid I have become a bit of a wimp when it comes to rides. I was especially pleased Ruby was not tall enough for The Booster – the huge spinning ride at the very end of the pier that you can see from the shore and catapults you 130ft into the air. People clearly love it but it’s not for me, thank you!
Luckily, my sister had joined us for our pier trip last week and so was able to take Ruby on the waltzers, which she loved, and Air Race, two rides I was not keen to go on.
I was brave enough to go on the Wild River water ride and the Galaxia with her, though!
My son Barney went for some of the smaller rides and enjoyed the carousel, the helter skelter, the trampolines and the cup n saucer among others. We hardly had to wait to get on any of the rides, which was fantastic and meant we got to go on some several times.
There’s also a few rides for toddlers and inside the amusement dome is a soft play zone, although we didn’t visit that on this occasion. We did have to try our luck on the two pence machines inside the amusements, though, and we had a couple of games on the dolphin derby, which is always good fun.
You really can spend the best part of a day on the pier if the weather is being kind.
There are plenty of places to get ice creams, drinks, doughnuts and crepes to keep your energy levels up between rides. And, if you need to sit down to eat, there are restaurants and bars, too, serving everything from traditional fish and chips to pizzas, burgers and moules marinière.
A the refurbished Horatio’s bar and garden, there’s live music, big screen sports and entertainment throughout the year. During August, people can watch films including Casablanca and 42nd Street there as part of Pier Fest. The festival continues into September with live music and musicals.
We will definitely be back on the pier soon. We had a fantastic fun-filled day out and two tired but very happy children at the end of our visit.
To find out more about what’s on and wristbands, visit brightonpier.co.uk