Brighton beach, England
Brighton's beaches are, for visibly obvious reasons, more about walking and other traditional seaside activities than swimming. But if the sun's shining, the temperature's up and the wind is down then a bracing plunge into the English Channel is doable, preferably wearing beach sandals of some sort.
Some of the watersports available here for rental and instruction on the right day include sea kayaking, board paddling, dinghy sailing, windsurfing, kite boarding.
But for younger kids there's another solution, the free paddling pool and playground beside the West Pier skeleton (just visible left).
The main Brighton Pier is, of course, loaded with kid attractions - merry-go-rounds, dodgems, haunted house, candyfloss, catching fish as well as some seriously scary high-altitude, high-speed pendulums that guarantee screams and nausea-induced tranquility.
Brighton's famous Grand Hotel, where the ornate Victoria Lounge is the place for an old English tea ceremony serenaded by a pianist. The only truly fine sand on these beaches is laid down for summertime volleyball, here in use by Dyke's Dynamics.
Yup, sandcastles are possible on Brighton beach. Walking on this firm surface is also a lot easier than on the shingle/pebbles further up the slope.
Brighton's main beach seen here kept its Blue Flag status in 2009 though Hove beach did not. Brighton and Hove City Council reassured residents and visitors that the seafront at Hove remained clean and healthy, despite losing the international Blue Flag endorsement. They blamed last summer's poor weather for the drop in quality and predicted it was only temporary.
Blue Flag status is awarded to beaches which fulfil a range of requirements including provision of public facilities, lifeguards and excellent water quality.
Losing one of its pair of Blue Flag awards sets Brighton and Hove behind rival resorts like Bournemouth, which currently boasts four beaches holding the accolade.
A view of the town's useful double-promenade arrangement, with faster traffic including bikes and skaters on the upper level and grazers waddling the lower section within easy reach of postcards, burgers, beer and ice-cream.
Basketball and boating within a few yards of the West Pier, just visible right.
A quieter area of beach past the burnt and crashed West Pier. Which will rise from the ashes to tower over the entire seafront, maybe.
Ship Street, off Brighton beachfront and bordering The Lanes.
And when tourists have had enough salt air, shingle and slot machines they can explore the occasionally shabby but always striking streets of Brighton town centre.
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