Huge, super-big congratulations to Natasha Daniels from London for winning SuperBreak’s Travel Writer Competition 2014! Chosen by our lovely Judge Blogger, Laura the Explorer, Natasha’s article about her seaside theatre break truly stood out in the pile of wonderful entries we received.
Putting a seaside twist on her theatre break, Natasha writes a charming and inspiring post with plenty of character (and a couple of chuckles) about her short break to Eastbourne and Brighton. But hey, don’t just take our word for it, have a read yourself….
“I’d like to think of myself as quite the theatre-fan. Since I was a child, I’ve been taken along to the theatre to witness a spectacle that you just couldn’t see elsewhere (especially in the Midlands!). So when I moved closer to London, one of the things I was most excited about was the proximity to the world’s greatest theatres. However, isn’t it funny how when something is on your doorstep, you take to ignoring it? I whizzed past posters for the newest, flashiest, best-reviewed shows every morning on the tube. I listened to my colleagues gushing conversation about the newest boutique theatre’s conceptual dance show. And I kept ignoring it.
So it’s funny that the only theatre experience I’ve actually had in the south was nowhere near to London. For my boyfriend’s birthday, I discovered that his favourite novel – Birdsong – was playing at the Eastbourne Theatre. I decided to plan a romantic weekend (well, as romantic as possible – this is Sussex, not Paris) around Sebastian Faulk’s war romance – and hoped they’d curb the racier scenes for the older generation….
We headed to the self-proclaimed Sunshine Coast on Friday evening on the fast train from Victoria and checked in to the most beautiful boutique hotel – The Ravilious. We had a superior room, overlooking the royal tennis courts and sneaking a peek at the Riviera. The evening was still warm so we headed to a quiet Italian restaurant and switched off our phones for the first time in… a very long time. It was undeniably blissful – and felt a million miles from the hustle and bustle.
On Saturday, we decided to take a trip along the coast to Brighton. After cajoling Tom into buying an all-access pass for the rides, we skipped around with greater gusto than the three hundred Spanish children on a school exchange. Although marginally overdressed (it turned out that 26 degrees in Brighton is a little different from 26 degrees in air-con London), we made the most of it – and I even managed to persuade him to get an incredibly cheesy Brighton postcard with our photo on it.
After fish and chips (obviously) and a gargantuan ice cream that would have shamed me if my yoga teacher had seen it, we hopped back on the train to Eastbourne and got our gladrags on for a bit of wartime fun. We ate at Printers restaurant for a pre-theatre dinner (hidden away from the main street, it’s perfect for a romantic hideaway) and wandered over to the theatre. The show was wonderful and reignited my childhood love for the theatre. The production of Birdsong’s time-jumping narrative was exquisite – seamlessly transitioning from the halcyon days of the safer moments of the war to the brutality of the Somme, and the realities of what this meant for love, life and relationships. Whilst they did glaze over some of the racier scenes, the production was actually all the better for this. I get the feeling it may have cheapened what transitioned from gritty war-based romp-fest to beautiful, agonising, painful despair, highlighting the needlessness and futility of war. The audience were lovely, asking us why on earth we’d spent our Saturday night at, as one of the rowdier ladies said, ‘God’s waiting room’. Well – because sometimes you need a bit of old school razzle dazzle, and the nightclub on the pier with a TOWIE special guest wasn’t really what we were after when leaving the capital behind.
On Sunday, still ignoring the weather, we dressed like the Addams family and proceeded to slow-roast on the miniature golf-course, Treasure Island. This was probably the most fun we had all weekend, as try as we might, we are both supremely competitive. Despite scoring two hole-in-ones, I still managed to lose to a worthy opponent – but I soon rectified this discrepancy on the air hockey table. Following a beautiful seafront lunch of mussels and frites at The Beach Deck on the Royal Parade, we strolled back to the station.
It was a weekend worthy of the over-60s, but the perfect respite from our hectic city schedules – and I think I’ll appreciate London’s theatre scene a little more now I’m back in the swing of it.”
Congratulations once again to Natasha – a worthy winner we think you’ll agree!
As SuperBreak’s Travel Writer 2014, Natasha wins The Ultimate SuperBreak to London for 2 staying at the fabulous 4* Cavendish Hotel with tickets to the award-winning Jersey Boys Musical, The View From The Shard and Madame Tussauds Waxwork Museum, PLUS a visit to the classic wine tasting experience at Southbank’s Vinopolis and a trip up the River Thames on the London Showboat Dinner Cruise!
We can’t wait to hear all about her adventures in London in her next post coming soon!