Remembering That Dreamy Day on the English Coast with CAPA

Apr 16, 2020 9:22:00 AM / by Will Baldwin

Will reflects on a memorable day trip she took during her time in London, where she traveled to Brighton, a charming beach town on England's southern coast. Find out more about why the trip was so special to Will.

CAPA offers one optional “day trip” to each student in their program, and I chose to go to Brighton. Brighton is a small beach town along the southern coast of England, and mirrors San Francisco in its art, fogginess, culture, and vibe. 

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring 2020_Emma Baldwin_beachtownThis is the main beach area of the town.

We took a train to get there, so we had to wake up bright and early on a Saturday morning to meet up with the other students. I learned during my time in London that the best way to prepare for an early start is to check the weather and set my clothes out the day before I have to leave. When I woke up I just had to get dressed and down a protein shake. 

The train ride was beautiful. I forgot my headphones, so I just looked out the window, journaled, and enjoyed the ride for an hour and a half. Every once in a while my friends and I talked or pointed something out to each other, but for the most part we were remarkably quiet (in a good way!). 

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring 2020_Emma Baldwin_EmmaBagniMy friend (also named Emma) looking out the train window on our way to Brighton.

It was a foggy, coastal day in Brighton. Those of us that brought an extra layer were happy that we did, and the remainder had a good time nonetheless. We went through our walking tour, in which we got some insight into the history of the small town, and how it rose to be the touristy place that it is today. 

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring 2020_Emma Baldwin_nicole and SpenceMy flatmates (and best friends!) on the shore.

The tour ended at the Royal Pavilion, an old palace of Prince George of Wales, a man of abundance and debauchery. We went inside and were able to see the rooms that once entertained guests of royalty and wealth, and served as a home to princes and queens. There are aspects of this building’s history that are questionable, but I loved being in the very room that was once slept in by royalty. There is a sort of spirit to it that weighs heavily on me.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring 2020_Emma Baldwin_palaceThe Royal Pavilion, built for Prince George of Wales.

After the tour we walked down the pier, and down to the shore. Being from Southern California it is weird to be at a beach that is cold and cloudy, but nonetheless it gave me a bit of home back. I missed the smell of salt and the view of waves. 

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring 2020_Emma Baldwin_oceanThe first time I got to see the English Channel!

We got lunch at a small yet jam-packed pub then perused the big vintage market called “Snoopers Paradise." Sadly I was too distracted by all the things to look at that I didn’t take any photos, but if that doesn’t describe how cool I thought it was then I don’t know what will! There were boxes and boxes of mint condition vinyl records, and just about every era of clothing you could imagine. The coolest thing about UK vintage markets is that it isn’t just 60s and 70s items— it goes back centuries in the UK. 

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring 2020_Emma Baldwin_StreetThe street right before the vintage market; you can still get the San Francisco kind of feel from looking at this, I think!

The Brighton trip meant a lot to me for a couple specific reasons. The first is that London is a big city; it is ever-expanding and it seems like despite all the pretty, royal parks there isn't really an end to it all. Brighton was right up against the ocean, so it gave a sense of border and structure. It was also just another view of England. I had only seen London, but the city is such a small portion of England, let alone the United Kingdom. Brighton is a whole other side of England that I hadn’t seen before.

Thanks, Will!

Makenna Sturgeon


Will Baldwin is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2020, sharing her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A Technical Writing and Communications and Political Science major at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

Will's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA London Program

Topics: London, England, Local Culture