Welcome back to Tiger on Tour. Since I last wrote I have been back to work after my maternity leave ended mid-October 2019 and Tiger has been in full time nursery. Naturally, we enjoy our weekends but we haven't done any great travels. So, time for a catch up!
When Covid-19, the global pandemic, meant that the UK locked down on 23 March 2019, our Romanian holiday which was due to happen at the end of May got postponed. I worked throughout our "lockdown" and, after two weeks with no childcare, we started a two month long arrangement with a trusted babysitter and her family. During lockdown, Tiger - momentously - learnt to walk, very impressive!
I, of course with my itchy feet, have never looked at the FCO website more or googled the word "quarantine" in my life. My 27 annual leave days were also stacking up and had to be taken by the end of August! Finally, although it was not widely publicised, the hotels in England were allowed to re-open on 4 July to tourists and so I started planning our Travelodge and Premier Inn UK road trip to Brighton, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Wales.
On 8 July, we drove down to Brighton in my Smart car for two nights staying in the Brighton Seafront Travelodge for the bargain price of £66. My cunning strategy of parking with JustPark at Buzz Bingo for about £14 for two days was brilliant as parking in the NCP car parks in Brighton is very expensive (more than £20 a day). In Brighton you can use Uber everywhere and it worked so well as we were able to load all my bags and Tiger into the Uber, and were dropped literally to the door of the Travelodge. Even if I had parked in the NCP next door it would have been a faff to get our bags in. We settled into a wheelchair accessible room, lots of space, and a huge bathroom with walk in shower, which Tiger then slept in! The only slightly negative point about Travelodges is that they don't guarantee you a travelcot with your booking - you have to phone the hotel directly to book it and even then there is usually that dodgy moment when they can't find one. Where-as Premier Inns have a reassuring line on their booking page which says "Your cot will be waiting for you".
Our first day in Brighton was a bit wet and windy but we had a decent look at the sea and went to the Sea Life Aquarium, where we have an annual pass and had to pay a pound for a timeslot. Tiger literally ran around it like a mad thing and seemed to enjoy the running a little more than the fish! We visited our Brighton friends Sophia and her kids in the afternoon.
On the Friday 9 July, we went on the British Airways i360 viewing tower, which we have been up before. It seems to divide opinion with locals, but I have always really enjoyed going on it and Tiger - as well as the running around - also seemed to like looking down 162m! It was quite an experience including having our temperatures taken as we went through airport style security to "fly" with British Airways.
Right next to the i360 is a new addition to Brighton's seafront, the Upside Down House. One of the guys working there helped us with our photos and it was definitely worth the £5 to go in!
After checking out of our hotel, we visited the zoo at Drusillas Park, about half an hour's drive away towards Eastbourne. We enjoyed the animals as much as the playground at the end!