By David Barnes

“Blimmin’ snowflakes” I mused as I read the sign prominently displayed on the check-in desk as we tumbled in, soaked through and steaming ever so slightly from the torrential Brighton rain.

"Whatever would Pete Townshend think?”

Quickly booked in to the really quite plush Travelodge-Plus hotel, it was straight up to our seventh floor room for a quick change into some dry clothes. We also got the chance for a quick look out over the city roof tops from the window before scampering back down in the lift and once more into the deluge.

It’d taken about four hours of dreadful driving conditions to get to the jewel of the south coast and we were all set to make the most of our trip - despite the weather.

With the car safely stowed in a nearby underground carpark, it was time to head off for The Lanes.

The last time we’d been in Brighton is one I’d been trying to forget.

We’d been camping nearby and headed into the city to experience the joy of big screen, open air TV on the beachfront as England took on Euro minnows Iceland. It’d surely be a great night, the highlight of our week. Well it certainly seemed to be going that way after Rooney netted from the spot after just two minutes...

The Lanes are an eclectic mix of all the best types of shops - high end, fashion, retro, second hand, antiques, curios - and all in a higgledy-piggedly space just made for exploring. Far out clothes rub shoulders with hipster street food and groovy furniture and art.

There’s something to discover around every corner - and, as the rain got ever heavier, that's what we planned to do.

On a journey of discovery as rookie vegetarians - nine months and counting - we’d been booked into Terre a Terre in East Street, Brighton - right in the heart of the Lanes.

A quick check online told us this is a celebrated, established, vegetarian restaurant. It was the Observer’s Best for Vegetarian food in the UK 2008.

It was packed. The appreciation seemed to be in full swing when we arrived and it was only 7.30pm. We were sat right at the back, quite tightly in between two other knowledgeable looked diners’ tables. We over looked the terrace which, in the circumstances, was not open due to the continuing torrential rain.

In retrospect the visit may have been a step too soon in our nascent voyage on the road to vegetarianism. The service was attentive. We’d maybe have been better off asking for a little advice but ploughed on regardless in our efforts to decipher the quirkily-worded menu. The meal was a bit of a curates egg.

The restaurant itself, apparently a celebrity haunt, was rocking. Other diners were having a great time, tables were turned in quick succession and enjoyment and noise levels grew progressively as the night wore on.

A quick walk along the seafront took us back to our hotel.

It was a humid, airless evening after the rain and quite warm in the room as we'd popped on the heater to try and dry our clothes.

We threw open the window to let the air in and amid the late evening street hum we hit the hay.

It was Saturday night in the centre of Brighton. A darts tournament had been going on in the conference centre round the corner.

There were nightclubs across the road.

The street hum ratcheted up a number of notches as the night turned into early morning and the revellers were certainly out to enjoy themselves.

And then, a moment’s peaceful interlude between shut tap and clear up – but that ended as abruptly as it had started as staff spent what seemed like an age transferring thousands, surely, of glass bottles from one container into a large skip in shattering explosions of waves of clattering noise.

Feeling a little sleepless in Brighton, we selected a vegetarian option from what was on offer in the packed breakfast area.

As we set out for day two, we passed a group just coming in from the night before hauling an extremely well refreshed bloke between them towards the lifts. Good night?

A new attraction on the historic seafront of Brighton is the magnificent British Airways i360.

Drizzle was still in the air as we headed down for our morning ‘flight’ on this wonderful bit of engineering.

Stretching 162 metres up into the East Sussex sky, the i360 offers visitors the chance to admire views across Brighton and the south coast from the fully enclosed glass pod.

It’s all very 'airport'. The staff are dressed in BA gear at check in and it's made to feel like you are heading off on a plane.

Once on board you could enjoy a drink from the bar, or - like us - just admire the views. The skies had cleared and we could see for miles and miles from the top.

It’s a good bit of fun and one we would fully recommend.

After our flight it was time to check out another 'must do' for visitors to the city.

We bagged some snails, part of the 50 Snailspace collection in Brighton which bring a stunning spread of creative colour to all corners of the place and made our way, on foot, to Brighton Pavillion, the 18th century Royal seaside retreat.

The Prince of Wales, later George IV’s, stunning holiday home-to-beat-all-holiday-homes, is a must if only to go ‘wow’ and hear others feel the same way when you enter the dining room. The opulence has to be seen to be believed. Oh, and the tea room is a treat.

We spent a lovely hour or so flicking through the sea front galleries, under arch shops and fishing museum; taking pictures, musing over who gets to use the multi coloured beach huts, skimming stones and trying not to ‘do a Neil and Glenys Kinnock’ on the pebbly beach before reclaiming the car and heading home.

Oh, and yes given the choice, call me a Snowflake or perhaps it’s just My Generation, but I would advise those of a fragile disposition to go for the ear plug option as offered on the hotel reception.