Newhaven - dump of the Universe. Whitecliffs Beach cafe the crappiest cafe ever.

My wife was on a course at Brighton University, so not to waste the day I dropped her off then had a pootle around the coast from there to Newhaven. She was only on the course for three hours so we didn't have long, so off we set aiming to make the most of the day. We've never had a bad time anywhere on the south coast; OK I may grumble about parking charges in Brighton, but you'll never want for entertainment there. The beaches are not brilliant, but the promenade walks usually are pretty good. So we were in a positive frame of mind heading East from Brighton.

Now I'm not going to go into too much detail, but Newhaven turned out to be a shitty dump of a town and I never, ever want to go back. Whatever crack addicted, unemployment blackspot you live in, Newhaven will make it look upmarket. Really, it's a dump. The river and part of the beach are cut off by fencing and steel barbs, so a tad uninviting. What beach you could walk on has umpteen warnings about it being not actually adviseable to walk on it. The town centre itself, on a Saturday afternoon, had but one person wondering around other than us. It was largely closed off with the only store being open a Peacocks. I've never been in a Peacocks and I'm not about to start now. 24 hours later I'm still depressed and my kids hate me. We lasted less than 2 minutes in the town itself, which believe me was long enough to see everything it had to offer. Actually we spent more time parking than we did wondering around. I did feel a bit harsh about my judgement, so mentioned my visit to a friend; he stated that Newhaven makes Hull look like Vienna, which was apt.

As compensation I took them along to the Whitecliffs Beach Cafe, Saltdean. We've been here before when kite flying last year and it was excellent, so I really made things up to the kids, stating I'd buy them an ice cream and hot chocolate each. But bugger me if the cafe was also a crappy little hole. We were looking forward to it, so were quite happy and contented to go but it was quite simply the worst cafe ever. We stood inside for fifteen minutes before any staff became visible and even then they ignored us, and there were only two parties inside so not exactly busy. By then I wanted to be served - no choice as it is the only place in the area, and we'd not had a drink for almost two hours by now, so we waited a bit more. The single waitress was apologising to a customer for not being able to make toast as she couldn't work the machine. That's a good start isn't it? A cafe where toast is beyond the ability of the staff. The coffee was just about OK, the hot chocolate cold chocolate in actuality. There were no cakes or pastries, or ice cream. In a word coffee for me, nothing for the kids. So my top tip is this; do not visit the Whitecliffs cafe.

My wife's course was due to finish at 13:00. My kids pestered me to collect her early so we were on campus at 12:00. Can you imagine that? My daughter is a beach bum and I've known her stop on the most depressing of tips for literally days. But Newhaven and Saltdean defeated her. What a pity.