Where: Brighton, south coast of England
History: Popular Georgian seaside hangout made famous by King George IV’s opulent Pavilion Palace
Go there for: A trendy taste of the great British seaside tradition
Just an hour from London by train is the coastal resort of Brighton. The town had its heyday in 1800s but it’s still a popular weekend refuge for city-dwellers.
What’s the history here?
From 1815 to 1823, the Prince Regent, soon to be King George IV, built a fantasy holiday home in Brighton called The Pavilion. George had exotic tastes and indulged in luxuries that fascinated his peers: his en-suite bathroom was the first in the country to have running water, pumped straight from Brighton beach.
Brighton quickly became the playground of the rich and noble who followed the lead of their fashionable Prince. At the height of the British Empire, as England became the biggest cultural and commercial invader the world had ever seen, Brighton was a boomtown. Those with money to spend came to do just that in the once small village by the sea that was transformed into a royal Disneyland.
What’s there to see & do?
– Take a tour of The Pavilion, now a museum, and see artefacts that reflect the flamboyant lifestyle of George IV.
– Stroll along Brighton Pier. The pier hosts a multitude of modern attractions and fairground rides, decked out in neon lights. Amongst the noise and bustle you can find a fully working vintage penny arcade – once a novel new entertainment centre, now a unique remnant of Brighton’s glorious past.
Brighton is easily reached by train from central London. Since the start of the decade, it has become the No. 1 tourist day trip out of London – for its fashionable club scene and celebrity status – so be prepared for hoards of American and Japanese tourists. Bed and Breakfasts are practically unobtainable at weekends during the summer unless you book well ahead.
Virtual Brighton & Hove
The one-stop-shop for tourists, conference organisers and delegates, day trippers, language students, shoppers, businesses, culture-vultures, roller-bladers, long lunch takers and just about anyone else you care to mention.
The Royal Pavilion
Tel: +44 1273 603005
By Jess Halliday
main image courtesy of Creative Commons