The flamboyant charm and vision of George IV is responsible for the iconic Pavilion, which is still holding court in the heart of Brighton some 230 years later. Richly eccentric, the one-time pleasure palace of a robust, gambling good-timer blends Mughal and Islamic architectural traditions with stunning results.
Not to be outdone by the shadows of spires and onion domes, the promenade winding through the Royal Pavilion and its neighbour the Brighton Dome is worth a stroll any day of the year, but is most resplendent in the spring and early summer.
Each spring, the cultured, artistic masses descend on Brighton for a stellar lineup of unique festivals; the Brighton Festival, curated this year by Kate Tempest, spans the month of May. The Brighton Fringe brings the weird and wonderful to venues throughout the city while The Great Escape showcases new and unsigned bands during a whirlwind month of carnivalesque proportions.
Part of the Royal Pavilion Estate, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery hosts a considerable archival collection from early Brighton in print, as well as many personal pieces from King George IV. An exhibit entitled Constable and Brighton opens in April 2017.
Before heading down to the sea, amble and browse over 400 unique shops and cafés in this colourful quarter. Some of the best watering holes the city has to offer are situated here – as are some of the best venues for an evening of entertainment – the stunning, Grade II-listed Theatre Royal and the Komedia.
The birthplace of the confection revolution, the chocolatier’s flagship shop in The Lanes boasts a Bar Du Chocolate café – it’d be churlish and frankly, impossible, not to stop.
It may sound like a no brainer, but no trip to Brighton would be complete without a bumpy seat on the city’s infamous pebble beach – better yet, take a ride on candy-floss painted horse on the classic carousel before renting a striped deck chair to watch the sunset.
The world’s tallest moving observation tower climbs the sky, like a lone alien from an H.G. Wells novella. From 138 meters up, it lends panoramic views of the city, the South Downs and, on a clear day, even the Isle of Wight.
One of Europe’s largest marinas and a village in its own right, Brighton Marina boasts restaurants, a cinema, and even glow-in-the-dark dinosaur mini-golf. For those who want to get in the water, there’s diving courses and jet ski rental – with picturesque views of the moored yachts.
The sea can be a scary place to try out any water sport; Hove Lagoon offers wakeboarding, kitesurfing, paddle boarding and more for novices or experts alike. Once you’ve got your sea legs, you might get lucky enough to be sent out into the drink for a spin.
There are plenty of notable green spaces in the city, but following a recent revamp, The Level, hailed as Brighton’s Central Park, now boasts a busy skate park, well used by locals. There’s also Pétanque and plenty of space to share a picnic.
Tags and murals line the back streets of the city, creating an ever-changing backdrop of colour. It could take days to find your favourite.
This striking red brick building dates back to 1874, the project of the relatively unknown architect Edmund Scott. Rising up behind London Road, it is visible throughout the city, but its great height is most impressive from within.
The Low Carbon Trust’s pioneering project culminated in country’s first Earthship, a sustainable, low-impact community centre designed to educate and inspire climate-friendly lifestyles. Tours of this special space explore clean energy initiatives and the ingenious building methods that went into this trailblazing build.
A sea of sand in an otherwise shingled landscape, Yellowave is the UK’s first beach sport centre of its kind. Catch a beach volleyball tournament on the weekends, while those who don’t fancy jumping around can just stop in for a cuppa and a cake.
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