Brighton. We had a beautiful day for late September – blue sky, no cloud and warm sunshine. There were quite a few people on the beach and even some swimmers. I even managed to take my cardi off….
We had a very pleasant walk up and down the pier – looking at all the rides we wouldn’t dream of going on (why would you do that to yourself??) and indulging in all the sights, sounds and smells usually associated with summer – what a bonus on the 22nd of September!
Brighton Pier – look at that sky!:
Views from the end of the pier:
You can’t be in Brighton without visiting the Royal Pavillion which is a Grade 1 listed building – a former royal residence built as a retreat for George, Prince of Wales, who became Prince Regent and then, finally, at the age of 60, George IV. Its style is Indian on the outside and Chinese inside – it has to be said that both styles are the English versions and probably wouldn’t be recognised as authentic by either Indian or Chinese people. Neither George nor the architects had visited either country.
Queen Victoria also used the Pavilion after she came to the throne. She initially found it a peculiar place but apparently warmed to it over time. However, being in the centre of town it didn’t afford her much privacy and was too small for her growing family, so it was sold and she purchased an estate and land that was redeveloped for Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, which became the family’s summer home.
Much of the furniture and interior decoration from the Pavilion was taken to Buckingham Palace where much of it remains.
The Brighton Commissioners and Brighton Vestry successfully petitioned the government to sell the Pavilion to the town for £53,000. The proceeds of the sale went towards developing Osborne House.
Since the end of the Second World War, the municipality of Brighton has spent a great deal of time, effort and money restoring the Pavilion to its state at the time of King George IV. The city was encouraged in the 1950s by the permanent loan of over 100 items of furniture from Queen Elizabeth II. It has undertaken an extensive programme of restoring the rooms, reinstating stud walls, and creating replicas of some original fittings and occasionally pieces of furniture.
Unfortunately photographs are banned in any part of the building. The interior is so much more than I expected. The Banqueting Room and Music Room in particular with their high, domed ceilings and spectacular chandeliers are stunning. The chandelier in the banqueting room is 30 feet long and dangled from a dragon figure that measures 12 feet from nose to tail. Incredible.
Found this picture of the banqueting room on Wikipedia, but it doesn’t do justice to how it feels to be in that room. I had to keep going back for another look.
Another couple of monuments we passed while walking around are the War Memorial and the statue of George IV:
We ended the day with a plate of excellent fish and chips from Harry Ramsden’s where we were served by a very nice young Spanish waiter who we had a good chat with. He was in the UK initially to perfect his English, because he couldn’t graduate and collect his degree without it. He stayed because he saw a Masters course at Sussex University that he wants to take, so is working to get the money together to pay for it. He’s also a Flamenco dancer and does a bit of that in the bars on the seafront for extra money. Good for him. Hope he gets his place on the course.
We managed to get on the wrong bus going back to the Park and Ride. The route is a circular, so we had to go around the whole circle until we got back to the car – took a while, but on the positive side we got a tour of Brighton!