"So as we took the curve of the road the little village vanished, and there in the dip of the Downs, past the spires of Patcham and of Preston, lay the broad blue sea and the grey houses of Brighton, with the strange Eastern domes and minarets of the Prince's Pavilion shooting out from the centre of it." - Arthur Conan Doyle
Brighton has been one of those places I've read about in fiction for years, so it's a bit odd that it took us so long to visit. But we went down for the day to take in the sights. The beach, of course.
It was a bit early in the season for there to be many tourists about- which didn't bother us, since we're more about the walking around without people to obstruct the view. We strolled out onto the pier, which was also mostly deserted. They had a truly astonishing variety of sugary and fried snacks on offer, had they been open, so perhaps it's just as well for us that they weren't.
Then, naturally we struck inland to find the Royal Pavilion. It was a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales, who later became George IV of England. He built it in stages, at fabulous expense and to the considerable consternation of Parliament, who got stuck paying the bills when he repeatedly ran out of money. As a feat of architecture, it is astonishing.
It's an English fantasy of a far eastern palace, and the inside is as fantastic as the outside.
Photography wasn't permitted in the interior, unfortunately, but there are images of the interior available online. See some of them here. There was a lavish use of silver gilt on the interior, which is unfortunately subject to tarnishing, and almost impossible to clean. One of the guides told me that some of the restoration is being done with platinum, because as expensive as it is, the maintenance cost if they restored it with silver would be prohibitive. (I did see an older series of posts on the Royal Pavilion, with a lot of detailed interior photography- so possibly the ban on photography is recent. If you'd like to see more of the Pavilion, I quite recommend these. Part One, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.
Still shaking our heads in stunned awe and disbelief at the Pavilion, we took a turn around the town in the sun. We saw something fishy:
And the rows of Necco-wafer-pastel houses that seem to be obligatory in British seaside resorts.
And then we took the train back to London and did some more strolling in Kensington Park before heading off to dinner. If you missed it in the first post - may is a lovely time to visit. Spring flowers were everywhere.
And here's a slideshow, with additional photos.