Brighton and Hove is a worldly-wise, lively and sophisticated southern seaside town. Its new image is a gay and arty place that rocks until well past midnight. 50,000 students from the Brighton and Sussex university help give the place a feel of youth.
In 1783 the Prince Regent started visiting and Brighton became fashionable: this was the place to see and be seen. The Royal Pavilion became a spectacular architectural flight of fancy.
The beachfront sports ornate Victorian lamp posts, aqua-coloured railings and creamy white stucco frontages. At the middle the Palace Pier has a funfair with some white-knuckle rides. The Brighton Sea Life Centre has displays including a walk-through glass tunnel, where giant turtles and sharks float above you. Time your visit to coincide with the daily shark and turtle feeds.
Ride the 130-year old Volks Electric Railway in a quaint miniature carriage for 1.5 miles to Black Rock station. Brighton Marina is a huge modern complex with outlet shopping, bowling, an 8-screen cinema. prestigious apartments, Waterfront restaurants and cafes. See the fishing fleet. Walk on the seafront promenade beneath the chalk cliffs, passing close by the exclusive Roedean girls' school. End at Rottingdean and its attractive public gardens, a tea room and a museum devoted to its former resident Rudyard Kipling. West of Palace Pier is the liveliest part of the beachfront: artists' booths, palmists, cockles and jellied eel stalls, bucket-and-spade shops, bars, henna tattooists and hair-braiders. At the Mechanical Memories Museum you can buy big old pennies to operate vintage machines. At night, visit the beachfront clubs, the Ellipse area, open-air cinema and hear music on the beach. The Brighton Centre stages big-name bands.
Visit The Lanes and its little streets packed with restaurants, boutiques, and jewellery and clothes shops. In North Laine are a series of small streets [Sydney Street, Kensington Street, Gardner Street and Bond Street] that have become an alternative shopping and promenading area, with unconventional shop fronts and selling unusual products. There are many pavement cafés, delis and market stalls.
At 80 Trafalgar Street is 0 Contemporary, Brighton's biggest art gallery, with all works, sometimes by famous artists, up for sale.
The Royal Pavilion was originally a farmhouse before John Nash transformed it between 1815 and 1823 for the Prince Regent, later George IV, into an Indian fantasy of domes and minarets.
In Hove you'll find St Andrews Church, a striking Regency Italian Renaissance style Grade I listed building, designed in 1827 by Sir Charles Barry. In the middle of Hove is the Hove Museum & Art Gallery with an interactive toy gallery and a film gallery showing the work of Hove film—makers Smith and Williamson from around 1900.
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