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Brighton – not what we expected

Mum wanted to go to Brighton, just for a look, and failed attempts to do this on previous trips had only served to build up her anticipation. After spending a couple of hours at Goodwood we continued east 30 miles or so.

I didn’t really know anything about Brighton but had some mental images of what it might be like and I’m sure mum did too.

We reached the city and headed in to the centre, driving through what seemed to be run down areas. Except the run down areas didn’t end. We slowly realised that imagined Brighton was quite different from real Brighton.

After parking the car near the landmarks we wanted to visit we went in search of them. Walking along the busy streets this seemed to be a fringe city; eclectic, shabby, with a hippy vibe and a young population.

The beauty of the Royal Pavilion building and gardens is perhaps an odd feature in amongst this – though I think this contrast also makes it fit.

People people everywhere

The pavilion was built in the late 1700s / early 1800s as a royal residence for George, Prince of Wales, who later became King George IV. However, fast forward half a century and Queen Victoria wasn’t a fan of the place and the Royal Pavilion was sold. It was purchased by the town which has enabled it to become the immaculately maintained attraction it is today.

And immensely popular. Happily, in light of the congestion, mum wasn’t fussed about going inside and so we just walked through the grounds.

Far from the madding crowd there are places to admire one’s surroundings

The North Gate entry into the Royal Pavilion Gardens


We wandered down this side expecting to be able to find an exit… but no. Plenty of opportunity then to admire the striking and elegant building

This busker fits my new perception of Brighton perfectly

That ticked off the list, we walked in search of the beachfront.

And found it. Hard to miss really.

There we have it, Brighton Marine Palace and Pier – or just Brighton Pier

In the same general area is the beach, aquarium, ferris wheel and pier so you can guarantee this is going to be a busy place. There is just one ‘pleasure pier’ but there were two others at varying times, the remains of which are nearby.

Still feeling a bit out of sorts with the city we didn’t want to linger, save for a quick look on, near and under the pier.

We moseyed along this end of the pier but didn’t go through the main entry

From the pier looking west

I was intrigued by the structure out in the water which turned out to be the remains of West Pier which opened in 1866 but closed in 1975. It was to have been renovated but it seems a bit beyond that now, not helped by fires and mother nature

Looking east. The Brighton Wheel is relatively new

They ain’t dumb

Wiki lists Brighton as one of the world’s notable shingle beaches

Ladyhawke is a New Zealand musician so had to take this pic!

And with that we concluded our fleeting experience of Brighton. What was so unexpected was how different it was compared to most of the other towns and cities we had visited with (by and large) their historic buildings and associated aesthetic. In Brighton’s case, much of its growth and development happened relatively recently, in the middle of the 20th century. Ultimately it’s a very subjective thing and some places you just don’t get a good vibe from.

So we left Brighton and continued on to the next stop as the day was by no means over yet. I was happy as the motorsport theme from earlier in the day would make a return.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Was your mum disappointed?

    19 September 2012
    • Yes and probably moreso than me, since it had been somewhere she was very keen to visit.

      19 September 2012
  2. I visited Brighton quite some years ago in December. All I really remember was how cold and empty it was. Definitely, your post and photos provide an interesting contrast. Great images, Hayley, even if the town wasn’t quite what you and your mum expected!

    24 January 2013
    • Thank you Steph and great to get your comment. The contrast between summer and winter in a place like that would be pretty drastic! Although our visit there was a bit ‘meh’, a friend who once lived there raved about it.

      24 January 2013
  3. Lu #

    The Pavilion looks completely out of place – not what I would have expected to see in England! I’ve never had any real urge to visit Brighton. I’m trying to think if I have been there or not. If I have, it couldn’t have left me with any impression at all!

    14 February 2013
    • The pavilion was an oddity there, and Brighton seemed an oddity in England – at least compared to the other places we went to. An interesting contrast!

      14 February 2013

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